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kipkoan comments on Metaethics: Where I'm Headed - Less Wrong

10 Post author: lukeprog 22 November 2011 08:15AM

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Comment author: kipkoan 24 November 2011 05:43:14AM 1 point [-]

Do you still find Desirism to be the best moral theory?

Comment author: lukeprog 24 November 2011 08:29:10AM 2 points [-]

It's complicated. Desirism still fits within the framework of pluralistic moral reductionism. It's a way of talking about morality that I think is more accurate and useful than many others, including (for example) Carrier's theory. But I think desirism is a less clear way to talk about value than the way I'm talking about it now, in my metaethics sequence. Unfortunately, I ran out of steam on desirism before I had the chance to explain it properly with Alonzo in our podcast. Hopefully that won't happen with my metaethics sequence on LessWrong!

Comment author: lessdazed 24 November 2011 08:38:19PM 0 points [-]

more accurate and useful than many others, including (for example) Carrier's theory.

I've never heard of it before. But I would like to share how I looked into it: I followed the link and searched the page with CRTL+F for "defin" and read the paragraphs there with variants of "definition." Then I did the same with "tru" and read paragraphs with words related to "true." The whole time I tried to see if single labels could be more usefully replaced with more descriptive ones or even more importantly multiple ones pointing to different, similar places on the map: e.g. to see if "ought" might be better replaced (sometimes or always) with "ought in order to fulfill everyone's desires the most" or "ought so as to fulfill X's desires the most," "ought so as to fulfill Y's desires the most."

All else equal, I'm not overwhelmingly confident in my dismissal of the theory from selective reading from a single summary, despite the problems I perceived.

However, separate from evaluations of the quality of the theory, I have read and heard (podcasts) much about Desirism, and am much more confident dismissing his claim that:

...GT (Goal Theory) and DU (Desire Utilitarianism)...GT is a subset of DU, and thus they are not at odds, but rather GT is what you end up with when you perfect DU, whereas DU is in effect "unfinished."

I'm not sure how much warrant I have to dismiss a theory if the thing I am most confident of is that its formulator misunderstands its relationship to another theory. In any case I also have the indirect evidence of lukeprog's (apparently informed) criticism of it and the problems I saw from my brief selective reading.

I'm not sue why lukeprog chose that theory as an example, not that the choice needs deep justification.

I would appreciate comments on the method of looking into it that came to mind, the two CTRL+F searches. Is there another equally valuable one? What's going on at my five second level?