Re: Measuring(quantifying) morality?

From: Jef Allbright (
Date: Tue Aug 15 2006 - 09:07:46 MDT

Correction: Please disregard my BTW statement about infinities. You
were, after all, talking about integrals.

- Jef

On 8/15/06, Jef Allbright <> wrote:
> On 8/15/06, Patrick Crenshaw <> wrote:
> > I've done some thinking about this.
> >
> > The first conclusion I came to is that the morality of an action has
> > to do with the amount that it changes the integral of some Value
> > function over all space at t=infinity. If you give me any moral
> > system, I can give you a Value function like this that would describe
> > it.
> I can appreciate what you're intuiting here, but have you considered
> the importance of context? Real moral decisions are always made under
> conditions of relative uncertainty. As the context of awareness of
> the extended consequences increases, so will there be increasing
> agreement as to the morality (goodness) of an action, until with
> complete objectivity (unattainable) there would be no moral issue at
> all since the most effective choice of action would be obvious. Also
> have you considered that real moral decisions must increasingly
> discount the future due to increasing uncertainty and thus decreasing
> control over extended consequences?
> This also leads to why effective moral decision-making must be based
> on best-known principles of what works, rather than directly on
> desired outcomes.
> BTW, it's often useful to consider trends that approach infinity, but
> useless to talk about conditions "at infinity".
> > The second thing is that for morality to be objective (and I think
> > that it is; the idea that morality is just up in the air seems to me
> > like people just aren't trying hard enough) the Value function must be
> > a physically measurable quantity.
> Consider that outcomes can certainly be measured against expectations
> but that ultimately the question of perceived goodness is assessed by
> agents within a limited (subjective) context.
> > Next there is the idea that the Value of an object is in tow parts:
> > the intrinsic Value, and the derived Value. The intrinsic value is is
> > just the Value of the matter in the object existing and being in that
> > particular configuration.
> What is the value of a gram of gold to an investor, a jeweler, a
> lonely dying man?
> What was the value of the physical object called the Declaration of
> Independence to the American colonies, to the British?
> Again, value is always dependent on context (subjective.)
> - Jef

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