Re: Volitional Morality and Action Judgement

From: Michael Roy Ames (
Date: Thu May 13 2004 - 17:30:58 MDT


Volition involves decision-making. Decisions-making requires assessments of
known facts and models of reality, including models about the future. A
volitional being makes a decision at a given point in time with only the
facts and models available to it. If at a later time the modelled future
does not match the actual future, that is an inescapable aspect of limited
modelling capacity. Taking a god's-eye view and refering to an
'intertemporal preference set' is a nice thought experiment, but it does not
point out an inconsistancy.

You write: "As long as you make the individual the fundamental unit of
normative assessment, you'll have these problems, since individuals are
entities that exist over time"

I agree that this is a problem. But it is not a problem of defining
volition, it is a problem of information and modelling capacity.

<suck-back, reload>

You seem to be arguing that a being's volition should not be respected if
another being has more information, or a better model of reality. I would
strongly object to this argument. It goes against the very essense of
volitional morality, an idea to which I subscribe (at least until something
better comes along ;) When beings of substantially different levels of
intelligence interact (Eg: Human<==>FAI), the one with higher intelligence
will almost always have more information and a better model of reality than
the lesser. Should then the higher intelligence ignore the volition of the
lesser - or respect it?

I would not wish to live in a society where my wishes about my own actions
were disallowed. Better to have society with the opportunity to learn more
information, and gain better models **if one so chooses**. The point:
beings of lesser intelligence should get to choose their own path - to live
or die as they prefer.

Michael Roy Ames

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