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Re: aesthetic evaluation (was: RE: (OT) Music

From:Tim May <butsuri@...>
Date:Saturday, June 15, 2002, 0:02
Andy Canivet writes:
 > >From: JS Bangs <jaspax@...>
 > >.
 > >
 > >Interesting. How do we reconcile the differences in subjective experience,
 > >then, when different people's expectations of morality may be wildly
 > >different, and neither can act without affecting the other?
 > >
 > >Jesse S. Bangs
 > In short, wisdom.  Ultimately, I think a minimal number of laws, axioms, or
 > precepts are required for any society - but the idea is that moral behavior
 > is a skill rather than a set of principles or guidelines for action.  Moral
 > action becomes more like riding a bicycle than like programming a computer;
 > but as such, it is sticky and hard to talk about.  Fortunately, its easier
 > to learn than to talk about I think - which seems to be what Socrates, the
 > Stoics, Taoists, Buddhists, etc. were all on about - even if we can't define
 > what is right, people can learn how to act rightly.  Partly I think it comes
 > from a sort of Socratic dialog, but it also comes from training attention so
 > that we learn to observe and consider our own thoughts and emotions better,
 > before they can become harmful actions that we'll regret later.
I don't understand what this can mean.

In my view, morality can be reduced to the following:

A) A (probably fairly short) list of what is to be considered
   fundamentally desirable/undesirable, and the order of precedence of
   these things should they conflict.

B) Judgements on how best to behave in order that the universe should
   be in as desirable a state as possible.

A cannot be justified, and must be taken as axiomatic.  Anyone
attempting to formulate A will be guided by the existing A that they
have inherited from biology and society, but it's not possible to say
that any A is right or wrong without reference to some A, and from a
purely objective viewpoint A is arbitrary, all you can ask for is that
it be self-consistent.

B cannot be complete, probably, as any set of rules will fail to cover
some circumstances.  In such circumstances individual judgement must
be exercised.  This is a seperate issue to the unjustifiable nature of
A; there is no theoretical difficulty in justifying B, it's justified
with respect to A.

In some circumstances B will be extremely complex, and hard to define,
but we can judge its rightness by whether it succeeds in acheiving A.
In riding a bicycle, B may be so complex as to be uncommunicable, but
it's easy to judge whether one can ride a bicyle or not, because we
judge it by A: did you reach your destination without falling off?

Perhaps I've fallen into some unperceived naivete, but that's my idea
of the situation.