How construct a sound Ethical Theory?

Should you think about your duty, or about the consequences of your actions? Or should you concentrate on becoming a good person?

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Logik
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Re: How construct a sound Ethical Theory?

Post by Logik » Fri Feb 08, 2019 7:20 am

Age wrote:
Fri Feb 08, 2019 12:36 am
Oh no I let a hypothetical patient die. You are free to care and cry about it all you want.
So you wouldn't let a real patient die?

prof
Posts: 1070
Joined: Wed Jul 11, 2012 1:57 am

Re: How construct a sound Ethical Theory?

Post by prof » Fri Feb 08, 2019 8:48 am

:roll: Maybe you two guys should start your own new thread. It feels like you are hijacking this one....

In the first post I asked:
Did I succeed in the project of creating a better ethical theory?

There might be something in this essay that you can use in class. If you are a student, you can teach it to the professor. If you are a mentor, or a coach, or are an instructor, you can teach it to your students

:arrow: After you look the essay over, let's hear your views :!: Okay?
Logik indicated that he had glanced at it. He told us he believes "morality" is social, and not a personal matter. My response is that we have two branches of study: Individual Ethics and Social Ethics; but they are separate for purposes of theory only, since we are social animals. In the book, THE STRUCTURE OF ETHICS,
http://www.myqol.com/wadeharvey/PDFs/TH ... ETHICS.pdf
the writer puts the emphasis on the individual when it comes to morality, for (at least) two reasons:
1) That is where most of the work needs to be done at first. And

2) It is dangerous to take the Hegelian position that society is more important than the individual. [Hitler and the Nazis employed this idea which they learned from Hegel to their advantage - though not for the best interest of the rest of us.]

My theory of Ethics shows why the individual, and his/her autonomy, and human rights, is the main focus. As a result of people forming habits based upon what they learn in the book, we arrive at a Morally-healthy society inhabited by ethical people.

Did anyone else besides Logik read the book?

If so, what are your views? Was the project of constructing a better Ethical Theory a success? Why? or Why wasn't it? What do you say?

Your critique or review?

Logik
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Re: How construct a sound Ethical Theory?

Post by Logik » Fri Feb 08, 2019 8:59 am

prof wrote:
Fri Feb 08, 2019 8:48 am
2) It is dangerous to take the Hegelian position that society is more important than the individual. [Hitler and the Nazis employed this idea which they learned from Hegel to their advantage - though not for the best interest of the rest of us.]
Existing is dangerous.

The crux of the matter is the difference between "the good of the many outweighs the good of the few" vs "the good of the many at the expense of the few"

In a world of finite resources and infinite problems the key is prioritization.

For as long as heart disease kills millions of people a year, that is where our focus and attention is going to go.
You got a rare disease that affects 1 in 20 billion people? Sorry! You odds aren't favourable. Bad luck.

To avoid taking the position "society is more important than the individual" is to say "society is equally important as the individual". It's empty words.
A lie even!

We are not about to pour equal amounts of resources to solving "very rare disease" as we pour into solving heart disease.

Society cares about the continual existence of humanity - NOT individuals.
Individuals perish - society moves on.

The whole is greater than the sum of its parts...

prof
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Re: How construct a sound Ethical Theory?

Post by prof » Fri Feb 08, 2019 9:41 am

Yes, I want us to connect, to form communities, and eventually to identify with our species as all one family.

we are essentially social creatures, and that we achieve our greatest aspirations when we work together—not as selfish or isolated individuals. However, I do not agree that the individual and society are equal in importance. "Society" is an abstraction, while the person is a more- concrete reality that the senses can perceive. We need individuals who have developed their capacity for empathy.

We subsume the Individual below the collective at our peril. Soren Kierkegaard was right about this. See his sound reasoning om FEAR AND TREMBLING.

Logic wrote:
To avoid taking the position "society is more important than the individual" is to say "society is equally important as the individual". It's empty words.
That is a false statement in view of the argument in The Structure of Ethics.

Some wholes are greater than the sum of their parts. Yes, individuals do perish. {And your personal conception of society does live on in your - and in some folks' - minds.}

I urge cooperation, diversity within a unity; the use of super-computers to survey and announce our consensus positions; and likely I want the same policies that Logick wants. Our species is threatened with extinction due to our carbon emission and ignoring of Climate Change.

Confused thinking will not get us to order our priorities correctly. We need to get our values straight. Read the book and you will understand - and thus we will attain agreement.

Logik
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Re: How construct a sound Ethical Theory?

Post by Logik » Fri Feb 08, 2019 10:04 am

I want to introduce the concept of an applause light: https://www.lesswrong.com/posts/dLbkrPu ... use-lights

So that I can use it in the following...
prof wrote:
Fri Feb 08, 2019 9:41 am
"Society" is an abstraction, while the person is a more- concrete reality that the senses can perceive. We need individuals who have developed their capacity for empathy.

We subsume the Individual below the collective at our peril. Soren Kierkegaard was right about this. See his sound reasoning om FEAR AND TREMBLING.
I don't even know how to unpack all this so I won't even try.
prof wrote:
Fri Feb 08, 2019 9:41 am
Logic wrote:
To avoid taking the position "society is more important than the individual" is to say "society is equally important as the individual". It's empty words.
That is a false statement in view of the argument in The Structure of Ethics.
If this is a false statement in your framework/argument then your framework/argument is necessarily incomplete.

In what framework would we evaluate the concept of "mportance"?
How do we determine if 'empathy' was more important in 2015 than in 2019?
How do we determine if 'cooperation' is more or less important than 'empathy' in 2019?

If you can't measure it - you can't manage it!

The only framework that has had anything resembling of success in quantifying human values and choices is economics.
prof wrote:
Fri Feb 08, 2019 9:41 am
Some wholes are greater than the sum of their parts. Yes, individuals do perish. {And your personal conception of society does live on in your - and in some folks' - minds.}
The statement was a statement of value, not a statement of fact.
In saying "the whole is greater than the sum of its parts' I am basically saying "I value the systems-thinking approach to problem-solving."

I apply the systems-thinking approach to problem-solving!

Society is an open system ( https://en.wikipedia.org/wiki/Open_syst ... ms_theory) ).

The only questions I ask is one of measurement.

If we have no ways of measuring 'success' or 'failure' than how can we ever speak of social progress?
All we could ever advocate for is social change!
prof wrote:
Fri Feb 08, 2019 9:41 am
I urge cooperation, diversity within a unity; the use of super-computers to survey and announce our consensus positions; and likely I want the same policies that Logick wants. Our species is threatened with extinction due to our carbon emission and ignoring of Climate Change.
And what are super-computers going to do for us?

I do agree that consensus is hard problem. It's complexity is well understood in computer science.
It's also well understood that we can fix Byzantine failures in consensus ( https://en.wikipedia.org/wiki/Byzantine_fault )
provided THAT we have control over all parts in the system.

Yes - consensus problems are solvable when trying to make computers agree.

We have no idea how to make humans (at large) agree!
Consensus-building is a LEARNABLE but not TEACHABLE skill...

First you have to want to agree.
prof wrote:
Fri Feb 08, 2019 9:41 am
Confused thinking will not get us to order our priorities correctly. We need to get our values straight. Read the book and you will understand - and thus we will attain agreement.
More empathy, more, cooperation, more diversity. Yay!

How?

How do we know that whatever we end up doing (in practice) is not resulting in LESS cooperation, diversity and empathy?

All your preaching boils down to an applause light.

Because you insist that we need to agree on values and in that premise I already disagree.
We need to agree on shared goals! Because my conception of 'being' and human interaction is game-theoretic.

If the discussion is framed in the context of cooperative game theory ( https://en.wikipedia.org/wiki/Cooperative_game_theory ).

Then society is the faction which emerges when we all cooperate.

We are no closer to answering the question: "What are we cooperating towards?"

We lack vision.

Belinda
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Re: How construct a sound Ethical Theory?

Post by Belinda » Fri Feb 08, 2019 11:51 am

Prof wrote:
"Society" is an abstraction
Abstracted from what, Prof?

prof
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Re: How construct a sound Ethical Theory?

Post by prof » Fri Feb 08, 2019 11:14 pm

"Society" is a concept abstracted from real individual people. Even "a group of people" is real. You can touch, see, hear, and maybe smell them. "The state", unzer "Hiemat", "our homeland," "society," are all just concepts in the mind. So also is "unicorn," "hyper-space," "tooth fairy," "Santa."

By the way, Belinda, did you read the new book, THE STRUCTURE ?

prof
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Re: How construct a sound Ethical Theory?

Post by prof » Sat Feb 09, 2019 12:29 am

Logik wrote:
Fri Feb 08, 2019 10:04 am


The only framework that has had anything resembling of success in quantifying human values and choices is economics.

What was just said above is not true. Formal Axiology measures values ...values such as "importance." See the entry on "Value Science" in Wikipedia. See the endnotes in M. C. Katz - A UNIFIED THEORY OF ETHICS. [Note: To call a forest "thick" is a rough measure, but it is a measure.] To call something "significant" or "relevant" is a Systemic valuation; to call it "vitally important" is an Intrinsic valuation. As to what Systemic Value means, and what Intrinsic Value means, one needs to do some reading to become aware. See Katz - ETHICS: A COLLEGE COURSE. http://wadeharvey.myqol.com/wadeharvey/ ... Course.pdf



We have no idea how to make humans (at large) agree!
Consensus-building is a LEARNABLE...Skill.


Here again a lack of awareness is shown. The booklet, THE STRUCTURE OF ETHICS, on pages 6 and 73, explains how, by using Artificial Intelligence, and a Rule Engine code, Pega-Systems, Inc. has the technology to accomplish this task.


First you have to want to agree.

Not so! Those who do a survey just gather the data and put it into the cloud. The AI in the super-computer will do the correlating to establish the consensus views.
prof wrote:
Fri Feb 08, 2019 9:41 am
Confused thinking will not get us to order our priorities correctly. We need to get our values straight. Read the book and you will understand - and thus we will attain agreement.
More empathy, more, cooperation, more diversity. Yay!

How?

It is explained in the treatise. It is regrettable but some study of philosophy, and of science reporting, is required. This is one of those times when a quick perusal will not do. This is not an assignment; this is just to inform Readers where some information can be found.


We need to agree on shared goals!

Yes. I heartedly concur. :!: :D

If the discussion is framed in the context of cooperative game theory ( https://en.wikipedia.org/wiki/Cooperative_game_theory ).

In the STRUCTURE booklet I have a discussion of this, using the Iterative Prisoners Dilemma game as a model It's there :!:


We are no closer to answering the question: "What are we cooperating towards?"

The book has several policy proposals in the Chapter on Law, Policy, and Ethical Decisions.



We lack vision.

8) Couldn't agree more. :!: :!:

Logik
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Joined: Tue Dec 04, 2018 12:48 pm

Re: How construct a sound Ethical Theory?

Post by Logik » Sat Feb 09, 2019 8:06 am

prof wrote:
Sat Feb 09, 2019 12:29 am
Logik wrote:
Fri Feb 08, 2019 10:04 am


The only framework that has had anything resembling of success in quantifying human values and choices is economics.

What was just said above is not true. Formal Axiology measures values ...values such as "importance." See the entry on "Value Science" in Wikipedia. See the endnotes in M. C. Katz - A UNIFIED THEORY OF ETHICS. [Note: To call a forest "thick" is a rough measure, but it is a measure.] To call something "significant" or "relevant" is a Systemic valuation; to call it "vitally important" is an Intrinsic valuation. As to what Systemic Value means, and what Intrinsic Value means, one needs to do some reading to become aware. See Katz - ETHICS: A COLLEGE COURSE. http://wadeharvey.myqol.com/wadeharvey/ ... Course.pdf



We have no idea how to make humans (at large) agree!
Consensus-building is a LEARNABLE...Skill.


Here again a lack of awareness is shown. The booklet, THE STRUCTURE OF ETHICS, on pages 6 and 73, explains how, by using Artificial Intelligence, and a Rule Engine code, Pega-Systems, Inc. has the technology to accomplish this task.


First you have to want to agree.

Not so! Those who do a survey just gather the data and put it into the cloud. The AI in the super-computer will do the correlating to establish the consensus views.
prof wrote:
Fri Feb 08, 2019 9:41 am
Confused thinking will not get us to order our priorities correctly. We need to get our values straight. Read the book and you will understand - and thus we will attain agreement.
More empathy, more, cooperation, more diversity. Yay!

How?

It is explained in the treatise. It is regrettable but some study of philosophy, and of science reporting, is required. This is one of those times when a quick perusal will not do. This is not an assignment; this is just to inform Readers where some information can be found.


We need to agree on shared goals!

Yes. I heartedly concur. :!: :D

If the discussion is framed in the context of cooperative game theory ( https://en.wikipedia.org/wiki/Cooperative_game_theory ).

In the STRUCTURE booklet I have a discussion of this, using the Iterative Prisoners Dilemma game as a model It's there :!:


We are no closer to answering the question: "What are we cooperating towards?"

The book has several policy proposals in the Chapter on Law, Policy, and Ethical Decisions.



We lack vision.

8) Couldn't agree more. :!: :!:
Prof, you are appealing to computers/AI as if they are these magical things that will solve all of our problems.
I am going to venture a guess that you aren't a computer scientist (I am) and you aren't familiar with the ethical problems within the space itself.

Rather than tackling each point one by one let me go straight for the error. You are invoking a dependence on an AI to solve Ethical problems which tells me that you do not recognise AI itself as an ethical problem. AI is potentially the greatest existential threat to humanity!

There is a critical distinction between rule-based systems (Pega-System) and goal-based systems (AI)
Rule-based systems are completely deterministic. Humans are in total control.

That is not the case with AI. The AI has decision-making autonomy towards achieving its goals.

Are you familiar with the works of Bostrom and Yudkowski ? https://wiki.lesswrong.com/wiki/Friendl ... telligence

We do not know how to build a friendly AI. This simple thought experiment explains why: https://wiki.lesswrong.com/wiki/Paperclip_maximizer

To simplify the problem into English: we do not know how to define "good" and "evil" in computer code! We do not know how to define humanity's goals in computer code.

Computers do EXACTLY what they are told and we do not know how to explain EXACTLY what we want.

You need to read this book: https://en.wikipedia.org/wiki/Superinte ... Strategies

You have mistaken your lack of awareness for mine...

Belinda
Posts: 2868
Joined: Fri Aug 26, 2016 10:13 am

Re: How construct a sound Ethical Theory?

Post by Belinda » Sat Feb 09, 2019 12:38 pm

prof wrote:
Fri Feb 08, 2019 11:14 pm
"Society" is a concept abstracted from real individual people. Even "a group of people" is real. You can touch, see, hear, and maybe smell them. "The state", unzer "Hiemat", "our homeland," "society," are all just concepts in the mind. So also is "unicorn," "hyper-space," "tooth fairy," "Santa."

By the way, Belinda, did you read the new book, THE STRUCTURE ?
But 'society' is transitive. It's a society of people; of individuals who have agreed, or been forced, to work together. So a society can be touched, smelled, and measured in all sorts of concrete ways. Thus a society, besides being a mental concept, is also a material entity.
Developed capacities for empathy depend upon man in society. Imagine if you will Robinson Crusoe never having met Man Friday , he would have no need for empathy unless he developed empathy towards the fishes and dolphins.empathy is a social skill.

surreptitious57
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Re: How construct a sound Ethical Theory?

Post by surreptitious57 » Sat Feb 09, 2019 1:40 pm

Logic wrote:
To simplify the problem into English : we do not know how to define good and evil in computer code
Is this because computers are just programmable logic machines with no understanding of what good and evil are ?
But could it not be possible to explain morality using only logic ? For example utilitarianism is the moral philosophy
based up on the lesser of two evils . A computer would not understand the concept of evil but it would understand
the logic of having less suffering over more suffering - where suffering could be represented in mathematical terms
So killing I0 people is preferable to killing I00 people as I0 is less than I00 - why cannot a computer understand this ?

Logik
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Re: How construct a sound Ethical Theory?

Post by Logik » Sat Feb 09, 2019 2:22 pm

surreptitious57 wrote:
Sat Feb 09, 2019 1:40 pm
Logic wrote:
To simplify the problem into English : we do not know how to define good and evil in computer code
Is this because computers are just programmable logic machines with no understanding of what good and evil are ?
But could it not be possible to explain morality using only logic ? For example utilitarianism is the moral philosophy
based up on the lesser of two evils . A computer would not understand the concept of evil but it would understand
the logic of having less suffering over more suffering - where suffering could be represented in mathematical terms
So killing I0 people is preferable to killing I00 people as I0 is less than I00 - why cannot a computer understand this ?
The computer can understand that 10 is better than 100. That is the easy part!

The computer can not understand what “killing” means.

If a computer were to understand the word “killing” you have to quantify “dead” and “alive.

Every single adjective in the English language is value-ladden.

So go ahead and define “dead” and “alive” using only nouns.

Mathematics is a language that contains ONLY nouns.

surreptitious57
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Joined: Fri Oct 25, 2013 6:09 am

Re: How construct a sound Ethical Theory?

Post by surreptitious57 » Sat Feb 09, 2019 2:32 pm

Logic wrote:
The computer can not understand what killing means
Is it not possible to have a computer language translated from common language ?
Is is not also possible that computers of the future will be capable of moral as well as logical decision making ?
When they do become sentient and no longer require humans to programme them will that not be inevitable ?

surreptitious57
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Joined: Fri Oct 25, 2013 6:09 am

Re: How construct a sound Ethical Theory?

Post by surreptitious57 » Sat Feb 09, 2019 2:39 pm

Logic wrote:
Mathematics is a language that contains ONLY nouns
If computers cannot understand adjectives then how will they pass a Turing Test ?
The machines of the future will be significantly more intelligent that we are now
They will easily have mastered non computer language by then do you not think ?

Logik
Posts: 4048
Joined: Tue Dec 04, 2018 12:48 pm

Re: How construct a sound Ethical Theory?

Post by Logik » Sat Feb 09, 2019 2:53 pm

surreptitious57 wrote:
Sat Feb 09, 2019 2:39 pm
Logic wrote:
Mathematics is a language that contains ONLY nouns
If computers cannot understand adjectives then how will they pass a Turing Test ?
The machines of the future will be significantly more intelligent that we are now
They will easily have mastered non computer language by then do you not think ?
That is they wrong question.

If a computer that doesn’t understand adjectives can pass the Turing test ... it means humans are THAT gullible!
Last edited by Logik on Sat Feb 09, 2019 2:56 pm, edited 2 times in total.

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