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Why be good? 
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 Why be good?
Why be good?



Sun May 11, 2014 10:00 pm
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Post Re: Why be good?
I kind of feel like he is ducking the questions a bit in some of these chapters, and focusing more on debunking some alternative answers. Of course they are short chapters so it’s not going to be a comprehensive treatment.

In this case one of his answers is that there is no single question to answer of “why be good” or “why be moral” but rather there are particular situations. You can hardly disagree with this, but still I have the feeling that the overarching question is an interesting one. At the same time, there’s probably never going to be a very satisfying answer other than “we should care about other people.” As he notes, religion providing the prospect of punishment could be effective, but even if true it doesn't reflect well on human nature.

He reminded me of a study with monkeys where they clearly have a notion of fairness, they’ll be angry if another monkey gets a better reward for the same task. So while evolution doesn’t provide an “ought” answer, it’s hardly a mystery to see where some of our fundamental moral intuitions come from.

Another interesting study was when people contributed to a communal coffee station when there was a picture of a face looking at people, where apparently even the idea that they were being watched was effective.



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Sun Jun 01, 2014 8:23 am
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Post Re: Why be good?
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At the same time, there’s probably never going to be a very satisfying answer other than “we should care about other people.”


I suspect that there is an insanely complex algorithm that could model the benefits of altruism. The only way to ensure you are treated well is to treat others well, and to have faith that they follow the same code. Mathematical karma.


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Sun Jun 01, 2014 1:22 pm
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Post Re: Why be good?
Interbane wrote:
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At the same time, there’s probably never going to be a very satisfying answer other than “we should care about other people.”


I suspect that there is an insanely complex algorithm that could model the benefits of altruism. The only way to ensure you are treated well is to treat others well, and to have faith that they follow the same code. Mathematical karma.


There are certainly models that attempt to capture reciprocal altruism as well as kin selection.

The harder question is when those don't apply.



Sun Jun 01, 2014 1:39 pm
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Post Re: Why be good?
Would there be the objective math - the way things are - and our attempts to represent it through abstraction? Even the anomalies are some sort of uncommon denominator, even if there is near infinite variability.

I didn't mean to imply we'll ever get to the point where we have this insanely complex algorithm. It's sort of an ideal that we could get close to but perhaps not achieve. The reference to there being a mathematical basis is that it turns the suggestion to do good(philosophically) into a probabilistic imperative. As a WHY goes, it's a bit stronger.


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Post Re: Why be good?
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“why be good”


i always feel like answering, because it feels good, to me.

definition of good could be more troublesome, might be easier just to do good than define it :) perhaps define it by doing it.



Sun Jun 01, 2014 11:00 pm
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