[extropy-chat] Re: Re: (Ethics/Epistemology) Arrow of Morality [Was:The statement that

Dirk Bruere dirk at neopax.com
Thu Apr 14 16:47:44 UTC 2005

john-c-wright at sff.net wrote:

>W: Please forgive me for being slow on the uptake. In arguments, even careful
>readers misunderstand each other; how much worse it is then, in a case where the
>reader has been careless, as, it seems, in this case, I have been. My apologies.  
>A: (1) I assume there is an ultimate reality (but I don't say it's static), (2)
>I point out that our knowledge of reality is necessarily incomplete and
>subjective, and (3) I argue that there is progress toward increasingly accurate
>approximations of reality, measured in terms of what works. 
>W: The fault is mine, and I thank you for being patient with me. I misread what
>you wrote, or, rather, I interpreted the statement that the ultimate reality was
>unapproachable to be the same as a statement that ultimate reality for all
>practical purposes, did not exist. 
This is just a rehash of the arguments over QM and whether there is 
anything 'really real' beyond our measurements. The answer strongly 
appears to be 'no'. This cannot be separated from moral arguents based 
on any kind of 'real reality' unless it rests upon the supremacy of 

>W: Oddly enough, I was just today reading GK Chesterton's ORTHODOXY, where he
>makes the argument that the fundamental difference between Eastern and Western
>philosophy, between Buddhism and Christianity, is the Eastern identification of
>self with the unity of the universe, versus the Western identification of the
>self separate from (in Christian terms, fallen from) unity with the creator of
>the universe. There are things greater than oneself, for which the hero, the
>saint and the philosopher lays down his life. One could adopt an Eastern
>terminology and say that a lesser "self" was being sacrificed to serve a greater
>"self"; or one could adopt a Western terminology and say that the "self" was
>being sacrificed to the other, an ideal to whom one owes service. The former
>describes sacrifice as enlightened self-interest, and praises enlightenment; the
>latter describes sacrifice as selflessness, and praises love. 
>My question here is twofold: first, do these two descriptions map onto each
>other? Second, if not, does one describe the nature of self-sacrifice better
>than the other?
The former is incomplete because the Xian description omits a strong 
basis for the 'selfless' action as being an afterlife where such virtue 
is rewarded.

>A: Raskolnikov, in his dysfunctional state of mind, believed he had moral
>justification for his actions. He believed, necessarily subjectively, and within
>his limited context of awareness, that his actions were for the greater good.
>Along the same lines, political assassinations have been performed, atrocities
>have been committed in the name of religion, and preemptive war has been carried
>out, all for ostensibly moral reasons.
>In all these examples, we can see that moral goodness is subjective and limited
>in terms of context of awareness. No absolute moral maxim helps here, because
>such moral absolutes can and have been used interchangeably by either side. My
>point is that we can no know absolute moral certainty, but we can recognize that
>as the context is broadened, in terms of the number of actors, the variety of
>interactions, and the time over which interactions occur, we can evaluate, with
>increasing agreement, the relative morality of an action in terms of how well it
>(subjectively) works.
Works for whom?
Different POV, different morality.


The Consensus:-
The political party for the new millenium

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