May 3, 2022

Been engaged in some e-correspondence about weighty topics - philosophy and spirituality and whatnot.

In trying to explain how we have something like an absolute moral law without a out-of-the-system lawgiver, I turn to a very UU idea of emergence. I think value and morality are properties that start to appear as connections (with others, and/or taking into potential future connections) are made. The preferences that the group members have there form the basis of "getting ought from is".

Nothing meaningful exists in isolation: a weird pocket universe with a single inhabitant would have no need for morality, the concept wouldn't make sense; "do as thou wilt shall be the whole of the law" would be about the best you could do.

But as more beings get added, the need for morality emerges, because there is a need to reconcile competing preferences.

Another way to to look at it, borrowed from the UU: economics, say, is based on group psychology, which is based on individual psychology, which is based on neuroscience, which is based on biology, which is based on chemistry, which is based on particle physics. Going the other way, each level adds complexity and rules - or rather, observed approximations of behavior, and in general you can't model and make predictions from the lower levels up (trying to get a workable model of economics from chemistry, say) But there wasn't a supreme economic lawgiver, nothing outside of the system that determined how money must move, just ideas of how it does move.

There are some ideas I'm trying to sneak by here. The implications that morality, the sense of "should", is conflatable to an aggregation of preferences (including preferences that emerged from the groups and didn't exist as individual preferences) is not yet a firm foundation. (Like how much does it depend on people being able to know whats best even for themselves...) And I still have a strong sense of directionality to morality; a hunch that every moral decision has an outcome that is more moral and one that is less moral, i.e. more or less in tune with the ultimate larger group preference. But as always I lean into the uncertainty of knowing which is which; most moral dilemmas don't feel like good vs evil, it is a choice between two competing "goods", and knowing which one of those two goods is ultimately more in tune with the greater group's good is clouded with uncertainty.

Anyway. I realized I can google up some articles with "morality as an emergent property" and find some papers that explore the idea, and while they're not as jargon-laden as other bits of modern philosophy I've seen there are enough words that might have specific meanings that I get a bit lost. (And I'm sure my own rambles might not be that easy to follow either...)
Gay Marriage is next.

The Alito leak basically implies only things "deeply rooted in the Nation's history and traditions" as what deserves protection under the 9th amendment's unenumerated rights protection, and i guess everything else falls to the states.

So fuck women's rights to their bodies, fuck gay marriage, but hey - owning a person as a slave is A-OK by this standard. Certainly was a lot of history and tradition around that in 1776!

Also: Fuck the idea that we are a nation - one that respects individual liberty, and can make moral corrections as a nation - and really we are just BlueStateLandia and RedStateIstan, and the civil war was for jack shit.