Re: "feels good" is inherently meaningful

From: Sebastian Hagen (
Date: Fri Jul 02 2004 - 16:11:04 MDT

Martin Striz wrote:
> But it IS in the nature of human beings to live out the happiness principle.
> You make every decision based on whether it makes you more happy, or less
> unhappy.
Not on a conscious level; happiness is not a highest-level goal of my conscious
goal system.
My subconscious tries to motivate my conscious mind to strive for a state of
mind we call "happy". This dynamic is designed to motivate my conscious mind to
behave in patterns that were in the EEA effective at spreading one's genes.
Tracing back causality, what I should really do to satisfy the dynamic that
eventually led to me perceiving happiness is to try to fill the universe with
the maximum amount of copies of my genetic code as possible.
The design of the human brain, including the tendency to strive for positive
qualia, is the result of evolution, an afaik morally neutral process.
Patterns, including the mental properties of organisms, do not obtain moral
value merely because evolution happened to produce them; just as paper clips do
not obtain moral value merely because they exist in reality.

> And you fabricate (ethical) philosophical rationalizations as to why
> you do it, but in the end the solution is simple: understand your nature,
> understand what things make you HAPPY, and maximize those.
The solution to what problem, exactly? If it's to "reach personal happiness", it
is not relevant for this discussion (since I don't agree that "reaching personal
happiness" is a valid highest-level goal).
If the problem is to "satisfy the processes that led to humans perceiving
happiness", the solution is afaict incorrect.
If you propose it as a solution to "acting morally", i.e. "doing the right
thing", it is merely a statement without justification.

Sebastian Hagen

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