Re: Property rights (was Re: Can't afford to rescue cows)

From: Tim Freeman (
Date: Sat Apr 26 2008 - 16:41:58 MDT

Tim said:
> If I understand you right, this does not include my CD (that is,
> music) collection, since that has essentially no connection to my self
> or right to exist. I agree that my self and right to exist are good
> things to preserve, and likewise yours too. However, the normal
> meaning of property rights seems to imply that I get to keep my CD
> collection unless I voluntarily transfer it elsewhere, but I don't see
> how your argument is getting there.

From: "Byrne Hobart" <>
>If we have the right to make our future choices, then we can have the right
>to make choice A in exchange for something that we can use to acquire CDs.
>So if you have the right to choose whether or not to work, you can choose to
>work and get money in exchange. If you deny this, then you're denying that
>your future choices are yours to make, which seems radical.

I'm sorry, I can't distinguish that from word salad. My nine month
old son makes choices and has no conception of property rights. So a
world without property rights is surely compatible with making
choices. I don't know what it means to make a future choice; all I
can do is make a choice right now. What does it mean for a right to
be "yours" to make if we are trying to figure out exactly what
property rights mean? I can't see any traction for trying to make
sense of what you said.

From: "Byrne Hobart" <>
>If you can't find anyone who would be willing to lend you money for food,
>even at an extremely high interest rate, it's confusing as to why you think
>you should go on existing, if 1) nobody else thinks you're worth keeping
>around, and 2) you haven't even been able to keep yourself going.

In practice, hunger trumps all of those abstract concepts you're using
there. I'm sure that even if I were completely incompetent to do
anything but beg for food, I'd be doing that if I was hungry enough.
At least 95% of everyone else is the same.

At this point I'm wondering what species you're in. I suppose you're
trolling, and I'll stop responding to you in the absence of obvious
improvements in your arguments.

>An AI that adhered to a common rights-protocol would have an answer;
>an AI that didn't adhere would, in the eyes of other entities, be
>frequently guilty of theft and thus probably punished.

Right. Specify what a common rights-protocol would look like, and
this conversation will be worthwhile. Hutter's AIXI paper gives an
example of using inductive inference to write a nontrivial algorithm;
you might want to start there.

>Why is feeding a hungry guy predicated on violating property rights?

It's obviously possible to contrive circumstances where this is the
case. There are emergency situations where it's pretty commonly
agreed that taking something and offering to pay something reasonable
for it after the fact is a reasonable thing to do. An AI that takes
property rights as primary would prevent such things, I assume.

Tim Freeman      

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