[ExI] Food for thought

Jef Allbright jef at jefallbright.net
Wed Oct 1 14:57:33 UTC 2008

On Thu, Sep 11, 2008 at 12:58 AM, Emlyn <emlynoregan at gmail.com> wrote:

> Metaphysics = Blatantly wrong and probably dangerous memetic infection
> When we say "religion is wrong!", I think normal people often think
> "hey, hands off my culture!" And fair enough, from their point of
> view. There's really nothing wrong with culture itself.
> So perhaps if we can disentangle the metaphysics from the culture, we
> can communicate that the metaphysics is bad, but we have nothing
> against the associated culture, and that might be received better.

While I could quibble with portions of what is said here, the main
point, that metaphysics is a problem, is an important one.

When we can replace the unfounded (unfoundable) assumptions of
metaphysics with a well-founded and workable appreciation of the role
of subjectivity within a natural, deterministic world (with all its
mystery and surprise), then we'll also be on the path to a coherent
theory of social decision-making increasingly seen as increasingly

There's no good reason why subjective value and quality can't (and
shouldn't) be rationally modeled and optimized.  It's about time for
Cartesian Duality, the Blind Watchmaker, the Blank Slate theory of
mind, purely objective rationality, and other useful but incomplete
pillars of modern enlightenment to be retired to make way for a more
coherent synthesis encompassing more of our observations of our world.

[Standard disclaimer:  No, I'm not speaking post-modernism.]

- Jef

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