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pnrjulius comments on Interpersonal Entanglement - Less Wrong

44 Post author: Eliezer_Yudkowsky 20 January 2009 06:17AM

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Comment author: pnrjulius 06 June 2012 09:38:14PM 4 points [-]

You amended "healthy" to "desirable" to make it less normative? You have a very different definition of normative than I do.

"Healthy" is really an evaluative term (to use Sen's definition); it's both descriptive and normative, and difficult to separate. It is in an objective sense healthy to have ten fingers instead of nine, two arms instead of one, based on what is, as a scientific fact, the baseline template model for Homo sapiens. But on the other hand, it's also better to have these things, at least typically; and people generally want to be healthy, even in the sense of conforming to the specifications of the baseline template model. So is it descriptive or normative? It's kinda both, and I think that's all right.

"Desirable" on the other hand... that's straight up normative, unless you're only using an unusual meaning like "what it is possible to desire" or "what some humans actually desire". (In these latter cases, cannibalism is apparently "desirable".)