Re: My doubts about Libertarianism and volitional morality

From: Wei Dai (
Date: Tue Sep 16 2003 - 15:18:05 MDT

[Not cc'ing wta-talk because I'm not on that list.]

On Thu, Sep 11, 2003 at 04:55:24PM -0400, Eliezer S. Yudkowsky wrote:
> Suppose we assume that X has an objective frequency given A, F(x|a). If
> the subjective frequency assigned by the person to P(x|a) doesn't match
> the objective frequency F(x|a), then to a first approximation we can say
> that the subject's "volition" as a moral desideratum should be computed
> using U(x)F(x|a), while the subject's actual decisions will in fact be
> computed using U(x)P(x|a). In other words, your "volition" is an abstract
> entity which your actual decisions only approximate; your volition is the
> decision you would make if you had perfect information.

Are you aware that given any utility function U and probability
function P, it's possible to find an infinite set of different pairs of
functions U' and P', such that the preference ordering over choices
determined by U' and P' is the same as the preference ordering
determined by U and P? Someone with U' and P' would behave identically
to someone with U and P in every possible situation.

Therefore, there's no objective method to separate a person's
actual preferences into a value component and a belief component, and
then to compute what his preferences would be if he had "correct"

How would volitionism deal with this problem?

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