[ExI] re Odyssey, hero

Flexman, Connor connor_flexman at brown.edu
Fri Oct 2 17:18:07 UTC 2015

On Fri, Oct 2, 2015 at 11:12 AM, William Flynn Wallace <foozler83 at gmail.com>

> ​So my moral sense has evolved and probably will continue to do so. I am a
> work in progress.
> But I can only judge things as I currently think.  I can consider things
> in historical context, certainly,  - to do otherwise is naive, as Anders
> says - and that often provides a great contrast with my current view.  My
> current view is the 'right' one.  When my view changes , it will be the
> right one.  I never argue that any view is absolute since change always
> occurs.  Do I set myself up at the judge of everything?  Don't we all?  Do
> we libertarians believe that authoritarianism is the wrong way to go about
> many things?  Don't we?  If we didn't think we were right, then we wouldn't
> hold to our views, would we?

One convenient way around this is to have uncertainty in what we believe.
Instead of saying my views at this moment are "right", because I believe
them, we can take the outside view and consider the past history of
changing our outlook/views/beliefs. This can help one become a lot more
humble in their convictions. Knowing that one has in the past accidentally
espoused views that were too strong about, e.g., how definitively good
taking antioxidant pills was, we can revisit our thoughts on best nutrition
practices now. If we tend to think that paleo is the REAL fix, we can look
back and see our poor track record at predicting these things and revise
our beliefs to "I find paleo has some good insights and may be promising,
but there is a good chance it won't hold much benefit." The diet problem is
simpler because we don't usually have beliefs about it vital to our sense
of self: trying to apply this principle to things more important to us is a
big step up. For those of us who either converted to deistic faith or from
it, we should be very wary of future beliefs given that we once were so
wrong about something so central. For those of us who were once skeptical
of AI risk and are no longer, this is another belief we were probably
vehement about that turned out to be wrong. Have your political beliefs
changed? Did you learn economics and discover huge turnarounds in your
worldview? What about your differing values in different stages of life?
Shouldn't we continue to expect all these changes? Setting one's current
self up as judge of everything isn't making use of all the evidence we
have. If we know our past track record, use it. If we expect in the future
to change some of our views, we should be less confident about them now. If
we see other people as smart as we are who hold different views, we might
be well-advised to take their evidence into account as well: we are not
alone in what we see, but have many others to help gather evidence,
including our future and past selves.

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