[SEQ RERUN] Consolidated Nature of Morality Thread

Today’s post, Consolidated Nature of Morality Thread was originally published on April 15, 2007. A summary (from the LW wiki):

Disputes about the nature of morality tend to overwhelm other discussions, so this post was intended to be a home for those tangential thoughts.

Examples of questions to be discussed here include: What is the difference between “is” and “ought” statements? Why do some preferences seem voluntary? Do children believe God can choose what is moral? Is there a systematic direction to the development of moral beliefs in history, and, if so, what is the causal explanation of this? Does Tarski’s definition of truth extend to moral statements? If you were physically altered to prefer killing, would “killing is good” become true? If the truth value of a moral claim cannot be changed by any physical act, does this make the claim stronger or weaker than other claims? What are the referents of moral claims, or are they empty of content? Are there “pure” ought-statements, or do they all have is-statements mixed into them? Are there pure aesthetic judgments or preferences?

Discuss the post here (rather than in the comments of the original post).

This post is part of a series rerunning Eliezer Yudkowsky’s old posts so those interested can (re-)read and discuss them. The previous post was Your Rationality is My Business, and you can use the sequence_reruns tag or rss feed to follow the rest of the series.

Sequence reruns are a community-driven effort. You can participate by re-reading the sequence post, discussing it, posting the next day’s sequence reruns post, summarizing forthcoming articles on the wiki, or creating exercises. Go here for more details, or to discuss the Sequence Reruns.

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