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July 05, 2015


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Thus there is no basis for moral values?

The late Ronald Dworkin wrote that “No government is legitimate unless it subscribes to two reigning principles. First, it must show equal concern for the fate of every person over whom it claims dominion. Second, it must respect fully the responsibility and right of each person to decide how to make something valuable of his life.” (Dworkin, Justice for Hedgehogs 2)

“. . . [I]n a genuinely democratic community each citizen participates as an equal partner, which means more than just that he has an equal vote. It means that he has an equal voice and an equal stake in the result.” (Dworkin, 5)

These two principles place boundaries around theories of distributive justice - theories that stipulate the resources and opportunities a government should make available to those it governs. There can be no politically neutral distribution. A laissez-faire political economy that leaves unchanged the consequences of a free market does not show equal concern for everyone. The opposite fails to meet the second principle. Distributive justice calls for a solution to simultaneous equations - balancing the two underlying principles that are the basis of a legitimate government.

Richard, moral values are determined by people. They aren't inherent in the natural world, as the laws of nature are. So morality is an inter-subjective choice.

As Harari discusses, the truth of "equality" may seem inarguable to the modern mind. Bu, again, we need to remember that these sorts of truths are subjective, not objective.

We imagine an order that appeals to us. This is a great strength of the human mind.

Also, a weakness -- when we forget that imagined orders can be questioned, debated, altered. They aren't handed down by God, but are our own creations.

I think there is one overarching principle that applies to all societies at all times in our history, and which is the basis for all government: hubris.

Pride is one of the Seven Deadly Sins, but I think that hubris, or overweening pride is the human failing, which all strictures hope to help us avoid. Plato has Socrates and Glaucon discuss Gyges' Ring which I interpret as hubris without consequences.

I could argue that all human transgressions (upon which values, morals, laws, and the state ultimately exist to constrain) derive from acts of hubris.


In view of Love collection, . . The Almighty Supreme Power has only one all covering request ( law ):

The nicer , . . The better


Is the concept of an objectively true intersubjective order an aspect of human social biology? It looks that way to me since social biology has to do with the biology of how humans interact with each other.

See the oldest comments after this discussion, which reference this discussion: https://disqus.com/home/channel/biopoliticsandbionews/discussion/channel-biopoliticsandbionews/americas_dunning_kruger_president/#comment-3409544678


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