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David_Gerard comments on No License To Be Human - Less Wrong

16 Post author: Eliezer_Yudkowsky 20 August 2008 11:18PM

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Comment author: David_Gerard 31 January 2011 05:18:22PM 1 point [-]

general license to be human.

I don't understand what the phrase "a general license to be human" means in the context of these posts. Could someone please clarify?

Comment author: TheOtherDave 31 January 2011 06:30:18PM 2 points [-]

I think it's meant to designate the idea that "whatever humans happen to prefer", aka "h-right," is in some way privileged.

The intention (I think) is something like "Just because humans prefer X, that's no reason we should attempt to maximize X." Human preferences are not licensed, in the sense of authorized or privileged.

(I agree with that, as far as it goes. Of course, the post seems to go on to say that what is actually licensed is what's right, and it so happens that (at least some) human preferences are right, so (at least some) human preferences happen to be licensed... but they are licensed because they are right, not because they are human. I get off the train sometime before it reaches that station.)

Caveat: Much of the metaethics sequence I either don't understand or disagree with, so I am far from presenting myself as an expert here. I answer the question as much in the hopes of getting corrected by others as anything else. Still, I haven't come up with another interpretation that makes nearly as much sense to me.