How could Altruistic Cooperation morality be intrinsic to reality and universal? What might that even mean?
If we were to travel to any of the over 100 billion galaxies in the universe, I expect we would find that physics works the same. Chemistry is the same, hydrogen fuses into helium in the core of stars by the same processes, planets orbit their suns by the same physics, and the mathematics that describe all this is the same. We could then conclude (as people have already done based on other evidence) that physics and the mathematics describing these phenomena are intrinsic to our physical reality and universal. Different species, and even hypothetical intelligent computer societies, might have different levels of understanding and different interpretations of this physics and mathematics, but they are observing and describing the same phenomena.
We might reasonably conclude that any phenomena that are species, and even biology, independent are intrinsic to physical reality and universal.
So is Altruistic Cooperation morality species independent and intrinsic to reality? That is, is it a description of phenomena similar to physics?
The intrinsic phenomena Altruistic Cooperation morality is based on are:
1) Beings can often, and intelligent beings can almost always, produce more benefits by cooperative efforts than by working only as individuals.
2) Cooperation often exposes cooperators to exploitation and altruistic cooperation (cooperation maintained by altruism) always does.
3) Exploiting other cooperators gets the individual the most benefits in the short term, and therefore can be attractive, but destroys potentially larger long term benefits of cooperation.
4) This problem in how to overcome short term self interest in order to sustainably obtain the benefits of cooperation in groups can be solved by a) beings being motivated to accept the short term cost of not exploiting other cooperators, and thereby benefiting other cooperators and b) punishment of beings who exploit other’s altruism.
5) Biological evolution implements this solution (point 4) by evolving emotions such as empathy, loyalty, guilt and shame that motivate altruism, evolving the emotional experience of durable well-being that rewards altruistic cooperation in groups, and evolving the emotion indignation that motivates punishment of people who exploit altruism. All this biology is selected for by the reproductive fitness benefits of increased cooperation in groups.
6) As a separate process, cultural evolution exploits this solution (point 4) by selecting enforced cultural norms (enforced moral standards) that advocate altruism and punishing people who exploit altruism. These enforced moral standards are selected for by whatever benefits of cooperation in groups people find attractive; reproductive fitness benefits may not be present.
7) Game theory provides altruistic strategies (composed of usually reliable, but still fallible heuristics) for choosing altruistic behaviors that have some protection against exploitation and are likely to increase the synergistic benefits of cooperation in groups. These mathematical altruistic strategies are also intrinsic to physical reality and universal.
Since these phenomena are species independent and a description of phenomena based in physics, Altruistic Cooperation morality is intrinsic to reality and universal. (Note that when discussing morality as an evolutionary adaptation, altruism is most usefully defined as “Acting without consideration of future net benefits, at a cost to one’s self, and benefiting other people”.)
Imagine that on our hypothetical trips to any of the over 100 billion galaxies in the universe we meet intelligent species. We might ask, “Do you observe the above seven phenomena and, if so, do they have social implications?” I expect the answer would most commonly be “Oh of course, they are the basis of the universal morality, the mother of all social moralities. Everyone knows that!”