RE: FAI (aka 'Reality Hacking') - A list of all my proposed guesses (aka 'hacks')

From: Ben Goertzel (
Date: Sat Jan 29 2005 - 05:16:13 MST


My "natural inclinations" seem to be quite complex and not entirely
self-consistent. I think I am similar to most humans in this regard.

I find I have strong natural inclinations to do things I think/feel are
moral, and strong natural inclinations otherwise as well...

IMO, morals that too strongly contradict natural inclinations don't tend to
last all that long -- definitely not in cultures like ours where "freedom"
of various sorts is so highly valued.

Rather, I see the sociocultural role of morals as largely one of *biasing*
peoples' choices regarding which of their many contradictory natural
inclinations to follow. The bias encouraged by morals is toward following
those inclinations that are supposed to be good for the collective, not just
for the individual.

In terms of teaching morality to my own kids, I think it would be hopeless
if they didn't have natural inclination to be compassionate, kind and good
to others. Like me and most others, they have these inclinations as well as
the more selfish and nasty ones....

-- Ben G

> -----Original Message-----
> From: []On Behalf Of Eliezer
> S. Yudkowsky
> Sent: Sunday, January 30, 2005 6:29 AM
> To:
> Subject: Re: FAI (aka 'Reality Hacking') - A list of all my proposed
> guesses (aka 'hacks')
> Phil Goetz wrote:
> >
> > It seems to me that "morality" inherently has to be
> > something that goes AGAINST natural inclinations
> > rather than something that is in tune with them.
> > At least, "morality" as commonly used is associated
> > with concepts like "self-control", "discipline",
> > "self-denial", and so on. The term "morals" are
> > used only for those rules we follow that we are
> > tempted to break. People don't call you moral
> > for eating your breakfast, or sleeping, even though
> > those are essential steps in accomplishing anything.
> > It has to run partly against the grain to be "moral".
> If that is how you define morality, then I want no part of
> morality, except
> insofar as it may be my natural inclination to be moral.
> See also: Raymond Smullyan, "The Tao is Silent".
> --
> Eliezer S. Yudkowsky
> Research Fellow, Singularity Institute for Artificial Intelligence

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