Re: The Fundamental Theorem of Morality

From: Jef Allbright (
Date: Mon Mar 01 2004 - 14:27:50 MST

Metaqualia -

I'm going to try to approach this from what I see as your point of view:

Qualia, the direct experience of consciousness, is the most real (and
best) measure of the choices we make. Good choices are those that
produce more enjoyable qualia, for more sentient beings, for longer

We can evaluate qualia by simulating or imagining what they would be for
us (empathy), and thereby make useful judgments about the the goodness
(morality) of the choices that led to these qualia.

Am I doing okay so far?

Now, how would one achieve this goal of maximizing qualia?

I'm assuming you would quickly rule out the straw man of simply creating
as many sentient beings as possible, and using drugs or neurostimulation
to induce maximum euphoria for as long as they could survive on
artificial life support.

The immediate difficulty with this (as you have probably considered) is
that resources must be committed to developing ways to increase the
population, increase the intensity of the enjoyable qualia, and increase
longevity -- all with the goal of maximizing ooverall long term
enjoyable qualia.

Additional resources dedicated to research and development, maintenance,
energy and life-support requirements, defense from outside threats,
etc., will detract from immediately maximizing enjoyable qualia, but
will tend to *increase* the future intensity and sustainability of
enjoyable qualia. The correct balance of resources here will maximize
the area under the enjoyable qualia curve.

Are we in agreement so far? If not, it may be that we should go back to
the previous paragraph and consider the economic reality that there
ain't no such thing as a free lunch.

Assuming that we are in agreement so far, then you may notice that the
more fundamental process underlying maximizing qualia is Growth.

- Jef

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