Re: Subject: Re: A Physicist Experiments With Cultural Studies

J. R. Molloy (
Sun, 14 Nov 1999 14:33:57 -0800

Greg wrote,
>Ultimately, the questions I'm talking about are value questions: As the
>Greeks formulated the ultimate question, "What is the good?" I don't know
>what you mean when you say that "the singular issue of moralism . . . avoids
>the hard questions". What we judge to be good and bad IS the question.

Ah, but do we "judge" things as "good/bad" or do we respond from a visceral and biological and genetic basis to elements of our environment? Perhaps we ought to consider (or stop denying) the biological/genetic basis of value judgments.

>I understand the humor here, but it is funny because of the merit of the
>question. Look at the very formulation of your response: "the one who BEST
>answers" - well, how are we to judge a good answer, much less a "best" one?

best = the most successful

>Satisfying the
>needs of "human nature" becomes a shaky foundation when that nature becomes

"becomes" mutable? When did nature ever display anything other than mutability? Evolution, especially societal evolution, _requires_ mutability. But the pervasiveness of natural mutability does not necessitate a denial of objective science, as "Cultural Studies" would like to persuade everyone.

>Your formulation above reveals that you seem to value "extending
>and amplifying our sentience" as a fundamental value. I do, too. But
>explicating WHY that is a fundamental value is important and may well not be
>within the realm addressable by the scientific method.

Explicating why sentience (or super-sentience) represents a fundamental value does not pose a problem if we take a moment to look into it. It represents a fundamental value because it answers questions -- even questions such as this one -- and therefore, and thereby, validates itself. Scientifically, we can observe this fact in our own consciousness: the value of sentience resides in its ability to inform us of value. Circular? Perfectly.

Explicating why extending and amplifying our (accurate and relevant) sentience constitutes a fundamental value to a non-carbon-based entity may present a real challenge. When the opportunity presents itself, I'd like to have a go at it (for the betterment of science and the ascension of life, as well as for the challenge).


--J. R.