2014-12-24

empirical vs normative uncertainty

5.9: news.phi/empirical vs normative uncertainty:
Will MacAskill @ MIRI:
. with just a bit of Moral philosophy research
we can radically alter the value of our options.
So individuals, philanthropists, and governments
should all spend a lot more resources on
researching and studying ethics .
. picking policy can make use of voting systems .
. when unsure about what we ought to do,
it's due to various sorts of uncertainty:
# empirical uncertainty:
. basing moral weight on unknowns;
eg, assuming malaria should be exterminated,
how much can mosquito nets alone prevent malaria?
. eg, assuming good euthanasia doesn't hurt,
when is a fetus feeling pain?;
eg, assuming humans should never be euthanized,
when does a fetus turn from animal to human?

# fundamental normative uncertainty:
. having all the facts but not being sure about
what the conscience should reasonably want;
eg, are all humans equal?
or should family matter more than foreigners?
. eg, assuming abortion improves quality of life
but some are religiously offended by abortions,
who matters most: children or prolifers?
. eg, does the societal good of having cell phones
outweigh the rights of few hypersensitives
who will become violently ill around cell phones?
what is a reasonable disability accommodation?

5.11: conclusion:
. much of ethics could be solved by
curbing human growth in order to
afford areas reserved for special peoples;
(eg, some cities should have no cell phones)
and keep humans out of dangerous areas;
(eg, wildlife reserves that attract mosquitos
should have no humans).
. the profits from good times should be reserved for
research and saving up for bad times
not for use in expanding the population .
. so much of modern ethics is about
what you should do after doing the wrong thing;
how can we ever hope to look responsible
after being reproductively irresponsible ?
. on the other hand,
you aren't going to make prolifers happy
by giving aborters their own state;
and even if you can find the perfect birth control
there are still other reasons for abortion;
and, prolifers would still be upset about
attempts to legalize voluntary euthanasia .
. I hope for a rational god that says
if you feel the need to euthanize yourself,
you should give us a chance to discuss it
so we might document such sentiments as
"I would rather not fight cancer with chemo
when we could regulate carcinogens instead";
and thereby inform our free-will society of
the choices it makes that are causing a deathwish .