Re: Singularity: Individual, Borg, Death?

Hal Finney (
Fri, 4 Dec 1998 11:52:35 -0800

How do you define a moral system? Then, how do you define "absolute morality"?

Consider an ALife creature. Faced with a situation, it has a choice of actions, and an algorithm to choose an action.

A moral system would seemingly be, in general, a way of ranking actions, for every possible situation, from best to worst.

This definition is rather broad, because it includes "moral systems" that would be conventionally be considered immoral, or even inconsistent. However we might want to include such forms of morality in a broad definition. And the definition does include systems which capture the various kinds of conventional morality.

There are obviously a multitude of possible moral systems. If we think of the moral system as an algorithm which, given a situation and a list of actions, produces a rank ordering of the actions, then there would probably be potentially an infinite number of moral systems, since there are an infinite number of computer programs.

How do we single out the one or ones which represent "absolute morality"? What does this concept mean? I can't get a grip on it. Is there really such a thing?