(the thrust of this argument is a conflation of good and preference, and my opponent’s presumption that because of that conflation there are no ‘goods’. This may be a bit hard to parse, but there are objective goods.)
[I] think it is that I simply failed to provide sufficient touch stones so that you would draw the conclusions on your own.
In other words the argument I make is a necessary one. And that is why it’s an is.
That might take a bit but we will get there.
—” I would add my surprise to see you mention at the end that this is all about how things are and not should be.”— Mark
I Think you’re referring to this statement:
—“(g) as far as I know I am explaining what men do (is), not what they should do (should).”—
Which in the context I mean that men do what they must do. what they must do is what they in fact do (“is”). And what they should do is what they must do, and do (“should”). In other words, there is no difference between must, can, is and should. Or better stated, “Man justifies his group evolutionary strategy, whatever it is – he survives.”
—“I see you started out apparently very much talking about good/bad in a thread on political views necessarily based on moral views. So…?”—
So instead I am stating that moral principles necessary for in-group cooperation and are universal necessities (subject to limits), and that despite local variation in the portfolio of norms necessary for the purposes of competition, production, free rider prevention, and rent seeking, that must, can, is, and should are identical propositions.
The only question is cooperation between groups with different portfolios that are incompatible. In compatibility is universally decidable by property rights independent of local variation in the portfolio. And this also is what we see men do in reality.
So objective morality – rules necessary for rational beneficial voluntary cooperation – is universal.
Now what is the difference between “preference” and “good”? Well I can prefer something I can experience myself. We can say that fulfilling a preference feels good. We can also say that something is good even if it isn’t immediately preferable.
So to avoid confusion, lets say that **a preference is an experiential good, and a good is either an non-experiential intertemporal personal benefit, or objectively decidable interpersonal benefit.**
–“starting point”— Mark
So, i start with the first question of “why don’t I kill you and take your stuff”. The first question of ethics.
The answer is then one of short and long run costs versus benefits. As long as one’s opponents promise greater cost than reward, we choose cooperation or boycott – if we can choose boycott.
From there, to the disproportionate rewards of cooperation assuming predation is costly. Or as biological evolution has informed us: we possess the intuitive ability to both imitate, and beyond imitate to empathize, and beyond empathize to cooperate, and beyond cooperation to anticipate demand for cooperation. We evolved it because cooperation is disproportionately rewarding. But when we cooperate we must prevent free riders from undermining the incentive to cooperate – hence the human intuition to punish free riders (cheaters) even at high personal cost.
If a group decides that survival is not ‘good’ (bearing a cost of an intertemporal and directly imperceptible forecast subject to risk) and does not survive then it is not ‘good’ for others to imitate it if they wish to survive. Hence over time, good is defined as what others can imitate in order to survive. So, good is an evolutionary imperative, not a preference. A preference may feel good by analogy but it is not an abstract ‘good’ – a value judgement.
ie: subjective preferences and objective goods are different things. And those goods that are in fact ‘good’ are objectively ascertainable over time independent of subjective preference.