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Multiheaded comments on Mapping Fun Theory onto the challenges of ethical foie gras - Less Wrong Discussion

34 Post author: HonoreDB 07 December 2011 08:47PM

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Comment author: Multiheaded 24 February 2012 06:11:22AM 0 points [-]

Did a medieval townsman behave as though he/she was protected from the bad things that could happen any less than a modern middle-class person (whether religious or not)? I don't think so.

Comment author: Nornagest 24 February 2012 06:51:43AM *  3 points [-]

Difficult question. From what I've read I'd expect medieval townsmen to be more aware of particular dangers than modern middle-class people: there's a huge volume of medieval charms and prayers against thieves that've come down to us, for example, and I'm fairly certain that reflects an actual preoccupation. But it's not clear to me that this would be any stronger in absolute terms than, say, modern culture's fear of pedophiles.

In any case the baseline seems to have been within the same order of magnitude, while the everyday threat of violence or theft would have been multiple orders of magnitude higher in medieval society. On the other hand, the medieval threat landscape may also have been less stable, which I'd expect to represent a source of stress in its own right.

Comment author: Multiheaded 24 February 2012 07:05:08AM 0 points [-]

In any case the baseline seems to have been within the same order of magnitude, while the everyday threat of violence or theft would have been multiple orders of magnitude higher in medieval society.

Yeah, that's exactly what struck me as unbelievable about Dave's assertion.

Comment author: TheOtherDave 24 February 2012 09:14:34PM 0 points [-]

Just to make sure I understand... the "assertion" we're talking about is the possibility that "any significant further reduction in our suffering that wasn't visibly our own doing would bring us over a tipping point where that willingness [to behave as though we were being taken care of by an all-powerful supernatural force] became a literally irresistable temptation"... yes?

And what you find unbelievable about this is that when you compare modern willingness to behave that way to medieval willingness to behave that way, you find that they're roughly the same, but that when you compare modern threat level to medieval threat level, you find the medieval threat level is significantly higher. Yes?

If I got both of those right, I am confused. Can you unpack the relationship between those two assertions more precisely?