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On ethics

On ethics
October 12, 2010, 09:14:21 AM
I've been thinking of developing an ethical system that can be mathematically analysed. Here's where I'm at so far.

A sketch of the system might look like:

- what is good or bad in an act has not to do with its appearance (i.e. what kind of act it is) but in the effects that result from this act
- as the only effects which we have direct contact with are our experiences, we must find goodness in our experience (else resign to fatalism/existentialism)
- we take certain experiences to be qualitatively negative, and others to be positive (this is not the only way to divide up experience, but it is the typical way)
- when and where the experience takes place is irrelevant, except insofar as our measurement of it is affected
- the overall quality of any subset of reality can be calculated by taking the sum of the net happiness (equals positive experience take away the negative) at each point in existence
- as an exact calculation cannot be obtained, we are to make the decisions which are decided as best from such a viewpoint (mathematics/science can be used here)
- action therefore is to follow this course of decision making/be directed to fit a model which does.

This here ends the sketch. Principle becomes reality.

This is a complex process, but certainly does not include pandering to the crowd, and doing whatever the majority pleases.

It also denies morality, which means questions like "...were they a moral actor? Were they aware? Did they mean to do it?" are ignored, in favour of the purely practical (based on relation with experience) aspects.

Basically it's: Transcendental Idealism + Quality of experience (tao) + Physics/Science.

Any thoughts? Is there anything here which is obviously wrong, or that don't seem to flow logically? Would such a system be generally accepted as true here?

Re: On ethics
October 12, 2010, 09:30:07 AM
mathematically analysed.

Godel shrieks a warning.

Otherwise, I agree entirely with your premises, and find that I follow this way of thinking, probably after many a discussion on the subject with my parents (who are immutably awesome).

Re: On ethics
October 12, 2010, 09:37:02 AM
I like it, but not exactly my cup of tea (perspective).  I'd say you should expand it a bit, but do so on the premises of your already conceived ideas.

Re: On ethics
October 12, 2010, 10:08:56 AM
Extra notes:

- Assume something like a Newtonian picture of reality
- Now, we suppose that at each point in space here, there is an associated Quality of Experience level (QOEL, or QEL)
- This level is positive if the experience is enjoyable, and negative if not (and zero if neutral. Presumably anything non-living is neutral.)

I will define goodness and badness in an ad hoc way:
- if, at any point in time, a particular action that was committed some time in the past has so far resulted in an increase in overall QOEL, then we denote it as "so-far-good", similarly defining "so-far-bad".
- a good action is therefore an action that remains So-far-good when calculated at infinity, with a bad action being so-far-bad when calculated at infinity.

Our goal, then, is to increase the amount of Good actions being done, and decrease the Bad ones (since Good actions are defined as increasing QEL, Bad as decreasing it), or rather to increase the Overall QEL increase projected.

A few things that I think would achieve this:

- put an end to environmental destruction (perhaps the most reliable we have projection about future QEL levels [lol])
- provide roles for people in life that actually give life meaning
- decrease the levels of individualism/narcissism (note: socialising isn't the antithesis to this) -> promote reverence
- reunite social reality with physical reality
- replace surrogate activities undertaken by humanity with real ones

Re: On ethics
October 12, 2010, 10:53:51 AM
- what is good or bad in an act has not to do with its appearance (i.e. what kind of act it is) but in the effects that result from this act
+ Everything that can be judged plays into whether the act is good or not: intention, appearance, effect etc. And why not?
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- as the only effects which we have direct contact with are our experiences, we must find goodness in our experience (else resign to fatalism/existentialism)
+ Only if you include knowledge here.
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- as an exact calculation cannot be obtained, we are to make the decisions which are decided as best from such a viewpoint (mathematics/science can be used here)
+ Or we should listen to an authority.
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It also denies morality
Why should one do that?
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Any thoughts?
I think you should read Summa theologiae I-II q. 18-21.

Re: On ethics
October 12, 2010, 11:06:33 AM
Everything that can be judged plays into whether the act is good or not: intention, appearance, effect etc. And why not?

Why should they? Intention/appearance or irrelevant when dealing with things on an objective level.

As for effect, you could perhaps distinguish between Good-in-itself, and Good-for-its effects (or both), i.e. an action is Good in one sense for its corresponding experience, and in another sense due to its bringing about of Good elsewhere.

Only if you include knowledge here.

I'm not totally sure what you mean - could you elaborate?

Or we should listen to an authority.

Yes, we could do that too. I'm not suggesting a single method of decision analysis (though I am suggesting a universal principle of Goodness), but the notion that in theory it is determinable.

Why should one do that?

Isn't "ignore morality" quite essential for the brand of nihilism espoused here?

I think you should read Summa theologiae I-II q. 18-21.

Could you explain why?

Re: On ethics
October 12, 2010, 12:01:26 PM
Intention/appearance or irrelevant when dealing with things on an objective level.
Please explain why.

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I'm not totally sure what you mean - could you elaborate?
Sure. Experience is often arbitrarily distinguished from theoretical knowledge--if one were to read your thesis in this way, one could scold the wise desert recluse for his renounciation of action.

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Isn't "ignore morality" quite essential for the brand of nihilism espoused here?
Maybe. For me, what I (maybe wrongly) understood to be nihilism was a catharsis, not an end in itself. I used to ridicule all forms of morality, but then I learned that I had no sane reason for doing so.

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Could you explain why?
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Question 18. The good and evil of human acts, in general

   1. Is every human action good, or are there evil actions?
   2. Is the good or evil of a human action derived from its object?
   3. Is it derived from a circumstance?
   4. Is it derived from the end?
   5. Is a human action good or evil in its species?
   6. Does an action have the species of good or evil from its end?
   7. Is the species derived from the end, contained under the species derived from the object, as under its genus, or conversely?
   8. Is any action indifferent in its species?
   9. Can an individual action be indifferent?
  10. Does a circumstance place a moral action in the species of good or evil?
  11. Does every circumstance that makes an action better or worse, place the moral action in the species of good or evil?
Is that explanation enough?

Re: On ethics
October 12, 2010, 12:12:30 PM
Please explain why.

What would an explanation look like?

Can you provide any counter example?

Sure. Experience is often arbitrarily distinguished from theoretical knowledge--if one were to read your thesis in this way, one could scold the wise desert recluse for his renunciation of action.

Why should you not?

Maybe. For me, what I (maybe wrongly) understood to be nihilism was a catharsis, not an end in itself. I used to ridicule all forms of morality, but then I learned that I had no sane reason for doing so.

Perhaps so, but assuming it is in line with the general philosophy here I don't feel the need to explain it (since I assume the reasons are implicitly understood). If you wish, I'll change what I said to "...we don't have to have morality".

Re: On ethics
October 12, 2010, 12:30:09 PM
Question 18. The good and evil of human acts, in general

   1. Is every human action good, or are there evil actions?
   2. Is the good or evil of a human action derived from its object?
   3. Is it derived from a circumstance?
   4. Is it derived from the end?
   5. Is a human action good or evil in its species?
   6. Does an action have the species of good or evil from its end?
   7. Is the species derived from the end, contained under the species derived from the object, as under its genus, or conversely?
   8. Is any action indifferent in its species?
   9. Can an individual action be indifferent?
  10. Does a circumstance place a moral action in the species of good or evil?
  11. Does every circumstance that makes an action better or worse, place the moral action in the species of good or evil?
Is that explanation enough?[/quote]

I have a terrible problem reading this because it's published on a catholic website. I know it's dumb prejudice and weakness stopping me to properly investigate something I claim to be against, but if you would consider additional written stimulus helpful, please, go ahead. Maybe it's not only me having trouble with putting things in proper context.

Re: On ethics
October 12, 2010, 11:16:09 PM
I have a terrible problem reading this because it's published on a catholic website. I know it's dumb prejudice and weakness stopping me to properly investigate something I claim to be against, but if you would consider additional written stimulus helpful, please, go ahead. Maybe it's not only me having trouble with putting things in proper context.

Additional stimulus? St Aquinas was an outstanding Aristotle expositor, a genius himself. His Summa theologica has been read by generations of European students. I don't know what more to say, it feels silly.

Re: On ethics
October 12, 2010, 11:31:47 PM
What would an explanation look like?

You could include what you mean by "objective level". And then then you could explain why e.g. intentions are not on this level.
I am confident that your explanation will be good enough without an example.

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Why should you not?

Because he experiences beatitude. He is blissful without acting.

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Perhaps so, but assuming it is in line with the general philosophy here I don't feel the need to explain it (since I assume the reasons are implicitly understood).

Could you refer to a document which contains the reasons which you agree with?

chv

Re: On ethics
October 13, 2010, 12:05:45 AM
Ethical processes are a natural occurrence in a society that places static principles at its frontal focus points. It does not make them absolute, but instead uses them as tools to discern logical judgements and decision making.

They cannot be formulated, but instead it must be the foundational principles that MUST be formulated, and in the case of the ideal, it cannot be, but instead a fundamental understanding of the nature of reality and its transitional concerns.

chv

Re: On ethics
October 13, 2010, 01:03:27 PM
You are thinking in terms of personal and singular identity and interpretation. Think in terms not of totality but in connection with the nature of the whole.

chv

Re: On ethics
October 13, 2010, 01:23:22 PM
Then if you know this concept, then it should be obvious to you how it applies. The interconnection with social and political elements is evident.

chv

Re: On ethics
October 13, 2010, 11:26:21 PM
Then if you know this concept, then it should be obvious to you how it applies. The interconnection with social and political elements is evident.

Brilliant sentences, both. They are aesthetically perfect.
But here's the deal, Mr. Chivalry.

Politics follow from Aesthetics, not the other way around.

And there is even yet another problem.

In Gilles Deleuze's and Felix Guattari's theory (which is influential like you wouldn't fucking believe it....), you basically have two, and ONLY two options:

1) You are a neoliberal crack-snorting 80's "Yuppie"
2) You are simply.... a Nomad.

Politics are the decoration of fauna among the plant that is the people. Obviously there will be differences between roses, and sewer fungus.