[LINK] SMBC on human and alien values

post by shminux · 2013-05-29T15:14:45.362Z · score: 3 (10 votes) · LW · GW · Legacy · 5 comments

Zach nailed it, as usual, especially with his red-button punchline.


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comment by Tuxedage · 2013-05-29T16:25:27.147Z · score: 0 (2 votes) · LW(p) · GW(p)

This seems to be an argument against hedonistic utilitarianism, but not utilitarianism in general.

comment by DSherron · 2013-05-29T18:29:39.459Z · score: 6 (6 votes) · LW(p) · GW(p)

It was almost certainly not supposed to argue against utilitarianism in general. It argues against the typical mind fallacy mostly; universal hedonic utilitarianism is just one particularly stupid incarnation of that, along with any other value system that arbitrarily values things valued by other minds without restraint.

comment by falenas108 · 2013-05-29T17:02:45.040Z · score: 1 (1 votes) · LW(p) · GW(p)

Also, the typical mind fallacy.

comment by ozziegooen · 2013-05-29T18:28:32.543Z · score: -1 (9 votes) · LW(p) · GW(p)

This makes me angry on so many levels. (Spoilers Below)

  • "We believe it is the goal of every species to behave with the best ethics possible." -> Who would say that? If only intelligent beings, is the argument that every single being a utilitarian, or only a small important subset? Do we argue that apes should be utilitarians? What do they mean the "goal"; isn't the benefit of the ethics more the "goal" then the means are?

  • 'The best ethics? It's like... trying to maximize how happy everyone is." Utilitarianism is here explained by someone who barely seems to understand utilitarianism. This is a straw man, that's not fair. Any decent enthusiast should at least provide a much more succinct response, and I imagine that in the future we should have a much better understanding of it as well.

  • The alien plays sarcastic in the end, saying it's "highest behavior" is "smugly tolerating inferior species". I'm curious what Zach could have put their as a realistic possible example.

Short answer, it's possible to make anything look silly when you get idiots to represent it.

Also, note that if we actually were at a point as a species where utilitarianism were the de-facto philosophy, my guess is that the world would look quite different. And I agree with Tuxedage on hedonistic utilitarianism vs. utilitarianism here.

comment by someonewrongonthenet · 2013-05-30T00:37:40.018Z · score: 11 (11 votes) · LW(p) · GW(p)

The comic is not an argument against utilitarianism. It''s an argument against moral realism.