Less Wrong is a community blog devoted to refining the art of human rationality. Please visit our About page for more information.

Wendy_Collings comments on Something to Protect - Less Wrong

52 Post author: Eliezer_Yudkowsky 30 January 2008 05:52PM

You are viewing a comment permalink. View the original post to see all comments and the full post content.

Comments (76)

Sort By: Old

You are viewing a single comment's thread.

Comment author: Wendy_Collings 31 January 2008 02:26:15AM -1 points [-]

I totally agree with "Anon", and others who made similar points in the Circular Altruism post. Context matters! Is it a one-time choice, or an iterated choice? Is there an upper limit to the number of deaths, or no limit? Are the 500 the number of people on the sinking ship/last people on planet earth, or possible victims from a much larger pool? You can only do the math and make a rational decision when you have ALL the numbers from the relevant context.

The first steps of rationality lie not in separating problems from their context, but in determining what context is relevant.