Re: Ethics (was FAI (aka 'Reality Hacking'))

From: Phil Goetz (
Date: Tue Feb 01 2005 - 19:31:21 MST

--- Thomas Buckner <> wrote:

> Actually, I do have an ethical (or 'moral') value
> function I might suggest, which consists of two
> simple rules. Timothy Ferris once said that,
> without embracing teleology, it can be said that
> our universe looks pretty much they way it would
> had it been carefully designed for maximum
> creativity, self-expression, and play (I can't
> find the exact quote).
> So a good simple ethics can be expressed as:
> Express and create yourself, as freely and
> joyously as you can.
> And try not to hurt those people over there.

Sure, but Deepak Chopra could have told me that.
That kind of ethical system is good for selling books,
but not much use in life.

You might be interested in an objective morality
that I worked out in a roleplaying game that I and
Anders Sandberg wrote sometime in the early 1990s.
Anders has it on one of his web pages. Go to

and download the postscript file (the link to no longer works), and look for the
section on the "Chaos Dancers" (yes, a silly name).
It basically says, IIRC, that the good is to construct
environments that have the proper parameters,
balanced between order and randomness, that let
evolutionary systems develop maximal complexity,
and that ethical arguments then reduce to arguments
about how to measure complexity, and what complexity
to measure.

> To turn that into numerical functions, I should
> think you'd need to think hard about boundaries
> between self and other, resource allocation,
> conserving complexity (i.e. no paperclips or
> monoculture), cooperative strategies vs.
> predatory strategies, etc. The end result might
> remind one of a lush and varied flower garden.


The hard part is coming up with what you call
numeric functions - decisions about tradeoffs.
Deciding whether A or not A is good is generally
not hard. Deciding whether 3A is better than 2B
is hard.

- Phil

Do You Yahoo!?
Tired of spam? Yahoo! Mail has the best spam protection around

This archive was generated by hypermail 2.1.5 : Wed Jul 17 2013 - 04:00:50 MDT