Re: Arrow of morality [Was:An essay I just wrote on the Singularity.]

From: Jef Allbright (
Date: Fri Jan 02 2004 - 15:44:38 MST

Perry E. Metzger wrote:
> By the way, I will repeat a contention I've made pretty frequently,
> with a new example. There are people out there that say "meat is
> murder". There are people who enjoy a good steak. Which of them is
> "morally correct"? What is the experiment we can conduct that will
> answer this question? I contend there is none, and that there is no
> answer because absolute morality is an illusion.

While decisions about what is moral depend entirely on context, it seems to
me that as the context is widened a direction begins to emerge.

In physics, random events, according to the laws of thermodynamics, tend to
follow an arrow of time.

In evolution, random mutations, according to the "laws of survival", tend
toward greater organization.

In game theory, as the games get more complex, non-zero sum characteristics
emerge that tend to reward those who cooperate.

In any human society, by whichever arbitrary anthropocentric scale we use to
measure, we observe that stupid people appear less moral and more
intelligent people appear more moral in their actions.

While I agree with you that there is no absolute morality, and that all
morality is viewed against a background of practical survival value, it
seems to me that there is an arrow of morality that begins to emerge as the
context is widened in time, number of participants, or scope of issues.

- Jef

This archive was generated by hypermail 2.1.5 : Wed Jul 17 2013 - 04:00:43 MDT