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Bruce_Britton comments on Tsuyoku vs. the Egalitarian Instinct - Less Wrong

26 Post author: Eliezer_Yudkowsky 28 March 2007 05:49PM

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Comment author: Bruce_Britton 02 April 2007 02:24:30AM 0 points [-]

Richard, you say you do not know if there is or is not a way to settle this particular disagreement. I too believe there may be a way to settle it, but only if we are explicitly specific about what we mean, and only if we agree to agree about what we mean; then there may be a way to settle it to the satisfaction of both of us. But if we can't be explicitly specific etc. then we can't settle it. My view is quite a standard one; I don't claim it's original. I agree that disagreements that involve values are difficult to settle; I think we would have to agree about values, or agree to disagree.

The arguement I gave was from Aristotle, and I have been unable to find any flaw in it. It seems to compel my assent.

However, others have denied it, most famously Augustine, who said that seeking and finding God is above happiness. That is, God is the ultimate goal, not happiness.

This makes sense to me if I could believe in the existence of God, but usually I can't, whereas I can believe in the terms of my application of Aristotle's arguement ( 'maximizing perceiving reality correctly' and 'maximizing happiness').

And it seems possible that you are seeking something that is kind of like what other people mean by God, specifically I get this from your 'if there is not an objecively valid proper ultimate goal, then life has no meaning' and your willingness to 'step outside the causal chain' and your concern with suffering; these all remind me of talk about God. The suffering of sentient beings has a Buddhist flavor.

So maybe our disagreement has to do with you being able to believe in this God-type idea, and me not. Could this be it?