Institute for Ethics and Emerging Technologies


The IEET is a 501(c)3 non-profit, tax-exempt organization registered in the State of Connecticut in the United States. Please give as you are able, and help support our work for a brighter future.


Search the IEET
Subscribe and Contribute to:


Technoprogressive? BioConservative? Huh?
Quick overview of biopolitical points of view




whats new at ieet

Color and Sound Perception Explained

Transhumanisme : Comment sortir de la « Vallée de l’étrange » ? 2/2

On tragedy, ethics and the human condition.

Zoos Enrich Our Lives but Cost Animals Their Dignity

China May Be the Reason that Speech Recognition Takes Off

The Psychology of Solitude: Being Alone Can Maximize Productivity


ieet books

Philosophical Ethics: Theory and Practice
Author
John G Messerly


comments

instamatic on 'WHAT MORAL ENHANCEMENT?' (Jun 22, 2016)

Giulio Prisco on 'Paradiso and Inferno in Robin Hanson's 'The Age of EM'' (Jun 22, 2016)

Giulio Prisco on 'Paradiso and Inferno in Robin Hanson's 'The Age of EM'' (Jun 22, 2016)

Pastor_Alex on 'WHAT MORAL ENHANCEMENT?' (Jun 20, 2016)

Lincoln Cannon on 'The Semi-Orthogonality Thesis - examining Nick Bostrom’s ideas on intelligent purpose' (Jun 18, 2016)

rms on 'Does Self-Tracking Promote Autonomy? An Initial Argument' (Jun 17, 2016)

instamatic on 'History Lesson: Trump's Rise Might Signal the Collapse of the Republican Party' (Jun 15, 2016)







Subscribe to IEET News Lists

Daily News Feed

Longevity Dividend List

Catastrophic Risks List

Biopolitics of Popular Culture List

Technoprogressive List

Trans-Spirit List



JET

Enframing the Flesh: Heidegger, Transhumanism, and the Body as “Standing Reserve”

Moral Enhancement and Political Realism

Intelligent Technologies and Lost Life

Hottest Articles of the Last Month


Will Transhumanism Change Racism in the Future?
Jun 2, 2016
(5427) Hits
(0) Comments

Dubai Is Building the World’s Largest Concentrated Solar Power Plant
Jun 20, 2016
(3802) Hits
(0) Comments

A snapshot on the fight against death
Jun 1, 2016
(3379) Hits
(4) Comments

New Evidence Suggests a Fifth Fundamental Force of Nature
Jun 13, 2016
(3281) Hits
(0) Comments



Comment on this entry

Toward a Science of Morality


Massimo Pigliucci


rationallyspeaking.blogspot.com

February 19, 2013

An annotated response to Michael Shermer: Michael Shermer and I have been engaged in what I hope has been a productive discussion on the relationship between science and philosophy as it concerns the field of ethics. Roughly speaking, Michael contends that science has a lot to say about ethical questions (though he is not quite as reductive as Sam Harris, who contends that science is pretty much the only game in town when it comes to ethics). I respond that science provides informative background but grossly underdetermines ethical issues, which therefore require philosophical reflection. Michael’s opening salvo was followed by my response, with Shermer recently adding some thoughts, further articulating his position. The notes below are my point-by-point commentary on that third round. (Throughout, italics indicates Michael’s writing, with my comments immediately following.)


...

Complete entry


COMMENTS



Posted by b.  on  02/19  at  11:53 AM

Thank you for posting. While I’m not clear on the continuity (or lack thereof) between morality and ethics, I agree with the author that science as the defacto base of morality is problematic.

I think there is a false separation between cultural values and science. Science is inherently dependent on cultural values that influence what questions are worth asking and what properties are worth measuring. The products of science are communicated through cultural means (language) that is subjective and imprecise. Science can tell us the difference between X and Y, but can’t compare them ethically.

We know there are general differences between make and female humans (lets set aside the fact of many who biologically and socially fit somewhere in between those attractors), and those differences were exploited to “prove” that women are the “weaker sex” and therefore subject to different moral and ethical behaviours. Same goes for skin colour and religion.

We treat non-human animals in a totally non-compatible way (in particular in science) with human animals, yet there is little biological difference between non-human mammals and ourselves. (Why would we study them to understand ourselves if they were not highly biologically similar?)

It seems obvious that any moral position could be supported by empirical evidence simply by controlling the variables to be measured, and the definitions of the terms.

If the aim is only survival and reproduction, then those domesticated animals that many of us consume are being morally tortured. Its quite clear you can increase the survival of a creature at the same time as robbing him/her of any quality of life or dignity. Indeed survival != flourish.






Add your comment here:


Name:

Email:

Location:

Remember my personal information

Notify me of follow-up comments?

HOME | ABOUT | FELLOWS | STAFF | EVENTS | SUPPORT  | CONTACT US
SECURING THE FUTURE | LONGER HEALTHIER LIFE | RIGHTS OF THE PERSON | ENVISIONING THE FUTURE
CYBORG BUDDHA PROJECT | AFRICAN FUTURES PROJECT | JOURNAL OF EVOLUTION AND TECHNOLOGY

RSSIEET Blog | email list | newsletter |
The IEET is a 501(c)3 non-profit, tax-exempt organization registered in the State of Connecticut in the United States.

East Coast Contact: Executive Director, Dr. James J. Hughes,
56 Daleville School Rd., Willington CT 06279 USA 
Email: director @ ieet.org     phone: 860-428-1837

West Coast Contact: Managing Director, Hank Pellissier
425 Moraga Avenue, Piedmont, CA 94611
Email: hank @ ieet.org