[ExI] Cosmopolitanism, collective epistemology and other issues

Anders Sandberg anders at aleph.se
Sun Jul 10 10:39:49 UTC 2016

On 2016-07-10 05:11, Keith Henson wrote:
> On Sat, Jul 9, 2016 at 2:15 PM, Anders <anders at aleph.se> wrote:
>> I think we need to defend the enlightenment globalist vision. We need to
>> push for tolerance, which is extra complex because many of those who do not
>> share the vision feel they do not benefit from a more cosmopolitan world,
>> and prefer a closed one: tolerance of the Other is bad for their visions.
> There is a solid evolutionary reason that humans who believe the
> future is bleak are responsive to and spread xenophobic memes.  If you
> want tolerance, then you have to sway the center of the population
> away from a view that the future that is worse than the present.

Yup. I agree with that.

The problem is that the cosmopolitan vision is not a better one if you 
have rooted your values in the local tribe. Living across Europe like I 
do sounds rootless to them - they think that one *ought to* show loyalty 
to ones nation, heritage and other tribal factors, and doing anything 
else is being a traitor (that should be altruistically punished). We 
know empirically that young people tend to diffuse out of their tribes 
when there are good opportunities, so this is not necessarily a strong 
enough effect to keep people locked in. But as you say, when times are 
hard or perceived as hard young people of course stay close. And if the 
epistemology is broken things can look horrible indeed while being 
objectively good. The worrying thing is that maybe the tribalism also 
leads to broken epistemics, and makes it even harder to show that there 
are objective and moral reasons to go global.

So the question seems to be how to hack general futures outlook, actual 
income, and epistemics to become better. Fixing just one will not work, 
fixing two is likely just a partial solution and might cause stronger 
polarization between groups.

Dr Anders Sandberg
Future of Humanity Institute
Oxford Martin School
Oxford University

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