Re: Striving for Eudaimonia

From: Anders Sandberg (
Date: Tue Aug 28 2001 - 01:57:32 MDT

On Mon, Aug 27, 2001 at 10:13:25PM -0700, Lee Corbin wrote:
> Anders writes
> > at present there are no good visions of human nature that both fit
> > the humanistic vision of humans and the scientific advances of the
> > last 200 years.
> Okay, then criticize this: human nature is a mixture of good and evil
> (of course the behavior came first and the descriptions later) where
> in historical times the costs of being good (e.g. altruistic, friendly,
> generous, peaceful) often outweighed the benefits. As technology and
> especially mass production increased, those "luxuries" could be indulged
> in more frequently. Peace also happened to become more profitable than
> war, so that by the 20th century the destructiveness of warfare left
> winning societies poorer as well as (of course) losing societies.

But this is not a concept of human nature you can build a philosophy on
- it can't answer questions like: are humans rational? what is the
essence of being human? If a machine if generous, is it human? Why does
technology develop? This is rather a description from a economic
materialist perspective how certain behaviors have become more common,
than a concept of what it means to be a human.

What I was angling for was rather a more modern understanding of "humans
are rational social animals", that could incorporate both the humanistic
ideas of how humans work and what human flourishing is, and the
scientifically more accurate understanding of just how we work and how
we fit in with the rest of the universe.

Anders Sandberg                                      Towards Ascension!                  
GCS/M/S/O d++ -p+ c++++ !l u+ e++ m++ s+/+ n--- h+/* f+ g+ w++ t+ r+ !y

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