RE: Ethics in a void (Re: meaning of life (RE: (repost) ))

From: denis bider (
Date: Thu Jan 25 2001 - 09:18:11 MST

[In the absence of quotes or other references, and since the In-Reply-To
header field seems to point to one of Charlie's messages, I am not entirely
sure whether the quoted message was primarily addressed to me; it seems
likely enough, so I will assume so for the purposes of this response.]

Barbara Lamar writes:

> The point about which I disagree with you (and I'm not sure
> we disagree all that much--it's difficult to express such
> elusive concepts) is the one you made about there being no
> workable definition of human nature. At least I interpreted
> what you wrote to mean this. I generally prefer to avoid the
> word "nature" because it's been used in ways that render it
> nearly meaningless.
> I do think there are certain traits that all normal humans
> share and that these traits can shed light on which social
> systems are likely to work better than others.

Loosely speaking, I would definitely agree with that.

In principle, this probably answers your question. I devote the rest of the
message to minor details, which I don't consider to be as important.

>From a strict point of view, I would have some reservations with regard to
the phrase "all normal humans"; I'd prefer "most humans" instead, because
"normal" is a very subjective term.

For instance, my mother is an ardent catholic, and she often uses the term
"normal people" do denote people who share her opinions and views -
specifically, people who would prefer her views to mine. On the other hand,
I often use the term "normal people" to denote people who share *my*
opinions and views - specifically, people who would prefer my views to hers.
So, the words "normal people" don't really convey a lot of meaning unless it
is known who said them.

I might even have reservations with regard to the phrase "most humans",
because I don't know enough about the world to reliably make such a
statement. But since you say "certain traits", and "shed light", and "likely
to work better", I am inclined to agree completely.

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