Stathis Papaioannou wrote:
Brent Meeker writes:
>> From the foregoing it can be seen that while there can be no objective
>> morality, nor any absolute morality, it is reasonable to expect
>> increasing agreement on the relative morality of actions within an
>> expanding context. Further, similar to the entropic arrow of time, we
>> can conceive of an arrow of morality corresponding to the ratcheting
>> forward of an increasingly broad context of shared values
>> coevolutionary competition) promoted via awareness of increasingly
>> effective principles of interaction (scientific knowledge of what
>> extracted from regularities in the environment.)
> What if the ratcheting forward of shared values is at odds with >
evolutionary expediency, i.e. there is some unethical policy that >
improves the fitness of the species? To avoid such a dilemna you would
> have define as ethical everything improves the fitness of the
species, > and I'm not sure you want to do that.
If your species doesn't define as unethical that which is contrary to
continuation of the species, your species won't be around to long.
Our problem is that cultural evolution has been so rapid compared to
biological evolution that some of our hardwired values are not so good
for continuation of our (and many other) species. I don't think
ethics is a matter of definitions; that's like trying to fly by
settling on a definition of "airplane". But looking at the long run
survival of the species might produce some good ethical rules;
particularly if we could predict the future consequences clearly.
If slavery could be scientifically shown to promote the well-being of
the species as a whole does that mean we should have slavery? Does it
mean that slavery is good?
Note that I didn't say "promote the well-being"; I said "contrary to the
continuation". If the species could not continue without slavery, then there are two possible
futures. In one of them there's a species that thinks slavery is OK - in the other there is no
opinion on the subject.
Of course "slavery" implies the coercive use of our fellow members of society
against their desires. So it logically entails that at least those enslaved will not be
pleased with their situation. But note that in ancient times one had an absolute right
to one's life - including selling oneself into slavery, or contracting to be a slave for
a certain time. So someone (maybe a radical libertarian) might argue that you should be
able to risk your own enslavement in exchange for some gain desirable to you.
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