[extropy-chat] examples of rational irrationalism

Lee Corbin lcorbin at rawbw.com
Fri Dec 8 03:44:54 UTC 2006

Samantha writes---and here I again must confess to the list
that we have *far* from settled an issue that I thought was
completely settled.

Once again everyone, here is the wikipedia usage of 

        Rationality is a characteristic which human behaviour
        or human situations can have, and it normally refers to
        a means-ends relationship, in which there is a non-
        arbitrary relationship between a conscious purpose or
        goal and the means to achieve it. If the chosen means
        are indeed conducive to achieving the purpose or goal,
        they are judged rational, if not, they are judged irrational.

Get that?  It says "if the chosen means are indeed conducive
to archieving the purpose or goal, then are judged rational.

> Is rationality a free-floating abstraction disconnected from values,  


> what does the valuing and what is considered valuable?
> How would that itself be "rational"?

Okay, then just what in hell do *you* mean by "rational"?
That which is accordance with Samantha's and her friends
& neighbors views?   

> [Are] Arbitrary goals that include one's on destruction and destruction of  
> one's species are not themselves subject to a meta-judgement as to  
> their rationality?

No, only their desirability from the system of values
an entity possesses.

> How can it be rational to claim a naturally evolved species is  
> "unnatural"?

I am in total agreement with your sentiment, but not your
word usage. To make such a *claim* is neither rational
nor rational;  it's just right or wrong.  It is not irrational
for me to assert that Fredrick the Great invaded Russia
and lost nearly 600,000 men.

> How can it be rational to destroy the only thing on this  
> rock vaguely capable of rationality?

Stuart made a similar point.  What if I own a machine 
that has just evolved into an AI of incredible capabilities,
and is vastly more rational than I am or than anyone on
Earth is.  Of course I should destroy it.  Now, yes, 
for *me* to destroy it could loosely be called "rational"
because it would be in accordance with my values.


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