existential potential wrote:
concerning ethical debates, A.J. Ayer said that if ethical opinions were simply and expression of emotion, then all ethical debate would be pointless, because we would not be arguing anything objective. he suggested that the only way in which we could argue about such matters is if we all shared some fundamental values. if ethical opionions are just emotive, are there then any fundamental values that humanity shares, from which we can begin to discuss ethical matters in an "objective" manner?
From my own readings, there are some common ethical values including:
Undesirability of incest (especially strong in women)
Undesirability of homicide and other forms of extreme violence (amongst social in-group members, including kin)
Undesirability of stealing (amongst in social in-group members, including kin)
Desirability of sharing of ones resources with kin (especially if they are closely related and/or are younger than the giver)
Desirability of maintenance of social face (maintaining a reliable social identity)
Desirability of equitable dealing with others and of just consequences of not dealing equitably with others (fairness)
I'm sure there are other I've not remembered
All of the above ethical behaviours tend to fall into two categories.
1) Kin selected altruism
This is where at the phenotypic level, on the face of it, the ethical behaviour in question appears to be without profit and also incurs potential loss. However, at the genetic level the behaviour can be seen to be self interested in that it furthers the interest of the genes that are shared between the phenotypes involved.
2) Non kin selected reciprocation
This explains all other ethical behaviours not covered by category (1).