Re: MORALITY: right & wrong (was: A Bioethical Foundation for Human Rights)

From: Anders Sandberg (
Date: Thu Nov 08 2001 - 08:51:03 MST

On Thu, Nov 08, 2001 at 07:10:09AM -0800, J. R. Molloy wrote:
> From: "Anders Sandberg" <>
> > What should the extropian definition of freedom be?
> Same as the dictionary definition, because supplying yet another definition
> would dilute the meaning, thereby causing linguistic entropy rather than
> extropy.

A nice rejoinder, but I am not proposing that we redefine 'freedom' to
mean 'small lacquered wooden pieces' or anything outside its normal
meaning. What I was thinking of was a more careful definition of the
term in accordance with the extropian perspective.

A quick look on the web in Merriam-Webster's collegiate dictionary gave
"the quality or state of being free: as a : the absence of necessity,
coercion, or constraint in choice or action b : liberation from slavery
or restraint or from the power of another" as well as some other
meanings we need not concern ourselves with right now. While this is a
good definition, it can be interpreted very differently. In a Marxist
perspective the "power of another" part would imply that freedom can
*only* occur in the true communist society, and is necessarily
impossible before that. And the "absence of necessity" would void the
concept to someone believing physical laws to be deterministic.

The extropian perspective is different in that it questions traditional
ideas of human nature and identity. We can envision many apparently
physically possible and perhaps future scenarios were traditional
boundaries are transcended. For that we need to think about what we
mean by freedom, since when we enter the mainstream debate many of the
traditional concepts of freedom are often used against us, or rather
the very flexible use of the term 'coercion'. Are we coercing others
into a transhuman lifestyle by attempting to achieve it for ourselves
(since the economic competition becomes stronger)? I would say no, but
a surprising number of people think so, and hence they think we are
anti-freedom. It might sound like a silly argument, but when many
people view it as acceptable it is not silly anymore, it is dangerous.

Anders Sandberg                                      Towards Ascension!                  
GCS/M/S/O d++ -p+ c++++ !l u+ e++ m++ s+/+ n--- h+/* f+ g+ w++ t+ r+ !y

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