4 What should be? Positivity and social improvement – mathematical accounts

What should be? What should society be like? What should individuals do? Here I am concerned with normative matters, with moral values. I am concerned with social improvement.

A foundational conceptualisation of value (and particularly of social value) is needed. A brief initial attempt at this is offered in (1) below, with peace and conflict very much in mind.

There is an interesting debate between ‘nice positive morality’ and ‘nasty negative morality’. Religions can exhibit both positive morality and negative morality and some of the relevant issues are discussed in (2). People sometimes reflect on what they should do particularly in difficult times. They may turn to the advice of others, an example of which is discussed in (6).

Foundational conceptualisation (SM1)

Empirical distribution of positive and negative events (SM9)

Individual optimisation (SM10)

A model of individual life ...

... an image of a positive society (SM16)


[On these matters I like to be naive and innocent! People should be nice. People should be positive. I disagree with those who argue the virtue of being nasty, negative and conflictual. I can be and have been all those last three things but I regret that. It has and has had negative consequences.]

Bad things can occur not because there is deliberate pursuit of bad things but because there is pursuit of one value at all costs to the great detriment of another value. Love killings and honour killings are discussed in (3).

Whereas (3) concerns relations between individuals, (4) and (5) concern relations between groups of people. What should be the relations between groups is debated. Different ideologies provide justifications for different relations. The relations between the groups may be symmetric or asymmetric. If there is inequality of power between groups then the ideas of the more powerful group are likely to hold sway. (Marx: ‘the ruling ideas are the ideas of the ruling class’.) For example, men have greater power than women (4); and the rich have greater power than the poor (5). Although a contrast has been made between relations between individuals and relations between groups, there is an interaction between the individual level and the group level.

(1) Towards a foundational conceptualisation of peace andconflict (SM1)

(2) ‘Source of moralvalues’? ... or ‘one long celebration of violence’? (SM9)

The Positive Speaking Quotient (PSQ): Sachs 63%; Moses 21%; Jesus 66%

(3) A love killing? ... honour killings

Culture and morality: absolute or relative? A state-probability-value model (MCN6)