Re: Subjective Morality

Scott Badger (
Tue, 12 Jan 1999 19:12:30 -0600

>James Ganong wrote:
>> If no one knows the Objective Morality, howdo you even know it exists?

and Eliezer rejoins:

>I don't. I don't know it doesn't exist, either. But if I want to make
>intelligent choices, I have to assume that there are differences between
>choices. If I wish to consider the consequences of my actions, I have
>to assume that some consequences are preferable to others. I don't make
>an assumption about particular values, which is an old trick of
>missionaries; I make only the assumption that some unknown distinction
>exists. That is the minimal assumption needed to yield differential
>values in a logical goal system, and no further assumption can be

Of course distinctions exist between choices and consequences. What does that have to do with the existence of some immutable, objective morality. The phrase "I don't know it doesn't exist, either." is hardly a justification for seeking out some imagined construct like objective morality. I don't know that God doesn't live in a ranch style on my side of town, but I'm not going to start knocking on doors...just in case he is.

>The alternative is believing in my own prejudices, which is outright
>silly. I know where my innate preferences come from, to wit: evolution,
>and I trust evolution's design for my mind no more than I trust its
>design for my body. There is no distinction between doing what
>evolution wants and believing everything you read.

Agreed. I want to be free of the psychological dictates of evolutionary processes as well as the more artificial, religious proposals of an immutable morality. We are process, and any moral system will ultimately evolve to reflect changes in that process.


>I don't necessarily _believe_ in objective morality, but my best course
>is to _act_ as if objective morality.

How did you determine that is your best course? What exactly is wrong with a rational, functional, utilitarian morality?