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 » Sat Feb 09, 2019 8:55 pm

surreptitious57 wrote:
Sat Feb 09, 2019 8:47 pm
The machines will still be better at problem solving than we are because that is just how progress develops
There are some problems at which humans rank much better than computers (recognition and classification)
And some problems in which computers rank much better than humans (optimisation)
There are the obvious trade-off areas where computers do worse than humans, but error is inconsequential - like classifying millions of photos of cats.

There are certainly some problems we haven't even got strategies as to how to tackle in Mathematics/Computation.

Ethics is one of them.
surreptitious57 wrote:
Sat Feb 09, 2019 8:47 pm
Even the computers we use today have vastly significant processing capability compared to the human brain
There is no way any one could store the entire contents of the internet in their memory then access it with perfect recall
I am only talking about classical computers but they will themselves be rendered obsolete by their quantum replacements
Yes, but you forget. Humans think they are doing deductive reasoning. They aren't...

They are doing inductive/heuristic reasoning.

So what you call 'evil/bad' is really "I don't like this". Because you have a negative emotional reaction to murder you are able to recognise it as 'bad'.
Last edited by Logik on Sat Feb 09, 2019 8:58 pm, edited 1 time in total.

surreptitious57
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Re: How construct a sound Ethical Theory?

Post by surreptitious57 » Sat Feb 09, 2019 8:58 pm

Logic wrote:
At which point do we stop being human
There are biological humans which is us
Then there will be androids / cyborgs
Then there will be total machines

When they out number us then that is the point at which we will have become obsolete
However none of us we will see the day because we will all be a long time dead by then

Logik
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Re: How construct a sound Ethical Theory?

Post by Logik » Sat Feb 09, 2019 8:59 pm

surreptitious57 wrote:
Sat Feb 09, 2019 8:58 pm
There are biological humans which is us
Then there will be androids / cyborgs
Then there will be total machines

When they out number us then that is the point at which we will have become obsolete
However none of us we will see the day because we will all be a long time dead by then
Those are the clear-cut cases. What about genetic mutations?

Notice the 'us and them' language. You are still stuck in the in-group/out-group mindset.

Which is PRECISELY what the label 'human' is trying to solve. Everybody who is a 'human' is your in-group!

surreptitious57
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Re: How construct a sound Ethical Theory?

Post by surreptitious57 » Sat Feb 09, 2019 9:11 pm

Logic wrote:
Humans think they are doing deductive reasoning

But they are doing inductive / heuristic reasoning

So what you call evil / bad is really I dont like this . Because you have a negative emotional reaction to murder you are able to recognise it as bad
Only those with religious mindsets actually think morality is deductive
Scientists and philosophers know otherwise so know that it is both inductive and abductive and evolves slowly over time
They know it is formulated on the principle of least harm but that there are also extremely grey areas it has to navigate

Logik
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Re: How construct a sound Ethical Theory?

Post by Logik » Sat Feb 09, 2019 9:16 pm

surreptitious57 wrote:
Sat Feb 09, 2019 9:11 pm
Only those with religious mindsets actually think morality is deductive
Scientists and philosophers know otherwise so know that it is both inductive and abductive and evolves slowly over time
They know it is formulated on the principle of least harm but that there are also extremely grey areas it has to navigate
Ok then you should recognise the problem immediately. Most algorithms are deductive.

You give them "input" which is deemed to be a "fact" (the validity of which is not questioned).
They produce output given some logic.

If you chain two algorithms together. The assertion/output of the first is a "fact" for the 2nd.
Last edited by Logik on Sat Feb 09, 2019 9:19 pm, edited 1 time in total.

surreptitious57
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Re: How construct a sound Ethical Theory?

Post by surreptitious57 » Sat Feb 09, 2019 9:19 pm

Logic wrote:
What about genetic mutations
I cannot make accurate predictions about the future only reasonable assumptions and nothing else
I have therefore no real idea about what specific mutations will occur or when that will actually be

Logik
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Re: How construct a sound Ethical Theory?

Post by Logik » Sat Feb 09, 2019 9:21 pm

surreptitious57 wrote:
Sat Feb 09, 2019 9:19 pm
I cannot make accurate predictions about the future only reasonable assumptions and nothing else
I have therefore no real idea about what specific mutations will occur or when that will actually be
I am not asking you to make predictions about the future. I am asking you to draw a line.

This is exactly like the "blue" problem on the color spectrum. Where does "blue" begin and end?
On the genetic spectrum where does "human" begin and end?

You are going to draw a line, because our minds cannot work any other way.
The first human descendant whose DNA crosses on the wrong side of that line is, objectively "not human".

Where on the Fst scale does one stop being "human"? https://en.wikipedia.org/wiki/Fixation_index

surreptitious57
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Re: How construct a sound Ethical Theory?

Post by surreptitious57 » Sat Feb 09, 2019 9:32 pm

Logic wrote:
Ok then you should recognise the problem immediately . Most algorithms are deductive

You give them input which is deemed to be a fact ( the validity of which is not questioned )
They produce output given some logic

If you chain two algorithms together . The assertion / output of the first is a fact for the 2nd
Humans think inductive / abductive but computers / machines think deductive . Long as that is the default position there will be problems
But humans still control the machines and they can also think deductive when they have to [ logic / mathematics ] so progress can be made
And remember it was humans who actually invented the computer so you could regard that as the most primitive stage of machine evolution

Logik
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Re: How construct a sound Ethical Theory?

Post by Logik » Sat Feb 09, 2019 9:39 pm

surreptitious57 wrote:
Sat Feb 09, 2019 9:32 pm
But humans still control the machines and they can also think deductive when they have to [ logic / mathematics ] so progress can be made
This is true in the old paradigm of declarative programming. Nowadays Machine Learning is Mathemagic.

We don't know what goes on inside. It's just numbers - we can't make sense of them when things go awry.
We have control in the sense that we can pull the plug, but we don't have determinism anymore.

In the declarative world all algorithms are perfectly deterministic and can be trivially debugged.
Not inductive algorithms...

surreptitious57
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Re: How construct a sound Ethical Theory?

Post by surreptitious57 » Sat Feb 09, 2019 9:41 pm

Logic wrote:
I am not asking you to make predictions about the future . I am asking you to draw a line
Taxonomy is not an exact science so the notion of drawing a specific line is rather flawed
As with everything else in science it will have to be decided by inter subjective consensus
Because of this it is better to remain open minded rather than to be unnecessarily dogmatic

Logik
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Re: How construct a sound Ethical Theory?

Post by Logik » Sat Feb 09, 2019 9:42 pm

surreptitious57 wrote:
Sat Feb 09, 2019 9:41 pm
Taxonomy is not an exact science so the notion of drawing a specific line is rather flawed
As with everything else in science it will have to be decided by inter subjective consensus
Can you imagine the identity politics that will ensue THEN?

When we quantify "human", society takes it as gospel then somebody evolves outside of the mould...

surreptitious57
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Re: How construct a sound Ethical Theory?

Post by surreptitious57 » Sat Feb 09, 2019 9:51 pm

Logic wrote:
Can you imagine the identity politics that will ensue THEN

When we quantify human society takes it as gospel then somebody evolves outside of the mould ...
I think the real problem will be how we actually treat them rather than the label we give them
The distinction however will be more realistic because it will be between humans and machines
I can easily see the racist label being attached to those who will not recognise machines as human

prof
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Re: How construct a sound Ethical Theory?

Post by prof » Sat Feb 09, 2019 10:14 pm

Belinda wrote:
Sat Feb 09, 2019 12:38 pm
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.
The above strikes me as a sort of paraphrase of what is found - in the 5th and 6th paragraphs of page 10 - already written in THE STRUCTURE OF ETHICS. See the desert isle scenario in:
http://www.myqol.com/wadeharvey/PDFs/TH ... ETHICS.pdf

Belinda, you and I share the same aspirations, as did Bobby Burns in the last verse of"A man's a man for a' that." And as also did Schiller in his Ode To Joy; and as also Beethoven did when he adopted that poem for his Ninth Symphony.

The book explains how this desired state of affairs can come about to fruition. One and one (with improved, and still improving, means of communication) eventually make seven billion

The questions I have for readers of the book are: Did I make myself clear? Does it contain good Philosophy? Did you learn anything you didn't know before? Can you translate it into language that educators of little kids can understand? Is it worth the effort?

Age
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Re: How construct a sound Ethical Theory?

Post by Age » Sun Feb 10, 2019 5:57 am

prof wrote:
Thu Jan 31, 2019 2:23 am
How can we, working cooperatively, construct a sound Ethical Theory?

For 55 years I have been thinking about how to construct better ethical theories than those with which we are familiar. By themselves, the conventional standard theories do not seem to me to have done the job. Yes, they make you think, but do they result in more ethical people? A good Ethical theory should change lives, in my humble opinion.

During this time of reflection I also did some research and, as a result have come up with this:

http://www.myqol.com/wadeharvey/PDFs/TH ... ETHICS.pdf

I named the effort THE STRUCTURE OF ETHICS.

or, if you wish to see a preview first, read the first three pages here: https://tinyurl.com/yd6wafvm then continue on by scrolling down further.

Check it out and let me know what you think. Did I succeed in the project of creating a better ethical theory?

Can you offer an ethical theory that is superior to the one linked to above, and tell us why it is superior? I am curious to study your alternative.
You may wish to print out the document (at the above link) before you read it. Their 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?
.
Page 5: We are going in the direction of recognizing that we are all one family – the human species is our family.

After you human beings evolve past that recognition, and old thinking, and move onto recognizing that the human species is just a part of the whole one family of Everything, then progress really can start to take shape. When one has past the 'separatist' view of things, then doing what is Truly right and good begins.

Page 6:

No computer is needed in order to KNOW what it is that we ALL agree with. That information is built within. This information can be very easily ascertained and when it becomes consciously KNOWN, then it is just knowledge that can be passed on from one to another. Obviously, if it knowledge that is agreed with and accepted by ALL, then it will just simply make sense to ALL, as it stands, and thus will spread like 'wild-fire' to ALL peoples.

However, if any computer or any person is seen as an 'authority', then what you are proposing here on this page will just collapse.

Page 7:

A better world comes about through 'voluntary enthusiasm', and not through what you just proposed. A Knowledge of Right and Wrong, which naturally makes sense to a person, will also naturally want to be followed and adhered to. Whereas, any sense of 'authority' infers superiority and/or punishment, which invokes an "us" and "them" attitude, which is where human beings are right now, when this is written, and why there is a conflict between wanting to follow and rebelling.

On this page you also take about "human nature". What exactly are you referring to? What exactly is 'human nature'?

Chapter One:

To me, seems to complicate what is really simple. KNOW what is True, Right, and Good, and then just follow that.

KNOWING what is True, Right, and Good is within, locked away "deep down", as they say. One just needs to learn what is needed to unlocked this KNOWLEDGE, and the rest comes to light, and then all is revealed.

Page 9 & 10: What is ethics?

The very first two things you talk about are 'money' and 'competition'. Both very contradictory terms in relation to ethics and morality.

The 'love of money' being the third root of all evil/bad, and, competition not helping at all ethically.

Besides the fact that by definition a 'homeless person' is not generally one driven by the desire for money, and, that a person might just be in a running race for the enjoyment of it and not necessarily for the winning of it, if adults need to read newspaper articles to KNOW 'what the right thing is', when they once already KNEW it when they were younger, then that is a sign that society is on the brink of devastation.

You have mentioned the phrase 'good character' a couple of times now. Are you able to clear this up somewhat?

Have human beings really succumbed to the notion of only doing; for the benefits of cooperation to build a better quality of life for the both (or select group) of them. Even when just thinking about being on a so called "deserted island" have human beings been lowered so much that they still think about what I can get out of it, rather than just being happy with what I have and just live (life to the fullest)?

Page 11: To make things better for people.

If you think 'ethics and/or morality' concern is to make things better for 'people' only, then you are still in the dark ages. When you have evolved past thinking that somehow people are superior or more than any thing else, then you will understand the flaw in your thinking here.

Creating a win/win outcome.

In The Game of Life there are NO winners nor losers. This game is about playing the game, which by definition means having FUN, and ENJOYING the life one is having and living in. The rules of The Game of Life are to make the game more fun, excitable, and enjoyable.

From the perspective of a win/win outcome for two people, then there will be a loss/loss for at least two other people or two other things.

Once one regards that other person as highly-valuable.

If one is to regard any person as highly-valuable, then that means they are regarding some thing else as less-valuable. That is NOT what ethics is about. Absolutely EVERY thing is equally valuable. If one thinks otherwise, then a fantastic example of the damage done by living in a non-ethical society is being portrayed.

It is ethical to help others without being a martyr

If one by being a martyr shows how a better world for Everyone, as One, can be created, then is that not ethical?

Page 12: Good human relations are harmonious human relations. They are nonjudgmental, ...

You start off by talking about being "nonjudgmental" but then you write on Page 13: The good people will have more influence in the world and will more determine the shape of world culture than the selfish individuals

Who are the "good people"? And, how are you making that 'judgmental' view and upon what exactly? Is it even possible for you to have 'good human relations' when you, yourself, judge some people as being "good" and therefore some as being "bad"?

Also you wrote that within the next twenty years people of good character will outnumber the selfish people. Besides the fact that you are once again being judgmental by seeing some people having "good character" (whatever that is) and some people as being "selfish", how do you KNOW that this outnumbering will occur?

Have you yet recognized that ALL people are good, but ALL adults do wrong, and that ALL adults are selfish, which includes YOU also?

Page 13: This is an essay about human relations. It is about how to win the game of life and avoid getting in one’s own way. The phrase “human relations” suggests a concern with people.

The trouble with this paragraph is that ALL adults are concerned with people but they are only concerned about a select few number of people. Being only concerned about some people means that you are NOT concerned about ALL people. Being concerned with and for ALL people is what is needed for ethics.

Yet they want more than mere survival.

This is very True, adult human beings want MORE than mere survival. They WANT more than they NEED, for their survival. This is greed, which is the third root of all evil.

Although all adults human beings will TRY TO justify that they are NOT greedy, the fact is they ARE. They ALL want more than they need, and this can NOT be disputed. When adults stop wanting more than they need and thus stop being greedy, then what you are hoping for here - a better world - will come about.

We would strive to maximize value and to minimize disvalue. Some examples of disvalue are chaos, misery, destitution and
avoidable suffering.


If you are going to tell people "we would 'strive' ", then that is NOT some thing most people WANT to do. People have to WANT to do some thing before they will do it.

Telling people to strive to minimize chaos, misery, destitution and avoid suffering is to tell people to strive/try their hardest to reject their emotions. That just is NOT going to ever work. Living in a perfectly peaceful harmonious world with EVERY one, as One, still involves living with ALL emotions. Emotions are a necessary part of being 'human'.

prof
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Re: How construct a sound Ethical Theory?

Post by prof » Sun Feb 10, 2019 8:35 am

Greetings, Age

Thank you for starting to read the book.

And thank you for your intelligent contributions to the discussion.

As you learned, I am opposed to Individualism, and to Rankism.

I argue in favor of individuality, solidarity, teamwork, self-respect and respect of others. I personally feel at one with the entire eco-system of the planet, and even other planets - but I believe it is asking too much for people to reach out and embrace even mammalia, let alone Saturn. One step at a time.

I'll take up your other points later.

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