Knowledge brings change

Central concept 1: Knowledge is a prerequisite for ethics. Knowledge is thus able to change the bases of decisions laid by ethics.

  Central concept 2: Knowledge changes what ethical decisions are

To give a brutal example: Imagine a respected doctor of the past, who dissects corpses, delivers babies, etc. But then in 1848 a study by Dr. Ignaz Semmelweis is published. The accepted practice among doctors of not wasting precious time by washing their hands is suddenly regarded as deliberate homicide of patients.

After publication of Dr. Semmelweis's study, every doctor had to ask themselves:

  • Is the effort of washing my hands so big that I will accept the risk that Dr. Semmelweis is right, or is it really not such a big thing to wash my hands and I'd rather be on safe side?
  • How can Dr. Semmelweis's study be definitively proved or disproved?
In the ethics diagram, a doctor would have had to fill in four variants
  • I wash my hands - Semmelweis is right
  • I wash my hands - Semmelweis is wrong
  • I don't wash my hands - Semmelweis is right
  • I don't wash my hands - Semmelweis is wrong
If the corresponding probabilites are applied to these variants, a doctor with the training of the time would have given Semmelweis a maximum 10% probability that his study is correct. But even in the case of a 1% probability, in view of the seriousness of the consequences and the simple means to avoid them, ethics would have demanded that the doctor washes his hands.

This leads to the 3rd central concept of ethics
Philosophy Philosophy
Long-term planning and stability have to be the guiding rules of politics. A philosophy based on the mathematic branch of games theory.

Context description:  politics political