- If you begin with the axiom that it is a good thing to organize civilizations in a way that maximizes our comfort, safety, fulfillment and opportunity, then using what we know of human physiological needs and tolerances we can design a civilization around that organism along with a set of rules for living within it. This to a very large degree is what we've already done as nearly all of the law is based in pragmatic reasoning about what behaviors can be tolerated without civilization collapsing.
- "But that axiom, that doing this is a good thing, is arbitrary. You can't prove that's objectively true." And that's right, but neither can you prove that your God is real. So at the very least our models for what constitutes moral behavior are on equal footing. However I'd argue that more people around the world can agree to my axiom than are able to agree on which god is real and how it wants us to live.
- You might then argue “Even if it is not true, we are better off if everyone believes it, because they will behave morally”. I do not think tricking people into behaving well is a viable longterm strategy. It backfires when any significant number of people discover you’ve deceived them, and fly to the opposite extreme, which is what I think we’re seeing in Western societies now. It’s like teaching your kid that stealing the candybar from the store is wrong because a bogeyman will get him, as opposed to explaining how theft hurts the shop keeper and society cannot work if many people steal.
a guest Apr 8th, 2014 57 Never
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