Re: Rational base for morals

Mon, 11 Jan 1999 19:57:21 +0100

|>I suggest that the meme rules of conduct be commutative.
|>Commutativity: If the rule is "X shall not perform act P on Y"
|> then also the rule "Y shall not perform act P on X" shall hold.
|You have more or less enunciated Kantianism. Kantianism has various
|problems, however. Take killing, for example. We normally regard killing
|in self-defense as OK. Must I simply relent if someone tries to kill me?
|Similarly, attacking another person is usually considered wrong. Must I
|turn over my wallet to an armed thug so as to avoid a fight?

If X does not wish to be killed, then X would try to avoid killing Y.

If Y tries to kill X anyway, then X would lack the reason to avoid killing Y. Therefore, if Y tries to kill X, then X would feel free to defend itself using deadly force until such time that the threat of being killed Y no longer exists.

Would Kantianism define this the correct behaviour?

The commutative rule defines a framework for other rules, but it would not define the whole system. Readers might have made this assumption, however.

Perhaps the above rules would better be described as part of game theory.