• Philosophim
    This is a continuation of https://thephilosophyforum.com/discussion/15250/if-existence-is-good-what-is-the-morality-of-life Once again, in participating here, you assume the validity of the previous conclusions. If you have an issue with any of them, please post in that specific forum where it is addressed.

    A summary of what has been concluded so far:

    1. If there is an objective morality, a foundation is "Existence must be good."
    2. To measure existence, it must be quantified. A quantified existence is an existent.
    3. Existence is quantified through the way it expresses itself. This can be by itself, or as an interaction with another existent.
    4. The way to measure existence is expressions over time.
    5. The possible expressions an existence can do in the next time set, is potential existence.
    6. Existence can evolve by interacting with another in such a way as to create potential and actual existence that could not exist on its own. Ex: Two atoms combine into a molecule.
    7. Chemical reactions are highly concentrated existents over time. Life is a a combination of self-sustaining chemical reactions over potentially infinite time.
    8. The principal of homeostasis is to find a balance of concentrated existence that does not burn itself out from excess, nor run out from lack. This is the goal of life as a whole.
    9. From this we obtain a hierarchy of morality where life creates more existence then non-life, except where the removal of non-life would disrupt the homeostasis of life.

    Now to continue!

    What is intelligent life?

    Intelligent life is a bit more difficult to assess, as there is often an innate human bias in its evaluation. We are the most intelligent species, therefore it is easy to set us as the bar. But, I will hazard an estimate using the morality of existence that's been established so far.

    Life at its most basis is a set of chemical interactions that seeks its eternal continuation. This requires a certain awareness or interaction with itself and the world to work. This goes beyond the combination of baking soda and vinegar, or the immediate interaction and reaction. Intelligent requires planning. Foresight. The idea that I can take baking soda and combine it with vinegar, but not do that now. It is the ability to understand how existents interact with each other, and plan for a future.

    Interestingly, this creates an entirely new set of existence that would not exist otherwise. Prediction. There is an entire world of existence within intelligent lives we call 'minds'. It is incredibly rare and difficult to build, but it exists. An unintelligent life can only leave a room through a door. An intelligent life can imagine a room, design its structure, and where they would put the door. Then they can make it happen if they so choose.

    Where does that put intelligent life in the hierarchy of existents?

    The ability of prediction is an explosion of existence. The evaluation of potential existence becomes existence which can be evaluated in the moment. Finally, a being is not buffeted about by the winds of what it encounters, but can actively evaluate a situation, and determine what action it should take. Thus intelligent life has the potential to be moral. It can evaluate potential outcomes, and determine which outcome generates the most existence. Thus intelligent life has the potential of the highest concentrated existence from moment to moment, and far into the future.

    Conclusion: Morality is contextual, but still has an underlying foundation which is immutable

    With this we have a tool to evaluate moral issues without subjectivity. Here are some examples.

    With this, the classic trolley problem is solved.

    1. A train is on a track to kill five people. You have the option to switch the track, but there is one person on the other track who will die instead. The capabilities or moral impetus of each individual is unknkown.
    There are no social ramifications or consequences for your actions. What do you do?

    Answer: You throw the switch every time. If the existential value of each individual is unknown, the only reasonable conclusion is to assume all are equivalent. Thus saving five people vs one person is the objectively correct choice each time.

    But what about my feelings? What about society?

    Feelings are irrelevant here. An objective morality allows us a rational decision. To claim it is wrong, a rational example of demonstrating why the other choice creates more existents must be applied. As for societies judgements, we are free of that in this situation.

    What about outcomes that are not certain?

    Lets take smoking for example. We'll pretend that smoking causes no harm to the body, but has a 70% chance of ending your life five years early. On the flip side, we'll also note that the only thing smoking does is make you happy.

    So, lets compare.

    a. Are there other things that can make you happy that don't have a chance of ending your life early? Yes. So being happy doesn't add anymore existence in of itself as you can do other things which add happiness.

    So by basic math, if you can do something that has a 0% chance of ending your life early, vs something that has a 70% chance of ending your life early, yet results in the same outcome of happiness, morally, you should not smoke.

    That seems rather simplistic

    Yes, because it is an introduction. But of course we can add more variables! That's the beauty of an objective morality. We can add as many details as we want until we reach a situation in which we have no more information. But of course as an introduction, we must start simple.

    But what about when we reach situations which force induction?

    What we must do is build principles that apply in most situations. So for example, lets say that 99% of the time, not murdering a person on the street is a good thing. If you encounter a new person and do not have the time or ability to evaluate whether its that 1% chance that murdering them would be a good thing, you can follow the principle that its probably not a good thing, and this is rational.

    Again, what about society?

    Society is another variable, and like the patterns before us, allows an evolution of existents into a greater set of existence then one lone intelligent life. I may continue another post evaluating the morality of societies, but we'll see after the response to this one if its needed.
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