3 dimensions of morality

Let’s approach morality here through 3 complementary dimensions:

The human dimension, illustrated by a disabled parking card story. Morality is a matter of adjustment between individual and collective interest. ‘Good’ is etymologically the one who ennobles himself, who raises his mind above his egotistical condition. But achieving this is no longer a matter of personal momentum. The simple and universal words of the prophets have been replaced by a straitjacket of illegible and impersonal laws.

Two dilemmas plunge us into the temporal dimension of morality, the definitive eradication of the smallpox virus and the use of CRISPR-Cas to reprogram our genome. What extent of prediction should weigh on our choices? Morality is encomplicated when the complexity of the ‘good’ and ‘bad’ factors is inscribed in it, and the ignorance generated knows how to position us on ‘neutral’.

A bold rapprochement of the complex dimension of morality with Bennett’s logical depth: Biological evolution would be an increase in the depth of information, argue complexity specialists. Morality would be a principle equivalent to a maximization of logical depth. The extinction of the last representatives of a rare species seems more immoral than the death of common animals because the loss of the former decreases the depth of information of the ecosystem, not that of the latter.

However, diversity is not in itself the fundamental principle of morality. We had better grasped it in the human dimension, individual vs collective. Another series of articles goes in search of this fundamental principle thanks to trolleyology, a discipline born of the famous trolley problem.


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