Re: Destruction of All Humanity

From: David Picon Alvarez (
Date: Thu Dec 15 2005 - 12:02:28 MST

From: "micah glasser" <>
Let me clarify what I mean by 'rational agent' because I certainly am not
talking about a thermostat. What I mean is any entity that acts on or
through the environment using tools of any kind, by predicting a possible
future state of affairs and acting to realize the possible state of fairs
which most closly aproximates the nearest goal at hand. That nearest goal
should also be in service to a highest goal. The more rational the agent the
further into the future that super-goal is projected. I stipulate that
greater freedom must be part of that super-goal for any rational agent

This looks to me like a thermostat. It acts on the environment through tools
(electric output) in order to achieve goals (maintain the temperature in
balance) and it has a model of the environment (if it activates certain
outputs heat will occur and temperature will rise, if it deactivates them
heat will stop occurring and temperature will lower). It can predict that
whence it turns on the heating it will become hotter. True, it may be wrong
(heat might be disipating faster than it is produced) but agents aren't

Please explain what makes a thermostat not an agent.

You also said:
has power becasue it is able to lacate its powers of causality from a higher
state of emergent properties which function as 'top down' locust of
causation. This is in distinction to the only other form of agency which is
the 'bottom-up' causality which opereates according to the lowest level of
complexity in the cosmological systtem and determines the outcome of that
system. I hope I have made myself clear on this but I realize I am probably
just confusing your simple picture.

Please clarify. I'm tempted to call that statement content-free but maybe
you do mean something.


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