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Eliezer_Yudkowsky comments on Disputing Definitions - Less Wrong

48 Post author: Eliezer_Yudkowsky 12 February 2008 12:15AM

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Comment author: Eliezer_Yudkowsky 12 February 2008 06:30:36AM 16 points [-]

Would I win the lawsuit? This is why arguments over definitions have real-world consequences.

Technically, that's not so much an argument over a definition, as an argument over cognitive history: The seller's expectation of your expectation of what you would get in the mail; and the application of the law to those expectations.

I did mention that the remedy is not universal. If people have already taken actions, based on their previous communications, then the consequences are already set in motion - you can't go back in time and use the remedy.

Abortion is murder because it's evil to kill a poor defenseless baby.

Another time you can't just generate new words is when a category boundary like "person" or "human" or "baby" makes a direct appearance in your utility function.