Re: Ethics (was FAI (aka 'Reality Hacking'))

From: Phil Goetz (
Date: Sun Jan 30 2005 - 06:57:40 MST

> --- "Eliezer S. Yudkowsky" <>
> wrote:
> > Phil Goetz wrote:
> > >
> > > It seems to me that "morality" inherently has
> > to be
> > > something that goes AGAINST natural
> > inclinations
> > > rather than something that is in tune with
> > them.
> >
> > If that is how you define morality, then I want
> > no part of morality, except
> > insofar as it may be my natural inclination to
> > be moral.

I agree with your sentiment; but what is the purpose
of a moral system that one is naturally inclined to

--- Thomas Buckner <> wrote:

> Ethics clearly implies relation to others;
> actions are ethical or not because of the effect
> on others.
> Morality is widely used in a way that implies
> isolation; moralists assign moral value to
> actions that don't affect bystanders.

I think that's a great point, so I'll agree that
we would be better off using the term "ethics".
But I still think it may be impossible to define
"ethics" in a meaningful way if ethics
"come naturally". If ethical behavior is natural
behavior, then we don't need the term "ethical".
You might say that ethical behavior is behavior
that is more rationally calculated to achieve
some goals, but then again we don't need the
phrase "ethical behavior", only "rational behavior",
plus an ethical choice of goals.
However you attack the problem, "ethics" is a
concept that can only be necessary if you have
to specify a value system that is NOT dictated
by physics.

- Phil G.

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