Satisfaction Not Testable?

From: Richard Loosemore (
Date: Tue Feb 07 2006 - 07:58:37 MST

Dani Eder wrote:
> Ludvig von Mises, in his "Human Action" (1949)
> proposed a theory of human action. It states that
> humans do things because they are not perfectly
> satisfied. What they do at any given moment is
> determined by what they think will give them the
> most increase in satisfaction. Different people,
> or the same person at different times, have
> differing expected increments of satisfaction
> from various activities. These are caused by
> differences in inclinations, physical circumstances,
> experience, etc. Thus we don't all do the same
> things or individually the same thing all the time.
> This theory is testable in that you can look for
> counterexamples (people who act against their
> expected satisfaction) and do experiments. It
> is thus a scientific theory.

Alas, not really. "Satisfaction" is something internal, and we do not
seem to have any objective measure of it.

If I thought I had found someone who appeared to be acting against their
expected satisfaction, I bet some other theoretician would come along
and insist that there was another, less obvious satisfaction at work.

With that in mind, I could never imagine a test of this theory.

Richard Loosemore

> Different people on this list have different ideas
> about the Singularity, so I am only talking about
> my own here. That there is a time of fastest
> technological change is a mathematical certainty.
> Whatever you use to graph level of technology,
> somewhere on the graph it will have maximum positive
> slope.
> Whether that time of fastest change, which is what
> I call the Singularity, is still in the future, and
> whether it involves rapidly self-improving AI, is
> in my mind open to debate.

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