Tuesday, June 19, 2007

MESR: More scientific evidence

More scientific evidence for meta-ethical subjective relativism:

Study: People Literally Feel Pain of Others
Brain gets a thrill from charity: study

One of the key components of MESR is that how we naturally feel is one of the the driving forces behind our ethical beliefs: If we had different natural, biological feelings, we would have different ethical beliefs. Finding that our brains have evolved to provide direct positive and negative feedback that correlates to our ethical beliefs is, I think, evidence for the truth of MESR.


  1. Interesting article about "mirror-touch synesthesia" at the first link. I think I may experience something like that in certain situations. I dislike the sensation of biting down on a popsicle, which is one of the reasons I avoid eating them. Even worse for me is biting down and hitting the popsicle stick (or the stick in that other super-nutritious food, the corndog). I have a bit of the "nails on a chalkboard" reaction just thinking about it, and a more intense negative feeling (about the same as doing it myself) when watching someone else bite down on a popsicle. It gives me the chills.

    I wonder if this type of reaction is what causes a gag response (or worse) in a person when seeing something they find nauseating? For instance, people who aren't used to seeing a person's or animal's "insides on the outside" often become ill at that sight. There seems to be quite a variety of responses to something like that; some people feel faint at the sight of blood, while others only at the sight of their own blood.

    The article has me thinking about how much of any given person's empathetic reactions, positive or negative, are hardwired vs. conditioned. The same old nature vs. nurture question...

  2. Note that hardwired and conditioned are both compatible with MESR; only decisions made independently of specifically emotional responses would be incompatible.


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