[extropy-chat] Prime Directive
jef at jefallbright.net
Fri Oct 27 17:35:53 UTC 2006
Sorry, I sent the previous excerpt accidentally.
But since we're on the topic, let me ask AB then: Would you rather
maximize your pleasure or maximize the promotion of your values? You
might respond that you would choose to maximize your pleasure by means
that include promotion of your values, but if that were the case, I
would then ask whether you wouldn't better maximize your pleasure via IV
drip in some secluded room for as long as possible. Such a line of
thought leads inexorably to the absurdity of being dead in order to
Regarding consciousness, you have no way of measuring whether anyone is
conscious. We all could be zombies but behave exactly the same.
Occam's razor implies that all have consciousness similar to your own,
but in any case you have absolutely no access to others subjective
experience. So how is consciousness relevant to your decision-making?
It might be only a distraction, but I could point out that direct access
to even your own subjective experience is an illusion. Think distorted
memory, fabricated memory, Libet experiments, etc. Despite the
assumption of Descartes and others, there is no "you" who has privileged
access to the experience of being you. If you were to enquire as to
what it's like to be you, you would be querying a physical system that
would respond based on its particular functional characteristics
including its model of the world (with you in it) from the past.
[Recursion, ad infinitum, from the subjective POV]
I agree completely with what George Dvorsky wrote. I
would also add that it is only through consciousness that pleasure is
possible (which most beings would choose to maximize), and
alternatively, it is only through consciousness that suffering is
possible (which most beings would choose to minimize). That alone makes
consciousness pretty darned important, in my book.
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