- Hmmmm…of which school are you?
“But there is a second, more radical school of thought in evolutionary ethics. This view holds that evolutionary biology, rather than providing a basis for improving or modernizing ethics, shows that the idea of objective ethical rules is inherently mistaken… This view is best characterized as a form of moral nihilism, the idea that moral obligations do not exist…realizing that moral claims are illusions surely means that moral claims are false. There is, under this view, no real ethical difference between the actions of the vilest criminal and the most virtuous saint.”
“These conflicting views of free will coexist in a continual dialectic in Wilson’s work, but most notably in his account of morality. Moral sentiments, Wilson says, are the product of the “hypothalamic-limbic complex” in the brain, and yet through our use of reason and will, we can make them “increasingly wise and stable through the understanding of the needs and pitfalls of human nature.” Morality is based on emotions, yet we need to cultivate a “rationalist” basis for it. Morality is a delusion, and it is also the most important thing in human life.”
Either way, your view has some deep problems and is certainly not settled science.
- Are accounts of a purely evolutionary origin of ethics a matter of settled science? Not according to this peer reviewed academic source. Thus, if one finds his view captured in general here, he should know he holds to something that is not considered “science” or a “fact”.
“Evolutionary ethics is, on a philosopher’s time-scale, a very new approach to ethics. Though interdisciplinary approaches between scientists and philosophers have the potential to generate important new ideas, evolutionary ethics still has a long way to go.”
Or does this writer’s and the editorial boards’ views also clash with science/evolution?
“The history of evolutionary ethics is a topic that reflects both on the theory of evolution and on ethics. Because it explores man’s origins, evolution extends an invitation, and given the state of ethics, that invitation has been attractive. In coming decades philosophers may judge the construction of ethical systems to be impossible. The entire field of ethics itself may come to be regarded as a pseudo-subject like astrology. But perhaps a different approach in ethics will prove to be fruitful. Historians, however, should not try to predict the course of philosophy, or they cease to be historians. At best they can point out a century-long frustration over the state of ethics and in the case of evolutionary ethics, the significantly interesting but dismal track record of this approach as a method of resolution.”
I guess a “dismal” track record probably doesn’t describe something as being settled by science or evolution…
- Nothing like a little cake and eat some too…and even Harris entertains views that supposedly clash with science…
“What I like about this venture is that it permits Harris to explore a variety of positions that just might appear preposterous. He entertains the possibility that consciousness might be beyond human intelligence to explain, and contrasts the metaphor of a brain that “generates” consciousness to one that “transduces” it (the popular theme in visionary and psychedelic subcultures that likens the brain to a sort of “receiver,” making consciousness the “signal”) and supports the resurging philosophical idea that consciousness inheres in all of matter. He doesn’t exhibit rigid certainty, either. He simply makes arguments.”
Do purely naturalistic/materialist/empirical accounts of morality clash with science or evolution? No. But neither are they confirmed or proven by science or evolution. So what can we say about those who think these naturalistic accounts (their own views of course) are proven by science or evolution while rival views indeed clash with science or evolution?
We can say quite simply that they don’t know what they are talking about.