reply to post by XxRagingxPandaxX
If a sense or rightness or wrongness were inate and biological, there would be no need for systems like religion or philosophy to attempt to guide our
behaviour away from wrongness (non preferable) and rightness. (preferable) Since a plant reacts automatically to sustain itself from its enviroment,
it does not need a nutritionist to advise in on what nutrients to absorb in order to live. Similarly, if humans knew innately the distinction between
good and evil, no systems of thought would be required in order to behave 'rightly'.
Thus right and wrong arrise from mans unique ability to act against his own best interest. Beyond his basic instincual programming of 'if hungry,
eat.' or 'if thirsty, drink', man has no innate or inborn guide that might act as a feedback mechanism against 'wrong' or immoral behaviour. If
he did, we would expect humans to act morally universally, as anyone who did not would be subject to his own overriding negative feedback. This is
obviously not the case as immorality, in our current world, is almost universal. The most horrible crimes are not only not punished, but rewarded in
todays world. (see GWB2 getting a heafty pension and a library named after him to boot after murdering over a million people) If morality and good
behaviour were innate, we would not expect this to be the case.
If innate morality is eliminated then, but goodness and moral behaviour surely exist, where does it come from? And what it its nature? What is good,
and what is evil? Basically the most ancient and fundamental question posed by humans since ancient times. Billions have died over this question.
Here is one philosophers crack at it: (not mine)
Understanding Universally Preferable Behavior
Here is how I understood the chain of reasoning. I am mostly taking this from the book, and injecting my own thoughts where I deem appropriate:
1. Reality is composed of objects in the universe, all of which have certain natures, meaning certain specific, and delimitable inputs on them and
certain interactions between them yield certain specific, and delimitable outputs (events). These events are, all other things being equal,
reproducible or consistent.
2. Logic is the set of objective and consistent rules derived from the consistency of reality:
- Identity: A = A – An object/event is that object/event and not another object/event. A rock on earth is that rock on earth, and not a tree at the
- Non-Contradiction: A AND non-A is false – A proposition that states that something is a thing/event and not that thing/event at the same time is
always false. A thing can’t be a tree and not a tree at the same time. An apple can’t fall downward and upward at the same time.
- Excluded middle: A OR non-A is true – A proposition about a thing/event is either true or false. A thing is either an apple or not an apple. An
apple either falls down or doesn’t fall down. There is nothing in-between.
3. Validity: A human’s statement about objective reality is a theory. A theory that complies with the 3 laws of logic is valid.
4. Accuracy: A theory that is confirmed by observable evidence in reality is considered accurate.
5. Truth: A theory that is both valid and accurate is true.
6. Preference is the level at which a human being places the desire to perform an action in relation to the desire to perform other actions at any
given moment in time. For example at nighttime one prefers sleeping over running. But on the next morning one may prefer running to sleeping.
Preferences only exist in people’s minds, meaning they are subjective. Observable human actions, however, are the objective manifestations of
subjective preferences. When someone can be observed running then he is showing by his very action that he set out to run because he preferred the act
to that of sleeping.
7. Preferable Behavior:When somebody says that some other human being should prefer one thing over another he is making a statement about preferable
8. Universally Preferable Behavior: When somebody says that all people at all times and at all places should prefer one thing over another, then he is
making a statement about universally preferable behavior (UPB). In short: UPB is any behavior that all humans at all times and at all places should
follow. Arguing against the conceptual existence of UPB requires engaging in a debate. But once someone engages in a debate to convince another
person, he inevitably implies that all people at all times and at all places should rather prefer truth to falsehood. Once he starts advancing
arguments and reasons as to why he is right, then on top of that he affirms that everyone should base his beliefs on universal standards of validity
and accuracy. He also affirms that using the same language as your conversation partner is universally preferable. It is impossible to attempt to
refute UPB without affirming it in the process. Thus the act of debating and arguing implicitly and inevitably affirms the conceptual existence of
(I would actually suggest that the commonly known term “Ethics” is a good substitute for the word “UPB”. Molyneux, meanwhile, equates
“Ethics” to “Morality”. This is just about semantics, but it does seem to make sense to me and it helps put existing terminologies into
context with this new approach.)
9. Morality is defined as all rules about universally preferable behavior where avoidance of the inflicted effects of at least one of the choices
would require the use of violence or considerable effort, for example “It is universally preferable to refrain from murder.”
10. Aesthetics is defined as all rules about universally preferable behavior where the inflicted effects of all presented choices can be avoided
without the use of violence and without considerable effort, for example “It is universally preferable to be on time.”
11. The UPB Framework is the process of examining the truth (validity+accuracy) of moral and aesthetic rules. This means that, just as physical or
mathematical theories, any true ethical theory needs to be logically consistent (valid) and empirically verifiable (accurate).