[ExI] Morality is tied with Meta beliefs

x at extropica.org x at extropica.org
Sun Dec 16 17:14:53 UTC 2007

On 12/16/07, Stefano Vaj <stefano.vaj at gmail.com> wrote:

> I think in 2007 we should stop the quest for the philosopher stone of a
> single postulate, or a small set thereof, that be more or less self-evident
> and shared by anybody, on which all the ethical and political constructions
> could be construed "geometically"; and accept instead that value choices are
> fundamentally primordial, so that what remains for the rational thought is
> to unveil their genealogy and internal consistency and practical
> consequences, to allow for a better informed choice.

An excellent statement, but requiring a critical refinement.

It is crucial that we recognize the fundamental intractability of
predicting the extended consequences of our actions within a complex

Therefore, a more coherent meta-morality refers not to "practical
consequences", but instead to increasingly understood **principles**
of effective interaction (between agent and other ("other" being the
agent's environment, including other agents)) tending to promote, with
increasing efficacy, any particular values complex.

With this refinement, we have a rough description of an evolving
system of morality avoiding the inherent paradoxes of utilitarianism.
Paradox is always a case of insufficient context.  In the bigger
picture, all the pieces must fit.

In more concrete visual terms, a pragmatic model of morality is like
recognition of a great tree, rooted in the physics of our world.  From
any and all of the diverse points out on the branches, subjective
agents can look back toward the trunk and find increasingly convergent
principles in common, supporting the growth of increasingly divergent
individual expression.  It is a tree of increasing probability,
supporting growth of branches of increasing possibility.

Like the thermodynamic "arrow of time" (also entailing a subjective
POV), we can model an Arrow of Morality where we can never be certain
of our destination, but we can be increasingly certain of our intended

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