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← "The Moral Landscape": Why science should shape morality

Sonic's Avatar Jump to comment 18 by Sonic


Fouad Boussetta wrote:

Sam thinks 2, 3, 4, and 5 are all ultimately related to item 1. Looking around me, this seems absurd.

I’m glad you’ve read the book -- I have too -- but you’ve misrepresented and I think failed to engage Sam’s definition. Sam defines morality to involve “the well-being of conscious creatures”. Haidt’s protection against harm (1) is protection against a negative, which is just one possible component of Sam’s positive.

Anaximander’s vector space is helpful (although Sam would not constrain a vector sum to constant magnitude). Sam would say that for each of Haidt’s vectors 1 through 5, moral reasoning is valid for the component of a vector that projects along Sam’s definition. Conversely, Sam would say moral reasoning is invalid and prone to moral error for the components of Haidt’s vectors that are orthogonal to Sam’s definition.

For example, consider the “moral” rule, “Every sperm is sacred / every sperm is great / If a sperm is wasted / God gets quite irate” (which is not in the book by the way). I suppose Haidt would classify this moral rule under 5 (purity to avoid disgusting things, foods, etc.). Sam would say that if this rule only serves a god -- and that god is silent and invisible, and does not serve the well-being of conscious creatures -- then the rule is based on invalid moral reasoning. Sam could also entertain (and I’m improvising here) that if there was evidence of a god that does get quite irate -- and the ire of that god affected conscious creatures -- then that moral rule could be based on valid scientific reasoning (again my improvisation).

I leave it to people to read Sam’s book.

Sat, 23 Oct 2010 12:38:07 UTC | #537649