Re: Collective Volition: Wanting vs Doing.

From: Jef Allbright (
Date: Tue Jun 15 2004 - 08:04:20 MDT

Marc Geddes wrote:

> --- Jef Allbright <> wrote: >
>>All of these tendencies are thermodynamic in nature
>>and progressive.
>>This is why I call this thinking the Arrow of
>>morality. Some jump to
>>the conclusion that this is the Naturalistic Fallacy
>>in new clothes, but
>>if you look closely here there are no "oughts"
>>imposed on what "is".
>>It's just the the Naturalistic Wisdom that it's
>>better to choose what works.
>>- Jef
>In order to determine that: 'it's better to choose
>what works' one needs to:
>(a) Specify some goals. Any goals you choose can
>only come from your brain (i.e what 'is')
>(b) Investigate the world (i.e look at what 'is') in
>order to discover the causal connections between an
>action and its consequences
>(c) Decide which action/s would have consequences
>most in line (a) then state that one 'ought' to
>perform these actions.
>In other words: ought from is.
Marc -

I was quite aware of the glaringly illuminated (and humorous) pithole of
a trap left in the ultimate sentence. That's why I threw in the phrase
"if you look closely" as a friendly warning not to fall in and mistake
the wrapper for the content.

If you look closely at the concept I was describing (not my final
meta-comment) about it, I think you will not find any ought from is.
You'll just find a rather rough and terse description of how morality
tends to spread in scope and converge in direction.

This concept of the "Arrow of morality" is useful because it shows that,
while we can not point to any objective morality and say that is our
goal, we can find shared values based on "what works" which are
ultimately grounded in a sense of the term "survival value", or perhaps
more accurately "growth".

There appear to be some universal principles that describe "growth".
These principles are not well known or well thought-out, AFAIK, but
could form the basis of a science of complex system dynamics that could
be profitably applied to human endeavors at all scales. I think these
principles will include some of the following:

A useful operational definition of Self and Other.
The value of Other for the growth of Self.
The value of diversity for growth.
The value of the "adjacent possible" for growth.
A useful working understanding of cooperation, synergy, etc.
A useful working understanding of the evolution of complex structures...

These would form a useful set of "moral teachings" <wink> for the future.

- Jef <waxing mystical again>

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