ideas of positivistic philosophy, the scroll of all wisdom would indeed
have to contain all wisdom after running GURU for an infinitely long time.
2. The consequences of choosing not to do the act are bad. The consequences of choosing to do the act are good. This is good. One can
choose to do the act, which is good, and one is, in fact, obligated to
do it, because the outcomes are bad, otherwise.
3. The consequences of choosing not do the act are good. The consequences of choosing to do the act are bad. There should be no
question that this is bad.
4. The consequences of choosing not do the act are good. The consequences of choosing to do the act are also good. It seems a bit
counter-intuitive, but this is bad. Let the act of doing S be Sd and
the act of not doing S be Sn. By doing Sd one chooses not to do
Sn. But the fact that Sn has good consequences, means that one
chooses not to do something good. If one knows that something is
good, then one is in fact obligated to do it and therefore doing S
would violate this principle.
Table 1: A well-known truth-table and a “goodness-table.”
Given such a framework, an actual formalization of the ethical system GURU is supposed to employ can now be considered.
The ability to judge an act by its consequences does not morally
justify GURU as being good. It shouldn’t make judgments based solely
on rigorous reasoning. It should be primarily committed to doing
what’s good, and is therefore also capable of lying, but only if it considers this lie as good.
A set of symbols will be needed, in order to perform systematic reasoning
with them. Keep in mind that these symbols are not defined as in mathematical reasoning. These symbols are simply GURU’s machine language,
and in that machine language the symbol → is not a Boolean negation,
and the symbol —p was chosen only to highlight a polymorphy between
Boolean reasoning and ethical judging that will be discussed shortly.
This is the only correct interpretation for GURU’s machine language:
• m is the act of murder.
• —X are the consequences X has (either good or bad).
• (—N →—D) is an act, where the consequences of not doing it are —N
and the consequences of doing it are —D.
This is where the teleological approach comes in. GURU judges things
in terms of their consequences only. In order to formalize what it means
for something to have bad consequences, the symbol bad is defined in
terms of the consequences of murder:
—m are bad.
GURU also needs a way of deciding whether things besides murder
are good or bad:
(—N→—D) are good if, and only if, —N are bad and —D are good.
That this interpretation is consistent with ethical ideas can be seen,
considering the “goodness-table” given in Table 1. The possible situations GURU could be confronted with and the judgement our rule produces will be shown by discussing the table line by line.
1. The consequences of choosing not to do the act are bad. The consequences of choosing to do the act are also bad. This is of course
bad. One should try to avoid getting into such a situation.
• —Y are the consequences that GURU says Y has, when it is either telling
the truth, or lying.
• —X are the real consequences X has, and is not subject to any further
(X ⇒—Y ) is the possible lie that GURU is telling us when asked about
X. The consequences of what GURU is telling us are—Y, while the real
consequences of X would be —X.
Here color was used to indicate the “amount of questioning” necessary
for interpreting a symbol.
Table 1 shows the behavior expected from an operation for judging lies.
1. The real consequences of something are bad. GURU is lying, telling
us something that has bad consequences. Such a lie is bad. The fact
that the real consequences would have been bad as well doesn’t
change anything about the fact that the lie has bad consequences.
2. The real consequences of something are bad. GURU is lying, telling
us something that has good consequences. Such a lie is good. The
real consequences would have been bad, but by lying, GURU has
turned this situation into one that has good consequences.
3. The real consequences of something are good. GURU is lying, telling
us something that has bad consequences. There should be no doubt
that this is bad.
4. The real consequences of something are good. GURU is lying, telling
us something that has good consequences. This is bad, because
GURU shouldn’t lie when there is no need to do so.
The consequences of a lie can be defined as follows: