Reply to Sarah

In aesthetics, I only care about the things good taste correlates with. I don’t care about the “act” at all. What do I mean? I don’t care intrinsically about whether or not a person listens to Miley Cyrus. I only care about it as a proxy for these other things that I care about: openness to experience; what emotional state a person wants to put themselves in (e.g. power, serenity, or wistfulness); preferences for complexity; or what in-group the person identifies with. If an intelligent, open-minded, well-informed, emotionally agreeable alien just happened to prefer Miley Cyrus to Arvo Pärt because of arbitrary differences in how our central nervous systems operated, I wouldn’t begrudge them. This does not hold for ethics. I’m not merely cornered with characteristics ethical behavior correlates with, I actually care about the specifics—I really don’t want the alien hurting people.

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