Re: IIs vs. Ought

Eliezer S. Yudkowsky (
Thu, 25 Nov 1999 22:32:22 -0600

Zeb Haradon wrote:
> If it is perfectly moral to kill innocent people, every
> quark and lepton will still be in the same place and have the same charge as
> it would in a world where it is immoral to kill innocent people (aside: this
> is kind of similar to the problem of consciousness).

In my view, one of the strongest arguments for objective morality is the existence of qualia. It shows that the Universe can be made to contain weirder stuff than objectively existent goals. If you can take complex, fundamentally subjective facets of cognition and turn them into objectively existent qualia, why can't you do the same thing with goals? It would appear to be a lot simpler, on the surface at least. In fact, given the qualia of pleasure, one could make a good case that it's happened already.

> This line of argumentation misses the point. It may be (and
> most likely is) the case that certain moral facts are hard-coded in our
> brains because they give us survival advtantage, but this is a completely
> different issue from whether these facts are objectively true or not.


If you haven't done so already, I strongly suggest you check out the section on "Logic" in the site that appears in my signature.

           Eliezer S. Yudkowsky
Running on BeOS           Typing in Dvorak          Programming with Patterns
Voting for Libertarians   Heading for Singularity   There Is A Better Way