Re: Objective morality

J. Eric Mortensen (
01 Mar 99 20:00:47 +0100

>Sounds interesting, Eric. Please show me how this would proscribe murder and
>Thanks for great thinking,

Thanks, Adrian, but most of it is not really my own. For example, there's a short but great essay on the objectivity of morality at

It says (in a less formal way) the same thing that studies in complexity theory/game theory say on the issue.

The basic idea, and I agree with it, is that people who kill and steal are generally that kind of people who kill and steal regularly. In other words, if you observe a person murdering another person, then you will predict that he is dangerous. Your evaluations of his actions are based on objective fact (his murdering another person). Those evaluations are moral evaluations. Since most (all) people will predict that a murderer is dangerous, norms (of necessity) evolve that regard murder as evil. Such norms eventually get codified as laws. Laws are therefore natural laws, i.e., they follow to a large extent from the nature of humans. An implication is that they are basically the same across societies (note that this is an experimentally testable proposition, although I don't know if it ever has been. I think that such an experiment would conclude that yes, most societies would statistically have very similar laws against murder, theft, kidnapping etc.)