Possible Worlds: the Morally Good and the Best

The other day I found David Lewis’s book ‘Counterfactuals’ at a used book store for a cheaper price than can be found on Amazon. Pretty excited about the find, I started reading it right away. 

In the beginning of the book he briefly mention morally perfect worlds among the possible worlds. Possible world are universes which may exist, but are not our universe. There are possible worlds that are just like ours and one that are drastically different. 

 A morally perfect world would be a world quite a bit different than our own since our world clearer has plenty of evil. I am going to attempt to unpack what a morally perfect world is or could be. However, I wish to note that this is an area I am not as well versed in and should be taken with a grain of salt. 

One possible definition of a morally perfect world could be this: (1) df=morally perfect world: A world where there is no evil. (1) is readily grasped as something we might mean by a morally perfect world. If there is no evil, then certainly there is nothing blameworthy with that world. However, a world with no good may have no evil too. Imagine a world where only a spec of dust exists. Such a world doesn’t have evil, but lacks good as well. Intuitevly, a world with only a spec is amoral, not morally perfect. 

A second, better definition, is this: (2) df= a morally perfect world: is a world where only good thing happen. Thus, a world with only a spec of dust is now filled out because there is nothing good. Again, a morally perfect world would seem to suggest only good things happening. However, this definition may still be lacking. Imagine a world where there exist only the universe. There are no living things, plants or animals, just planets and stars. There is a kind of beauty to this universe and beauty is a kind of good. The beauty is the universe dancing as it usually does. Or the sun setting as it usually does. if these are goods as we usually take them to be, then this universe has only good things happening. I still think intuitevly this universe is lacking from being morally perfect though. Morally perfect just seems to imply more substances than this universe can give.
One may object that these goods are not real in that world because there is no one there to appreciate them. However, I don’t think music or a painting loses it goodness or beauty just because three is no observer. A third definition that may be as close as we can get is this: (3) df=a morally perfect world: is a world where there are living creatures who experience pleasure, whom never chooses evil, and no evil falls upon them. 

Dear (3) does encompass what I think we intuitively believe about a morally perfect world. My doubt here is not the definition, but rather if such a world is possible. Can agents be free and always choose what is good? Maybe. Can the physical universe exist with consistent natural laws and not hurt anything? Doubtful. 

Take this example from Lewis abiut changing too much,

 “We might think it best to confined our attention to worlds where kangaroos have no tails and everything else is as it actually is; but there are no such worlds. Are we to suppose that kangaroos have no tails but that their tracks in the sand are as they actually are? Then we shall have to suppose that these tracks are produced in a way quite different from the actual way. Are we to suppose that the genes control growth in a way quite different from the actual way…”(p 9) Lewis’s point is if we try to hard to change only one thing, other things will have to change. This problem would only escalate on the natural law level. 

Thus, each definition has problems. Thus, I am not certain that a morally perfect world exists. If one does, the definition needs to be teased out quite a bit more. 

Leave a Reply

Fill in your details below or click an icon to log in:

WordPress.com Logo

You are commenting using your WordPress.com account. Log Out /  Change )

Google+ photo

You are commenting using your Google+ account. Log Out /  Change )

Twitter picture

You are commenting using your Twitter account. Log Out /  Change )

Facebook photo

You are commenting using your Facebook account. Log Out /  Change )


Connecting to %s