[ExI] Ethics and Emotions are not axioms

Lee Corbin lcorbin at rawbw.com
Sun Jun 3 21:53:49 UTC 2007

Samantha writes

> Brent Allsop wrote:
>> I believe there are fundamental absolute ethics, morals,
>> motivations... and so on.

Absolute morality has always struck me as peculiar reification.
With a physicist's eye, I look over some region containing 
matter and am unable to discern what morality is, although I
can see, for example, democracy, expediency, and truth-seeking.

>> For example, existence or survival is absolutely better, more  
>> valuable, more moral, more motivating than non-existence.

I absolutely agree, provided that there is a big TO ME on the
end of that sentence. We absolutely should stand behind the
sentiments of that sentence!  We should loudly proclaim our
allegiance to that principle.

But what does my "should" really mean?  Sadly, it means
nothing more than "I approve" or "we approve". Again, the
physicist's eye can discern *approval* and *disapproval*,
but not Right or Wrong or Moral.


> Absolutely more valuable in what way and in what context?  More  
> valuable for the particular living being but not necessarily more  
> valuable in any broader context.    Is the survival of ebola an  
> unqualified moral value?

If the alternative were a completely dead solar system, then
yes, I would approve of the existence of the ebola virus
(although in actually, I suppose that this would entail the
existence of cells a lot more complex than it is, and hence,
more worthy of survival in my eyes).

> There are [no] objectively based axioms unless one goes in for total  
> subjectivity.

Yes   :-)   but then, they're no longer "objectively based"!


> Absolute morality is a problematic construct as morals to be grounded  
> must be based in and dependent upon the reality of the being's  
> nature.   There is no free floating absolute morality outside of such  
> a context.   It would have no grounding.

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