Date of Degree

9-2018

Document Type

Dissertation

Degree Name

Ph.D.

Program

Philosophy

Advisor

Rohit Parikh

Committee Members

Melvin Fitting

Jesse Prinz

Rohit Parikh

Subject Categories

Ethics and Political Philosophy

Keywords

Morality, Social Software, Evolution, Entropy, Backward Induction, Naturalistic Fallacy

Abstract

The dissertation research is a project to understand morality better through the concept of ‘Social Software.’ The dissertation is, consequently, to argue that the morality in a human society functions as a form of social software in the society. The three aspects of morality as social software are discussed in detail: the evolutionary, anti-entropic, and epistemic game-theoretic aspect.

We humans ‘usually’ think that, for example, (a) killing other humans without any necessary reason is morally wrong, and (b) helping other humans in need is morally right. We want to know, in this dissertation research project, why we think in such ways. Myriads of answers to this question have already been offered. We will pursue an answer that has more explanatory power and enlightening lucidity.

The term, ‘Social Software’ was coined by Rohit Parikh to connote, broadly, social “procedures that structure social reality” (van Eijck and Parikh 2009, p. 2). The term can be understood, “more or less equivalently,” (Parikh 2002-1, note 2) as ‘social procedure,’ ‘social algorithm,’ or ‘social game.’

(1) The first aspect of ‘morality as social software,’ to be discussed is the evolutionary: human morality has emerged and developed further through the process of evolution; (2) the second aspect is the anti-entropic: human morality is human resistance against the universal law of entropy that tends to annihilate everything from order to disorder; (3) the third aspect is the epistemic game-theoretic: human morality is understood better by epistemic game theory, which is a combination of ‘classical game theory’ and relatively new ‘epistemic logic.’

As more specific case studies for the epistemic game-theoretic aspect, the concepts of backward induction and “the less we know, the more rational and moral,” are discussed. Finally, a thorough discussion on the naturalistic fallacy instills more philosophical rigor into the dissertation.

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