domingo, 18 de marzo de 2012

Moral rules as Nash equilibrium strategies (crosspost)


This is my comment in the article Darwin and Morality part 1, from Richard Cocks in the Brussels journal

Your article exposes the regression in  human understanding that we have experienced since humanities were abandoned. These positivistic reductionist ignorant scientists who forget completely the concept of mind (formerly known as soul) are the equivalent of soviet computer engineers who try to figure out how Microsoft Excel works by measuring electric tensions in the hardware of a Personal computer.

The mind is not the brain. A hard monistic reductionist  must accept that is possible to substitute small areas of the brain of a person without being noticed. Proceeding progressively, all the brain can be changed by a silicon counterpart while the person´s mind stay unnoticed. So paradoxically the hard monistic reductionist is forced to accept a dualism mind-brain. Where the mind-soul comes from?. This is long to argue about, and it does not connect easily with the second part I want to comment.

The problem with positivistic reductionism is not their scientific method, but their philosophical stance which, for a natural inclination of human nature, wrongly identifies the current state of knowledge at a certain time with all that is worth to be known. Instead of that, the basic tenets of scientific naturalism should make us approach what we still don´t know with curiosity and respect in order to see the phenomenon not trugh the glasses of prejudice, but with an inquisitive wondering.

If morality, Man and Society is regarded as part of nature with all its complexities, then it is not bad to try some reductionism for the shake of advancing knowledge without presuposing that the reductionist model is all that be said about the matter.   With these precautory considerations, Morality may have a mathematical-phisical nature if nature includes the human society.

Morality may be related with the Nash equilibrium strategies in every stable human society, given our human nature of inclinations, desires etc. In game theory, Nash equilibriums are the stable strategies that optimize the outcomes of two or more players in a game. For example, for biological reasons, a man may desire to have many women and a woman may desire the best man available, but if they act according with their theoretical individual inmediate interests, the war among men, woman slaveness and other kinds of primitive regressions would follow. The cooperation os society will collapse and both men and women would be in a far worse state than with monogamy. Since monogamy favours collaboration, peace stability and security better than any other strategy, monogamy is a Nash equilibrium strategy. Because this has been realized practically countless times in the past, we have a moral, that is a mix of biological and cultural predisposition to accept monogamy as the moral rule. These equilibriums are universal but the real circunstances may make the peaks of equilibrium not very sharp and clear.  The fact that some societies are monogamous and some others are slightly poligamous does not matter as long as monogamy is considered the norm and poligamy the exception. In a desert with extremely low human density, poligamy may be a matter of survival, not moralty. The same may happen in case of extreme hunger with the prohibition of canibalism. The fact that later a society moralizes these deviations in not so stringent circunstances does not make these alternatives moral, but instead makes the society that accept them less stable (that, is more violent, poor etc).

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