Re: Dynamic ethics

From: Jeff Medina (
Date: Mon Jan 23 2006 - 10:32:28 MST

On 1/23/06, Philip Goetz <> wrote:
> A solution in which whoever happens to be the most powerful species
> decides what everybody gets to do and enforces it - the approach you
> are suggesting - is unacceptable.


> Think about what
> would happen to humans under such a system.

Depends on what you mean by "humans". Across the various possible
meanings, I can think of various possible things that would happen to
said humans. And in pretty much none of the cases is it obvious in the
way you seem to be taking it that "what would happen to humans" would
be a bad thing, or that even if it were a bad thing that it would be
so bad as to dictate/define/constrain everything else.

> The lion must continue to be allowed to hunt and kill gazelles. That
> is the starting point.


> "Common-sense" is different for humans than for lions. That is the problem.

What's problematic about it? Why should we care that "common sense" is
different across "species" (and across individuals, for that matter)?
Further, "common sense" in humans typically indicates an incredibly
flawed amalgam of judgments, heuristics, and prejudices. So why should
we care about "common sense" at all, nevermind inter- and intraspecies
conflicts thereof?


Jeff Medina
Community Director
Singularity Institute for Artificial Intelligence
Relationships & Community Fellow
Institute for Ethics & Emerging Technologies
School of Philosophy, Birkbeck, University of London

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