Ethics based on the survival of life in general

Here is the latest update (please point out conflicts or unclear aspects)

Twelve virtues (morally correct/good things to do) of a life based ethical system - version 0.5

1.      Protect all species (plants and animals) and its members in the universe

2.      Create new species' and new members of existing species

3.      Protect your own species and its members

4.      Create members of your own species

5.      Protect your own community

6.      Create a community (be social?)

7.      Protect your own life

8.      Create your own (way of) life (freedom)

9.      Protect your property (including your body!), art and freedom

10.  Create property, art and freedom (be productive)

11.  Protect other peopleís property, art and freedom

12.  Create property. art and freedom for others (share!)

Protection includes improvements. I suggest the protection of existing items is more important than creating more of the same items.
- Virtues with lower numbers tend to be more important and can serve as guidance in case a dilemma between them arises. They can also be seen as suggested islands of safe moral ground. These islands were chosen such that for most issues arising in practice one island should be nearby (and a moral bridge can be built to reach it).
- If a dilemma cannot be solved with reasonable effort considering the above, any of the equal appearing solution shall be considered morally correct.
- Thousands of more specific subsets may exist for each virtue listed. Ranking within these should be attempted based on maximizing all virtues.

- The system suggests calculating or critically estimating chances how actions most likely affect the survival of life in all universes  :)  It does not a priori give mankind more value than other life forms. It all depends how mankind's action affect life in general (our best estimate).

Justification for a life based ethical system (main assumption is life is more valuable than non-living matter):
- A system that does not promote survival will likely disappear (get extinct)
- Most important ethical issues are already related to survival, performance or life quality
- An ethical system is not natural nor can it be discovered. It needs to be defined and can therefore only exist if higher life forms exist (who can define things and follow an ethical system consciously)

Urgent issues to tackle:

- finding a suitable name for this system. Survivalist ethics seems to trigger associations that personal or human survival is always to be maximized and therefore the right to die or the creation of not directly useful products (art, thoughts etc.) is not permitted. Both of which are clearly not right. The challenge is to find a clear but also correct name.

- the system as it currently stands seems to advocate Beethoven to work full time on his symphonies as they have positive consequences for mankindís survival and likely life in general. How can the system allow Beethoven to take a break? - which seems the intuitively reasonable thing to do. Perhaps a hint is that we already intuitively consider a system that forces him to work without retirement to be wrong - but why?

- create a one page introduction to the system. Goal: explain the system such that most people would understand it and we talk about the same thing when trying to improve it

A disclaimer: The universal correctness of such a system may not be provable. A perfect system may not be achievable. Survival ethics are geared to maximize life and its advancement as a whole and not of individuals. The more life forms can implement it, the more likely life will survive and evolve. Who knows - perhaps the most advanced life forms can create new mechanisms to produce universes with even better innovations than life? We could be a successful part of that.

These issues are currently discussed at Linkedin

Anyone is welcome to join and contribute!


Additional Virtues

Six virtues have been proposed as guidelines for theoretical discussion of rare scientific or religious moral discussions:

1.      Protect mechanisms that could produce most universes with the highest chance to produce life

2.      Create such mechanisms

3.      Protect universes that can produce life

4.      Create such universes

5.      Protect the resources in the universe that can produce life

6.      Create such resources


Example 1: The Artists (is art justifiable?)

I love, artistic work, but I feel it is unethical to spend much of my lifetime doing these useless things as it does not seem to benefit survival ethics.

This might be true if I need to worry about food and health of myself and my family every day. In that case it would be considered unethical if I spent my day painting beautiful butterflies while my children need to hunt lions and risk their lives.

However, it does become ethical though if I cannot do any hunting because I lost both legs the night before in a fight with a lion. I do what I can to help my family survive and perhaps they love looking at the butterflies I paint which gives them strength and creates an atmosphere that improves survival of us as a family.

However, if I spend too much time on the butterflies while I also could do some cooking or stone axe maintenance, it will become unethical if this behavior threatens our survival.

Example 2: Heinz dilemma (stealing to save a life?)

A standard example for moral reasoning is the Heinz dilemma. The above system seems to suggest solutions on the highest moral level (stage 6 universal human ethics). Perhaps it argues on a even higher level: universal (life) ethics?