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Is a Universal, Objective Ethic Possible? (Examination: UPB)

Goal of Meeting
We will be addressing the question, "Does Molyneux's UPB suggest that an objective, universal ethic is possible?" Any universal ethic is far too complex to cover completely in one meeting.  Because we ventured onto this topic from last meeting's discussion on whether any ethic could be objective, we'll continue that discussion now that we have a sense of what an objective ethic might look like.

Background
At our last meeting (click to read the meeting notes), the discussion ended with whether any ethic could ever be objective, or whether all ethics must only be just subjective. 

If all ethics are only subjective, ethical exploration would be relegated to questions like: "Why should we follow any ethic at all?"; "Can anyone ever argue that one ethic is objectively 'better' than another?"; "Does Might (or success or ...) Make Right in ethics?"; and, "Are we ever obligated to follow someone else's subjective ethic (a ruler's, a religious figure's, a majority's, etc.)?"

However, if there is a chance that an objective ethic can exist then the discussion can turn more "scientific" -- "What qualities would such an objective, universal ethic have?"; "What rules does such an ethic impose on human interactions?" and "How we can objectively determine ethical violations?"

Richard suggested that we look at Stefan Molyneux's UPB (Universally Preferable Behavior) as an example of a recent (2006) attempt to create an objective, secular, universal ethic that would guide:
- all humans, 
- during any epochs
- across all cultures
- during any resource situation 
- equally,
- reciprocally,
- simultaneously,
- clearly,
- absolutely.

Optional Homework:
Given the unusualness of an objective ethic, you may want to review some of the material before the meeting, and join us on the bulletin board for a pre-meeting discussion to figure out where we might have the most problems understanding this concept.

To brush up on the topic:

1) An 18 min overview of the underlying characteristics of UPB

http://www.youtube.com/watch?v=-X5BwUNNCUg

2) An hour video overview of the book

http://www.youtube.com/watch?v=hj8ZYvkbI2E

3) Click here to read or download a free 120 page booklet detailing UPB.  You can also download an audio version of it here.

4) Discussions of objections to UPB

http://www.youtube.com/watch?v=tsS8vpLaVS4

5) Please join us here for the pre-meeting discussion on our discussion board.

Join or login to comment.

  • Asher

    I wish the weather had been better so more people could have showed up. It was still a good conversation with the people that were there.

    February 26, 2014

    • A former member
      A former member

      I wish I could have come. This is definintely a topic that I hope we can discuss at a future meeting.

      February 26, 2014

    • Dennis P.

      Yes, Lucas. We few, the brave, only went over some of the confusions we had with Molyneux's UPB. The real issue -- can there be an objective ethic -- we are pushing off to a future meeting.

      February 27, 2014

  • Jeff M.

    Dennis, I'm looking for notes, discussions, reactions,etc. on the UPB meeting

    February 24, 2014

    • Dennis P.

      Thanks, Jeff. Yes, I left for out of state the next day. I will write up some notes this week!

      February 27, 2014

  • Brian M.

    If the snow makes it too dangerous then I may not make it.

    February 18, 2014

    • Brian M.

      Oh, it's not me but all the others who don't have 4 wheel drive.

      February 26, 2014

    • Jeff M.

      That's ridiculous. All cars have four wheels to drive.

      February 27, 2014

  • Dennis P.

    We'll meet. The snow is decreasing now and has stopped in the south.

    February 18, 2014

    • Dennis P.

      Where else can we meet in a warm environment, quaff a few warm libations, and talk ethics?

      1 · February 18, 2014

    • Jeff M.

      Did you get my recommendations on other places to meet? Any big casual lunch place, (many Paneras' are around, Sofia cafe in Cambridge), coffee place, wifi place, etc. that we can pull tables together and spend a little money to avoid feeling guilty about using their space.

      February 26, 2014

  • CZ

    Oops thought this was next Tuesday.

    February 18, 2014

  • Jeff M.

    tank u brian me need help u give

    February 17, 2014

    • Brian M.

      Did it actually help? Just so you know there are limits imposed in this web site on the size and number of comments. The discussion board has more liberal limits than available here in the meeting comments.

      February 17, 2014

  • Jeff M.

    I cannot figure out where what discussion is where or what. how the hell do I navigate the discussions in real time. jesus h. christ. I'm really not that smart somebody help me.

    February 14, 2014

    • Shawn L.

      I try to make an argument that the thinking of generating ethics and of guiding one's actions complying with the ethics are different brain activities.

      February 14, 2014

    • Brian M.

      Under the purple title bar you will see som e purple words which you can click on. One of them is "Discussions".­ When you click you will get a new page that has three classes of discussions "Meeting Notes", "General Discussions" and "Future Topics". Under "Meetting Notes" there are two discussions going. Also a couple under "General Discussions".

      February 16, 2014

  • Shawn L.

    Brian, I posted my reponses at http://www.meetup.com/Exploring-the-Ethics-of-Human-Freedom/messages/boards/forum/13125922
    So we can have more space to discuss "brains".

    February 14, 2014

  • Shawn L.

    Why Murder is Universally Considered Immoral?

    “Murder is universally considered immoral” is an observation everyone has to agree and a piece of strong evidence for the existence of UPB. If there is no objective preference at all in
    human beings why “murder is considered immoral” in all times and all locations? Here is my rational.

    Human beings are an intellectually capable species who have to live in human societies. They do all kinds of things including killing---They kill other animals, other humans, and even themselves. Because human beings have to live in societies they have to have rules to regulate individual behavior in order to keep their societies functional. Among all the principles that are essential for human beings to obey as self evident rules, (1) self protection and (2) fairness are the two. It means that each individual is allowed to protect his own life, and everyone should have same opportunities.

    February 10, 2014

    • Brian M.

      On the other hand, behavior (as you are using it) is always something that an individual exhibits. So "conducting behavior with moral rules" is not the same as the development of a moral system.

      February 13, 2014

    • Shawn L.

      I started a new topic "Mind Work vs Brain Work" in Discussions http://www.meetup.com...­ This thread is too crowded.

      February 14, 2014

  • Jeff M.

    Brian, please don't cancel you're rsvp. Your comments are always welcome, even when you questioned me about birds having rights! And besides, I've come to like you getting pissed off. It actually adds, for me, a certain "realism" to the discussion.

    I, too, am getting tired of Molyneau trying to apply only logic, which from my limited knowledge, seems to be based on mathematical precepts, to often nonlogical actions, namely human behavior.

    Thank the stars that we have Dennis, thoughtful and circumspect, to moderate our "in person" discussion.

    And no throwing mashed potatoes: Otherwise, "all's fair in love and war (discussion)"

    February 13, 2014

    • Brian M.

      You have to follow the rules of logic or you will not get to the proper conclusions. However since humans are fallible you need to recheck your logic against reality, and against other peoples assessments of your logic.

      February 13, 2014

    • Brian M.

      I have added to the discussion board, under "14/02/12 PreMeeting: UPB: A Rational Proof of Secular Ethics".
      http://www.meetup.com...­

      I really don't see how I can add anything more to the discussion after what I just posted. It's like beating a dead horse at this point.

      February 13, 2014

  • Jeff M.

    Now, now, Brian, how did Obama get into this?

    February 13, 2014

    • Brian M.

      Shawn mentioned "The rule of law" as being something China is moving towards. Obama is an example of the US moving in the opposite direction.

      February 13, 2014

  • Richard

    I just watched the 18 minute intro. to UPB. I will make judgments from that short sampling because I believe that I have heard enough to critique Molyneux.
    The key statement he makes that demonstrates his viewpoint is "moral action is NOT doing something". In other words he believes that the heart of the matter is preventing people from doing things that are "immoral"
    It occurs to me that the entire body of Molyneux's thought is based on Libertarianism. Libertarians set off with the notion that people are essentially bundles of desires, wants, appetites etc. Bursting at the seams with desires like avarice, lust, hunger. Of course acting on these impulses is going to cause problems-so no wonder Molyneaux sees the problem as how to delineate and enforce how to reign in these impulses.
    But what if morality is actually INTENTION? People therefore are good and moral if their inclination is to accommodate (and how much is the rub) other peoples (1) needs & (2) wants, as well as their own

    February 13, 2014

    • Shawn L.

      Our belief of liberitarianism does not warrant us coming up with correct methods and reasoning.

      February 13, 2014

    • Brian M.

      Molyneaux is Molyneaux. I wouldn't blame his nonsense on libertarians. He takes areas where libertarians are correct and already have reasonble arguments, abandons them and replaces them with fallacious ones, because apparently he wants simple answers. I'm actually already tired of discussing this guy. Why waste my time? He doesn't seem to be able to do simple logic and is constantly jumping to conclusions that he cannot get to from his premises. Some philosophers are interesting to discuss even though they are wrong. This guy is so off I'm just getting irritated. I'm seriously considering canceling my RSVP.

      1 · February 13, 2014

  • Brian M.

    Then there is this. Molyneux seems to be using the same kind of erroneous thinking that Ayn Rand used. He thinks he can just deduce axioms and use logic to come up with his moral propositions. Furthermore he thinks ther is just one correct answer like Rand. This is very cult like. So this video is not surprising.
    http://www.molyneuxrevealed.com/2013/03/great-video-by-questeon.html

    1 · February 12, 2014

    • Shawn L.

      Thank you, Brian! I had never thought about anything going that far. I have been only challenging his logics and methods.

      February 13, 2014

  • Shawn L.

    A Route Map of Molyneux’s Failure

    Before I lay out the map, let me analyze the last falsity of Molyneux’s concept regarding human behavior judged by morality. “Helping the poor” is a human behavior, it can be judged differently on the scale of human morality:
    1. “Helping the poor is moral.”
    2. “Helping the poor is morally neutral.”
    3. “Helping the poor is immoral.” This creates the debate on which judgment is right. The key concept is: Different/Opposite judgments on the SAME act.

    Molyneux confuses with this concept. He thinks that the opposite moral judgment of “helping the poor is moral” ought be “not helping the poor is moral.” As you can see, “not helping the poor” could be any action but “helping the poor”, and, therefore, any moral judgment on “not helping the poor” has no comparison with that on “helping the poor.” With this confusion, he designs his coma test and two men test using his “not to do” logic.

    February 12, 2014

    • Shawn L.

      I appreciate your comments. I would suggest let's agree to disagree on this issue. I love to see that you can use UPB successfully as a tool to examine various theories and behaviors. It will help everybody UPNB succeeds.

      February 12, 2014

    • Shawn L.

      It will help everybody if UPB succeeds.

      February 12, 2014

  • Shawn L.

    A brief examination on Coma Test 1. A coma person cannot do anything, so it is a “not to do” type behavior.
    2. A coma person cannot be judged by morality, so his not-to-do cannot be rejected as immoral or moral.
    3. A coma person’s behavior has to be accepted, such as “not to help the poor is immoral (or moral)”, since there is no way to reject it.
    4. If coma person’s not-to-do is not rejected (i.e., is accepted), the subjected “to do” behavior, such as “helping the poor is moral” must be rejected.
    5. The coma rejection is based not-to-do against to-do, it has nothing to do with morality. Therefore,
    a. “Helping the poor is moral” is rejected because we cannot say “not helping the poor is immoral” with a coma person.
    b. Helping the poor is immoral” is rejected because we cannot say “not helping the poor is immoral” with a coma person either.

    February 10, 2014

    • Brian M.

      Shawn, I don't like the "coma test" for the same reasons you are trying to express. It is too broad because it exludes all positive duties. For example the duty to feed ones children or pay ones debts. We cannot hold a comatose person to be immoral for not doing these things. We can hold a conscious person to these standards. Same with his two man test. I think some are his claims are false. For example two men in a room can be sneaking behind each others backs stealing fromeach other at the same time. So it's not a good criteria.

      February 11, 2014

    • Shawn L.

      Tom, the example that you put there is for the same action of intoxication. I think Molyneux confuses with such concept, so he does not hold his argument to the same action. Instead of talking about the same action, such as "to intoxicate is bad" , he argues the opposite judgment is "not to intoxicate is bad". But "not to intoxicate" could be anything but "to intoxicate", and his comparison becomes invalid thereafter. I think this is why his tests are so strange, cannot hold logically.

      February 12, 2014

  • Dennis P.

    We'll be meeting in a week. We'll be talking about our understanding of the possibility of a universal ethic, and what the nature of such an ethic might be. I have started a separate topic to distill the possible take-aways from our discussions here. I have put up my current thoughts. Please feel free to write your own thoughts about the existence and nature of a universal ethic.
    http://www.meetup.com/Exploring-the-Ethics-of-Human-Freedom/messages/boards/thread/41830082

    February 11, 2014

  • Jeff M.

    Shawn, I can't find that long analysis you're talking about. Is there a link?

    February 9, 2014

    • Shawn L.

      Sorry, Jeff. Here is the link: http://www.meetup.com...­

      February 9, 2014

    • Shawn L.

      And keep in mind that in Coma Test, because it is a "not to do" action and cannot be proven untrue since a coma person is beyond any judgment of morality, you cannot reject it. Therefore, you have to reject the "to do" moral statement subjected to Coma Test. So you can reject "helping the poor is moral" and you can also reject "helping the poor is immoral" because they both are "to do" statement.

      February 9, 2014

  • Jeff M.

    OK, Dennis and Shawn, If we believe, for whatever reasons, that an objective secular ethic cannot exist or cannot be proven as valid, then let's consider some general guidelines that people would be able to discuss - as a group, as a town, as a state, as a culture, as a country - the ethics that people think are most important to them…the subjective. I'm just throwing this out for further consideration. In no way do I want to exclude anybody who believes that an objective secular ethic can be constructed. In spite of my"leanings", I want to hear all sides.

    Have we considered a composite of the two. What laws exist in all cultures can be the objective side of the equation. And what people consider ethical and unethical in their communities, in companies, in government, and so on, are the subjective issues.

    Again, I'm just trying to move on and freshen the discussion.

    February 6, 2014

    • Shawn L.

      I would probably agree with you yesterday but not now after I finished analysis on this testing methods that I just posted. You are right, logic could be a solution but not the way like he did, too many holes with his logic. I don't think he can fix it.

      February 8, 2014

    • Shawn L.

      But Molyneux does offer us a good concept, the UPB, that's worth to explore.

      February 8, 2014

  • Shawn L.

    Dennis, Jeff, Rich, I just finished my analysis on Coma and Two Men test and was a bit surprised. Please take a look at ithttp://www.meetup.com/Exploring-the-Ethics-of-Human-Freedom/messages/boards/thread/41322212/30
    It was quite long but I believe it is worth your time to prepare for next meeting.

    February 7, 2014

  • Jeff M.

    Oh my gosh, here we go again. Do we need to agree on what subjective and objective mean before we can move forward? Maybe this isn't such a bad place to start since those two terms are the basic talking points of our whole discussion up to now. Any other ideas?

    February 6, 2014

  • Jeff M.

    Sounds good to me, Dennis.

    February 6, 2014

  • Shawn L.

    Jeff and Dennis, I think there are two different problems on the table: If there is an existing moral law that we can reveal? vs. If we can build an ethic theory that is universally agreeable? Obviously the first one is of discovery and the second one is of development. I think Molyneux’s theory is a mix, whether or not is his intention, which cannot be logically or scientifically proven at least for now. The difficulty with the second task is rooted in arguments as to whose perception of being right is right. Is utilitarian theory right? Or, is social justice theory right? The philosopher Derek Parfit at Oxfort had been trying for 38 years to find a way to unify all schools of ethics and come up with his Triple Theory: "An act is wrong just when such acts are disallowed by some principle that is optimific, uniquely universally willable, and not reasonably rejectable."

    February 6, 2014

    • Shawn L.

      I had a very short comment on it posted three weeks ago at Future Topics/Discussions http://www.meetup.com...­
      It might be worth our effort digging into it. I have done some reading of it, and I have to admit it’s not an easy task at all to try to challenge his logic, a strict intellectual reasoning. Parfit has two books related to his theory: Reasons and Persons, and On What Matters.

      February 6, 2014

    • Shawn L.

      my comment is the last post of the page

      February 6, 2014

  • Jeff M.

    Gordon vs Molyneau. Intersting. In spite of my appreciation of Gordon's criticisms of UPB, I feel we've come full circle. The original question at the end of our last meeting was: can ethics be objective or must they remain subjective.

    It seems like we've decided that Molyneau is the go-to guy for the objective side and we're just arguing about his theories. Is there another approach to a type of "UPB". I don't believe there is one but I'm more than willing to be proven wrong. I think we still need to discuss the possibility or "correctness" of one or the other (or a combination of the two?). So far, Shawn, being a student of the scientific method, has convinced me of the illogic of Molyneau's attempt at a "UPB" (Molyneau's acronym, remember?). I suggest we go back to the drawing board and try to understand what our goal is. If we believe "objective" is possible, we're going to have to consider every behavior imaginable and plug it in to the "UPB" machine. "Subjective ethics" ought.

    February 6, 2014

    • Dennis P.

      Yes, we should be asking, Is an objective ethic possible?

      I think there are many attempts to create an objective ethic, but they usually rely on subjective underpinnings (e.g., God wrote it down and I'm translating it for you.). Molyneux is interesting because he is trying to come up with an objective, secular ethic. Does he have some valid points?

      February 6, 2014

    • Dennis P.

      Shawn has made the proposition that any objective ethic must be proven empirically. I personally think that is impossible. I can conceive of no scientific test to "prove" such a thing. I thus reject the requirement because a) I do not understand why that would have to be, and b) it would unnecessarily insure that there can be no objective ethic. (If for example, I stated that a Universal Ethic must be agreed upon by every human on the world, that would be a false requirement and, because of its impossibility, it would immediately ensure that there can be no objective ethic.)

      February 6, 2014

  • Jeff M.

    Or… we can follow Shawn's suggestion and pick up where our discussion left off: do you believe there is an objective guide to ethics? If so, what is it? If not, do you have "guidelines" for a subjective ethics?

    February 6, 2014

  • Shawn L.

    My attempted clarity for this UPB discussion

    A. Principles for the Reality
    1. Everyone is allowed to propose a theory.
    2. In a world where people believe in science for information reliability/knowledge confidence, every proposed theory remains as Hypothetic before its scientific validation is complete.
    3. Scientific validation only reveals what inside the hypothesis as how much truth is there (for a gradable theory), or whether there is a truth (for a black/white theory). (Scientific validation does not alter the truth in a hypothetic theory.)
    4. A hypothetic theory may totally be false or true, but is always debatable because human beings tend to see things differently. Scientific validation increases the confidence of accepting/rejecting a hypothetic theory by turning it into a validated theory through its “let data talk” technique.
    5. People can still use hypothetic theory at will without scientific validation, along with the debatable confidence coherent to it.

    February 6, 2014

    • Shawn L.

      Set 2: What Is Ongoing (based on Molyneux’s videos and my observations)
      1. Molyneux continues fixing his UPB theory with various tools and claims “UPB=Science”.
      2. Some people still debate on UPB’s validity, and some people believe no debate is needed because some of them believe its validity is proven true, and some of them believe its validity has never been proven.
      3. Those who accept UBP validity is testing UPB, whereas those who reject UBP validity don’t want to try it.
      4. Nobody has tried or is trying to resolve this dispute by providing data to test UPB as a hypothesis.

      No matter what people do, the Principles (section A) and What Happened won’t change. What may change are only with Set 2. Don’t confuse ourselves with the unchangeable. In a free society, everyone is free to choose his stance. In this case, one may say, “There is not a universally preferable behavior seen on this matter,” or, “What we see here is indeed a UPB.”

      February 6, 2014

    • Shawn L.

      Correction: B. Two sets of facts with UPB theory discussion

      February 6, 2014

  • Shawn L.

    I found actually the libertarian philosopher David Gordon at Mises Institute had reviewed Molyneux's book. Here is the link: http://mises.org/misesreview_detail.aspx?control=383

    February 5, 2014

  • Shawn L.

    Dennis, my claim that "Molyneux's scientific method requires empirical evidence but the evidence does not need to be measurable" is based on the fact that (1) his validation does not include measureble evidence, and (2) his diffinition of science theory does not require measureable verification.

    February 4, 2014

    • Shawn L.

      You may check on my comments on page: http://www.meetup.com...­

      February 5, 2014

    • Shawn L.

      You just go to page 3.

      February 5, 2014

  • Jeff M.

    I do. No money down, zero APR, no warranty, no service, "Have a nice Life". Even slaves own their own bodies. "I"own "my" body - practically a tautology. We consider yet another previously unconsidered behavior and more points must be considered. It's never-ending. I keep on stumbling over "other cultures" And who are the arbiters of UPB? How ever we try to be objective, others' perspectives in such a realm as human behavior has got to vary. Universal means everyone. We must resign ourselves to approximations and situations. By the way, Shawn, the video just confirms my rejection of UPB. And your answer to Dennis is simple enough for me to understand! I agree with 1) and 2) wholeheartedly.

    February 5, 2014

  • Jeff M.

    What are people's opinions about suicide or assisted suicide?

    February 4, 2014

    • Dennis P.

      Hi, Jeff, I guess it depends on who owns my body. If I own my own body then I morally may use it, and dispose of it, as I choose. If I do not own it, then I guess it's someone else's opinion that matters what is done to my body. (And I would be, to the degree that my body is not my own, a slave of that person.)

      As for assisted suicide, if I own my own body, then I can authorize another people to use it or dispose of it as I direct. If I don't own my own body, then I would be conspiring to steal it from its rightful owner should I try to find someone to help me with assisted suicide.

      That's my thinking now. What are your thoughts, Jeff? Who owns your body? Does anyone have superior rights over your body?

      Can we prove some objective, universal right to ownership of our own body? Or are our bodies just owned by those who have sufficient violent power over us to effect their desire? And we can only hope that they grant us some liberties with this body.

      February 5, 2014

  • Jeff M.

    Can the practice of animal testing be justified byUPB?

    February 4, 2014

  • Jeff M.

    Rich, I think that it's quite an assumption to believe that gravity applies to matter in the same way that UPB applies to human behavior. But I do agree with you that moral values are definitely not coded into our DNA. I believe that existence itself has no moral value.

    February 4, 2014

  • Jeff M.

    Objective - "not influenced by personal feelings or opinions when considering or representing facts". Does that mean that being objective uses only logic. I'm trying to unwind us from the pursuit of the "perfect" logical representation of Molyneau's UPB.

    February 4, 2014

  • Jeff M.

    How can we decide on a universal preferable behavior for all cultures?

    February 4, 2014

    • A former member
      A former member

      Just as the laws of gravity apply to all matter, UPB applies to all human behavior. There is no "deciding" what is UPB for each culture. "Not murdering" is UPB in all cultures.

      February 4, 2014

    • Shawn L.

      Jeff, watch this video and see how people live with their ethics in things with marriage, contraception, work, property, etc. I doubt they even have a word "stealing." http://www.youtube.co...­

      February 4, 2014

  • Jeff M.

    Dennis, is there still a chance you'll change the date again. I saw that Shawn isn't coming either. Hopefully, jeff

    February 3, 2014

    • Dennis P.

      Jeff, I want so badly for both you and Shawn to come, especially as you have contributed so much to our preparation for this meeting!! And this is the third date we've tried. :( There is no guarantee that the bar won't bump us again, but I think we have to bite the bullet and stick to a specific date. This will be over a month since our last meeting.

      And we do need a better place to meet where we are a priority, and we can hear each other.

      February 3, 2014

  • A former member
    A former member

    I will be advocating that objective morals do exist.

    February 3, 2014

  • Jeff M.

    It still sounds to me that you want to proselytize. This is a discussion group not an advocacy forum. But you're sure welcome to ask others, and Dennis, if the group wants to discuss your ideas with others' ideas.

    February 3, 2014

  • Jeff M.

    Tom, I appreciate your desire to help others to understand the Libertarian point of view. But I'm not sure what you mean by "selling document". I don't get the sense that this discussion group is a place for advocating or presenting a manifesto of a particular political party or philosophy. But before and after the discussion is an excellent time to present your view to others. I am more than willing to talk with you before or after the meeting. (this meeting I might not be able to attend).

    February 3, 2014

  • Jeff M.

    Judging from the short video I viewed, I was not impressed with UPB…on many levels. How one can use pure logic on complex human choices and behavior in many, many, many situations is beyond me.

    January 28, 2014

    • Dennis P.

      Or at least that's where I have gotten to -- so far trying to untangle this...

      January 29, 2014

    • A former member
      A former member

      How do you propose we come up with a system of ethics without "pure logic?" Can you name a situation in which using logic would not be preferable?

      1 · February 3, 2014

  • Shawn L.

    I won't be able to make it on the 18th. But I'll try to go through what left with you all.

    1 · February 3, 2014

  • Shawn L.

    Dennis, I saw your comments. I will come back Monday to work with you. But I do wonder if this is worth of putting so much engergy to work on since the majority of this group may not be interested. I don't want to bore people away.

    January 31, 2014

    • Dennis P.

      Shawn, If I can get to understand your points, on a point by point basis, I can prepare a better presentation, knowing where the confusions, misunderstandings, and sometimes inconsistencies sit. If you can restrain your enthusiasm to handle to completion just one idea, I do think it will help the group, even if they do not actively participate in the pre-Meeting discussion.

      February 1, 2014

    • Shawn L.

      Dennis, I posted my response..http://www.meetup.com...­

      February 3, 2014

  • Shawn L.

    Stephen, I put my write-up there: http://www.meetup.com/Exploring-the-Ethics-of-Human-Freedom/messages/boards/thread/41322212

    I am sorry that I was probably rambling too much. Hope it brings up something wothy of thinking.

    January 31, 2014

  • Jeff M.

    Dennis, I'm afraid I really don't know enough about Logic to follow the whole discussion. It just seems to me that to use Logic to consider "originally" subjective
    values is not possible, like saying "blue is better than green".

    January 30, 2014

    • Shawn L.

      Jeff, thanks for your comments over the discussions. No need to apologize at all. I do think that your concern is valid. I don't want friends to feel excluded.

      January 31, 2014

  • Shawn L.

    Stephen, I saw your comment. I can only reject the claim by UPB book but not the idea. But I remain suspicious towards the existence of UPBs. I'll try to present an opinion from another angle tomorrow to see if we could look at it differently. Thanks for following the discussion!

    January 30, 2014

  • Shawn L.

    Friends, I just posted my reasoning on the Mark-Gary story that I made in the post one level upper. http://www.meetup.com/Exploring-the-Ethics-of-Human-Freedom/messages/boards/thread/41322212

    Welcome to check it out and comment on it.

    January 30, 2014

  • Shawn L.

    Dennis and Jeff, I came back again:
    http://www.meetup.com/Exploring-the-Ethics-of-Human-Freedom/messages/boards/thread/41322212

    And thanks for your inspiration!

    January 30, 2014

  • Jeff M.

    Let's try to "repair" his system.

    January 29, 2014

    • Dennis P.

      Jeff, take a look at my attempt at a synopsis of his argument
      http://www.meetup.com...­]
      I need some feedback before our meeting about its clarity.

      January 29, 2014

  • Jeff M.

    I dont object so much to his attempt at constructing universal objective ethics as much as his choice of sets and subsets in categorizing them.

    January 29, 2014

  • Shawn L.

    January 29, 2014

  • Shawn L.

    I watched the 18 min overview clip and downloaded his UPB book and read part of it. I have to say that I think he proof is invalid. See my comments at http://www.meetup.com/Exploring-the-Ethics-of-Human-Freedom/messages/boards/view/addpost
    in Discussions/Future Topics folder

    January 24, 2014

    • Dennis P.

      Shawn Li, I think you may be misunderstanding what he means by "preferable". See my comments to your post.

      January 28, 2014

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