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RE: Science and Ideals.

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  • Dan M
    ... Well, having looked at Hume and having read several reviews of Moore s work that discuss the Naturalistic Fallacy, it appears that you and I may actually
    Message 1 of 203 , Aug 31, 2008
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      > -----Original Message-----
      > From: brin-l-bounces@... [mailto:brin-l-bounces@...] On
      > Behalf Of William T Goodall
      > Sent: Sunday, August 31, 2008 1:17 PM
      > To: Killer Bs (David Brin et al) Discussion
      > Subject: Re: Science and Ideals.
      >
      >
      > On 31 Aug 2008, at 18:04, Dan M wrote:
      >
      > > Having brought up science earlier, it seems reasonable to choose
      > > this time
      > > to address a prevalent understanding: that the questions of ethics,
      > > human
      > > interaction, etc. are all definable and resolvable in a scientific
      > > manner.
      > > Indeed if we look at harmful ideologies developed over the past 150
      > > or so
      > > years, we see the attempts to put a "scientific" footing at the
      > > basis of
      > > these new ideologies.
      >
      > This is a massive strawman argument that you keep revisiting
      > endlessly. Nobody who has ever spent five minutes investigating ethics
      > is confused about this.


      >David Hume identified the is-ought problem in
      > _A Treatise of Human Nature_ published in 1740 and G E Moore describd
      > the Naturalistic Fallacy in _Principia Ethica_ in 1903.
      >
      > How about discussing Rawls' _A Theory of Justice_ or some other
      > actually relevant ideas instead of belaboring strawmen like 'Social
      > Darwinism'?

      Well, having looked at Hume and having read several reviews of Moore's work
      that discuss the Naturalistic Fallacy, it appears that you and I may
      actually agree on a philosophical point: that one cannot deduce ethics from
      nature. I was establishing this point as a foundation for the next step I
      was planning on taking in my next post.

      Let me quote a bit of a review of Moore, to be sure we are on the same page:

      At

      http://www.angelfire.com/md2/timewarp/moore.html


      <quote>
      Moore says that 'Naturalistic Ethics' are characterized by the naturalistic
      fallacy. Naturalistic Ethics are seen in Hedonism and in 'Evolutionistic
      Ethics.'

      'Evolutionistic Ethics' are characterized by the naturalistic fallacy in
      that they assume that the evolution of nature can be used to determine what
      is good. Moore says that there is no evidence that nature necessarily
      evolves toward good. To be 'better' does not necessarily mean to be more
      evolved; to be more evolved does not necessarily mean to be 'better'
      (Chapter II, Section 35).

      Hedonism is characterized by the naturalistic fallacy. A fundamental
      principle of Hedonism is that pleasure is the highest good. An action that
      produces pleasure is a good action. An action that produces pain instead of
      pleasure is a bad action.
      <end quote>

      That all sounds reasonable to me. But, if one also Googles Social Darwinism,
      one finds numerous references that list a number of folks who believed in
      it, including a number who clearly spent more than 10 minutes thinking about
      ethics. Now, I don't think they thought all that well, but it's not what I
      consider a straw man because it is a view that was (and is) held by many.

      Indeed, I know that I've argued strongly with list members against
      evolutionary ethics while you were on the list. So, folks I'm trying to
      discuss things with do believe in things that fall under this umbrella...so
      I'm not sure how it's a straw man.

      Anyways, I'd be more than happy to agree that people far brighter than I
      myself have come to the conclusions I stated in my last post in this thread.
      The next post, I think, flows logically from it, but we'll see if you that
      that's too obvious to state too. :-)


      Dan M.


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    • Kevin B. O'Brien
      ... I ll say Bush is worse since he is completely incompetent. But I can understand the view that incompetent evil is better. Regards, -- Kevin B. O Brien
      Message 203 of 203 , Sep 26, 2008
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        John Garcia wrote:
        > On a different tack, some of us who are of a particular age, will remember
        > another controversial President associated
        > with an unpopular war, floundering economy, etc. So, what do you all think?
        > Nixon vs Bush (the son). Which was worse
        I'll say Bush is worse since he is completely incompetent. But I can
        understand the view that incompetent evil is better.

        Regards,

        --
        Kevin B. O'Brien TANSTAAFL
        zwilnik@... Linux User #333216

        "Waldheimer's Disease? You grow old and forget you were a Nazi." -- Jon
        Marans
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