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Tuesday, May 21, 2013

Ethics and Science

Science and Ethics. Put those two words together and lots of issues pop up. (I write this as part of my ongoing inquiry into the Ethics of Integrity which I have outlined elsewhere.)

  1. Experimentation and its unintended consequences: like nuclear weapons and Frankensteins.
  2. Bad means to good ends: using humans and their parts (embryos, cells) or animals (especially higher conscious ones) for experimentation.
  3. Irreligiousness: proposing solutions that conflict with religious beliefs, Creator God, divine revelation, supernatural.
  4. Science as faith; Scientism, alternative to religion, without transcendence.
The first two are important issues and we do need to attempt to find and/or accept universal standards in dealing with them. And I hope we do this in the course of our inquiry for a human nature foundation for ethics.

The second two I will deal with in a separate section on Ethics and Religion.

Here are two more that I want to deal with in this section:

  1. Scientific Method as insight into the human way of knowing and adapting in and to our environment: i.e. epistemology as part of the universal Model for Ethics.
  2. Biology, evolutionary psychology, neuroscience, and information theory as providing evidence to a model of human nature/existence and so a model of a universal ethics.

With respect to number one, I will use Bernard Lonergan's Insight, Karl Popper's Logic of Scientific Discovery, David Deutsch's The Beginning of Infinity among others. Human knowing of reality involves observation, imagination, insight, hypothesis, and verification. The medium (image, idea, concept) does not separate us from the "really real." It is our way to it. Also we will discover what makes a good model--including a model for ethics.

With respect to number two, I will use Steven Pinker's Stuff of Thought, Doug Hoffstadter's I am a Strange Loop, Terrence Deacon's, The Symbolic Species, and Paul Bloom's Descartes' Baby among others to show the scientific evidence for our Ethical Model that includes interiority and exteriority, past and future, individuality and communality, real and ideal, existence and transcendence in dialectical relationship.  (As I presented earlier.)

This will then move us to the next section on Ethics and Religion.

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