Thursday, January 2, 2014

Objective Morals

Around 500BCE, Heraclitus used the term "Logos" to refer to the "divine order" -- the laws of nature -- and considered it part of God.

Some of those laws include the very fabric of the universe, including logic, mathematics...and information theory

There is a principle in information theory which yields a counterintuitive result to determining the strategy for maximum benefit from iterated Prisoner's Dilemmas.  That strategy is "Always cooperate, unless you are sure you are dealing with a scorpion."  Another possible strategy is "tit-for-tat", which turns out not to be the best strategy.

(Incidentally, ff you examine "always cooperate..." and "tit-for-tat", you may recognize "turn the other cheek" and "eye for an eye" -- and you'd be right.)

Anyway, this counterintuitive result is a principle in nature which guided the natural selection and evolution of "Love" -- all forms of it -- in humans.  (Metaphysically and telenomically, one could say that "Love came from Logos", which [to me] is like saying "Love came from God" -- but this isn't really necessary to the discussion.)

Another evolved trait whose natural selection was guided by the Logos was that of human conscience, which is informed by prudence and wisdom, among other factors.  Studies are uncovering that infants would appear to be born with a sense of justice, and thus would seem to confirm that conscience is an innate trait that we are born with (albeit without the necessary wisdom for complex moral reasoning).

Anyway, the argument _would_ go that "Love from Logos" shows Logos to be a source of what we regard as the highest good, and since this is also how we evolved conscience, conscience would be from the same source.  The thing is, there are other matters that evolved from the Logos that could include ideas such as "natural evil", which clued me in on the silly logical flaw in my argument.

Meanwhile, a scientific system of ethics can be derived from Information Theory.  Given that "morals are the ethics of conscience", and given the objective underpinnings of these sources, it would stand to reason that morals are also objective.  We should therefore be directing our studies toward how the conscience works to maximize the greatest moral good, which is love.

Of course, I'm assuming that "Love" is the highest good, which though may be in line with what some philosophers have said through the ages, others would disagree, and say that God is the highest good -- and since the Logos springs from God, and Love and conscience from the Logos, then conscience and Love are from God. But that is a bit simplistic, and wouldn't be satisfying to an atheist.

And I hope you can understand now why I say this is a thorny problem.