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Old 11-03-2005, 08:13 AM
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Ethics, Science, Mathematics, Epistemology, Metaphysics

I've long held the view that all moral and ethical issues would be solved, or rather, dissolved, once we begin to understand and figure out the epistemological issues involved.

For example, much of the abortion issue is centered around the issue of whether or not a fetus is a person. Many passionate arguments are built around the concept of personhood, but neither side has an indisputable argument about what constitutes a person.

Disputing the role of the UN seems to have come to the forefront these days. It's my view that our understanding of organizations like the UN would be better once we embrace basic Minimax principles.

What do you think? Do you think ethics is subservient to Science or Mathematics?
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Old 11-03-2005, 09:59 AM
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I don't think ethics can be equated with math or science. Few people feel the same way about the Pythagorean Theorum as they do about abortion. So I think ethics will always have additional components that are not found in math and science. These additional moral feelings are probably more important than the 'rational' components. However, I do think epistemological considerations can and do apply to ethics. For instance, the fact that there is no proof concerning the moral status of a fetus, embryo or zygote, should have some effect on a person's moral feelings about the organism.
Analyzing the rational elements involved in ethical thinking is helpful in my mind because many people approach ethical issues as if they can be resolved by (religious?)authority. For instance, if there were a God, I believe that God would have the same puzzle that we do in trying to figure out when a zygote, embryo or fetus becomes a person.
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Old 11-03-2005, 01:12 PM
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So you're saying that despite overwhelming evidence and proof that feelings play more heavily into ethical and moral choices? Couldn't you interpret it as one person finding the evidence overwhelming and the other doesn't?
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Old 11-03-2005, 02:30 PM
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Quote:
Originally Posted by Kuan
So you're saying that despite overwhelming evidence and proof that feelings play more heavily into ethical and moral choices? Couldn't you interpret it as one person finding the evidence overwhelming and the other doesn't?
I think evidence and proof factor into our decision, but that moral decisions are not possible without feelings. So, for instance, if I learned that a person felt no physical pain, then my moral evaluation of hitting them on the thumb with a hammer would be different than if they felt pain. But, the fact that we care at all about other people feeling pain, requires some sympathy and compassion on our part. The fact that another person felt pain wouldn't result in any moral conclusion without our feelings that it would (or could) be bad.
Facts and feelings are both fundamental parts of our moral judgments.
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