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buybuydandavis comments on Anthropic decision theory I: Sleeping beauty and selflessness - Less Wrong Discussion

10 Post author: Stuart_Armstrong 01 November 2011 11:41AM

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Comment author: buybuydandavis 02 November 2011 02:37:38AM 0 points [-]

A selfish agent is one whose preferences are only about their own personal welfare; a pure hedonist would be a good example.

What does that mean in terms of parametric invariances of his preference function? Is a selfish person's preferences supposed to be invariant to how clean his car is? How clean your car is? How clean you are? Similarly, what is his personal welfare supposed to be invariant to?

Comment author: Stuart_Armstrong 02 November 2011 12:11:25PM 0 points [-]

No sure what you mean by parametric invariances; can you elaborate?

Comment author: buybuydandavis 02 November 2011 09:46:17PM 1 point [-]

I'll rephrase and try to clarify.

What is the preference function of a selfish person supposed to be independent of? What things can change that won't change the value of his preference function?

Concepts of selfishness often seem muddled to me. They seem to imply a concern confined to a millimeter bubble about your body. Well, who is like that? So I'm asking what do you suppose does and doesn't effect a selfish person's preference function.

Comment author: Stuart_Armstrong 02 November 2011 10:09:21PM 0 points [-]

In practice, everyone's motivation is a mixture of all sorts of stuff, and very little is even a utility function...

But in theory, this is how I would define a selfish utility: one that is defined entirely in terms of an index "me". If you have two people with exactly the same selfish utility function, completely identical (except that the "me" is different), then those two utilities are independent of each other.

Comment author: jmh 05 September 2017 11:36:48AM 0 points [-]

Would it be correct to define selfish utility as sociopathic?

Comment author: gjm 06 September 2017 09:00:21AM 0 points [-]

Probably the only actual human beings whose utility functions (in so far as they have them) are perfectly selfish are sociopaths, or very odd psychologically in other ways. But considering hypothetical agents with perfectly selfish utility functions is mostly just a convenient approximation. (And it's not that bad an approximation; most people are very well approximated, in many of their interactions, as perfectly selfish agents, and the approximation errs more badly by assuming that they have utility functions than by assuming that they're perfectly selfish. I think.)

Comment author: Stuart_Armstrong 05 September 2017 06:57:20PM *  0 points [-]

The problem with selfish utility, is that even selfish agents are assumed to care about themselves at different moments in time. In a world where copying happens, this is under defined, so selfish has multiple possible definitions.

Comment author: Lumifer 05 September 2017 02:52:40PM 0 points [-]

Depends on your definition of sociopathy. Not under DSM.