Re: relativism vs equivalidity

From: J. R. Molloy (jr@shasta.com)
Date: Fri Nov 09 2001 - 09:36:54 MST


From: "Anders Sandberg" <asa@nada.kth.se>
> But the epistemic relativist would just ask why you think the naturally
> evolved morality is the objectively true one.

To which the scientist would reply, Biologically evolved morality is not the
objectively true one, it's the *only* one, because whatever moral system we
evolve, it still comes from us, ie, biological entities.

> I think you and me would
> say something along the lines of "because it works", but that would not
> convince the relativist.

The relativist is also a biological entity, in this case with a propensity to
contradict, which may have a strong congenital component. Natural born
contrarians are the hobgloblins of comedy.

> And that we might have a predisposition
> towards relativism (which I doubt) doesn't mean it is wrong, just as a
> predisposition towards certain kinds of morality doesn't mean they are
> right.

The predisposition towards relativism definitely doesn't mean it is wrong, I
agree. In fact, I think it's a beneficial element of cultural evolution, and
it supplies a bit of pressure on scientists to devise better systems of
decision, so that societal management becomes less susceptible to runaway
fanaticism (which can result in toxic ideology).

--- --- --- --- ---

Useless hypotheses, etc.:
 consciousness, phlogiston, philosophy, vitalism, mind, free will, qualia,
analog computing, cultural relativism, GAC, Cyc, Eliza, cryonics, individual
uniqueness, ego, human values, scientific relinquishment, malevolent AI

We move into a better future in proportion as science displaces superstition.



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