April 29, 2010

Meta-ethics on the Brain

Last night I had what might actually be the strangest dream ever. It was much weirder than hilzoy's now-famous (among philosophy bloggers, at least) synthetic a priori dream.

In my dream, some space aliens discovered that platonism was false. They were very disturbed by this because, they thought, without platonic objects, there was nothing to serve as the ontological ground for moral facts. So the aliens convened a galactic council, and held a sort of lottery. Earth lost the lottery, so the aliens were rounding up all the humans and putting them into a simulation. In the simulation, the humans would have every possible experience. The choices made by the humans in the simulation would then provide the ontological ground for moral facts. Then I woke up. (Either that, or I'm presently in a simulation designed to create moral truths; I suppose I'm not really sure which.)

If that sounds like nonsense, it's only because it is. Fortunately for my sanity, this afternoon is my last ethics class, and then I will be back to my regularly scheduled history of metaphysics.

Posted by Kenny at April 29, 2010 11:27 AM
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42!

Posted by: pferree at April 29, 2010 1:23 PM

> In the simulation, the humans would have every possible experience. The choices made by the humans in the simulation would then provide the ontological ground for moral facts.

Foolishness; humans are only a small subset of all possible states. (For example, this 'air' business. What sort of moral facts are valid with such a bias against methane breathers?)

Posted by: gwern at May 1, 2010 8:48 AM

Well, you know, the aliens in my dream were obviously not very good philosophers! I would like to know how they plan to solve the moral motivation problem...

Posted by: Kenny at May 1, 2010 10:04 AM

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