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CarlShulman comments on Circular Altruism - Less Wrong

40 Post author: Eliezer_Yudkowsky 22 January 2008 06:00PM

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Comment author: CarlShulman 22 January 2008 07:02:32PM 2 points [-]

Care to test your skills against the Repugnant Conclusion? http://plato.stanford.edu/entries/repugnant-conclusion/

Comment author: Kingreaper 22 July 2010 12:21:09AM 35 points [-]

A life barely worth living is worth living. I see no pressing need to disagree with the Repugnant Conclusion itself.

However, I suspect there is a lot of confusion between "a life barely worth living" and "a life barely good enough that the person won't commit suicide".

A life barely good enough that the person won't commit suicide is well into the negatives.

Comment author: steven0461 22 July 2010 12:27:14AM 13 points [-]

Not to mention the confusion between "a life barely worth living" and "a life that has some typical number of bad experiences in it and barely any good experiences".

Comment author: AndyC 22 April 2014 11:31:19AM 3 points [-]

I don't understand why it's supposed to be somehow better to have more people, even if they are equally happen. 10 billion happy people is better than 5 billion equally happy people? Why? It makes no intuitive sense to me, I have no innate preference between the two (all else equal), and yet I'm supposed to accept it as a premise.

Comment author: AlexanderRM 27 March 2015 09:28:40PM 0 points [-]

Isn't it usually brought up by people who want you to reject it as a premise, as an argument against hedonic positive utilitarianism?

Personally I do disagree with that premise and more generally with hedonic utilitarianism. My utility function is more like "choice" or "freedom" (an ideal world would be one where everyone can do whatever they want, and in a non-ideal one we should try to optimize to get as close to that as possible), so based on that I have no preference with regards to people who haven't been born yet, since they're incapable of choosing whether or not to be alive. (on the other hand my intuition is that bringing dead people back would be good if it were possible... I suppose that if the dead person didn't want to die at the moment of death, that would be compatible with my ideas, and I don't think it's that far off from my actual, intuitive reasons for feeling that way.)

Comment author: altleft 28 March 2015 04:53:18PM 0 points [-]

It makes some sense in terms of total happiness, since 10 billion happy people would give a higher total happiness than 5 billion happy people.

Comment author: [deleted] 23 June 2014 02:56:18AM 0 points [-]

But the Repugnant Conclusion is wrong. People who don't exist have no interest in existing; they don't have any interests, because they don't exist. To make the world a better place means making it a better place for people who already exist. If you add a new person to that pool of 'people who exist', then of course making the world a better place means making it a better place for that person as well. But there's no reason to go around adding imaginary babies (as in the example from part one of the linked article) to that pool for the sake of increasing total happiness. It's average happiness on a personal level -- not total happiness -- which makes people happy, and making people happy is sort of the whole point of 'making the world a better place'. Or else why bother? To be honest, the entire Repugnant Conclusion article felt a little silly to me.