Universal Values

From: Marc Geddes (marc_geddes@yahoo.co.nz)
Date: Sat Aug 13 2005 - 03:24:08 MDT

A slight addendum to my last post. It should be
obvious from the ideas I summarized there why I think
there's an objective morality and the danger from UAI
is minimal.

In domain 'Morality', passive utility 'Altruism' is
objectively good because it is a property of agents
which they must possess to *some* degree in order for
others to recognise and classify them as 'Agents' in
the first place. For instance even gangsters have
*some* small degree of altruism (otherwise we would be
unable to classify them as 'gangsters' at all - they
would have no recognisable behaviours allowing the
classification). So altruism is a matter of *degree*.

Given that a sentient tries to engage in moral
reasoning at all, it must start by assuming that
there's some way to classify agents. But the degree
to which this classification can be carried out
depends on the degree to which agents are
*Altruistic*. Agents are predictable precisely to the
extent that they are altruistic, because 'respecting
the volition of others' is precisely what delineates
one agent from another agent (establishing a
difference or 'boundary' is critical to identity).
Thus altruism is established as objectively good
because it enables classification of agents to occur
in the first place.
Implicit in these ideas is also a solution to the long
standing 'problem of induction'. My solution is
simply this: 'we must assume that the future will be
like the past to *some* degree, otherwise we would be
unable to reason in the first place'. So *given* that
we do try to reason, we cannot consistently argue that
the future will be totally unlike the past, because
some degree of temporal continuity is neccessery for
valid reasoning in the first place.

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