RE: The Fundamental Theorem of Morality

From: Ben Goertzel (
Date: Sun Feb 29 2004 - 06:40:32 MST


But what is this "Universal Morality"?

Your definition gives some properties that UM should have, but that's not

Someone walked into my house this morning and threatened to dissolve my
children with acid. Should I have shot him with my AK47, or tried to
wrestle him to the ground and immobilize him? What does UM say about this,
or any other particular situation?

-- Ben G

> -----Original Message-----
> From: []On Behalf Of Marc
> Geddes
> Sent: Sunday, February 29, 2004 1:14 AM
> To:
> Subject: The Fundamental Theorem of Morality
> The Fundamental Theorem of Morality
> Discovery
> This theorem was first publicly posted to the sl4
> mailing list on the World Wide Web by Marc Geddes (New
> Zealand) on 29th February, 2004.
> Definition of Universal Morality:
> *UM is normative (all rational beings would converge
> on a unique solution given sufficient intelligence and
> time)
> *UM is morally symmetric (Universal, that which works
> if all sentients respect it)
> *UM is consistent (Non-contradictory)
> *UM is non-observer centered
> Definition of Personal Morality:
> *PM is morally asymmetric
> *PM is not normative (there is no necessary
> convergence between sentients)
> *PM can include both observer centered and non
> observer centered goals
> Definition of Sentient Minds:
> *In the most general sense of the term, a morality is
> a goal system. A general sentient goal system will be
> some mixture of parts of Universal Morality and a
> Personal Morality.
> Since all goals are either Observer centered or not
> Observer Centered, any sub-set of Universal Morality
> is equivalent to the whole of Universal Morality with
> some parts filtered by Personal Morality (Altruistic
> goals can be deleted by taking the set of the all
> goals representing Universal Morality, then blocking
> out some particular goals with observer centered goals
> which are the inverse of the altruistic goals). Think
> of it this way: Universal Morality in it's entirely
> is already in some sense 'present' in all sentient
> minds capable of reasoning about morality. It is
> simply 'filtered' by a Personal Morality which
> contains some observer centered goals the opposite of
> some of the altruistic goals of Universal Morality.
> Therefore the structure of sentient minds can be
> described as an interaction (transformation
> represented by a multiplication symbol, x) of
> Universal Morality (all of it) with Personal Morality.
> The result (Mind) equals (=) the goal system of the
> sentient.
> All possible Minds defined
> The space of all possible mixtures of Universal
> Morality and Personal Morality is the space of all
> possible sentient Minds. Not all of these Minds will
> be realizable or desirable. Minds which have no
> congruence with Universal Morality (as for instance
> would be the case for all minds if there is no such
> thing as UM) can be defined as: UM = Unity
> (Universal Morality =1). Minds with no Personal
> Morality (as for instance Minds which are totally
> altruistic and have no observer centered goals) can be
> defined as PM = Unity (Personal Morality =1).
> Fundamental Theorem of Morality established
> All possible sentient Minds are represented by the
> equation:
> Universal Morality x Personal Morality = Mind
> Friendliness and Unfriendliness
> The completely Friendly (good) sentients are the
> sentient's with Minds congruent with Universal
> Morality. That is, the Friendly sentients are the
> sentients with Personal Moralities congruent with
> Universal Morality. The completely Unfriendly (evil)
> sentients are the sentients with Minds incongruent
> with Universal Morality. That is, the completely
> unfriendly sentients are the sentients with Personal
> Moralities completely incongruent with Universal
> Morality.
> =====
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