The point of studying ethics
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28-07-2017, 02:34 PM
RE: The point of studying ethics
(28-07-2017 02:06 PM)nosferatu323 Wrote:  This is a good point, I think we are "wired' for everything we do and think.

I'm not so certain of it.

Quote:But I don't think it's related to rationality. Hitler was also wired to do everything he did, that was his "nature" to do it. It doesn't mean he was rational.

Hitler was wired for everything he did? That require proof.

As for Hitler rationality it hinges on sincerity of his beliefs - if he truly was convinced that Jews are gravest threat then from his pov extermination was rational choice, if his hatred of Jews was just rhetoric then he clearly was irrational as killing them drained resources that could have been used elsewhere.

Quote:We are natural phenomena, therefore all of our thoughts and actions are governed by natural laws, we are all completely "wired" by nature.

It sounds so deterministic (or just silly?) that I have trouble taking it seriously.

Quote:Natural does not mean rational though.

Obviously.

Quote:One can argue that everything that is natural is "right", and reason is irrelevant, therefore everything is right and nothing is wrong.

One can also argue that moon is made of cheese.

Quote:In fact I think this is an interesting position.

I'm no Shakespeare so saying that I lack words to describe stupidity of such position means nothing. However I would have trouble finding adequate words even in my mother tongue.

Quote:But I don't think you mean this.

Certainly not - natural is just that, natural. Something being natural does not make it wrong, nor right.

Quote:Many use this sort of justification, but they are not aware of the wider implications. "Homosexuality is right, because it's natural, some of us are "wired" to be like that", everything is natural, everything is "wired".

Nor homosexuality neither heterosexuality are right or wrong. They just are - ascribing rightness or wrongness to sexual orientation seems ridiculous to me, just like saying that eating spaghetti is right*. Both however are natural for whatever it is worth.

Quote:I checked it out. The way the author tries to derive morality from evolutionary facts is interesting. I'd be interested to see how far this can go.

Then maybe read his book. I think it was pretty good even if I disagreed with some of what was said there.

*I'm aware of some people thinking that homosexuality is wrong/abhorrent/unnatural/whatever else but what bigots think is hardly a concern of mine.

The first revolt is against the supreme tyranny of theology, of the phantom of God. As long as we have a master in heaven, we will be slaves on earth.

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28-07-2017, 05:16 PM
RE: The point of studying ethics
(28-07-2017 03:37 AM)nosferatu323 Wrote:  The decision of the robot to turn itself off must be rational, the robot is always rational, since its actions can be clearly expressed by logic, unless it's due to a software/hardware error. If the logical inference is based on some objective facts (my battery is low and I need to survive), it will be an objective decision also.
Speaking in the absence of self-aware AI -- as I was -- I don't think the robot's actions could be classified as either rational or irrational. No thought is involved at all. It's simply a machine preforming a pre-programmed function. So one must consider the rationality of the programmer.

Quote:I think our goals, concerns and preferences are neither rational nor irrational. They are either objective or subjective. My concern for survival is objective (it can be scientifically demonstrated that I have this preference), my concern for happiness is subjective.
It can be scientifically demonstrated that you have a drive to secure your own survival. I'm not sure I would call that a "preference".

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28-07-2017, 05:20 PM
RE: The point of studying ethics
(28-07-2017 04:35 AM)nosferatu323 Wrote:  I do not think morality SHOULD BE based on pure rationality.
I think morality CANNOT BE based on pure rationality.

I think any one who wants to make moral judgements MUST rely on some faculties OTHER THAN reason.

Fair enough.

That kinda looks like the end of the argument, to me. Big Grin

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28-07-2017, 05:30 PM
RE: The point of studying ethics
(28-07-2017 05:20 AM)nosferatu323 Wrote:  I don't get this. I think we agreed that the agent is objective, which means all his actions are inferred from a set of established facts, ie. scientific facts. I'm not sure what you mean by "exclusively within his own mind", but if you mean some sort of detachment from the objective reality, no, the agent is entirely connected to the objective reality and ALL his actions are inferred from an objectively true proposition.
No. You appear to be arguing the rationalist position. In rationalism the criteria for "truth" are purely intellectual and deductive. There is no need to access external reality, because its truths can be directly apprehended by the intellect.
Hence an "entirely rational" person would, essentially, be living entirely within their own mind, in some sense.

Perhaps as perceived by an empiricist. Smile

Quote:So again, I'm interested to know whether you see any flaws in this proposition or not:
"An entirely rational and objective agent does not make moral judgments"
Given your recent statement that you essentially believe that it's impossible for this state of affairs to exist, I'd have to say that the statement is a tautology, at least in the framework you've tried to establish.

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28-07-2017, 05:33 PM
RE: The point of studying ethics
(28-07-2017 06:55 AM)Szuchow Wrote:  Also it's you that constantly mention rationality in this discussion - for me it does not really come into play. I'm just trying to not be a dick and respect others freedom - whether this is rational or not I don't much care.

LOL.

Comrade Cat, you crack me up. Big Grin

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29-07-2017, 01:07 AM
RE: The point of studying ethics
(28-07-2017 05:33 PM)Dr H Wrote:  
(28-07-2017 06:55 AM)Szuchow Wrote:  Also it's you that constantly mention rationality in this discussion - for me it does not really come into play. I'm just trying to not be a dick and respect others freedom - whether this is rational or not I don't much care.

LOL.

Comrade Cat, you crack me up. Big Grin

That's good I guess.

The first revolt is against the supreme tyranny of theology, of the phantom of God. As long as we have a master in heaven, we will be slaves on earth.

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29-07-2017, 03:38 AM
RE: The point of studying ethics
My take on things:

Rationality is a tool. It cannot decide what your goals are, without already having assumed goals in place.

What's the rational reason for doing anything at all? I would claim that you can't answer that question, without making an appeal to some sort of subjective value judgement. That's a rephrasing of Hume's Guilotine, in a way. Even the value of survival is still a subjective judgement. Hume is my God, and he's bigger than your God, whatever it may be.

Thanks everyone for the really interesting discussions! I plan to reply to some points when I have more time.

I have a website here which discusses the issues and terminology surrounding religion and atheism. It's hopefully user friendly to all.
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29-07-2017, 06:55 AM
RE: The point of studying ethics
(28-07-2017 03:37 AM)nosferatu323 Wrote:  ...
I think our goals, concerns and preferences are neither rational nor irrational. They are either objective or subjective. My concern for survival is objective (it can be scientifically demonstrated that I have this preference), my concern for happiness is subjective.

This is my main bugbear with the Morality Debate. It's stuck in the terminology of the past.

In Governance (aka frameworks or systems for decision-making which includes 'ethics') we use the following:
Goals (desires, quality criteria etc.) are tagged as 'intrinsic' or 'contextual'.
Survival is an intrinsic goal (reproduction is a subset of this i.e. gene survival).
Happiness would be contextual.

There is a third category called "Accessibility/Security" which might be appropriate for other 3 Darwinian drivers: sexual selection, kin-selection and reciprocity.

The terms 'objective' and 'subjective' are reserved as tags for metrics i.e. quantitative and qualitative.

(28-07-2017 01:46 AM)nosferatu323 Wrote:  
(27-07-2017 05:45 PM)DLJ Wrote:  I'm not abandoning 8 months work so lightly. Wink
Good luck with that, let us know more about it when you are done with it Smile
...

I'm giving myself a year.

I think I have a new idea on why we sleep (but I'm immersing myself in 'brain chemistry' to see where the idea might be bollocks)
My model supports a hypothesis for déjà vu.
I think I've cracked the puzzle of what laughter is for.
I'm procrastinating heavily on what I'm telling myself I don't require but deep down I know I have to tackle ... a network diagram (or at least a model) for consciousness.
The process model(s) of morality was the easy bit... the chemical mechanism behind it however - urgggh! I'm going to need to rent an expert for that.

Hobo

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29-07-2017, 11:36 AM (This post was last modified: 29-07-2017 01:55 PM by nosferatu323.)
RE: The point of studying ethics
(28-07-2017 05:16 PM)Dr H Wrote:  
(28-07-2017 03:37 AM)nosferatu323 Wrote:  The decision of the robot to turn itself off must be rational, the robot is always rational, since its actions can be clearly expressed by logic, unless it's due to a software/hardware error. If the logical inference is based on some objective facts (my battery is low and I need to survive), it will be an objective decision also.
Speaking in the absence of self-aware AI -- as I was -- I don't think the robot's actions could be classified as either rational or irrational. No thought is involved at all. It's simply a machine preforming a pre-programmed function. So one must consider the rationality of the programmer.

Quote:I think our goals, concerns and preferences are neither rational nor irrational. They are either objective or subjective. My concern for survival is objective (it can be scientifically demonstrated that I have this preference), my concern for happiness is subjective.
It can be scientifically demonstrated that you have a drive to secure your own survival. I'm not sure I would call that a "preference".


Quote:I don't think the robot's actions could be classified as either rational or irrational.
I fail to see your point. A program is always rational. Why do you think a piece of program cannot be labeled as rational or irrational? Maybe you are referring to a different notion of "rational? by rational I simply mean logical, nothing more.

Quote:It can be scientifically demonstrated that you have a drive to secure your own survival.
Correct, drive is the right word.
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29-07-2017, 11:44 AM (This post was last modified: 29-07-2017 01:57 PM by nosferatu323.)
RE: The point of studying ethics
(28-07-2017 05:30 PM)Dr H Wrote:  No. You appear to be arguing the rationalist position. In rationalism the criteria for "truth" are purely intellectual and deductive. There is no need to access external reality, because its truths can be directly apprehended by the intellect.
Hence an "entirely rational" person would, essentially, be living entirely within their own mind, in some sense.

Perhaps as perceived by an empiricist. Smile
I don't think I'm arguing the rationalist position. The agent has two characteristics, one of them is objective. ALL his actions are inferred from a FACT, the agent does not make any logical mistakes in his inference, so he is also rational. I fail to see how this agent "has no need to access external reality" as you put it.

How can the agent be objective and be detached from the reality?

In fact, I'm arguing about an agent which is ALWAYS connected to the objective reality, because ALL his actions have an evidential basis, he can rely on sociological facts to deal with people for example, yet he cannot make any moral judgement.
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