RE: 'Collective Volition' ripped to pieces

From: Ben Goertzel (
Date: Fri Aug 12 2005 - 08:26:07 MDT

> Since anything in reality could in principle be
> represented with 100% accuracy as a 'conscious
> thought' in your mind (IF you were cognitively
> enhanced enough), it follows that anything in reality
> could be represented by the same underlying cognitive
> principles underpinning your value judgments
> (Induction, Deduction).
> This provides a way to bridge the is/ought gap.


I do understand your basic point, I think.

You're saying that anything in objective reality could be contained within
the subjective reality of a hypothetical sufficiently powerful mind.

And you're saying that anything contained in a mind is constructed according
to certain cognitive principles, including principles of deductive and
inductive reasoning.

This second point is a bit confusing, because induction and deduction are
procedures of inference not methods of *representation*. However, one can
say that inductive and deductive reasoning are the processes a mind would
use to figure out a compact representation of some entity. In that sense
one can perhaps associate an entity with a series of inductive and deductive
reasoning steps. Is this what you mean, or am I missing something? Can you
give me an example of how you intend inductive and deductive processes to be
used for knowledge representation?

Next, you're saying that chains of deductive/inductive reasoning can be
meaningfully assessed via various valuation methods. And you're saying that
in order for a mind to trust in its own reasoning at all, it must accept the
proposition in the former sentence -- if not, then its reasoning would be
untrustworthy from its own point of view.

So, ultimately, you're arguing that if any mind trusts its own reasoning
processes, then this mind can assess the "value" of an entity in objective
reality via assessing the value of the chain of cognitive processes it uses
to reconstruct this entity within its own mind (or would use to do so, if it
had the memory/processing power).

I don't think this kind of argumentation deserves the label "Theorem", which
should really be reserved for statements proved with mathematical rigor.
But that is a stylistic point and if you don't agree with me, that's your
right, obviously.

I don't really see what this has to do with ethics or morality, though.
Indeed, as you say, I can try to assess the value of the cognitive processes
I would use to reconstruct the Holocaust within my mind if I had more memory
and processing power. But, I don't see how this is much deeper than just
saying (for example) "Yes, there is a universal morality, because we can
model the universe as a computer, so everything in the universe is made of
bits, and we can define the value of X as the number of bits in X."

-- Ben G

This archive was generated by hypermail 2.1.5 : Wed Jul 17 2013 - 04:00:51 MDT