Tags: philosophy


(no subject)

It's said that the pursuit of real happiness of utilitarianism often gets twisted and sidetracked into the pursuit of immediate pleasure of hedonism, at least when the pursuit has an individual focus. If so, I may have an explanation to the seeming contradiction of the concept of sin, that to experience good effects is ultimately bad.

A rule of the form "the ends don't justify the means" seem, on the surface, to be nonsensical. If the ends don't justify the means, then what does? But what's really meant is "you can't use the ends to justify your short-term actions because the when in the hands of fallible persons, the ends tend to disappear". That is, the ends not justifying the means is a check.

Taking these two concepts together, sin as a means of keeping oneself humble (to excess) may also be a check. It would definitely make sense. The check is then that if you're sure that your immediate pleasure is bad, then you won't lose your long-term goal while pursuing the short-term goal, and so the degeneration of happiness into blind pleasure ("which makes us into no more than the paragon of a consuming animal") is averted. To put it simply, there's no foothold for the goal to be replaced.

There's no proof that I'm right, and if I am, the explanation probably only partly accounts for the phenomenon (power probably plays an important part too).

And I'm aware this may come off much like Dawkins (you just think you have a soul because your memes want you too, and all religious concepts are illusions). I'll just say, I'm not Dawkins.

(While this deduction may seem very rational-cognitive of me, I think I see flakes of it in one area of the less rational room; it's better to believe one weak because to err negatively doesn't cause any problem, whereas to err positively can cause positive feedback and ever increasing errors of judgement. But that, again, is logic-as-a-servant to the general caution mentioned earlier.)

(no subject)

Now here's a question.

What is the evolutionary advantage of experiential consciousness? That is, what leads real sensing beings to survive in greater numbers than equivalent philosophical zombies? (Or are zombies just more complex and consciousness is an artifact of a more simple construction?)

Libertarianism would have an easy answer to this - the noncausal nature of decisions made freely depend on experience, and in turn is less predictable than more "mechanical" reactions. However, that doesn't work; our choices are restricted by both mind and body, and thus the bottleneck wouldn't seem to be in making choices freely versus making them from some complex cause-effect relation.

(Of course, if consciousness is an illusion then the premise of the question is invalid, and the question itself has only the answer of "mu". But I don't think that is true.)

Redesign and optimization

[Here we go, trying a more "usual" Dw post]

As the past month has shown, this particular being is quite fragile. Too hot or too cold, too dark or too light, too many viruses or too few, and it may react in a bad way. But technology seems to be just on the horizon of rescue; if we can command construction at the greatest detail, we can construct anything that biology might have, and thus improve on the design of the being -- in essence, improve ourselves.

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[1] One of my problems is indeed that little seems to be interesting. I can distract myself, but it's really distraction. Perhaps this post is an exception, but hm.. It's not the logic, it's the incentive; my lower levels, so to speak, seem to be somewhat out of order currently, with this and sleep and all.

(no subject)

An action searcher asks what you want to accomplish and shows you how to do it. It is a planner taken to the extreme, and a good model for AI without goals of its own.

A reality searcher finds a reality where the action has happened, and directs you to it. Of course, it can only exist if our chance-multiplying idea of "multiple realities" is true; that if something can happen, it does happen somewhere.


While watching something that incidentally got me feeling quite .. indescribable (though in a less than good way), my thoughts must have wandered, for it came up with this:

Take epiphenomenalist dualism and connect it to a multiple reality interpretation. Now your physical states can communicate to your mental ones, but it cannot go in the other direction except by changing the reality you're in.

This means that as you make a choice, you start off in, for a lack of a better word, the thread of time where the physical you performs that choice. There is no direct causal link between you making the choice (in your mind) and performing it (physically), because the reality would have existed anyhow, merely by the virtue of having nonzero probability.
Still, you are making the choice. If you hadn't, your personal outcome would be different.

This is not verifiable, because to anyone whose path through the realities differ from your own, all events except those they produce will have just the right probability to be indistinguishable from a more "classical" point of view.

It also makes me think.. would our sense of right be changed by this? After all, the realities exist out there anyhow, you're just treading a different path by doing something good or less good. Which brings us to another problem; if you meet someone who is also making a decision, which outcome will you experience? And why can you only tread the path that corresponds to probable physical choices, with subjective bad (or good) luck interspersed?

(I guess all of this came from my thinking about different sorts of Searchers - logical, action, and reality, and on if giving people that are mad with power a reality searcher would be just as bad a thing as giving them an action searcher (which would let them go to a reality where they're king, or invent weapons to make themselves king, respectively))

(no subject)

The dinosaurs, they were right. Time is a spiral, neither forging straight nor locked in endless repetition. [1]

This is good because you can anticipate; it is bad when it assumes the strength of fate. More balance; neither excessive order nor chaos overreaching helps.

[1] And it makes sense; a clockwork fueled by free choice and randomness, neither determined nor arbitrary. Still, seeing the outcome, you want to change it, but if you have not the direction, it cannot be.

I digress further now.. It is interesting how giving some the power to change gives others less choice, hardening them into more gears in the clock; their actions dissolved from their consequences, seeming chaotic, leads to even more "order", but the order of stone, of immobile static rigidity.

Quick late post

When we decide upon doing something, we presumably have a goal - something which gives a reason for it. So each action is done because of some thought as to why it should be done, and to think is too an action.

But then where does it end? This is the question of original intent, so to speak. And what is distraction, in my terminology? (Emergent property supporters would say that each prior thought is less sophisticated and thus at some level it, like the heap of sand, becomes no longer a thought)

Distraction would seem to be an action that has been created for the purpose of giving something to think about (most literally - distracting from the condition of having no direction), or possibly one that seems empty when it's done (as in having little purpose).


On a more abstract note, systems that hold causality close will never reach "original causes" because such a cause violates causality itself. Such would appear to link strict causality with that mechanical model of a "clockwork universe". If true randomness exists, then strict causality is broken, but randomness by itself eats information precisely because it is not related to what precedes it.

But an event where the amount of randomness itself is based on something of the past is neither random nor directly caused by one thing alone.. I think.


Is Air/Ground/Underground a thesis-antithesis dialectic? Not exactly.. but is it similar? Hm. I don't know, because I know little about dialectic; but details aren't antithetical to broad "combining" knowledge, so it may not be. There're still two disparate aspects connected by a third, though.

(no subject)

Attempting to explain "shardness" (vaguely Great Property related): meep. It may not be the best of texts, seeing the time, but..

I don't know if someone thought of something like it before, but it would surprise me if not.

Various text files.

First, the Surradan argument for a work-time based economy. (Basically: such an economy makes using brute force more expensive than building tools, and a tool can benefit many where brute force benefits only the one having that army of people doing the work)

Second, here the idea of great objects treats the hyperreal as "indirect reference" or "ascribed attributes". See the last two segments.

Random thinking

A simulation of something that doesn't exist, but where the simulation is good enough that it could fool most anyone, is neither real nor unreal - the simulation is, and the references are, but it's not backed up by anything.

What does this say about simulations of things we are uncertain are real?

And yes, I know others have thought of this, at least the first part, before.

(no subject)

Ideally, we should observe the world and then make conclusions. What we do is first find something we want to be true, then search for observations that support it.

Well, not always, but it is well within my mind when I think about the balancing problem of democracy. On one hand, handling large scale coordination requires technical knowledge of the thing in question. On the other, giving rule to experts creates an elite that furthers itself, which is bad.

In an optimal situation, the people should decide tradeoffs among the best possible worlds, and those who know how should implement them. Some of this is done in representative systems, but the feedback works both ways (similar to how advertising works). A great question is how to solve that.

Maybe the best we have is a very dynamic model akin to the inverse confederation with recallable delegates, though I know myself problems with very small societies where equivalence (equal value or chance to affect things) and equality (equal in all aspects) gets confused.. or maybe random selection (government by jury) among those with knowledge -- but that would grant the certificate authorities (those that give papers proving knowledge) immense power, and propagates values the source group has that is not shared with the people in general.

More things to think about. There's the functional and the aesthetic. Unfortunately we can't just "back out of the race" (as in the relaxation argument) because efficiency translates to economic power.

But I may be missing things with my plan/counterplan POV. Reply if you have anything to add.