[extropy-chat] Extropic Commandments [was Re: Islamic morons win yet again]

Anders Sandberg asa at nada.kth.se
Thu Sep 28 17:22:08 UTC 2006

I like the commandments list, but it has the usual problem of leaving what
complexity (or extropy) is undefined. [ Right now one of our ethicists is
actually wrestling with that issue, and is somewhat interested in an
ethics like the one suggested by the commandments. I'll see if we can get
him to build some academic quality philosophy around it :-) ]

Even if we agree on what complexity is we still have to decide whether
these commandments are ethical or aesthetic statements. One could see them
as merely desires, but I expect they are to be interpreted as moral

I guess another set of commandments would be based on the humanist roots
of transhumanism (stealing a bit from the transhumanist principles 1.0):

1) The goal is the flourishing of minds.

2) Diversity is good because it gives new content to the minds and allows
finding alternative solutions.

To achieve this we must:

2) Remove the evolved limits of our biological and intellectual
inheritance, the physical limits of our environment, and the cultural and
historical limits of society that constrain individual and collective

3) Since we want to actually achieve the goal we must use efficient and
error-correcting means, which implies rational and empirical means and

4) Given the uncertainty in our information and the results of our
actions, as well as the diversity of opinions, we should tolerate people
of all schools of thought that do not seek to limit the extent or variety
of our achievement. Discourage any attempts to impose will or ideas
through coercion.

The left-wing transhumanists would of course expand 2 in a very different
way than the libertarian ones, but I think this would be a core most would
agree on. But there are lots of devils in the details...

Robert Bradbury wrote:
> For example (from an extropic framework):
> 1) Information of greater complexity has greater value than information of
> lesser complexity.
> 2) Information in agreement with the natural laws and history of the
> universe has greater value than information in disagreement with the
> natural
> laws and history of the universe.
> 3) Thou shalt seek to maximize the amount of information and its
> complexity
> in existence.
> 4) Thou shalt seek to make such information available to the greatest
> number
> of computational units to derive more information from it.
> So for example "Thou shalt not kill" derives from #3 while "Thou shalt not
> lie" derives from #2.  But a number of other "classical" commandments have
> no place or are contraindicated under such guidelines.

Anders Sandberg,
Oxford Uehiro Centre for Practical Ethics
Philosophy Faculty of Oxford University

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