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Dacyn comments on The "Intuitions" Behind "Utilitarianism" - box10.me on lesswrong.com

31 Post author: Eliezer_Yudkowsky 28 January 2008 04:29PM

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Comment author: Dacyn 15 December 2017 01:49:28AM 0 points [-]

I'm not a utilitarian. The argument that 50 years of torture is preferable to 3^^^3 people suffering dust specks only presumes that preferences are transitive, and that there exists a sequence of gradations between torture and dust specks with the properties that (A) N people suffering one level of the spectrum is always preferable to N*(a googol) people suffering the next level, and (B) the spectrum has at most a googol levels. I think it's pretty hard to consistently deny these assumptions, and I'm not aware of any serious argument put forth to deny them.

It's true that a deontologist might refrain from torturing someone even if he believes it would result in the better outcome. I was assuming a scenario where either way you are not torturing someone, just refraining from preventing them from being tortured by someone else.

Comment author: entirelyuseless 15 December 2017 02:04:35PM 0 points [-]

Right. Utilitarianism is false, but Eliezer was still right about torture and dust specks.