Thursday, August 27, 2009

Ethics and the Two Johns

I posted a piece on the success and future promise of genetic engineering the other day and offered a prize to anyone who could successfully link the subject of the post with the foundations of ethics.

Sadly, no-one succeeded, but instead of giving you the answer directly let me give you a clue. In fact,three clues – three quotes in chronological order -- one from a Beatle, two from Enlightenment legends, and one from a certain Russian/American novelist/philosopher – and if you fill in the gaps between these and the post on Tuesday, you’ll have your answer.

“Nature to be commanded must be obeyed.” – Francis Bacon

"The intrinsic natural worth of anything consists in its fitness to supply the necessities or serve the conveniences of human life.” – John Locke

“Why in the world are we here/Surely not to live in pain and fear.” - John Lennon

“…the purpose of morality is to teach you, not to suffer and die, but to enjoy yourself and live.” --Ayn Rand

Have at it!

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1 Comments:

Anonymous Alastair said...

Life is foundation of ethics. Life makes values possible and necessary.

Through the expansion of knowledge, and the wealth to implement it, we can create more and better values for ourselves. We can build better homes, eat better, live longer, etc.

Part of that technological progress is our growing power over living nature; in this instance, over life itself.

This knowledge affects what we can act to gain and/or keep in the biological realm. It massively expands the potential values we could have through the manipulation of our own biology and that of the rest of nature.

What used to be possible 'only to God' will now be possible for us. With this power we can make Earth more suited to our happiness.

Is that what you're getting at?

8/27/2009 09:37:00 pm  

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