Re: An essay I just wrote on the Singularity.

From: Perry E. Metzger (
Date: Sun Jan 04 2004 - 18:14:52 MST

Elaine and Andy <> writes:
> <fifty bazillion posts snipped>
> Ah, the Singularity List has discovered David Hume!

And he could out-consume Schopenhauer and Hegel, which is not the least
of the reasons I'm a sometimes-fan.

> (It was Hume who stung Emmanuel Kant into writing
> 'A Critique of Pure Reason' - contending "categorical
> imperatives" (objective criteria) are the standards of
> morality. With what success I leave for others to decide.)

The categorical imperative was, sadly, a bit of a failure.

"I feel like going to the park today."
"But if everyone went to the park, we'd all be crushed into pulp and
the park would be destroyed! Obviously you shouldn't do that! Its a
Categorical Imperative!"

There is, of course, also the problem that Kant's presumed absolute
"Categorical Imperative" method only measures the observer's existing
relative moral system. "Don't go out and kill people -- if everyone
did that, it would be BAD!" only works so long as, say, the observer
isn't a serial killer or from Aum Shin Rikyo, at which point you say
"wow! cool!" and go off and do it anyway.

Perry E. Metzger

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