>> [Axelrod] discovered >> that the best way to do that is often to play nice; that does >> nothing to support whether "playing nice" is or isn't a worthy >> goal in its own right.
You're making the further unstated assumption that the success of a population is good; i.e., you are defining moral worth as equivalent to success of the species. That's as good a desire as any, but there's certainly nothing more fundamentally "right" about success than any other human desire. There _is_ something unique about one goal that might make it a good premise on which to base ethical arguments: the continued existence of the ethical actor. Individual survival (of the entity exercising moral choice--whatever its physical form) is unique in that it is the only goal that is a necessary condition of all other possible goals. Taking it as a premise can lead to some useful conclusions, but alas, I don't think it is fruitful enough to produce ethical systems as complete as we want. Species survival might well be a richer source of ethical premises, but I'm not yet convinced that there's real value in it.
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