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Comment author: tristanm 05 April 2017 04:55:13PM 1 point [-]

many well-known, devastating counter-examples.

I would object to calling these "devastating counter-examples", they're more like unsolved problems. It seems overly dramatic. I'm not a perfect Bayesian agent, I use my intuitions a lot, but that is not grounds on which to reject Bayesianism, and I think we could say something similar about consequentialism. I may not know how to perfectly measure relative happiness, or perfectly predict the future, but it doesn't seem like that should be grounds to reject consequentialism entirely, in favor of alternatives which don't cope with those issues either.

Comment author: dxu 05 April 2017 10:01:26PM 1 point [-]

One very common error people make is to treat "utilitarianism" and "consequentialism" as if they were one and the same thing. Utilitarianism makes claims about what is moral and what is not. Consequentialism makes claims about what sort of properties a moral criterion should have. Criticisms about utilitarianism, therefore, are often taken also as criticisms of consequentialism, when in fact the two are distinct concepts!

Comment author: philh 05 April 2017 09:31:22AM 6 points [-]

No one is more critical of us than ourselves.

This seems untrue. For example, RationalWiki.

In the past I could also have pointed to some individuals (who AFAIK were not associated with RW, but they could have been) who I think would have counted. I can't think of any right now, but I expect they still exist.

Comment author: dxu 05 April 2017 09:38:17PM 0 points [-]

That's fair, but I also think it largely misses the point of Elo's comment. Here, have (an attempt at) a rephrase:

No community is as prone to self-criticism as the rationalist community.

Comment author: entirelyuseless 04 April 2017 01:44:02AM 1 point [-]

It isn't a perception problem if it's correct.

Comment author: dxu 05 April 2017 09:28:47PM 0 points [-]

It is a perception problem if it's incorrect.

Comment author: username2 05 April 2017 09:15:40PM 1 point [-]

I agree with the 1st paragraph. You could have done without the accusations of concern trolling in the 2nd.

Comment author: dxu 05 April 2017 09:27:07PM 4 points [-]

If, as you say, you agree with the first paragraph, it might behoove you to follow the advice given in said paragraph--naming the people who threatened you and providing documentation.

Comment author: username2 20 October 2016 11:41:19PM -1 points [-]

Most AI researchers have not done any research into the topic of AI [safety], so their opinions are irrelevant.

(I assume my edit is correct?)

One could also say: most AI safety researchers have not done any research into the topic of (practical) AI research, so their opinions are irrelevant. How is this statement any different?

Lastly this is not an outlier or 'extremist' view on this website. This is the majority opinion here and has been discussed to death in the past, and I think it's as settled as it can be expected. If you have any new points to make or share, please feel free. Otherwise you aren't adding anything at all. There is literally no argument in your comment at all, just an appeal to authority.

Really? There's a lot of frequent posters here that don't hold the Bostrom extremist view. skeptical_lurker and TheAncientGeek come to mind.

But if this site really has an orthodoxy, then it has no remaining purpose to me. Goodbye.

Comment author: dxu 23 October 2016 10:46:24PM -1 points [-]

But if this site really has an orthodoxy, then it has no remaining purpose to me. Goodbye.

Considering that you're using an anonymous account to post this comment, the above is a statement that carries much less weight than it normally would.

In response to comment by dxu on The Moral Void
Comment author: ChristianKl 22 July 2016 09:35:52AM 1 point [-]

People spoke of apples before they knew anything about atoms. Someone did discover at sometime that the entities that we call apples are made out of atoms.

If I would have a teleporter and exchange the atoms one-by-one with other atoms it would also stay the same apple. Especially when it comes to bridges I think there are actual bridges that had nearly total atom exchange but as still considered to be the same bridge.

In response to comment by ChristianKl on The Moral Void
Comment author: dxu 26 July 2016 07:43:06PM 1 point [-]

Your comment is true, but it doesn't address the original issue of whether it is possible to deduce morality from physics. If your intent was to provide a clarification, that's fine, of course.

In response to comment by dxu on The Moral Void
Comment author: entirelyuseless 21 July 2016 11:36:47AM *  0 points [-]

It is not irrelevant. Physics does not contain axioms that have the word "apple" in them, and so you cannot logically go from the axioms of physics to "apples tend to fall if you drop them." That does not prevent you from making a reasonable argument that if the axioms of physics are true, then apples will fall, and it does not prevent you from arguing for morality.

Comment author: dxu 21 July 2016 04:28:23PM *  0 points [-]

This is an equivocation. "Apple" is a term we use to refer to a large collection of atoms arranged in a particular manner. The same goes for the word "bridge" that you mentioned in your other comment. The fact that we can talk about such collections of atoms and refer to them using shorthands ("apple", "bridge", etc.) does not change the fact that they are still made of atoms, and hence subject to the laws of physics. This fact has precisely no bearing on the issue of whether it is possible to deduce morality from physics.

EDIT: Speaking of whether it's possible to deduce morality from physics, I actually already linked to (what in my mind is) a fairly compelling argument that it's not, but I note that you've (unsurprisingly) neglected to address that argument entirely.

In response to comment by dxu on Zombies Redacted
Comment author: entirelyuseless 21 July 2016 10:36:12AM -2 points [-]

Also, regarding the personal things here, I am not surprised that you find it hard to understand me, for two reasons. First, as I have said, I haven't been trying to lay out an entire position anyway, because it is not something that would fit into a few comments on Less Wrong. Second, you are deeply confused about a large number of things.

Of course, you suppose that I am the one who is confused. This is normal for disagreements. But I have good evidence that it is you who are confused, rather than me. You admit that you do not understand what I am saying, calling it "vague hand-waving." In contrast, I understand both what I am saying, and what you are saying. I understand your position quite well, and all of its reasons, along with the ways that you are mistaken. This is a difference that gives me a reason to think that you are the one who is confused, not me.

I agree that it would not be productive to continue a discussion along those lines, of course.

Comment author: dxu 21 July 2016 04:18:54PM *  2 points [-]

...Your comment, paraphrased:

"You think I'm wrong, but actually you're the one who's wrong. I'm not going to give any reasons you're wrong, because this margin is too narrow to contain those reasons, but rest assured I know for a fact that I'm right and you're wrong."

This is, frankly, ridiculous and a load of drivel. Sorry, but I have no intention of continuing to argue with someone who doesn't even bother to present their side of the argument and insults my intelligence on top of that. Tapping out.

In response to comment by dxu on Zombies Redacted
Comment author: entirelyuseless 21 July 2016 10:28:47AM -1 points [-]

"I do not believe etc."

That is my point. It is a question of your beliefs, not of proofs. In essence, in your earlier comment, you asserted that you do not depend on an inductive argument to tell you that other people are conscious, because zombies are impossible. But my point is that without the inductive argument, you would have no reason to believe that zombies are impossible.

Comment author: dxu 21 July 2016 04:13:58PM *  0 points [-]

No, I don't believe zombies are impossible because of some nebulously defined "inductive argument". I believe zombies are impossible because I am experiencing qualia, and I don't believe those qualia are the result of some magical consciousness substance that can be added or subtracted from a universe at will.

In response to comment by dxu on Zombies Redacted
Comment author: entirelyuseless 21 July 2016 03:03:59AM -2 points [-]

I'm not going to respond to all of this, because I don't have the time or energy for it, and I think you are very confused here about a large number of issues; resolving them would take much, much more than a comment.

But I will point out one thing. I agree that zombies are impossible, and therefore that a zombie world is impossible. That says nothing about what is conceivable; we know what we mean by a zombie or a zombie world, so it is quite conceivable.

But the thing you are confused about is this: just because a zombie world is impossible, does not mean that we have a syllogistic proof from first principles that it is impossible. We do not. And so if someone thinks it is possible, you can never refute that. You can only give reasons, that is, non-conclusive reasons, for thinking that it is probably impossible. And the reasons for thinking that are very similar to the reason I gave for thinking that other people are conscious. Your comment confuses two different ideas, namely whether zombies are possible, and what we know about zombies and how we know it, which are two different things.

Comment author: dxu 21 July 2016 06:06:37AM 1 point [-]

just because a zombie world is impossible, does not mean that we have a syllogistic proof from first principles that it is impossible. We do not.

True.

And so if someone thinks it is possible, you can never refute that.

False.

You can only give reasons, that is, non-conclusive reasons, for thinking that it is probably impossible. And the reasons for thinking that are very similar to the reason I gave for thinking that other people are conscious. Your comment confuses two different ideas, namely whether zombies are possible, and what we know about zombies and how we know it, which are two different things.

This is not a matter of knowledge, but of expectation. Basically, the question boils down to whether I, personally, believe that consciousness will eventually be explained in reductionistic, lower level terms, just as heat was explained in reductionistic, lower level terms, even if such an explanation is currently unavailable. And the answer to that question is yes. Yes, I do.

I do not believe that consciousness is magic, and I do not believe that it will remain forever inexplicable. I believe that although we do not currently have an explanation for qualia, we will eventually discover such an explanation, just as I believe there exists a googol-th digit of pi, even if we have not yet calculated that digit. And finally, I expect that once such an explanation is discovered, it will make the entire concept of "p-zombies" seem exactly as possible as "heat" somehow being different from "motion", or biology being powered by something other than chemistry, or the third digit of pi being anything other than 4.

This is, it seems to me, the only reasonable position to take; anything else would, in my opinion, require a massive helping of faith. I have attempted to lay out my arguments for why this is so on multiple occasions, and (if you'll forgive my immodesty) I think I've done a decent job of it. I have also asked you several questions in order to help clarify your objections so that I might be able to better address said objections; so far, these questions of mine have gone unanswered, and I have instead been presented with (what appears to me to be) little more than vague hand-waving in response to my carefully worded arguments.

As this conversation has progressed, all of these things have served to foster a feeling of increasing frustration on my part. I say this, not to start an argument, but to express my feelings regarding this discussion directly in the spirit of Tell Culture. Forgive me if my tone in this comment seems a bit short, but there is only so much dancing around the point I am willing to tolerate before I deem the conversation a frustrating and fruitless pursuit. I don't mean to sound like I'm giving an ultimatum here, but to put it bluntly: unless I encounter a point I feel is worth addressing in detail, this will likely be my last reply to you on this topic. I've laid out my case; I leave the task of refuting it to others.

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