Re: Is furthering your own goals always good? Judged by whom, and for what purpose?

From: Jef Allbright (
Date: Wed Dec 14 2005 - 10:26:23 MST

On 12/14/05, 1Arcturus <> wrote:
> Jef Allbright <> wrote:
> (1) Can we agree that increasing knowledge (of the
> objective/scientific/instrumental kind) tends to increase
> the
> capability of any agent to achieve its (subjective) goals, therefore
> increasing objective knowledge of how things work is necessarilly good
> (from the point of view of any subjective agent?)
> Obvious answer? No, since, say, solving a great scientific problem about ant
> migratory patterns isn't going to stop one from being killed in a car
> accident, which may end all one's goal-oriented behaviors. I think Nature
> classifies this under Smart Vs. Clever Vs. Lucky. :)

Ah, the difficulties of precise discussion using imprecise language.

We all recognize examples of specific knowledge that may not
contribute to specific problem cases. We also recognize that some
knowledge can lead one away from optimum approaches to problem cases.
Our knowledge is fundamentally imperfect and incomplete, but the
question is whether increasingly objective knowledge *tends to*
increase capability to promote an agent's values, and thus this
tendency toward increasing knowledge is necessarily good (from the
point of view of the agent.)

- Jef

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