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douglas comments on Terminal Values and Instrumental Values - Less Wrong

54 Post author: Eliezer_Yudkowsky 15 November 2007 07:56AM

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Comment author: douglas 15 November 2007 09:02:43AM 2 points [-]

The disticintion between instrumental values and terminal values is useful in thinking about political and economic issues (the 2 areas I’ve thought about so far…) I’m running into a problem with ‘terminal’ values, and I wonder if this isn’t typical. A terminal value implies the future in a way that an insturmental value does not. The instrumental value is for an action carried out in a finite time and leads to an outcome in the foreseeable future. A terminal value posits all futures—this is an endless recusive algorithm. (At least I don’t have an end to the future in my thinking now). When I ask myself, “How do I want things to be in the future?” I can carry this question out only so far, but my concept of the future goes well beyond any currently imaginable scenarios.