Re: debate, morality

Ross A. Finlayson (
Mon, 29 Nov 1999 14:21:50 -0500

Harvey Newstrom wrote:

> Rob Harris <> wrote:
> >after all, cats leave
> >"offerings" to their human "gods" too, but I suspect that it has bases in
> >other things like fear of death, and self-glorification.
> You are reading too much into the cats' motivation.
> --
> Harvey Newstrom <mailto://>
> <>
> Author, Consultant, Engineer, Legal Hacker, Researcher, Scientist.
> ----- Original Message -----

Well, you see, the cats sometimes care, and otherwise do not. The cat hunts for its own pleasure, as it is fed by us gullible humans, although perhaps the game caught on the hoof, as it were, is also pleasurable to the cat. The cat's trophies are those, trophies. They are presented varyingly for shock value or as a sign of respect.

In terms of morality, I would surmise that a higher percentage polled would find it immoral to skin a cat as opposed to, say, butcher a cow. I had an interesting side-passage with one of the other list readers about morality recently, in terms of an AI, and one of my statements was that morality is foremost applied in-species, so that it generally considered the highest moral offense to slay a fellow human, and generally lesser intelligent animals are not quite so sacred. An AI is a an algorithm, not an intelligence. Even a self-programming AI is, recursively, programmed by humans at some point, who provide its sole spark. Perhaps this is too blunt, but it is always an alternative to simply kill the cat.

In terms of debate, debate is about two sides. I am a casual, extemporaneous debater, it's always nice to have the luxury to pick a side as opposed to having it forced upon you. I feel that I could argue anything. Ethically, I can only argue the truth.

We were talking about AI and preserving its behavioral modality or something, this is not completely simple issue. One critical point is that of of the AI's eventual sense of "self-preservation". This would impugn upon what might otherwise be a stable moral asnd ethical foundation. Objectively, as the computer is trained, first to understand the necessity (or lack of it) and significance of "conscience", and an individual conscience, which is often unnecessarily linked with regret, and thus extensively of morals and ethics, then the computer is trained to rationally and objectively analyze various moral and ethical aspects of interpersonal relationships. It is when the computer itself is one of these relators, then, as in the case of any human participant, objectivity is immediately non-existent. So, the computer, when eventually considering any situation involving itself, which it would, otherwise not being intelligent, eventually would encounter, absolutely, subjectivity. Here is where it would need guidance.

Ross Finlayson