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

How Evolution Gave Us Mathematics

The Ethics of Robot Sex: Interview on Robot Overlordz Podcast

Is novelty in nanomaterials overrated when it comes to risk?

A New York Judge Has Granted Legal Person Rights To Chimpanzees (Updated)

Germ-Line (inheritable) human “improvement” via genetic engineering? The “Heinlein Solut

The Epistemic Costs of Superintelligence: Bostrom’s Treacherous Turn and Sceptical Theism


ieet books

The Second Intelligent Species
Author
Marshall Brain


comments

instamatic on 'Yes, Obama “Won Twice” – as a Progressive. Deal With It, Everybody.' (Apr 24, 2015)

John Danaher on 'The Epistemic Costs of Superintelligence: Bostrom's Treacherous Turn and Sceptical Theism' (Apr 24, 2015)

Rick Searle on 'The Epistemic Costs of Superintelligence: Bostrom's Treacherous Turn and Sceptical Theism' (Apr 23, 2015)

CygnusX1 on 'Do Killer Robots Violate Human Rights?' (Apr 22, 2015)

Peter Kinnon on 'The Epistemic Costs of Superintelligence: Bostrom's Treacherous Turn and Sceptical Theism' (Apr 21, 2015)

AlonzoTG on 'Uploading and Autonomy' (Apr 16, 2015)

Rick Searle on 'The Sofalarity is Near' (Apr 9, 2015)







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


The Sofalarity is Near
Mar 30, 2015
(10805) Hits
(14) Comments

The Legal Dilemma of Age Play in Virtual & Augmented   Reality
Apr 9, 2015
(4774) Hits
(1) Comments

Conservative Christians Pass the Plate for Anti-Gay Indiana Pizza Parlor, Raise $800,000 in Two Days
Apr 4, 2015
(4419) Hits
(1) Comments

Bitcoin and the Ontology of Money
Apr 7, 2015
(4346) 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.

Contact: Executive Director, Dr. James J. Hughes,
56 Daleville School Rd., Willington CT 06279 USA 
Email: director @ ieet.org     phone: 860-297-2376