RE: Defining Right and Wrong

From: Ben Goertzel (
Date: Sat Nov 23 2002 - 21:01:56 MST

> Behalf Of Ben Goertzel wrote:
> > Michael, as I see it, ethical/moral values cannot be tested according to

Billy Brown wrote:
> For an entity with perfect knowledge and infinite processing power, in a
> finite deterministic universe, perfect ethics would boil down to a fairly
> well-defined procedure:
> 1) Determine every possible set of actions that could be taken between the
> present and the end of the universe. Create a model of the entire universe
> corresponding to each set of actions.
> 2) For each of these hypothetical futures, pick out the life history of
> every entity capable of having subjective experiences. Then determine the
> desireability of that hypothetical future by the subjective standards of
> each of these entities.
> 3) Pick the hypothetical future with the highest net desireablility, and
> take the actions that lead to it becoming reality.

Yeah, this works if you assume that every entity knows what's best for it...

The assumption that every entity knows what's best for it, is a nontrivial
moral/ethical assertion in itself, actually.

Most human parents, for instance, operate under a different assumption!

The school system also operates under a different assumption, although
Sudbury Valley schools (a particular variety of private school), are founded
on the unusual idea that children's subjective standards of desireability
are more important than adults' ideas about what children should be doing...

-- Ben G

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