I’ve read a few critiques of consequentialism recently, and am starting to get pissed off. Not because I harbor an affinity for any particular brand of consequential morality, but because I believe we don’t have any other options.

As far as I can ascertain, morality is a construct of sentience. No morality detector exists. The universe just doesn’t care. Every single moral statement I have ever encountered has arisen from the mind of a human being. Moreover, the fact that it is possible to find two people who disagree on the morality of almost any action strongly suggests that if there is some moral code outside our own heads, we’re remarkably bad at listening to it.

I’d like to make one other observation, which is that it is rarely impossible to commit an immoral act. When it comes to horrifyingly evil deeds, if you can dream it, you can do it. We’ve neglected, insulted, demeaned, beaten, burned, quartered, impaled, and liquifacted each other so many times that the experimental record clearly states: outside of physical constraints, the universe does not pick sides. You may remove your safety goggles now.

One of the things we’ve been discussing in Metaphysics this term has been the problem of motion through time, and whether or not Russell’s at-at theory sufficiently explains our everyday perception of change as occurring through time. Meanwhile, in Quantum Mechanics, we’ve been talking about the Hamiltonian operator as the generator of translations through time, analogous to the momentum operator generating translations through space.

I’ve got two weird ideas at the moment. First, momentum and position space are Fourier conjugate pairs of each other: you can convert states between them with a symmetric Fourier integral. I wonder if a similar relationship exists between the energy basis (or some other space related to the Hamiltonian) and time.

The other question is whether the perception of change in time really involves any real change at all. Augustine was content to measure the extent of time periods through the duration of his mind, which, I suspect, could be adequately explained as the spatial relationship of neurons in the now. That would sort of eliminate the now as any privileged reference frame, but could retain the important perceptions of the past as having happened.

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