RE: Ethical basics

From: Ben Goertzel (
Date: Thu Jan 24 2002 - 07:02:42 MST


> > Yes, this is a silly topic of conversation...
> Rational altruism? Why would it be? I've often considered starting a
> third mailing list devoted solely to that.

Not rational altruism, but the extended discussion of *your own personal
struck me as mildly (yet, I must admit, mildly pleasantly) absurd...

> > It seems to me that you take a certain pleasure in being more altruistic
> > than most others. Doesn't this mean that your apparent
> altruism is actually
> > partially ego gratification ;> And if you think you don't take this
> > pleasure, how do you know you don't do it unconsciously? Unlike a
> > superhuman AI, "you" (i.e. the conscious, reasoning component
> of Eli) don't
> > have anywhere complete knowledge of your own mind-state...
> No offense, Ben, but this is very simple stuff

Of course it is... the simple traps are the hardest to avoid, even if you
you're avoiding them

Anyway, there isn't much point to argue on & on about how altruistic Eli
is, in the depth of his mind .

As imperfect as your own knowledge about this topic is, Eli, mine is
obviously far
more so!! ;>

The tricks the mind plays on itself are numerous, deep and fascinating. And
all sorts of wonderful people do emerge, including some fairly (though in my
never completely) altruistic ones...

> It's amazing how many things the modern synthesis in neo-Darwinism doesn't
> fail to take into account. Constraints on evolvability (or more
> generally, fitness landscapes for evolvability) is most certainly one of
> them. I can't recall reading anything explicitly about, e.g., local
> adaptations mirroring local rules and thereby giving rise to
> un-selected-for global mirroring of Platonic forms - but I have explicitly
> written about it, and specifically in the context of the implications for
> human morality.

I don't doubt that *you personally* are aware of the role of
self-organization and
"Platonic forms" in evolution and morality, but the books that you mentioned
certainly do not take this point of view at all, which is what I was saying.
My own tendency is to *emphasize* this part as opposed to the game theory
selectionist part, whereas the books you refer emphasize the latter part.

-- Ben G

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