I am not opposed to neutrality. My point is that insistence on neutrality beyond a certain point is a fool's errand. My point is that all systems created by man must, necessarily, exist within a cultural and historical framework. They must be "transformed" to use your words in order to be understood. In a sense the essence of the good, the true and the beautiful (to use Greek philosophic terminology) is closed to mankind and we must interpret and instantiate these truths. (Think the forms if you are familiar with Plato and Aristotle.)uatg wrote:
Why shouldn't it be neutral? In order to be universally applicable, the framework must consist of applying the natural onto the artificial. The scientific method (in my opinion - I know you disagree on this) is closely related to that as it tries to define something lose from anything artificial - BUT - I also want to keep science away from ethics, as the former (again, in my opinion!) doesn't need a reference to the transcendent/supernatural as ethics eventually has to 'consult' it in one way or the other (through a religious or non-religious construct). So the ethical framework I would like to define should be completely lose from any historic or cultural product but also from science. This does not have to lead to the philosophies that you mentioned. In fact I don't like to refer to existing definitions when I am defining my framework because it should be grounded onto something natural and thus not yet 'transformed' by former human interpretation.
Let me give an example.
2+2 = 4 Unless you are a solipsist or an extreme skeptic, which I assume you are not, this statement should be completely uncontroversial. My point is that even math, what is regarded as the pure, "universal language" must exist within historical and cultural constraints.
2+2 = 4 This exhibits a number of characteristics. The numerals were borrowed from ancient India and the symbols were developed in medieval Europe. The result can be expressed as either 4, IIII, IV, 100 (binary). The essence or form of "four" must be expressed using symbols. Likewise it is impossible to imagine "four" in its essence in our minds. We use either a symbol or four of something in particular. Four lines, four dots. Likewise "four" does not exist in the real world. There must be four of something instantiated, four apples, four cars. (The same can be said of other phenomena such as colors.)
Also, our system is base ten. If I say to you 13641 x 10 = 136410 you know instantly that this is true. In our system any number multiplied by "ten" (10) is made one order of magnitude larger. If I say 13641 x 6 = 81856 you will have to take my word for it or check the answer yourself. (The real answer is 81846 but I imagine you did not catch that.)
What I am illustrating here is that even mathematics has heavy cultural biases. We work with numerals and orders of magnitude which make calculations easy but distort our perception of size (to a degree). Base ten is rather anthropomorphic (ten fingers). Why not work in binary? Practically this would be very difficult. What is
327/3 = 109 in binary? It would be a mess. Conceiving of higher bases is difficult for not math majors. I simply cannot wrap my mind around hexadecimal.
More in line with the original point, the ancient Egyptians, Babylonians, Mayans, Greeks and Indians all had radically different systems of mathematics. All of these systems were made particular within a given cultural framework. All would have expresses 2+2 = 4 in a different way and would have understood this truth in a slightly different manner. This does not mean that the essence or form of "two" and "four" were different for each culture. It should also be obvious that borrowing certain aspects of a culture does not entail an appraisal of other aspects. I am currently writing in Latin (alphabet) but I have never sacrificed a young lamb to Zeus. I am using Indian symbols to express my numbers yet I am not a fan of music played on the sitar. Those who believe in science are using a methodological approach dating from the early modern period in European history but scientists today do not wear wigs and frills.
The point of all this is that, again as expressed by Burke, everything is instantiated in the human experience, in culture and history to some extend. It is impossible to really escape from ourselves, to reach the forms so to speak. If mathematics is so rooted in particular experience imagine how much "worse" other disciplines are likely to be. Again 2+2 = 4 is an expression of a universal truth (I assume we can all agree on that) but this instantiation is in fact biased and carries with it certain prejudices.