• Isaac
    If he is actually getting a kick out of it (in the usual sense), and no moral aversion, then I am still not sure what language has got to do with it.SophistiCat

    Just that getting a kick out of something is a feeling we already have terms for and those terms are not 'moral duty' or anything similar. It's simply that 'moral' is not a term used to describe the feeling of 'getting a kick out of something'. It's not different to someone using the word 'pain' to describe something which they show signs of thoroughly enjoying. If they're smiling and laughing and saying "again, again!" we'd rightly just assume they're using the word 'pain' wrong, not that they had a difference of opinion about the sorts of things that were painful.

    You make it sound like there is a 'correct' answer to be found, and our natural moral sense is just better at figuring it out than a rationally constructed ethical system. For that to be the case, there has to be an independently defined problem and an independent means of evaluating the fitness of the solution to the problem.SophistiCat

    I don't think so. A system performing better than some other need not be aiming at anything objective. It could simply perform better for the person, but do so in each and every case (or even just the majority of cases). I am actually a naturalist as far as moral facts are concerned, but I don't think this makes me an objectivist for two reasons - 1) I don't see it as universally correct, just mostly so - it's a rule-of-thumb. 2) I don't see it as being the answer to a question. I don't think there's a question in the first place. Most of the time there is no "What should I do?", there is only that which you are going to do and then a post hoc rationalisation of that. My naturalism describe the state of affairs as they are, not how they 'ought' to be.

    If you are a naturalist about morality: no God's laws or other supernatural impositions - and many proponents of objective morality are naturalists - then why would you even suppose that for something as complex and messy as natural moral landscape appears to be, the Enlightenment-age paradigm of a simple, rational, law-driven system would be a good fit? A much better paradigm would be something equally complex and messy and organic - biology, neurology, psychology, sociology.SophistiCat

    Very close to the way I think about it, but with the caveats above, one is still only trying to find the best solution for oneself, not for all of mankind, but there are very strong biological tendencies which will mean that the best solution will be similar across populations. It would not even be unreasonable, I think, to use this similarity to suggest solutions to people who are struggling with the ones they have - just always with an acceptance of the complex and fuzzy nature of any trend one identifies.
  • Isaac
    Correct me if I am wrong, but my impression was that much of our brain's processing power is dedicated to mundane subconscious tasks like visual processing and motion control. Even when it comes to more conscious activity, much of it would be common to all people: language, social interactions. The more intellectually rarefied activities that we value so much don't occupy a proportionate place in the brain's architecture and power budget.SophistiCat

    That's right, but the theory is that it's enough to make a difference. It's hard to explain the importance of synaptic pruning in child development without such a model. Other theories are that we have limited bandwidth and so must compromise other mental tasks to carry out such calculations, or that such calculations are more prone to yield errors in a stable environment. I prefer the simpler energy budget approach, but the others have their merits and it may be a combination of all three.
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