[ExI] Ethics and Emotions are not axioms

Lee Corbin lcorbin at rawbw.com
Sun Jun 3 23:35:02 UTC 2007

Damien quotes from his and Barnes' novel VALENCIES 

> without coming to a  definitive, intuitively overwhelming
> conclusion. But then the imperial ideologists thought they
> had, didn't they, with their jolly old stochastic memetic-
> extrapolatory hedonic calculus or whatever the fuck they
> were calling it these days. The least retardation of optimal
> development for the greatest number, world without end,
> or at least until the trend functions blur out. So they
> managed to get both streams of thought into one ethical
> scholium without solving anything.

Without quite being able to affirm that I have understood all
that, and what preceded it, what follows is provocative

> After all, why obey a rule like that? And who gets to define
> as "good" those magical parameters making up the package 
> called "optimal development"?

Optimal development would be for most people something
to be considered after they'd already had some clear notion
of *good*, or at least, as I would say, a clear notion of what
they already approve of.

>              The besieged libertarians on Chomsky, she thought 
> darkly, might differ from Ralf on the question of the good life.
>              Anyway, even if we all agreed that certain parameters 
> were good, why should that oblige us to promote their furtherance?

We generally call "good" those things whose furtherance we wish
to promote.  And as to the question, "well, why would you want
to promote THAT?", I'd answer "at base we come back to our
values, which, in terms of actions we advocate and stand behind,
are simply those things that we approve of". 

Although there really is nothing wrong with a certain amount of
circularity here (at least verbally), approval and disapproval
still seem to me as basic as anything could be.


> It might be prudent good sense to do so, and aesthetically
> pleasing, and  satisfy some itch we all have, and save us
> from being raped in the common, but then the sublime
> constraining force you sort of imagine the idea of moral
> obligation having just evaporates into self-serving 
> circumspection....

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