## Functional Morality

This is the main board for discussing philosophy - formal, informal and in between.

Moderator: Only_Humean

Forum rules
Forum Philosophy

### Functional Morality

Morality has resulted from an evolutionary process that selects for survival. Since we observe morality in both young children and non-human primates, we can infer that the cognitive habits that we call morality are evolved: they were selected for because they tended to increase the likelihood that those organisms that exhibited them would pass down the genes that produced them. Morality, in other words, is functional, and this meta-ethical basis should be the foundation for any particular moral system.

This raises problems for many popular moral systems, but most acutely for utilitarian ethics, since it is ostensibly grounded in the same secular liberal worldview that recognizes the mind's material identity and evolutionary origins. Because if morality is a product of evolution, if its purpose all along has been to do whatever keeps the genes propagating, then moral intuitions about the value of humans, or conscious beings, or subjective experience, are at best accidentally correct: they are right if and only if they produce moral prescriptions that tend to favor propagation.

It bears mentioning that subjective experience, too, is the product of evolution, and individuals feel happy and sad because those feelings tended to help their ancestors to survive and reproduce. So we should actually expect subjective experience to be a somewhat reliable proxy for gene-replication. Moreover, since humans' greatest evolutionary asset has been their cooperation, we should also expect valuing the intuition that others' subjective experience matters to be selfish: we have dedicated brain structures for modeling the subjective states of others (more specifically, our ingroup others), and we reproduce their subjective experience automatically as we observe them; their pain feels to us like pain, their pleasure feels to us like pleasure.

But note that these are proxies. We can identify many situations where they mis-assign value, both in our own subjective experience and in how we value the subjective experience of others. We can be tricked into valuing the subjective experiences of robots, and into devaluing the experiences of friends, by subtle or overt manipulations of other evolved cognitive habits: cute robots who mimic babies get incorrectly included; unfamiliar potential allies get incorrectly excluded.

One way of interpreting moral debates is as competing assertions about what system most faithfully produces evolutionary success, and as an evolutionary process itself in that the ideas themselves replicate and are selected for. But I would argue that we can actually draw separate normative conclusions from this observation. To note the evolutionary origins of morality is to short circuit the is-ought fallacy, because it describes what 'ought' is, where moral ideas come from and why they persist. It therefore permits us to reject normative claims that are inconsistent with descriptive claims about what morality is. Functional oughts are is claims.
User Control Panel > Board preference > Edit display options > Display signatures: No.
Carleas
Magister Ludi

Posts: 5554
Joined: Wed Feb 02, 2005 8:10 pm
Location: Washington DC, USA

### Re: Functional Morality

Interesting proposition. However whether morality is functional, has a contingent relationship towards the argument. In other words counter argument can be made as well, that morality has not to do with its utility, but is based on intrinsic given properties.

In the case of the child, such is evident, for most likely he will be given a set of moral rules to live by. If he questions these along the way, and changes them to suit himself, then, it can be said, that he utilizes moral acts to his advantage. As far as interpreting evolutionary traits within the scope of such individual re-formation, can be said to conform to large scale changes that occur as a result of intergenerational learning, but it may be hard pressed to point to this as directly related to a functionally related evolutionary process.

Examples abound:

Homosexuality does nothing toward securing the genetic security and advance of progeny, on the contrary, current views favor the idea that matters of population control, irrespective of more or less genetic endowment , are more of a factor in placing markers on the moral spectrum.

It appears that neither a functional approach nor an existentially preloaded-based on variance upon traditional morality is the fundamental basis, but a quasy meta psychological adaptive confirmation to more ideal basis may be the key.

In case of homosexuality, again, the motive is not concern with overpopulation which is the causa causa, but conrarily, the justification for it becomes primary.

Deeper structural analysis, may reveal the 'ideal' sequence of motivations , rather than the idea of superseding favorable genotypes, as a more of an emphatic evolutionary factor.
Meno_
Philosopher

Posts: 3038
Joined: Tue Dec 08, 2015 2:39 am

### Re: Functional Morality

Carleas wrote:Morality has resulted from an evolutionary process that selects for survival. Since we observe morality in both young children and non-human primates, we can infer that the cognitive habits that we call morality are evolved: they were selected for because they tended to increase the likelihood that those organisms that exhibited them would pass down the genes that produced them. Morality, in other words, is functional, and this meta-ethical basis should be the foundation for any particular moral system.

This raises problems for many popular moral systems, but most acutely for utilitarian ethics, since it is ostensibly grounded in the same secular liberal worldview that recognizes the mind's material identity and evolutionary origins. Because if morality is a product of evolution, if its purpose all along has been to do whatever keeps the genes propagating, then moral intuitions about the value of humans, or conscious beings, or subjective experience, are at best accidentally correct: they are right if and only if they produce moral prescriptions that tend to favor propagation.

It bears mentioning that subjective experience, too, is the product of evolution, and individuals feel happy and sad because those feelings tended to help their ancestors to survive and reproduce. So we should actually expect subjective experience to be a somewhat reliable proxy for gene-replication. Moreover, since humans' greatest evolutionary asset has been their cooperation, we should also expect valuing the intuition that others' subjective experience matters to be selfish: we have dedicated brain structures for modeling the subjective states of others (more specifically, our ingroup others), and we reproduce their subjective experience automatically as we observe them; their pain feels to us like pain, their pleasure feels to us like pleasure.

But note that these are proxies. We can identify many situations where they mis-assign value, both in our own subjective experience and in how we value the subjective experience of others. We can be tricked into valuing the subjective experiences of robots, and into devaluing the experiences of friends, by subtle or overt manipulations of other evolved cognitive habits: cute robots who mimic babies get incorrectly included; unfamiliar potential allies get incorrectly excluded.

One way of interpreting moral debates is as competing assertions about what system most faithfully produces evolutionary success, and as an evolutionary process itself in that the ideas themselves replicate and are selected for. But I would argue that we can actually draw separate normative conclusions from this observation. To note the evolutionary origins of morality is to short circuit the is-ought fallacy, because it describes what 'ought' is, where moral ideas come from and why they persist. It therefore permits us to reject normative claims that are inconsistent with descriptive claims about what morality is. Functional oughts are is claims.

K: I think this piece has basic and fundamental problem....you haven't defined morality.....
to say we have observe morality in children and non-human primates still leaves us the
question of, what exactly did we see and have we put our own interpetation on what
we saw... instead of understanding the "morality" on its own terms..........
children must be taught everything including morality... so if you see a child
acting "morally" what does that exactly mean? I suspect that we see an action
and we, as adults defined the action and for the child, there was no underlying
acts of morality.... it was simply an action... without our notion of morality
which we then gave to the actions of the child or nonhuman primates......

Kropotkin
"Those who sacrifice liberty for security
wind up with neither."
"Ben Franklin"
Peter Kropotkin
ILP Legend

Posts: 6393
Joined: Thu Apr 07, 2005 1:47 am
Location: blue state

### Re: Functional Morality

Minor observation:

A: "Morality, in other words, is functional"

does not necessitate
B: "and this meta-ethical basis should be the foundation for any particular moral system."

For example it may well be that for morality to be functional, it needs to be experienced as an ideal.
That morality, when it is experienced as something less than ideal, ceases to have its effect.

In this way we can comprehend the function of the ideal, which, too, must have evolved as a an advantage in terms of survival.

Putting it sharply: to approach morality as something less than divine may be to eliminate its function.

Even sharper; It may be why protestant Europe, after its god was pronounced dead, embraced Islam. Europeans may actually harbour an instinctive respect for the idealistic approach to morality of the muslims.

For behold, all acts of love and pleasure are my rituals

Jakob
ILP Legend

Posts: 5862
Joined: Sun Sep 03, 2006 9:23 pm
Location: look at my suit

### Re: Functional Morality

Jakob wrote:Minor observation:

A: "Morality, in other words, is functional"

does not necessitate
B: "and this meta-ethical basis should be the foundation for any particular moral system."

For example it may well be that for morality to be functional, it needs to be experienced as an ideal.
That morality, when it is experienced as something less than ideal, ceases to have its effect.

In this way we can comprehend the function of the ideal, which, too, must have evolved as a an advantage in terms of survival.

Putting it sharply: to approach morality as something less than divine may be to eliminate its function.

Even sharper; It may be why protestant Europe, after its god was pronounced dead, embraced Islam. Europeans may actually harbour an instinctive respect for the idealistic approach to morality of the muslims.

Proportionally, this brings it down to the level of functional categories: Should the ideal or shouldn't be a derivative, from a utilitarian perspective. It has merit bit does not overcome the dual, religious aspect of good and evil.
Meno_
Philosopher

Posts: 3038
Joined: Tue Dec 08, 2015 2:39 am

### Re: Functional Morality

The premise is flawed. Many systems of morality are not centered around survival and life, but death and its inevitability. Morality includes people who know they will die, or actively puts their lives on the line, for 'higher' purposes. Thus morality is not necessarily about survival (function). It's about when the price of your life, is worth paying, for a higher cause. Or when another's life (your children for example) are worth more than yours.

None of what you say "functional morality" applies to life and death matters.
Urwrongx1000
Thinker

Posts: 892
Joined: Mon Jun 19, 2017 5:10 pm

### Re: Functional Morality

I like this topic but I'm not understanding the differentiations since they are all interconnected in my mind as one system not an either/or or an is/ought. Isn't all morality functionally based on the individual and his/her relationship with society at large? Isn't morality society's cohesive glue? Morality has to be functional for society to be functional and it's not functional in one way, but a multitude.
I AM OFFICIALLY IN HELL!

I live my philosophy, it's personal to me and people who engage where I live establish an unspoken dynamic, a relationship of sorts, with me and my philosophy.

Cutting folks for sport is a reality for the poor in spirit. I myself only cut the poor in spirit on Tues., Thurs., and every other Sat.

WendyDarling
Heroine

Posts: 6840
Joined: Sat Sep 11, 2010 8:52 am

### Re: Functional Morality

Carleas wrote:Morality has resulted from an evolutionary process that selects for survival. Since we observe morality in both young children and non-human primates, we can infer that the cognitive habits that we call morality are evolved: they were selected for because they tended to increase the likelihood that those organisms that exhibited them would pass down the genes that produced them. Morality, in other words, is functional, and this meta-ethical basis should be the foundation for any particular moral system.

This raises problems for many popular moral systems, but most acutely for utilitarian ethics, since it is ostensibly grounded in the same secular liberal worldview that recognizes the mind's material identity and evolutionary origins. Because if morality is a product of evolution, if its purpose all along has been to do whatever keeps the genes propagating, then moral intuitions about the value of humans, or conscious beings, or subjective experience, are at best accidentally correct: they are right if and only if they produce moral prescriptions that tend to favor propagation.

It bears mentioning that subjective experience, too, is the product of evolution, and individuals feel happy and sad because those feelings tended to help their ancestors to survive and reproduce. So we should actually expect subjective experience to be a somewhat reliable proxy for gene-replication. Moreover, since humans' greatest evolutionary asset has been their cooperation, we should also expect valuing the intuition that others' subjective experience matters to be selfish: we have dedicated brain structures for modeling the subjective states of others (more specifically, our ingroup others), and we reproduce their subjective experience automatically as we observe them; their pain feels to us like pain, their pleasure feels to us like pleasure.

But note that these are proxies. We can identify many situations where they mis-assign value, both in our own subjective experience and in how we value the subjective experience of others. We can be tricked into valuing the subjective experiences of robots, and into devaluing the experiences of friends, by subtle or overt manipulations of other evolved cognitive habits: cute robots who mimic babies get incorrectly included; unfamiliar potential allies get incorrectly excluded.

One way of interpreting moral debates is as competing assertions about what system most faithfully produces evolutionary success, and as an evolutionary process itself in that the ideas themselves replicate and are selected for. But I would argue that we can actually draw separate normative conclusions from this observation. To note the evolutionary origins of morality is to short circuit the is-ought fallacy, because it describes what 'ought' is, where moral ideas come from and why they persist. It therefore permits us to reject normative claims that are inconsistent with descriptive claims about what morality is. Functional oughts are is claims.

Just out of curiosity [for those in the know] does this not seem to reflect many of the points that Satyr raises over at KT? For him morality is ever and always in sync with nature. Natural behaviors can be understood if you are able to grasp the role that evolution plays in the reproduction of all living things.

Perhaps a special dispensation might be granted here. Allow him to come on board and participate on this thread.

My own interest of course is the extent to which these "general descriptions" might be integrated into actual conflicted human behaviors. Where does nature/genes stop and nurture/memes begin when the discussion becomes embedded in moral/political conflagrations that we are all likely to be familiar with.
He was like a man who wanted to change all; and could not; so burned with his impotence; and had only me, an infinitely small microcosm to convert or detest. John Fowles

Start here: viewtopic.php?f=1&t=176529
Then here: viewtopic.php?f=15&t=185296

iambiguous
ILP Legend

Posts: 24251
Joined: Tue Nov 16, 2010 8:03 pm
Location: baltimore maryland

### Re: Functional Morality

I largely share the background, but I don’t think you succeed in supporting your view.

Carleas wrote:Morality has resulted from an evolutionary process that selects for survival. Since we observe morality in both young children and non-human primates, we can infer that the cognitive habits that we call morality are evolved: they were selected for because they tended to increase the likelihood that those organisms that exhibited them would pass down the genes that produced them. Morality, in other words, is functional, and this meta-ethical basis should be the foundation for any particular moral system.

It is OK to suppose that morality responds to the environment, but calling it the result of an evolutionary process is problematic. How could we ever observe this? Fossils bear no trace of the morality of a specimen. At the same time it begs for the assumption of a theoretical framework where according to the complexity of an organism and its living conditions we can infer the morality this organism would develop. Somehow this has to be dared, yet there is an inner dynamics in groups, which I would call History, that appears to be at least as determining as physiology and environment. (Of course it's possible to posit that also History is linked to evolution, but that goes way beyond simple morality).
I am inclined to accept that morality assists ‘life’, but ‘life’ is not necessarily self-preservation or one's own genes propagation. So, your “select for survival” becomes problematic too. Oversimplifying, we might see morality (as long as we don’t assess it at its face-value) as a checklist in order to make an individual subservient to a group. In that respect it may be functional to sustain the life of the many, but quite often by requesting to individuals the opposite of their survival and genes propagation. So morality and consciousness are complementary in a way, but also conflicting - and you implicitly point to that. A non-moral attitude may well respond to a drive for survival, which could well be also an outcome of evolution (probably a more genuine one).

That said, Utilitarianism has a problem, I agree with that.
«Va', va', povero untorello. Non sarai tu quello che spianti Milano.»

attano

Posts: 163
Joined: Tue Jun 28, 2011 7:38 pm
Location: Europe

### Re: Functional Morality

Carleas wrote:Morality has resulted from an evolutionary process that selects for survival. Since we observe morality in both young children and non-human primates, we can infer that the cognitive habits that we call morality are evolved: they were selected for because they tended to increase the likelihood that those organisms that exhibited them would pass down the genes that produced them. Morality, in other words, is functional, and this meta-ethical basis should be the foundation for any particular moral system.
I agree with the above re the intrinsic moral drive within human[s].

https://www.scientificamerican.com/article/the-moral-life-of-babies/
Morality is not just something that people learn, argues Yale psychologist Paul Bloom: It is something we are all born with. At birth, babies are endowed with compassion, with empathy, with the beginnings of a sense of fairness.

However the progress of morality within humanity that is going on is not based directly on biological evolutionary adaption and natural selection.
The ongoing 'evolution' of the moral drive which is inherent is based on a meme basis [ideological] that in turn [as driven by the inherent moral drive] program the collective brain of humanity.

Note 200 years ago no one would forecast the possibility of legal banning of 'Chattel Slavery' in all nations in the World. Whilst this is only pertaining to Laws [not practice], it is a definite 'moral' achievement and progress for humanity. Such an evolution is not by natural selection re normal evolution.

What is critical is how can we abstract a sound Framework and System of Morality and System
[with groundings and principles] from the reality of what is within the ongoing progress of morality. To expedite the progress in quantum jumps we need a sound Framework.

I have been posting views relating to a a sound Framework and System of Morality and System to expedite progress in morality in various posts.
I am a progressive human being, a World Citizen, NOT-a-theist and not religious.
Prismatic567
Philosopher

Posts: 1825
Joined: Sun Nov 02, 2014 4:35 am

### Re: Functional Morality

Prismatic567 wrote:
Carleas wrote:Morality has resulted from an evolutionary process that selects for survival. Since we observe morality in both young children and non-human primates, we can infer that the cognitive habits that we call morality are evolved: they were selected for because they tended to increase the likelihood that those organisms that exhibited them would pass down the genes that produced them. Morality, in other words, is functional, and this meta-ethical basis should be the foundation for any particular moral system.
I agree with the above re the intrinsic moral drive within human[s].

Unless you qualify survival and genes propagation as ‘moral’, it does not seem to me that you and OP are saying the same thing. (Of course, it is ultimately up to Carleas to judge on the matter).
If I understood correctly, he maintains that ‘moral habits’ were ‘selected’ throughout evolution because they assist survival and genes propagation, not really because of an intrinsic moral drive in men.

The ‘findings’ reported in the article (which is an interview, not a scientific paper) do not seem to me conducive to what Mr. Bloom claims.
They can be easily interpreted in the way I guess Carleas favours, not as evidence of a genuine moral instinct, but as ‘moral feelings’, ‘proxies’, that serve the real instinct of survival.
«Va', va', povero untorello. Non sarai tu quello che spianti Milano.»

attano

Posts: 163
Joined: Tue Jun 28, 2011 7:38 pm
Location: Europe

### Re: Functional Morality

attano wrote:
Prismatic567 wrote:
Carleas wrote:Morality has resulted from an evolutionary process that selects for survival. Since we observe morality in both young children and non-human primates, we can infer that the cognitive habits that we call morality are evolved: they were selected for because they tended to increase the likelihood that those organisms that exhibited them would pass down the genes that produced them. Morality, in other words, is functional, and this meta-ethical basis should be the foundation for any particular moral system.
I agree with the above re the intrinsic moral drive within human[s].

Unless you qualify survival and genes propagation as ‘moral’, it does not seem to me that you and OP are saying the same thing. (Of course, it is ultimately up to Carleas to judge on the matter).
If I understood correctly, he maintains that ‘moral habits’ were ‘selected’ throughout evolution because they assist survival and genes propagation, not really because of an intrinsic moral drive in men.
I did state I agree to a degree and disagree on,

However the progress of morality within humanity that is going on is not based directly on biological evolutionary adaption and natural selection.

"survival and genes propagation" is not morality per se but rather they are grounds for morality and ethics.

As I had mentioned one need the following to understand how it works;

What is critical is how can we abstract a sound Framework and System of Morality and System
[with groundings and principles] from the reality of what is within the ongoing progress of morality. To expedite the progress in quantum jumps we need a sound Framework.

I have posted on the above elsewhere - won't go into details here.

The ‘findings’ reported in the article (which is an interview, not a scientific paper) do not seem to me conducive to what Mr. Bloom claims.
They can be easily interpreted in the way I guess Carleas favours, not as evidence of a genuine moral instinct, but as ‘moral feelings’, ‘proxies’, that serve the real instinct of survival.
That is only an article re a book he wrote. The researching proper is in the background and published elsewhere. I can't find his scientific paper off hand, but he would not be rewarded $1 million if there was no scientific paper. Yale psychology professor Paul Bloom was awarded around$1 million by the Jacobs Foundation on Oct. 2 in recognition of his research on babies’ abilities to make moral judgments.
https://yaledailynews.com/blog/2017/10/ ... -research/

Btw, there are other researches done re Babies and inherent Morality.
I am a progressive human being, a World Citizen, NOT-a-theist and not religious.
Prismatic567
Philosopher

Posts: 1825
Joined: Sun Nov 02, 2014 4:35 am

### Re: Functional Morality

Sorry if I misunderstood, but honestly I still don’t understand.
I confess I have a problem at the literal comprehension level. You wrote “I agree with the above re the intrinsic moral drive within human[s].” What does “re” mean? I thought it was a typo, but I see that the same “re” returns elsewhere.
Regardless, after the same sentence “I agree with the above re the intrinsic moral drive within human[s]”, it seems that you posit a ‘moral drive’ in men.
Now, I take you agree with Carleas by saying:
Prismatic567 wrote:"survival and genes propagation" is not morality per se
.
My understanding is that Carleas maintains that if these instincts are a ‘ground’ for morality, they are so in some deceitful way, meaning that what is deemed a moral habit is, in fact, a device serving "survival and genes propagation". This amounts to a denial of a moral drive in men. And if you agree with that, where would 'your' moral drive be?
Prismatic567 wrote:rather they are grounds for morality
and
Prismatic567 wrote:However the progress of morality within humanity that is going on is not based directly on biological evolutionary adaption and natural selection.

So, if I may consider that instincts to "survival and genes propagation" are key to adaptation and natural selection, I have to understand that these non-moral grounds of morality are not what ‘directly’ propels this ‘ongoing progress of morality’. So, their role remain mysterious. Maybe I should have read your other posts on the “sound Framework and System of Morality” to understand this better. Nevertheless I get that this framework would be obtained through abstraction, hence I conjecture (maybe superficially) that these non-direct grounds would no longer play in it.

Prismatic567 wrote:
attano wrote:The ‘findings’ reported in the article (which is an interview, not a scientific paper) do not seem to me conducive to what Mr. Bloom claims.
They can be easily interpreted in the way I guess Carleas favours, not as evidence of a genuine moral instinct, but as ‘moral feelings’, ‘proxies’, that serve the real instinct of survival.

That is only an article re a book he wrote. The researching proper is in the background and published elsewhere. I can't find his scientific paper off hand, but he would not be rewarded \$1 million if there was no scientific paper.

That’s OK, I don’t mean that Professor Bloom’s research is unreliable. I have no reason to think that and, actually, what he says about children’s reactions makes sense to me, I can easily back it after my own experience. Yet, I still don't think that those findings hint to an innate morality in a sense that would confute the OP. (Incidentally, the Jakob Foundaton is about «the future of young people so that they become socially responsible and productive members of society». I don’t mean to disrespect that, but scientifically their grant does not prove much in my view).
«Va', va', povero untorello. Non sarai tu quello che spianti Milano.»

attano

Posts: 163
Joined: Tue Jun 28, 2011 7:38 pm
Location: Europe

### Re: Functional Morality

Carleas wrote:Morality has resulted from an evolutionary process that selects for survival. Since we observe morality in both young children and non-human primates, we can infer that the cognitive habits that we call morality are evolved: they were selected for because they tended to increase the likelihood that those organisms that exhibited them would pass down the genes that produced them. Morality, in other words, is functional, and this meta-ethical basis should be the foundation for any particular moral system.

Awesome epiphany!

This raises problems for many popular moral systems, but most acutely for utilitarian ethics, since it is ostensibly grounded in the same secular liberal worldview that recognizes the mind's material identity and evolutionary origins. Because if morality is a product of evolution, if its purpose all along has been to do whatever keeps the genes propagating, then moral intuitions about the value of humans, or conscious beings, or subjective experience, are at best accidentally correct: they are right if and only if they produce moral prescriptions that tend to favor propagation.

Yes exactly and it's why morality is only relevant within that assumed context.

It bears mentioning that subjective experience, too, is the product of evolution,

Is there such a thing as objective experience? Can an object look at itself?

and individuals feel happy and sad because those feelings tended to help their ancestors to survive and reproduce. So we should actually expect subjective experience to be a somewhat reliable proxy for gene-replication.

Gene replication? You mean population growth with no opposing force selecting for any particular gene mutation? Hmm... what happens when life gets too easy? What genes are chosen in that environment?

Moreover, since humans' greatest evolutionary asset has been their cooperation,

I think it was farming and one doesn't need cooperation for that; just luck in having good soil and animals to be domesticated. That's the biggest difference between the Native Americans and the Europeans.

Are wolves more successful than tigers? Wolves cooperate, but have to share in a hierarchy where some wolves may be excluded. Tigers manage alone and don't need to share.

we should also expect valuing the intuition that others' subjective experience matters to be selfish: we have dedicated brain structures for modeling the subjective states of others (more specifically, our ingroup others), and we reproduce their subjective experience automatically as we observe them; their pain feels to us like pain, their pleasure feels to us like pleasure.

But note that these are proxies. We can identify many situations where they mis-assign value, both in our own subjective experience and in how we value the subjective experience of others. We can be tricked into valuing the subjective experiences of robots, and into devaluing the experiences of friends, by subtle or overt manipulations of other evolved cognitive habits: cute robots who mimic babies get incorrectly included; unfamiliar potential allies get incorrectly excluded.

We do tend to personify, but I don't think we need cooperation for that. The rustling of the grass should be interpreted as a tiger whether it really is or not.

One way of interpreting moral debates is as competing assertions about what system most faithfully produces evolutionary success,

How could anyone determine what "evolutionary success" means or how to get there? Evolution presupposes no presumptions or else it's not evolution. As soon as someone has a plan in mind, it would cease to be evolution since there is no obstacle to overcome, but conditions upon which to undercome and devolve.

and as an evolutionary process itself in that the ideas themselves replicate and are selected for. But I would argue that we can actually draw separate normative conclusions from this observation. To note the evolutionary origins of morality is to short circuit the is-ought fallacy, because it describes what 'ought' is, where moral ideas come from and why they persist. It therefore permits us to reject normative claims that are inconsistent with descriptive claims about what morality is. Functional oughts are is claims.

The functional morality is what ought to be done if one desires the continuation of what's been happening.
Serendipper
Thinker

Posts: 873
Joined: Sun Aug 13, 2017 7:30 pm

### Re: Functional Morality

attano wrote:What does “re” mean?

"Regarding" is my guess.
Serendipper
Thinker

Posts: 873
Joined: Sun Aug 13, 2017 7:30 pm

### Re: Functional Morality

iambiguous wrote:Just out of curiosity [for those in the know] does this not seem to reflect many of the points that Satyr raises over at KT? For him morality is ever and always in sync with nature. Natural behaviors can be understood if you are able to grasp the role that evolution plays in the reproduction of all living things.

Morality is in sync with society and whether one regards society to be natural or artificial is subjective along with the interpretation about which is best.

Perhaps a special dispensation might be granted here. Allow him to come on board and participate on this thread.

You can argue his side and we won't have to deal with the foul order.

My own interest of course is the extent to which these "general descriptions" might be integrated into actual conflicted human behaviors. Where does nature/genes stop and nurture/memes begin when the discussion becomes embedded in moral/political conflagrations that we are all likely to be familiar with.

Are you asking whether nature or nurture more prominently affects moral/political leanings? Well, since morality is a function of society, then it would seem that nurture would instill properties consistent with societal influences.
Serendipper
Thinker

Posts: 873
Joined: Sun Aug 13, 2017 7:30 pm

### Re: Functional Morality

Everything you do is a product of your structure.
When you act, you reinforce your structure.
Beyond the bias of the living, all is neutral.
The bias is a product of your structure.
All values are a bias.
Morality is how to best act in accord with your bias.

Survival is neutral.
Evolution neutral.
Happiness neutral.
Change neutral.
Progress neutral.

Only the biased care one way or the other.
What is your bias and why are you bias?
Ought you rely on the systems that produced your bias to dictate how you respond to your structure?
Formerly known as: Joe Schmoe

ben wrote:I think it is eloquently fitting that my farewell thread should be so graciously hijacked by such blatant penis waving. It condenses my entire ILP experience into one very manageable metaphor.

Ben JS
Human Being

Posts: 2064
Joined: Thu Apr 19, 2012 9:12 am
Location: Australia