Sunday, February 13, 2011

I am much happier this week. Hayek seems more focused these two chapters. I had to revise my working notes a number of times as Hayek often anticipated challenges I had with one section with his next section. In return, I can see many of the points he wants to make before he makes them.

Evolutionary morality

Like a few of you, some of the points made that I most enjoyed were Hayek’s beliefs a set or moral values that were evolved, that society has acquired rules and values as are practical (“practical” being anything that leads to its furthered existence). Hayek complicates this with some mention of meta-ethics or a meta-morality that should guide the expression of moral values in the political sphere. This is understandably a difficult subject, as it’s almost trying to bridge from “is” to “should.” At this point, I could do with a clear statement on what moral system he’s approaching it from, or the irrelevance of that question. Coming up with more moral principles to solve the problems the previous moral principles created?

The concept of an evolved morality also lies at odds with the concept of “progress” as evolution is not progress, but simply adaptation and fitness, furthered reproduction. It can make leaps and bounds or small steps, but there is no end goal or unifying direction. There are also many places where evolution could be improved upon by an intelligent designer: certainly there are places where biology is superior to robotics, but in many places the improvement that can be made by calculated singular design over organic growth is evident. I keep on thinking of the many games and equilibriums in my game theory class, where an existing system keeps on arriving at a non-pareto-optimal situation until a third party enforces carefully created new rules to benefit all the actors.

How can Hayek say anything is right, if morality is evolved?

I look forward to discussing this Thursday, as I think this will help alleviate some of the underlying tensions and conflicts we've during our discussions thus far.

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