Institute for Ethics and Emerging Technologies



Support the IEET



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

The Future of AI, Physics & Maths

The Most You Can Do: How Effective Altruism Is Changing Ideas about Living Ethically

What, Me Worry? - I Don’t Share Most Concerns About Artificial Intelligence

Can Transhumanism Overcome a Widespread Deathist Culture?

What a Concept: Alleviating Poverty by Giving Money to the Poor

Brain Matters! Cutting Edge Neurotechnologies: Clinical and Ethical Issues


ieet books

Apex
Author
Ramez Naam


comments

Giulio Prisco on 'Hate Speech Hurts - Should It Be Banned?' (May 29, 2015)

spud100 on 'Human Rights for Cyberconscious Beings' (May 28, 2015)

spud100 on 'Can Transhumanism Overcome a Widespread Deathist Culture?' (May 28, 2015)

spud100 on 'Hate Speech Hurts - Should It Be Banned?' (May 28, 2015)

Peter Kinnon on 'What, Me Worry? - I Don’t Share Most Concerns About Artificial Intelligence' (May 26, 2015)

instamatic on 'Does the Biblical God Exist? - I Think We Can Do Better' (May 26, 2015)

spud100 on 'The Argument for Legalizing Psychedelics - Part 1: Cognitive Liberty and Creativity' (May 26, 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 Scientific Method is a Scientific Idea that is Ready for Retirement
May 24, 2015
(12223) Hits
(3) Comments

What, Me Worry? - I Don’t Share Most Concerns About Artificial Intelligence
May 28, 2015
(8151) Hits
(2) Comments

We Should Consider The Future World As One Of Multi-Species Intelligence
May 20, 2015
(7943) Hits
(4) Comments

‘Let’s Kick Islam & Christianity out of Africa’ - interview with Nigerian activist Jd Otit
May 19, 2015
(6515) Hits
(1) 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