In his exploration of The Ethical Universe
, Alan clarified that he no longer thinks of (I) [belief in] Truth as “inherently good”, but what I might term ‘instrumentally good
‘ in relation to (II)Love [for others] and [III] [personal] Happiness. I am pleased that he concurred with my analysis
of the pre-Newtonian state of secular ethics, yet curious about the source of his optimism that this handicap can be overcome. [Read more] for what might be consider the ultimate question…
Alan makes a number of intriguing statements that I’ve been trying to piece together:
* The answer to this current state of affairs is not to give up and conclude that secular ethics is a dead end, but rather to keep working on it, just as we did not give up physics
* I choose to use what I can from various theories to inform my decisions without finding it necessary to claim that any unified ethical theory presently exists.
* I believe that belief in truth is a very important part of ethical living, and that the hypothetical ethical theory of everything will have place for it.
* I think (I) is in a different category from (II) and (III), primarily because (II) and (III) reflect the true ends of ethics while (I) is a critical part of the path to get there.
Just to make sure I understand, indulge me in my usual bout of rephrasing. It appears that Alan believes that:
I. Goodness (or the lack thereof) is an objective attribute of many actions.
II. Love for others is inherently Good
III. The pursuit of Happiness is inherently Good
IV. Any apparent conflict between (II) and (III) is due to our imperfect understanding of Goodness
V. It is both possible and important to pursue better theories of ethics
VI. Belief in Truth is an essential component of that pursuit
Is that true, Alan? If not, how would you clarify that summary?
If so, though, then I just have one question: why?
Why do you consider your belief in (I-VI) to be justified? Or do you?