Moral Calculus

This is the introduction to an essay about morality, which is laid out across several posts. My approach is to proceed in a similar manner to any methodical scientific investigation. This means that I will avoid, as much as possible,  appeals to emotion or intuition, but will rely instead on logical inferences and observations. It also means that, at first, I will eschew moral terminology.

Here, then, is the basic structure of the essay:

Posts 1, 2, and 3:  In these posts, I will develop quantitative systems describing possible relationships among simple, idealized observations in the brain.  It will later turn out that these systems serve as examples of moral calculus.

Post 4: In this post, I will consider what may be regarded as shortcomings in the descriptions derived in the previous three posts. These will ultimately serve to highlight the “blind spots” of some moral theories.

Post 5: In this post, I will broach the subject of morality head on, using the developments of the previous posts as a foundation. In particular, I will relate the quantitative systems to well known moral theories.

The systems developed in the first three posts are delineated according to the basic observables used. In the first post we consider desires, in the second we consider happiness, and in the third we consider a combination of the two.

Post 1: Desire-based systems.

Post 2: Happiness-based systems.

Post 3: Hybrid systems.

Post 4: Blind spots.

Post 5: Morality.


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