RE: 'Collective Volition' ripped to pieces

From: H C (
Date: Wed Aug 10 2005 - 22:46:28 MDT

>From: Marc Geddes <>
>Subject: 'Collective Volition' ripped to pieces
>Date: Thu, 11 Aug 2005 15:27:31 +1200 (NZST)
>*Geddes's guns continue to blaze away at the bullet
>riddled corpse of 'Collective Volition'
>Sl4 er's should oberve my past few posts - I scarcely
>had to think much at all for my final hurrah you know
>- but note that Eliezer's current 'Collective
>Volition' model has been ripped to pieces.
>The relevant key points are summarized here:
>Firstly, note the clear difference between 'Collective
>Volition' and 'Universal Volition'.
>My definitions:
>Collective Volition:
>Something defined by reference to all
>*currently* existing sentients in some context
>Universal Volition:
>Something deifned by reference to all
>*logically possible* sentients.

All currently existing sentients have the capability to alter there
fundamental "sentientness" so as to not fall under "currently existing
sentient" and thus that must be taken into account for Collective Volition
anyway, without changing the name.

>Note that I showed that neither individual, nor
>collective volition could be at the foundation of
>"Is ‘Volition’ (indivudual or collective) the
>foundation of mind? No, because one
>can ask what is it about mind that allows us to reason
>and think about ‘Volition’ in the first place?
>Clearly there are fundamental laws of cognition that
>determine how thought is correlated with the physical
>substrate (i.e. brain) on which thought is enacted.
>But these ‘functional laws’ (which determine how
>thought maps to physical processes) must be the same
>for all sentients and are hence objective. This shows
>that there is an objective core to cognition which
>goes beyond mere volition. Further, the *process of
>cognition itself* must be of more importance than
>volition, because we couldn’t reason about volition or
>act upon volition without it. For instance: when
>helping someone fulfill their desires (altruism), it
>is not only the desires of others that we value (or
>place utility on), but also *the cognitive process by
>which we reason and take action* - because without
>this cognitive process we would not be able to reason
>about or act on volition in the first place.
>This shows that the real foundation of value judgments
>is not volition, but *self actualization*, the ability
>to reason about (be aware of) and act upon our true
>nature (‘true nature’ being the fundamental laws of
>cognition that determine how thoughts map to the
>physical substrate of our brains). But these
>fundamental laws of cognitive science which determine
>how thoughts map to brain state are objective in
>For establishing that "Self-Actualization" (Learning
>about and acting on our 'true nature') are the *real*
>foundation for values, I elaborated on what was meant
>by our 'true nature':
>"Again, ignore all the kludges and hodge-potch
>of your mind. These are not part of your true nature
>as I have defined it here.
>Which parts of your mind enable you to be self-aware,
>to reason and to be altruistic? *These* are your true
>nature. All the other evolutionary kludges are just
>In the next thread, I explained why 'true nature' in
>the sense of 'the cognitive principles required for
>self-awareness and reasoning' are UNIVERSAL goods:
>" I pointed out a mind which cannot reason
>cannot reason about ethics. Therefore the ability to
>reason is a prequiste to ethics. I pointed out that
>reasoning depends on Induction and Deduction, for
>which there are well-defined theories with UNIVERSAL
>applicability. Since reasoning is needed for ethics,
>and since the cognitive processes needed for ethics
>are objective, it follows that the cognitive processes
>needed for reasoning must be *universally good*.
>Similarly, with consciousness. A mind which is not
>conscious is not a moral subject. Therefore the
>ability to be conscious is a prequiste to being a
>moral subject. But there's an *objective* theory of
>consciousness - by John Taylor - consciousness is
>caused by the interaction of current experience with
>past memories. Since consciousness is neeeded to be
>an ethical subject and since the cognitive processes
>needed for consciousness are objective, it follows
>that cognitive processes needed for consciousness must
>be *universally good*
>ALL sentients everywhere, in order to be consistent,
>must conclude that the cognitive proccesses resulting
>in reasoning and consciousness are good. If any
>sentient tried to say that these cognitive proccesses
>were bad, they would be contradicting themslves, since
>without these cognitive proccesses the sentient would
>be unable to reason about ethics in the first place."

So ... the cognitive processes that give rise to sentience are fundamentally

Well, good isn't a good word to use here, because there is no such thing as
"fundamentally good", there is only good with reference to "some goal".

You need to be more specific, perhaps try to redefine "fundamentally good".
What are you trying to tell us about these cognitive processes that give
rise to sentience?

And, as a whole separate question, what does this have to do with the
Collective Volition document written by Eliezer?

" but note that Eliezer's current 'Collective Volition' model has been
ripped to pieces. The relevant key points are summarized here: "

>Please vist my website:
>Science, Sci-Fi and Philosophy
>THE BRAIN is wider than the sky,
> For, put them side by side,
>The one the other will include
> With ease, and you beside.
>-Emily Dickinson
>'The brain is wider than the sky'
>Send instant messages to your online friends

--- Word beotch. Th3Hegem0n

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