RE: ESSAY: Forward Moral Nihilism

Date: Sat May 13 2006 - 05:06:27 MDT

Quoting Christopher Healey <>:

> > wrote:
> >
> > Why does anyone have morals, or believe that other people/sentients have
> > intrisnic worth?
> Because when you adopt ethical/moral principles, they serve as predictable
> attractors of your behavior. And when you're predictable, others are more
> willing to cooperate with you. In other words, they can count more strongly
> on your actual choices, which lowers their risk and shifts the cost/benefit
> curve of cooperation more towards choosing to do so.
> And announcing your beliefs in a public forum is a strong reinforcement to
> this predictability as well, since you've exposed yourself to detailed
> scrutiny and voluntarily accepted the yoke of your self-imposed limitations.
> Doing so becomes a statement that one is so dedicated to acting in a specific
> way, that one is willing to voluntarily incur severe and perhaps entirely
> disproportionate penalties if one deviates from the described behavior.
> These penalties usually manifest themselves in the form of reputation effects
> that can persist for long enough that the total future losses of potential
> positive-sum gains is far beyond almost any possible incidental gains.
> Doing this is rational, in that if you actually intend to behave a certain
> way, and expect others with dependencies on your actions to trust that you
> will, then you should be willing to provide strong assurances that you will
> in fact perform those specific actions. If you were unwilling to do so, your
> intentions would be suspect.

Well doing so is rational (and can be derived from moral nihilism - ie
suspension of disbelief/acting that way in self interest), in present everyday
life, as I argued in my post. However to act this way when planing
posthumanity will restrict said posthumanity to (perhaps severely) sub-optimal
levels. And ironically, if these morals are used in the creation of
superintelligence, perhaps everyone elses posthumanity as well.
Cooperation could very likely become obsolete in the posthuman world.

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