[ExI] People are Genuine Altruists, Sociopaths, or Confused/Moody

Harvey Newstrom mail at HarveyNewstrom.com
Mon Sep 15 23:19:10 UTC 2008

"Lee Corbin" <lcorbin at rawbw.com> wrote,
>> You're fixing the wrong problem.  The word "altruism" is fine.
>> There is no confusion.  I really am arguing that the tipper is
>> paying for services rendered.
> The point that you seem to be missing is that the "rendered"
> is "past tense". Have you ever studied the non-interated Prisoner's
> Dilemma (NIPD) of game theory fame?

I am not missing the point.  You have repeated it endlessly.  I merely 
disagree with the point.  (And, yes, I have studied the non-iterated 
Prisoner's Dilemma.)

> The whole idea---why am I having to explain this?

You don't have to explain it.  I understand perfectly.  I merely disagree.

>> You keep thinking [that I must be misunderstanding the question]
> I don't know what the hell you're thinking  (that's why I'm asking)
> and please stop trying to say what I think. You don't know and
> can't know that. Nastly habit there, fellow, that you've got to break!

You keep jumping on me for claiming to know what you think.  But then you 
keep repeating the same statements about what you think:

>>> More importantly, I do not believe that you grok my meaning of 
>>> "simulation". I will explain again, by a hypothetical.
>> No, don't explain again.  I grok just fine.  You keep asking the same 
>> question and clarifying the same question and inventing new thought 
>> experiments about the same question.  It's always the same question.
>> Why can't you accept that the answer is always going to be the same?
> Because you have not explained *how* it can be in the self-interest
> of a truly rational, calculating, person who has only his own 
> self-interest
> at heart to leave the tip!

I have answered this many times now.  You have contribed many different 
scenarios.  You have my answer.  You just don't like it.  I don't know what 
else you want.

Let me summarize my many arguments, just to dispell your claim that I have 
not explained "why":

1.  Cooperation works best for the total good of all, and the most 
improvement for each individual.
2.  Cooperation makes people cooperate with me in the future, so my future 
successes are enhanced.
3.  Your contrived situations where there is no future do not apply to real 
life.  Even when they do seem to apply, they cannot be guaranteed to be so, 
such that there is always risk of a much greater backfire than the measly 
gain attempted.
4.  Even if I were to get nothing in the future, I have already received 
something in the past and have promised to pay.  Notions of fairness, 
promises, contracts, reputation, consistency, risk avoidance, future 
unpredictability, and other factors have to all be ignored to accept your 
claim that I will get nothing back in the future.
5.  Even if the other person is not affected my my cheating, I am affected 
by my own cheating.
6.  I have enough money and skills to make more, so there is no temptation 
to cheat, because cheating gains me less in comparison to what I can get 
honestly.  You keep asking "why not" cheat, but I keep asking "why cheat?" 
Even if lose nothing by cheating (which I dispute), I still don't see any 
7. When comparing my own money-making skills to those of others, I would 
have to assume that I am less competant before the calculation to steal 
money is tempting.  As long as I a rate myself as more valuable, the 
temptation to cheat is less valuable.  I see no way for an average or 
superior person to reach this conclusion, and only see sub-average people 
considering this option.

So many answers.  You may disagree with all of them.  But stop claiming that 
I haven't answered.

Harvey Newstrom <www.HarveyNewstrom.com>

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