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rkyeun comments on Magical Categories - Less Wrong

24 Post author: Eliezer_Yudkowsky 24 August 2008 07:51PM

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Comment author: g_pepper 15 November 2016 05:13:59AM 0 points [-]

I was surprised to hear that you doubt that there are ever conflicts in desires. But, since you asked, here is an example:

A is a sadist. A enjoys inflicting pain in others. A really wants to hurt B. B wishes not to be hurt by A. (For the sake of argument, lets suppose that no simulation technology is available that would allow A to hurt a virtual B, and that A can be reasonably confident that A will not be arrested and brought to trial for hurting B.)

In this scenario, since A and B have conflicting desires, how does a system that defines objective goodness as that which will satisfy desires resolve the conflict?

Comment author: rkyeun 26 December 2017 10:28:03AM *  0 points [-]

I would be very surprised to find that a universe whose particles are arranged to maximize objective good would also contain unpaired sadists and masochists. You seem to be asking a question of the form, "But if we take all the evil out of the universe, what about evil?" And the answer is "Good riddance." Pun intentional.

Comment author: g_pepper 26 December 2017 11:08:26PM *  0 points [-]

I would be very surprised to find that a universe whose particles are arranged to maximize objective good would also contain unpaired sadists and masochists.

The problem is that neither you nor BrianPansky has proposed a viable objective standard for goodness. BrianPansky said that good is that which satisfies desires, but proposed no objective method for mediating conflicting desires. And here you said “Do remember that your thoughts and preference on ethics are themselves an arrangement of particles to be solved” but proposed no way for resolving conflicts between different people’s ethical preferences. Even if satisfying desires were an otherwise reasonable standard for goodness, it is not an objective standard, since different people may have different desires. Similarly, different people may have different ethical preferences, so an individual’s ethical preference would not be an objective standard either, even if it were otherwise a reasonable standard.

You seem to be asking a question of the form, "But if we take all the evil out of the universe, what about evil?"

No, I am not asking that. I am pointing out that neither your standard nor BrianPansky’s standard is objective. Therefore neither can be used to determine what would constitute an objectively maximally good universe nor could either be used to take all evil out of the universe, nor even to objectively identify evil.