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Comment by lewis_powell on The Bedrock of Fairness · 2008-07-03T07:47:34.000Z · score: 6 (6 votes) · LW · GW

Eliezer, what if they are all poisoned, and the only antidote is a full blueberry pie? is the obvious fair division still 1/3 to each?

What if only one is poisoned? Is it fair for the other two to get some of the (delicious) antidote?

Comment by lewis_powell on What Would You Do Without Morality? · 2008-06-29T05:24:50.000Z · score: 0 (0 votes) · LW · GW

Ugh, sorry about the typos, I am commenting from a cell phone, and have clumsy thumbs.

Comment by lewis_powell on What Would You Do Without Morality? · 2008-06-29T05:22:54.000Z · score: 12 (12 votes) · LW · GW

Did you convinve me that nothing is morally right, or that all utilities are 0.

If you convinced me that there is no moral rightness, I would be less inclined to take action to promote the things I currently consider abstract goods, but would still be moved by my desires and reactions to my immediate circumstances.

If you did persuade me that nothing has any value, I suspect that, over time, my desires would slowly convince me that things had value again.

If, 'convincing' includes an effect on my basic desires (as opposed to my inferrentially derived) then I would would not be moved to act in any cognitively mediated way (though I may still exhibit behaviors with non-cognitive causes).

Comment by lewis_powell on Newcomb's Problem and Regret of Rationality · 2008-06-24T20:40:00.000Z · score: 1 (2 votes) · LW · GW

Yes, but when I tried to write it up, I realized that I was starting to write a small book. And it wasn't the most important book I had to write, so I shelved it. My slow writing speed really is the bane of my existence. The theory I worked out seems, to me, to have many nice properties besides being well-suited to Newcomblike problems. It would make a nice PhD thesis, if I could get someone to accept it as my PhD thesis. But that's pretty much what it would take to make me unshelve the project. Otherwise I can't justify the time expenditure, not at the speed I currently write books.

If you have a solution to Newcomb's Problem, but don't have the time to work on it, is there any chance you will post a sketch of your solution for other people to investigate and/or develop?

Comment by lewis_powell on Heading Toward Morality · 2008-06-21T10:32:15.000Z · score: -1 (1 votes) · LW · GW

Eliezer,

I am curious whether you are familiar with Aristotle's Nicomachean Ethics? Some of the discussion on fake utility functions, and the role of happiness in decision making seems to come into contact and/or conflict with the views Aristotle puts forward in that work. I'd be interested in knowing how your thoughts relate to those.

link to a free online copy of the Nicomachean Ethics: http://classics.mit.edu/Aristotle/nicomachaen.html

Comment by lewis_powell on Empty Labels · 2008-06-01T06:52:16.000Z · score: 0 (0 votes) · LW · GW

I should have phrased that as saying that I don't think Aristotle included mortal in the definition of human.

Comment by lewis_powell on Empty Labels · 2008-06-01T06:50:52.000Z · score: 3 (3 votes) · LW · GW

I don't think mortal is included in the definition of human.

Shouldn't the syllogism be rendered:

All [~feathers, bipedal] are mortal. Socrates is a [~feathers, bipedal]. Therefore, Socrates is mortal.

Which is at least a little bit more interesting than you've indicated.

Compare also Mill's discussion of finding out that diamonds are combustible from "A System of Logic"