Evolutionary ethics (was Re: virus: Re: Postmodernism and

David McFadzean (dbm@merak.com)
Mon, 03 Jun 1996 16:34:34 -0600

At 05:34 PM 28/05/96 -0500, Deron Stewart wrote:

>I think it creates an interesting tension -- amoral (I didn't say immoral!)
>scientific truth vs. ethics and morality, "Is" vs. "Ought" -- perhaps an
>opportunity for some synthesizing (Reconstruction?)...

How NOT to derive an ought from an is:

1. X is how it is
2. Therefore X is how it should be.

The "naturalistic fallacy" looks obviously wrong when put into these
terms but it is surprising how many people fell (and still fall) for it.
"Natural selection is how biology works therefore 1) we monopolists are
justified in crushing the small businessperson 2) we Arayans are justified
in annihilating the Jews 3) we proletariat are justified in rebelling
against the bourgeoisie", etc. etc.

How to validly derive an ought from an is:

1. We hold value X.
2. Valuing X implies that we want Y to happen.
3. Doing Z will bring about Y.
4. Therefore we will do Z.

I just made this up last week so comments/criticisms most welcome.

David McFadzean                 dbm@merak.com
Memetic Engineer                http://www.lucifer.com/~david/
Merak Projects			http://www.merak.com