Reading this thread has been fascinating. I’m perhaps naive & simplistic in my thinking but here are some of my thoughts.
How does one decide between the lesser of two evils? Logic? Instinct? Emotion? How does one decide anything? For me, it depends on a variety of factors such as mood, fear, access to information, time, proximity to the situation, and the list goes on. Furthermore, I don’t know that I am always consistent in how I decide. Is it really always a question of morality?
I’m not sure how convinced I am regarding the effectiveness of mind over matter (read it on a tablet, told myself to think it, therefore I think it). I think some people are better at controlling their thoughts than others. I can’t personally justify every wrong action I’ve ever done. I suppose there might be a strong pill to suppress the memories of such actions and a strong pill that would allow one to do things one would not “normally” do, but that would be regardless of a moral compass.
I do believe in the power of persuasion. I think that this power has more to do with the effectiveness of people preying on the emotions of others rather than the act of defining a moral doctrine. I don’t know that math or AI could ever show me that killing a baby could yield a “better” result than not killing a baby. But if you threaten the life of my own child I just might be pushed over the edge, and I’ve never had a child.
I think my behavior would be driven by needs alone. However, I have some doubts. Say I needed money and decided to steal. If the person I stole from needed the money more than I did and ended up hurting as a result, with or without a doctrine of wrong & right, wouldn’t I still feel bad for causing someone else pain? Would I not therefore refrain from stealing from that person? Or are you saying that I would no longer react emotionally to the consequences of my actions? Are my feelings a result of a learned moral doctrine or something else?