[extropy-chat] consequentialism/deontologism discussion

Stathis Papaioannou stathisp at gmail.com
Fri Apr 27 11:40:39 UTC 2007

On 4/27/07, Jef Allbright <jef at jefallbright.net> wrote:

> By "increasing context of shared values" do you mean something like a
> lowest
> > common denominator, or an averaging out of values?
> No.  I use the phrase "fine-grained values" to mean just the opposite.
> Our shared values can be approximated as an extremely complex
> hierarchy with "reality" (the ultimate view of what works) at the root
> and increasingly subjective branches supporting ever more subjective
> sub-branches until we reach each individual's values.  The key here is
> that even though each of us has effective access only to our own
> subjective values at the tips of the outermost branches, we  have an
> increasingly shared interest in the increasingly probable branches
> (supporting us) leading back to the root.  With increasing awareness
> of this tree structure, we would increasingly agree on which branches
> best support, not our present values, but growth in the direction
> indicated by our shared values that work.
> > What if there is just an irreducible conflict in values, such as between
> > those who think women should "dress modestly" and those who think women
> > should dress however they please (this issue is often assumed to be
> based on
> > religious or anti-egalitarian considerations, but consider the
> prudishness
> > of the Russian and Chinese communists)?
> See above, and let me know if that does not address your question.

In the example I give, both parties would agree that their dress code for
women was part of some more general principle. The problem is, they might
see different branches, a different trunk, different roots, or claim the
same roots for their trunk's exclusive use. There might be perfectly stable,
progressive societies ("what works"?) possible based on either ideology.
Each side will in the end be reduced to yelling at the other, "My values are
better than your values!". This is the case for any argument where the
premises cannot be agreed upon.

Stathis Papaioannou
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