Thursday, March 01, 2007

Ethical Foundations

In the previous post, I referred somewhat ironically to The Good. However, one of the foundational considerations to the very existence of this project is, what are the criteria for saving technologies?

In my daily life, I am surrounded by analytic philosophers, so I am accutely aware of this issue. I am not remotely qualified to propose and write ethical foundations for a project such as this, but I think there is an easy, fun answer to the central question: it's a Rawlsian original-position situation in the most literal sense. A group of people prepares, pre-Eschaton, to build a civilization after the Eschaton event; we include the technologies that would make up a society we'd want to live in. We are in the original position, not knowing what position we will occupy in post-Eschaton society (or, indeed, if we will even survive the Eschaton event). This gives us some preliminary basis for asserting that our preparations are just, no matter what those preparations are.

(The only problem with this thinking is that the bloody neo-Nazi survivalists could claim this justification for their preparations, too. One response to that argument is that the "original position" participants in the neo-Nazi case do not meet the criteria of not knowing the position they will fill post-Eschaton. Based on their plans, they'll be The Ones With The Guns. On a personal note, I hate these people - they are not dangerous now, but they could pose a major short-term security issue post-Eschaton.)


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