X-Message-Number: 11079
Date: Tue, 12 Jan 1999 10:15:31 EST
Subject: values

Joe Strout (#11069) wrote:

>I don't even see that one ought to strive to maximize one's own satisfaction
when duplicates are *not* involved.  (My stance in moral philosophy is
basically utilitarian, but with a number of modifications from the classic
formulation, including a weighting function that, for example, generally rules
out sadism. 

Certainly every formulation of values must be utilitarian in some sense,
seeking to promote one's goals in the most effective way. But how are the ends
themselves chosen or manifested? (Let's leave the "moral" out of "moral
philosophy" and instead speak of "personal philosophy"--how to make choices in
the most appropriate way.)

My own criterion of value is similar to Aristotle's, who (among many others,
ancient and modern, although always a small minority) said that happiness is
the only end in itself; all other goals or values are only means to ends.

In other words, the Hedonists, Epicureans, and Utilitarians all had a good
partial initial handle on the correct approach, but quickly lost their way
because they lacked the necessary technical tools of biology, physics, and
mathematics. We can do much better.

Robert Ettinger
Cryonics Institute
Immortalist Society

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