Re: Benefits of future neuroscience applied technologies

From: Samantha Atkins (
Date: Mon Apr 16 2001 - 23:35:57 MDT

"J. R. Molloy" wrote:
> > I take the classical liberal stance that even
> > when plenty of ethical systems and views are erroneous, it would be
> > morally wrong to repress them - even if you believe in an objective
> > morality you better admit to yourself that you might be mistaken about
> > things, and if you force your views on others you might be perpetuating
> > an ethical outrage.

It depends on what you mean by the somewhat curious construct "force
your views". If it means you shouldn't judge people or something of
that kind by standards that might not be their own and might be wrong,
then I think that would be carrying relativism too far. We have little
choice but to judge
as best we can. That we are not infallible says we should pay good
attention and be open to learning whether we are wrong.

> That we might be mistaken about things is part of our genetically driven
> biological morality. That others may be equally or more mistaken makes this
> easier. Permutation City isn't built in a day though, so rather than waste
> time and resources repressing luddite memes, it seems more useful to promote
> and encourage greater health, prosperity, freedom, practicality, and
> excellence, than to dwell on coercive memes.

It doesn't have a lot to do with our biology. Without some mystical
sort of Absolute Knowledge we are always possibly mistaken about
everything to some extent including moral judgements. I don't think our
moral judgements are all driven by biology unless we haven't bothered to
think through our ethical notions much. Most people haven't.

There is no need to coerce anyone. There is only the need to
successfully defend against being coerced. On the other hand, we might
have to leave if we are going to be non-coercive but so seriously
augmented that the leas or willingly unaugmented ones resent us and wish
to be rid of us. At that point it is either leave or ever so gently pop
those who aren't willing to deal with reality into VR land where they
can lead as many lives as they think they wish as needed before they
change their mind. Is this coercion? If it came down to either a fatal
conflict or this would it be coercion to force the VR choice? The
ethics get sticky there.
> > The same of course goes for everybody else, and
> > hence a policy of tolerance is the best option. This doesn't mean you
> > have to stop questioning things, testing whether ethical systems hold up
> > or asking uncomfortable questions to people. Political correctness is
> > not really tolerant of this.

What??? You can never ever stop questioning everything. We are not
here to make each other comfortable. Making someone uncomfortable is not
> Right. That's what my (tolerant) comments intend to convey (without getting
> into the ethics quagmire).

We had best wade into that quagmire though. Because some of the
toughest and most crucial parts of this rollercoast ride into Tomorrow
Land lie there.

- samantha

This archive was generated by hypermail 2b30 : Mon May 28 2001 - 09:59:46 MDT