Moral Optimisation

  • Moral Constructivist

  • Naturalist

  • Talk about adaptive moral advantage for the environment

  • No objective morality, but emergent principles that are often applicable

    • Share with others

  • In good times this is optimal, in bad times it is not... Seems clear?

  • The universe itself has no morals

    • Where are they located?

    • There are interesting properties of the universe that inform morality though

    • Networks, distribution and collaboration are generally more efficient than the converse

    • This implies that working together can be both emotionally experienced as a moral good and objectively analysed for its utility as an organisational system

  • Often our moral debates are not always centred around utility though, more often than not we debate issues that simply feel wrong to us

    • Abortion is a classic example, there's little convincing to be said to some about the utility of abortion, it's just too distasteful

    • Here we find an interesting intersection between The Law and personal values

      • When should something be legal? It should have nothing to do with tastfulness and everything to do with reasoning

Moral philosophy is very old


  • Relativist

  • Absolutist

    • Realist

Arguments about how to act:

  • Deontology

  • Consequentialism

Moral Constructivism (humans create morals, they only exist to us)

Constructivism is a very palatable perspective, but it leaves us with quite a general understanding. How can we compare moral choices to determine which are superior? Is such a thing even possible? Or desirable?

I've been considering the idea recently that morals, while constructed, can still be optimised. Taking a step back, what could be the reason humans developed morality? It seems there must be a selection pressure towards creating and acting on an internal moral code. Anecdotally it's not hard to see that in our current societal collaboration seems to achieve better results on average than historical competition at a purely individual level. It follows that humans who had developed a greater desire to collaborate would have in turn had a higher chance of survival. But what about environments where collaboration is impossible or inferior? If there is only enough food for half the humans in their tribe perhaps the selection pressure is... a little weaker.

The point I'm trying to make here is that morality may be constructed by humans but there is likely an adaptive advantage to some moralities over others based on the current physical and social climate of a society.

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