Re: Please Re-read CAFAI

From: Jef Allbright (
Date: Tue Dec 13 2005 - 23:48:15 MST

On 12/13/05, micah glasser <> wrote:
> Let me clarify on my comments about the categorical imeperative. Of course
> the CI does not constitute a goal system in and of itself. What I am
> proposing is that personal freedom be the highest attainable goal.

Micah, I don't know if you read my comments to you points yesterday,
or whether they seemed to make sense, since you didn't reply directly
to them.

Your ideal of maximizing personal freedom sounds good (how could
something so powerful and so pure be wrong?) but it is flawed because
it doesn't reflect how things work in the real world.

It reminds me of the time when I was about 18 years old and I was
approached by a Scientology recruiter who offered me a "class in
communications". I went ahead and attended because I was interested
in seeing a little of what goes on there. So after a couple of
sessions they wanted to have a one-on-one talk with me about the
amazing levels of personal freedom that they could offer. They
literally said that at the highest level, called the Operating Thetan,
one could literally do or manifest anything one chose. I then asked
the guy, who proudly declared himself to be a "Clear" and in complete
control of his emotions, if each of these OTs could do anything they
wanted, then what did they measure against to know how well they were
doing, and if there was no reference, then wasn't this whole concept a
bit meaningless? Well, the "Clear" got obviously flustered, and that
was my last visit to their friendly house of power and enlightenment.
(My parents still get mail from them, sent to my old address, some 30
years later.)

As I suggested yesterday, the real world is not the ideal of the 18th
and 19th century philosophers, and an understanding of evolutionary
and cognitive science along with some other newer fields puts their
idealism into a broader and more practical perspective.


The key question I was trying to put forth in this discussion is
whether we could all agree that for any agent, that which promotes the
agent's goals would necessarily be seen as good from the point of view
of that agent. I think this is an important first step to
understanding what "morality" is really about, and it's amazing to me
how difficult it is to get anyone to address this and subsequent
questions in this line of thought in (what seems to me) a simple and
logical manner. I'm interested in testing this, without getting into
a debating contest where people try to score by various indirect means
rather than simply working together to build a more encompassing

- Jef

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