The most direct access to post-conventional ethical principles that move beyond ethics by authority “might makes right” or by societal norms, is to challenge our socialization by projecting outside of it, using moral thought experiments that assume direct communication with alien sentient life forms.
The imagination that informational interaction with aliens is plausible makes SETI an ideal platform for such thought experiments.
Such thought experiments have fundamentally changed how I make moral decisions. I can no longer tolerate ignoring the primacy of value held by life. The blind assumption that sentient being does not have moral implications is the greatest threat to existence on this or any planet.
In my Fermi paradox based thought experiments, upon contact with exoplanetary life, how could I argue with said aliens that I am capable of respecting their life forms, if my behavior towards the sentient life forms in my own environment is governed by the principles of domination and use of them for my physical and social benefit.
As a result of these thought experiments, I have learned that moral consistency is not the philosophical morass that postmodern scholars have claimed it to be.
The postmodernist’s ironic reasoning that casts doubt on reason itself, all the while reasoning that there is no objective reality or any such thing as human nature, in no way substantiates the claim that there are no clear provable moral values.
On the contrary, we do not need to appeal to the idea of objective reality to ascertain that there is a supreme moral principle that tells us what is good. Such abstract concepts are a diversion from the simple and obvious truth that life is good and good is life.
As long as we agree that we are alive that is enough. I do not even ask that you can say “I think, therefore I am”, just “I am alive.”
To be is to live and to live is to value life. Life itself holds the supreme moral value.
Life is the prerequisite for being. All thought assumes the life of the thinker as if it were a given. Maybe it takes courage to acknowledge that thinking is as much a symptom of life as are the sensations of heat and cold?
As soon as science leaves the relativistic confines of this planet, it retains only one supreme guiding principle, the same one that we all ignore here on earth, the universal primacy of life. All values imply life: the search for life, the evolution of life, the knowledge of life.
Without life, there are no concepts of space or time. The idea of a beginning is the psychological projection of life onto the universe as if it were a singular living entity. Only living beings have such singularity. To accurately describe a physical universe without life requires, that there be no perspective from which to even claim that there is a physical universe. Life is the prerequisite for all knowledge, and the value of life is the prerequisite for all value.