Sunday, October 12, 2014

Andorian basis for ethics

It has been said that there is mathematical reasoning/truth, scientific reasoning/truth, and moral reasoning/truth. .  If I understand T.M. Scanlon correctly, at least insofar as his book, "Being Realistic about Reasons" is described by Thomas Nagel, moral reasoning stands apart from these other types of reasoning and relies upon a normative element.  That we should swerve when driving to avoid hitting a pedestrian is clearly and obviously true, and its truth is not based upon anything else, rather it is based upon its shouldness. Moral statements have a clear normative element, and that normative element does not make them any less true.
I would propose a different schema. The obvious shouldness underlying the statement we should swerve to avoid hitting a pedestrian derives from its participation in, its strengthening of, the "and" and the "or".   For if you don't swerve, and you strike and kill the pedestrian you are not participating in the "and" and the "or".  Rather, you are standing outside them and trying to vanquish  them.  That you are clearly destroying your relationship with others (and), severing the relationship between the pedestrian and others (and), denying the pedestrian the right to an independent existence (or), and shattering the diversity upon which the universe relies could not be more obvious.
Though not as extreme as in the case of killing, other acts that are generally regarded as immoral, such as stealing, are similarly damaging to the andorian fabric that holds us together.    
Thus, to repeat again, the apparent normative basis of moral reasoning derives from its participation in the "and" and the "or".   In much earlier posts I have described the Andorian basis of mathematical reasoning as well as the Andorian basis for scientific reasoning (and many other disciplines.)  Reasoning is not divided. Each area of reasoning does not constitute its own universe.  The "and" and the "or" underlies all that is.