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Eliezer_Yudkowsky comments on Not for the Sake of Happiness (Alone) - Less Wrong

48 Post author: Eliezer_Yudkowsky 22 November 2007 03:19AM

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Comment author: Eliezer_Yudkowsky 22 November 2007 06:06:10AM 4 points [-]

Yes, J, I very often see this. By strict coincidence, for example, I was reading this by Shermer just now, and came across:

"I believe that humans are primarily driven to seek greater happiness, but the definition of such is completely personal and cannot be dictated and should not be controlled by any group. (Even so-called selfless acts of charity can be perceived as directed toward self-fulfillment--the act of making someone else feel good, makes us feel good. This is not a falsifiable statement, but it is observable in people's actions and feelings.) I believe that the free market--and the freer the better--is the best system yet devised for allowing all individuals to achieve greater levels of happiness."

Michael Shermer may or may not believe that all values reduce to happiness, but he is certainly "arguing as if" they do. Not every mistake has to be made primarily by professional analytic philosophers for it to be worth discussing.