RE: "Objective" Morality

From: H C (
Date: Tue Aug 09 2005 - 10:54:37 MDT

It could be possible to create such a definition of morality that is
objectively correct, thus objective morality. I would say *of course* such a
definition exists, but what do I know?

>From: Marcello Mathias Herreshoff <>
>Subject: "Objective" Morality
>Date: Mon, 8 Aug 2005 19:03:56 -0700
>I have been reading the SL4 list for some time now. I have repeatedly seen
>people (mostly Mark Geddes but sometimes others) use the phrase "Objective
>For a list which is supposed to be humanities best hope, I find this highly
>disconcerting. The phrase "Objective Morality" (sometimes pronounced
>"Universal Morality") makes as much sense as "colorless green idea".
>Any statements about it is vacuous.
>Consider it means for a statement to be objective. It means that a
>system using Bayes' Law and reasonable priors (and there are ways of
>these!) will arrive at that conclusion that the statement is highly
>given the available evidence.
>I encourage you to read Technical Explanation of Technical Explanation:
>for the full explanation.
>For example, if you don't believe that the accuracy of Newton's Law of
>Universal Gravitation is objective, observe the moon's orbit. It very
>accurately matches the theory. Because this evidence is rather improbable
>given ignorance, but highly probable assuming Universal Gravitation, and
>because the law should have a reasonably high prior, one can safely
>that Newton's law is in fact accurate.
>Now, what about objective morality? The only way to find out would be by
>testing the morality of some test scenarios. However, this can not be done
>because performing the test would entail already having some definition of
>Naturally, any definition of morality would pass with flying colors if it
>were tested against itself this way! Thus the likelihood of the evidence
>the same whether our hypothetical "objective" morality is objective or not.
>The only possible piece of evidence has no strength whatsoever.
>is a complete misnomer for anything with this property.
>Note that I am *not* saying that there is no optimal definition of morality
>for human kind, determinable by Coherent Extrapolated Volition. I'm simply
>saying that this optimal morality does not have a special place in the
>scheme of things and that if we don't try to instantiate it, we won't.
>-=+Marcello Mathias Herreshoff

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