Re: ESSAY: Forward Moral Nihilism (EP)

From: Keith Henson (
Date: Sun May 14 2006 - 08:38:20 MDT

At 12:31 PM 5/13/2006 +0100, you wrote:
>Quoting Keith Henson <>:
> > At 11:16 PM 5/12/2006 +0100, m.l.vere wrote:
> > >Crockners Rules
> > >
> > >I've been lurking for a while, and the one thing that has really struck me
> > is
> > >that whilst a (largely commendable) near worship of rationality exists on
> > the
> > >SL4 list, this has a huge blindspot. Everyone cleaves nearly
> > unquestioningly
> > >to wider societies superstitious moralism.
> > >
> > >Why does anyone have morals, or believe that other people/sentients have
> > >intrisnic worth?
> >
> > We evolved this way. You have to understand Hamilton's concept of
> > inclusive fitness, but genes have done better that cause us to consider
> the
> > value of copies of our genes in other people. It is a direct mathematic
> > relation. Most of our evolution was done in tribes or small bands where
> > the others around us were strongly related.
>No, we evolved the emotion compassion, and emotional social conformity. We
>then built pseudo-rational, artificial, moral systems on top of this.

When you use the word "evolve" in speaking of a psychological trait, you
need to show how the "feature" would have directly improved reproductive
success (taking into account inclusive fitness) in the EEA for those who
had it, *or* how the psychological trait is a side effect of some trait
that did improve reproductive success.

Can you give a reasonable account of how "emotion compassion" other than
that directed to relatives would have improved reproductive success enough
for the genes building brain structures for it to become common?

I am not sure what you mean by "emotional social conformity" much less how
*that* would have contributed to reproductive success.

Understanding evolutionary psychology is taken for granted on this
list. If you don't understand it, Google.

Best wishes,

Keith Henson

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