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Daniel_Humphries comments on Zut Allais! - Less Wrong

23 Post author: Eliezer_Yudkowsky 20 January 2008 03:18AM

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Comment author: Daniel_Humphries 20 January 2008 06:57:30PM 2 points [-]

BusinessConsultant: But to say that we are irrational because we are basing our decision on our own personal context is to deny everything that you have built up to this point. Really? If a decision is irrational, it's irrational. You can make allowances for circumstance and still attempt to find the most rational choice. Did you read the whole post? Eliezer is at pains to point out that even given different expected utilities for different amounts of money for different people in different circumstances, there is still a rational way to go about making a decision and there is stilla tendency for humans to make bad decisions because they are too lazy (my words, not his) to think it through, instead trusting their "intuition" because it "feels right."

The point about paying two human lives to flip the switch and then switch it back really drove home the point, Eliezer. Also, a good clarification on consistency. Reading the earlier post, I also thought of the objection that $24,000 could change a destitute person's life by orders of magnitude, whereas $3000 on top of that would not be equivalent to 1/8 more utility... the crucial difference for a starving, sick person is in, say, the first few grand.

But then, as you point out, your preference for the surer chance of less money should remain consistent however the game is stated. Thanks! Very clear...

Also, living in New York and longing for Seattle, I found myself visiting Seattle for Christmas and longing for New York... hmmm. Maybe I just need a taxi to Oakland. :P