Moral Mysteries

The relatedness of all things points at deeper truths that come only through synthesis of many values, postulates, and truths.  Balance and focus are essential to impacting change in the world.

Universality of morals

A dear friend introduced me to Hegel, along with Kant and others, and it got me thinking a lot about morality.  I have often considered whether there is a universality of morals.  How can it be, as Kant suggests, that any true moral must be/ought to be a universal law, if it is the case that we all believe different things?  I can conclude, at least, that there is a dialectic, bordering on metaphysical, relationship between morals.  All things are related, the universe refrains.

How can it be that something may come from nothing?  A whole universe from what we're calling at this point a big bang, an eternal light spun into being.  Seemingly, a universality that no-thing is nothing.

Dialectics

Dialectics, meaning dialogue, has its origins in classical Greek philosophy and the Socratic method.  Hegel expanded on the concept of a dialectical method, and in it we find a great technique for balanced and well-reasoned inquiry into morality.  Dialectics consists of forming a thesis, an antithesis, and a synthesis.

Pose a thesis or postulate, for instance "It is a good thing that we are in quarantine right now."  Defend the postulate as best as you can.  You might point out there is a dangerous disease outbreak that is highly contagious and deadly, especially to at-risk individuals.

Pose and defend an antithesis; this can be any thesis that you suppose might be related to or opposing the original thesis.  Perhaps "We should not be in quarantine."  You could consider that quarantine is destructive for our mental health, that vaccines are available, and that we need to build community immunity.

Finally, you can form a synthesis of the theses, revealing ancillary truths from the original postulate.  The synthesis in this case could be that people's lives are actually at stake in both cases.  People are dying from COVID and people are also killing themselves.  There is good evidence that quarantine, vaccines, and community immunity are all meaningful solutions to disease, but each solution has its own risks.  Fortunately we do have great technology that allows us to stay connected (at the expense of individual freedom/privacy), and we do seem to have great biomedical technology for developing vaccines.  We will need to build heuristics to figure out when quarantine should end, taking into account both mental and physical health.

Dialectics in A.I.

In dialectics, we find that truths are often, if not always, a sum-of-parts, where effects might even be multiple degrees removed from a given postulate.  Existing artificial intelligence, at best, can model domain spaces and find correlations across many data points, without really verifying truths and causality.  It's good for showing people what they already want to see.  Leading edge A.I. will take a dialectical approach to reason; it will be able to contrast postulates seamlessly, lending to the emergence of true predictive and intelligent technology.