Dual N-Back browser-based "game" in public alpha-testing state. 2012-07-10T03:36:39.203Z
Visual maps of the historical arguments in the topic, "Can computers think?" 2012-04-18T00:55:31.081Z
Al Jazeera: "Engineering Human Evolution" -- 0h:35m:41s Youtube Video. 2012-03-29T03:00:08.753Z
"Nice Guys Finish First" - Youtube Video of selected reading (by Dawkins) from The Selfish Gene 2012-03-17T01:33:17.532Z
A response to "Torture vs. Dustspeck": The Ones Who Walk Away From Omelas 2011-11-30T03:34:03.587Z
[Infographic] A reminder as to how far the rationality waterline can climb (at least, for the US). 2011-11-22T12:44:02.772Z
[Link] Active tactile exploration using a brain–machine–brain interface 2011-11-02T10:38:27.083Z
Introduction: "Acrohumanity" 2011-10-25T09:48:05.940Z


Comment by Logos01 on Lesswrong 2016 Survey · 2016-03-26T22:12:46.925Z · LW · GW

The software needs a way to track who was responding to which questions. That's because many of the questions relate to one another. It does that without requiring logins by using the ongoing http session. If you leave the survey idle then the session will time out. You can suspend a survey session by creating a login which it will then use for your answers.

The cookies thing is because it's not a single server but loadbalanced between multiple webservers (multiactive HA architecture). This survey isn't necessarily the only thing these servers will ever be running.

(I didn't write the software but I am providing the physical hosting it's running on.)

Comment by Logos01 on Lesswrong 2016 Survey · 2016-03-26T03:09:40.642Z · LW · GW

Even if he threw out the data I have recurring storage snapshots happening behind the scenes (on the backing store for the OSes involved.)

Comment by Logos01 on Rationality Quotes September 2011 · 2013-10-26T05:22:09.521Z · LW · GW

Do you have any good evidence that this assertion applies to Cephalopods?

Cephalopods in general have actually been shown to be rather intelligent. Some species of squid even engage in courtship rituals. There's no good reason to assume that given the fact that they engage in courtship, predator/prey response, and have been shown to respond to simple irritants with aggressive responses that they do not experience at the very least the emotions of lust, fear, and anger.

(Note: I model "animal intelligence" in terms of emotional responses; while these can often be very sophisticated, it lacks abstract reasoning. Many animals are more intelligent beyond 'simple' animal intelligence; but those are the exception rather than the norm.)

Comment by Logos01 on Useful maxims · 2012-07-11T15:39:32.361Z · LW · GW
  • Be comfortable in uncertainty.

  • Do whatever the better version of yourself would do.

  • Simplify the unnecessary.

Comment by Logos01 on A Kick in the Rationals: What hurts you in your LessWrong Parts? · 2012-07-08T00:26:58.359Z · LW · GW

Now imagine a "more realistic" setting where humans went through a singularity (and, possibly, coexist with AIs). If the singularity was friendly, then this is an utopia which, by definition, has no conflict.

There is Friendliness and there is Friendliness. Note: Ambivalence or even bemused antagonism would qualify as Friendliness so long as humans were still able to determine their own personal courses of development and progress.

An AGI that had as its sole ambition the prevention of other AGIs and unFriendly scenarios would allow a lot of what passes for bad science fiction in most space operas, actually. AI cores on ships that can understand human language but don't qualify as fully sentient (because the real AGI is gutting their intellects); androids that are fully humanoid and perhaps even sentient but haven't any clue why that is so (because you could rebuild human-like cognitive faculties by reverse-engineering black-box but if you actually knew what was going on in the parts you would have that information purged...) -- so on and so on.

And yet this would qualify as Friendly; human society and ingenuity would continue.

Comment by Logos01 on How confident is your atheism? · 2012-06-20T19:22:41.620Z · LW · GW

"If it weren't for my horse, I never would've graduated college." >_<

Comment by Logos01 on How confident is your atheism? · 2012-06-19T12:14:53.784Z · LW · GW

An omnipotent omnibenevolent being would have no need for such "shorthand" tricks to create infinite worlds without suffering. Yes you could always raise another aleph level for greater infinities; but only by introducing suffering at all.

Which violates omnibenevolence.

Comment by Logos01 on How confident is your atheism? · 2012-06-19T12:12:32.505Z · LW · GW

I don't buy it. A superhuman intelligence with unlimited power and infinite planning time and resources could create a world without suffering even without violating free will. And yet we have cancer and people raping children.

Comment by Logos01 on How confident is your atheism? · 2012-06-18T13:30:47.430Z · LW · GW

I am thiiiiiiiiis confident!

I'm surprised to see this dialogue make so little mention of the material evidence* at hand with regards to the specific claims of Christianity. I mean; a god which was omnipotent and omnibenevolent would surely create a world with less suffering for humanity than what we conjecture an FAI would orchestrate, yes? Color me old-fashioned but I assign the logically** impossible a zero probability (barring of course my being mistaken about logical impossibilities).

* s/s//
** s/v/c/

Comment by Logos01 on Wanted: "The AIs will need humans" arguments · 2012-06-14T22:48:15.082Z · LW · GW

but then changes its mind and brings us back as a simulation."

This is commonly referred to as a "counterfactual" AGI.

Comment by Logos01 on Be Happier · 2012-06-13T21:41:32.469Z · LW · GW

Indeed. Which is why happiness is not a terminal value.

Comment by Logos01 on How to deal with non-realism? · 2012-06-06T05:10:39.892Z · LW · GW

Yes, they do. And that's the end of this dialogue.

(EDIT: By end of this dialogue I meant that he and I were at an impasse and unable to adjust our underlying assumptions to a coherent agreement in this discussion. They are too fundamentally divergent for "Aumanning.")

Comment by Logos01 on How to deal with non-realism? · 2012-06-02T02:31:10.942Z · LW · GW

Indeed. But they do demonstrate the principle in question.

Comment by Logos01 on How to deal with non-realism? · 2012-06-01T17:42:30.162Z · LW · GW

Actually it's more complicated than that. Not just water atoms; over time your genetic pattern changes -- the composition of cancerous to non-cancerous cells; the composition of senescent to non-senescent cells; the physical structures of the brain itself change.

Neurogenesis does occur in adults -- so not even on a cellular level is your brain the same today as it was yesterday.

Furthermore -- what makes you confident you are not already in a Matrix? I have no such belief, myself. Too implausible to believe we are in the parent of all universes given physics simulations work.

Comment by Logos01 on How to deal with non-realism? · 2012-06-01T17:38:53.246Z · LW · GW

Missed that about the class. Makes a difference, definitely.

I'm not really sure what non-local phenomena are [...]

Two options: trust the assertions of those who are sure, or learn of them for yourself. :)

Comment by Logos01 on How to deal with non-realism? · 2012-05-29T17:32:52.966Z · LW · GW

1 v 2 -- is your "meat" persistent over time? (It is not).

2 v 3 are non differentiable -- 2 is 3.

4 is implied by 2/3. It is affirmed by physics simulations that have atomic-level precision, and by research like the Blue Brain project.

5 is excluded by the absence of non-local phenomena ('psychic powers').

Comment by Logos01 on How to deal with non-realism? · 2012-05-29T17:29:25.182Z · LW · GW

A change of substrate occurs daily for you. It's just of a similar class. What beyond simple "yuck factor" gives you cause to believe that a transition from cells to silicon would impact your identity? That it would look different?

Comment by Logos01 on How to deal with non-realism? · 2012-05-29T17:27:00.801Z · LW · GW

Scientific truths include the measurement of net harm to society for any given action -- which then impact utilitarian consequentialistic morals. ("It's unjust to execute anyone. Ever.")

Scientific truths include observations as to what occurs "in nature" which then informs naturalistic morals ("It's not natural to be gay/left-handed/brilliant" )

Scientific truths include observations about the role morality plays in those species we can observe to possess it, thereby informing us practically about what actions or inactions or rules would best optimize that function. (Observing apes and other primates or pack animals to derive a functional analysis of how morality impacts our social coherence and so on.)

I have long argued that morality needn't be absolute in order to be objective. Moral relativism and moral objectivism may be standard terms but I assert they are not as incompatible as is routinely claimed.

We needn't know what is perfectly moral to know objectively what is less moral.

Comment by Logos01 on How to deal with non-realism? · 2012-05-23T21:59:01.428Z · LW · GW

As I often say; you are not your meat. You are the unique pattern of information-flow that occurs within your meat. The meat is not necessary to the information, but the information does require a substrate.

Comment by Logos01 on How to deal with non-realism? · 2012-05-23T21:51:12.435Z · LW · GW

Moral truths which ignore scientific truths are invalid.

Comment by Logos01 on I Stand by the Sequences · 2012-05-17T13:10:32.193Z · LW · GW

"Entities must not be replicated beyond necessity". Both interpretations violate this rule. The only question is which violates it more. And the answer to that seems to one purely of opinion.

So throwing out the extra stuff -- they're using exactly the same math.

Comment by Logos01 on I Stand by the Sequences · 2012-05-16T06:20:21.663Z · LW · GW

Not all formalizations that give the same observed predictions have the same Kolmogorov complexity, and this is true even for much less rigorous notions of complexity.

Sure. But MWI and CI use the same formulae. They take the same inputs and produce the same outputs.

Everything else is just that -- interpretation.

One simple thing it could do is simply use trial division. But another could use some more complicated process, like say brute force searching for a generator of (Z/pZ)*.

And those would be different calculations.

In this case, the math being used is pretty similar,

No, it's the same math.

Comment by Logos01 on I Stand by the Sequences · 2012-05-15T19:51:38.262Z · LW · GW

and dramatically simpler than the Copenhagen interpretation

No, it is exactly as complicated. As demonstrated by its utilization of exactly the same mathematics.

. It rules out a lot of the abnormal conclusions that people draw from Copenhagen, e.g. ascribing mystical powers to consciousness, senses, or instruments.

It is not without its own extra entities of equally enormously additive nature however; and even and those abnormal conclusions are as valid from the CI as is quantum immortality from MWI.

-- I speak as someone who rejects both.

Comment by Logos01 on A wild theist platonist appears, to ask about the path · 2012-05-11T00:08:15.048Z · LW · GW

There is nothing circular about the definition -- merely recursive. "GNU" stands for "GNU is Not UNIX".

As soon as you observe two things to directly interact with one another, you may safely asssert that both exist under my definition.

This is, frankly, not very complicated to figure out.

Comment by Logos01 on A wild theist platonist appears, to ask about the path · 2012-05-10T16:31:42.747Z · LW · GW

For example, would you say that software "exists"?

No. But it is real. Software is a pattern by which electrons, magnetic fields, or photochemically-active media are constrained. The software itself is never a thing you can touch, hold, see, or smell, or taste; it never at any point is ever capable of directly interacting with anything. Just like you and me; we are not our bodies; nor our brains; nor the electrons or chemicals that flow through the brains. We are patterns those things are constrained by. I am the unique pattern that, in times past, created the password to the LW account, Logos01; and you the pattern that (I presume) created Eugine_Nier. But neither of us, physically, exist. This is important to notions of substrate-independence; where goes your pattern, is you. (Remember your Ship of Theseus problem.)

Right now I am downloading onto a VM on my workstation the 12.04 release of Lubuntu. This software is being pulled over ethernet to be delivered to a virtual harddrive image where it will be configured and installed. If I say I have LibreOffice installed too, it is clear I am talking about a specific release/instance/copy. We talk about identity in terms of software "Have you tried the latest Halo? It's awesome! ^_^" -- and two people can apparently own exactly the same game. But of course these are multiple copies of the pattern. It's even possible to talk about backups and restores. This is because the only thing that matters about defining whether something is or is not the software is that pattern.


Real but do not exist. If every last person of the US packed their bags and got onto a rocket and shot themselves to Mars, it'd still be the United States of America. Even if every last person died while on that rocket and their kids were the ones who took over for them. Substrate independence once again demonstrates this.

Boeing 747s?

Exist. It is possible to see/hear/touch/smell/taste a Boeing 747 (I hear they taste like burnt chocolate and chicken.) It is possible for two Boeing 747's to be run into one another; or for a comet to strike one. It is not possible for a factory to churn out political constructs or minds. (Though it is possible for them to assemble all the pieces that would, when activated, allow for the presence of a mind.)

While you CAN take all the individual components of a Boeing 747 apart and put them back together again to make the same object; or over time transfer pieces into / from it (Theseus's Grandfather's Axe) -- what you can't do is just "declare" a different physical object to BE that original Boeing 747. You can't have five of the same Boeing 747. That is because it is a thing which directly interacts with other things.


See the above. If some temporal accident causes me to split into two, both of those people would still be ME. (Though their cohabitating the same space would cause divergence of identity over time.) Again, this is because what I physically am is irrelevant to determining my identity (and identity is the conformance to a specific pattern).

Force fields?

"In physics a force field is a vector field that describes a non-contact force acting on a particle at various positions in space." You see that word, "acting"? To "act upon" something is quite literally definitional to being said to "interact with" a thing. By the definition I have provided of 'exists', and the definition of 'force field' as found on Wikipedia, force fields definitionally exist.

Comment by Logos01 on A wild theist platonist appears, to ask about the path · 2012-05-10T16:12:47.469Z · LW · GW

Do pebbles actually exist? But they are composed from quarks,

I refer to this as the Reductionist Problem of Scale. "Psychology isn't real because it's all just biology. Biology isn't real because it's all just chemistry. Chemistry isn't real because it's all just Physics." I don't see this as so much of a 'minefield' as a need to recognize that "scale matters". In unaided-human-observable Newtonian space, there is no question that pebbles are "totally a thing" -- they are. You can hold one in your hand. You can touch one to another one.

Of course; if you look solely at the scale of subquarks, then this distinction becomes unintelligible.

On the other hand, when I play a computer game, do the various objects in the virtual world exist?

No. Interacting with the symbol of a thing is not interacting with the thing itself. They are, however, fully real -- just like you yourself are fully real, but do not exist (you are not your body; you are not your brain; you are not the electrons and chemicals that flow through it. You are the pattern that is so-comprised. But that pattern itself is entirely non-physical in nature; it is non-instantiable and does not itself interact with anything -- nor can it ever.)

What if I write a program to play for me and stop watching the monitor. Do they stop existing?

I... am not rightly sure how you could come to the conclusion that this is a relevant question to the definition I provided. I did not say "to exist, things must be observed" -- I said "to exist, things must interact with other things". Pebbles interacting with lakes are interacting. Regardless of whether someone watches them.

If a tree falls in a forest, the tree exists. Regardless of whether it makes a sound.

Comment by Logos01 on The ethics of breaking belief · 2012-05-10T15:46:01.369Z · LW · GW
  • Adding \s\s before your \n will let you do newlines in Markup syntax.

Thank you.

Comment by Logos01 on The ethics of breaking belief · 2012-05-09T19:53:56.575Z · LW · GW

I would be interested in knowing what resources you used for this sequence.

As an autist there is a huge swath of innate skills 'normal' people possess I can only emulate. Social success for me is indistinguishable from Dark Art skill.

Comment by Logos01 on A wild theist platonist appears, to ask about the path · 2012-05-09T17:28:48.737Z · LW · GW

Yes, but I don't think this uses the word 'exist' in the same way.

I'd say not. I tend to use two independent terms when discussing the nature of a thing's existence; I will discuss first whether or not something is real; and then whether or not that real thing exists.

To be real; a thing must be an accurate description of some pattern of behavior that things which exist conform to. (I realize this is dense/inscrutable, more in a bit.) To exist; a thing must directly interact in some fashion with other things which exist; it must be 'instantiable'.

So numbers, mathematical constructs, words; these things are real but they do not exist. We can recognize them in how the things which do exist behave. The concepts are not themselves instantiated -- ever -- but we can handle them symbolically. If I hold three pebbles in my hand, that means there is a precise arrangement of pebbles; it has a precise relationship with two the arrangement we'd call "two pebbles" and the arrangement we'd call "four pebbles" and so on. But you'll never see/hear/touch/smell/taste the number 3. It's physically impossible for that to occur; because the number, 'three', does not exist. Pebbles on the other hand do exist; you can take a pebble and throw it into a lake.

I find that this differentiation between different meanings of the term "to be" makes the discussion vastly simpler. It eliminates whole swaths of silliness (like TAG for example); I am perfectly free to say "I can prove using the Laws of Logic that the Laws of Logic do not exist."

Comment by Logos01 on Be Happier · 2012-04-26T07:39:24.498Z · LW · GW

Then you do not mean that

pleasure is the "measure of utility". That is; utility is pleasure; pleasure is utility.

Eudaimonic pleasure -- happiness -- is of a nature that wireheading would not qualify as valid happiness/pleasure. It would be like 'empty calories'; tasty but unfulfilling.

So no, I do not not mean that 'pleasure is the "measure of utility"' is the mainstream consensus view on LessWrong. I do mean that, and I believe it to be so. "Hedons" and "utilons" are used interchangeably here.

Comment by Logos01 on Be Happier · 2012-04-26T00:17:41.273Z · LW · GW

But it's a misconstrual of eudaimonia to think it reduces to pleasure, and a misuse of 'hedonism' to refer to goals other than pleasure.

This is simply not true. Eudaimonia is essentially epicurian hedonism, as contrasted with cyrenaic.

Comment by Logos01 on Be Happier · 2012-04-25T22:34:52.264Z · LW · GW

Maybe you were thinking [...]

I meant what I said. Eudaimonic hedonism is still a form of hedonism. Eudaimonia is simply redefined happiness.

It is contrasted with "traditional" hedonism in common usage, but the relationship is quite clear. Eudaimonia is not a rejection of traditional hedonism but a modification.

Comment by Logos01 on Be Happier · 2012-04-25T20:12:38.544Z · LW · GW

(I'm thinking of this and this.)

Eudaimonic hedonism is still a form of hedonism.

(EDIT: Specifically it's epicurian as compared to cyrenaic.)

Comment by Logos01 on Be Happier · 2012-04-25T07:38:09.134Z · LW · GW

intrinsic values are values that a thing has merely by being what it is.

My question from the outset was "what's the use of happiness?" Responding to that with "its own sake" doesn't answer my question. To say that 'being useful is useful for its own sake' is to make an intrinsic utilitity statement of utility.

We -- or rather I -- framed this question in terms of utility from the outset.

Now -- hedonism is the default consensus view here on (obviously I am a dissenter. My personal history as being clinically anhedonic maaaaay have something to do with this.) the argument is made by hedonistic utilitarians that pleasure is the "measure of utility". That is; utility is pleasure; pleasure is utility.

But of course it's trivially easy to demonstrate the paucity of this reasoning -- we need only look to the wireheading existential failure mode, and other variations of it, to acknowledge that pleasure for pleasure's own sake is not an intrinsic value.

Without having intrinsic value, a value cannot be a terminal value; the terms are synonymous.

Since I don't (currently) think 'intrinsic worth' is a thing,

The position you are here aligning with is called "intrinsic nihilism". It claims that there are zero terminal/intrinsic goods. Now -- there's nothing wrong with that, from the outside view.

But it does leave us at something of an impasse; how could you then justify seeking happiness? If there are no intrinsic goods then your goals are entirely arbitrary. Which means that you must have reasoning for continuing to seek them out -- otherwise you would not continue to retain those arbitrary goals.

Absolutely -- our evolutionary history plays into this. But then, our evolutionary history includes rapine and slaughter. And we curttail that in lieu of creating a better society. So why does 'happiness' get a free pass from this inspection?

Comment by Logos01 on Be Happier · 2012-04-25T07:11:56.554Z · LW · GW

I think you're still missing the point.

Which is funny, because I am increasingly coming to the same conclusion with regards to your integration of my statements as you respond to me with essentially the same "talking points" in a manner that shows you haven't contemplated that at the very least merely repeating yourself isn't going to cause me to consider your old point any more relevant than it was the first time I offerred a rebuttal with new informational value.

At some point, I have learned that in such dialogues the only productive thing left for me to do is to simply drop the microphone and walk off the stage. I don't think this dialogue has quite reached that stage just yet. :)

You can call happiness a terminal value, because you decide what those are.

A rose by any other name. My pet; a harrier jet.

Declaring a thing to be another thing does not make it that thing. Brute fiat is insufficient to normative evaluations of intrinsic worth.

Obviously, if happiness is a terminal value, you're right you can't be too happy.

You somehow read the exact opposite of my meaning from my statement.

Also -- if you accept the notion of wireheading as an existential failure, then you acknowledge that happiness is not an intrinsic value.

Comment by Logos01 on Be Happier · 2012-04-25T06:30:39.494Z · LW · GW

However, Kidder's depictions of Farmer's personality portray him as a happy man. Perhaps the book will be of some help, if you indeed have not yet read it.

I'm quite certain that the vast majority of people who ever encountered me in meatspace would make the mistake of thinking that I am a happy person. I laugh, I smile, I go through all of the motions. I am upbeat and concerned with the wellbeing of others. I am patient to a fault, and nigh unto never show any signs of any kind of being foul-mannered or intemperate.

Those who know me when I am ... myself -- know a very different person. They are few.

Comment by Logos01 on Be Happier · 2012-04-25T06:28:48.035Z · LW · GW

I also notice a correlation between times I am unhappy,

One fo the many things I dislike about the English language is that it does not readily acknowledge that "happy" is no excluded middle.

Comment by Logos01 on Be Happier · 2012-04-25T06:26:42.463Z · LW · GW

So of course you can call happiness a terminal value.

I can call my cat a Harrier Jet, too. Doesn't mean she's going to start launching missiles from under the wings she doesn't have.

Or, if maximal utility doesn't include increased happiness, you're doing it wrong, assuming happiness is what you value.

You're confusing abitrary with intrinsic. To qualify as a terminal value a thing must be self-evidently valuable; that is, it must be inherently 'good'. More of it must always be 'better' than less of it. I know this to be false of happiness/pleasure; I know that there is such a thing as "too happy".

I know of no such thing as "too useful".

Comment by Logos01 on Be Happier · 2012-04-25T06:20:50.713Z · LW · GW

Right now some people prefer happiness.

This is handwaving. That is; you use a description to fulfill the role of an explanation.

Many of the people who prefer happiness also endorse desiring to be happy

This is also a description, not an explanation.

No justification is required for preferring one's preferences.

... I cannot help but find this to be a silly assertion. "That's the default"? That's just... not true.

f you keep asking "Why?" enough you are bound to end up at the bottom level terminal goals from which other instrumental goals may be derived.

Absolutely. And those terminal goals are those which are intrinsic in nature.

If you are claiming that happiness is an intrinsic good -- please, explain why. Because I for one just don't see it.

Comment by Logos01 on Be Happier · 2012-04-25T02:52:56.308Z · LW · GW

This is just what they happen to do.

This is nonsensical. Do we always conform to patterns merely because they're the patterns we always adhered to, unquestioningly? The question is being asked now.

If there is no decent answer -- then what justifies this article?

Comment by Logos01 on Be Happier · 2012-04-24T23:26:03.557Z · LW · GW

I meant, borrowing your words, are you consumed with a driving ambition or devotion to achieving the uttermost limits of what you could achieve or become, utilizing the maximum of your potential to impact the world? Are you always striving for something you don't have; wishing to be more than you are in every possible sense of the word... including the efficacy with which you strive for more?

Not as much as I should be.

And if so, what are you doing about it?

1) Completely overhauling my professional capacity and career-path. In the last two years I've changed tracks to the point where my income has doubled year-over-year from that point, and am set to another 'doubling'.

2) I am systematically seeking out those areas where I am most deficient and am seeking means to bypass, exploit, or otherwise mitigate or account for those deficiencies. I have had setbacks and failures across the board, but I do not allow them to stop me. I have had a total collapse of my professional, personal, social, and romantic lives/livelihoods on more than one occassion, and in each instance I've "dusted myself off and picked back up again" as it were. I'm currently working on how to rebuild my social life (as it is utterly lacking) but I suspect that once my fiscal situation becomes stabilized at the newly higher point I'll have more attentional reserves available to dedicate to this. Another area I am constantly lacking in since my teen years is my physical excellence and dietary habits. I don't have the cognitive/attentional reserves to address the exercise regimen just yet, but that's coming. The diet I also am working on; exposing myself to new foods and food combinations in order to expand my pallatte (as an autist this is an exceptional challenge for me in ways that are non-obvious.)

None of these things are, to be quite frank, particularly pleasant. I typically can't stand people for example; and though I have been told time and again I make an "excellent" host/guest/conversationalist/party-goer... it's physically exhausting to me (this is related to cognitive deficiencies on my part; I am unable to 'filter' out things and must consciously assign attentional levels to all things around me -- try staying perfectly alert in complex settings for, say, an hour or two and you'll get why being around groups of people is exhausting to me.). Despite this I have raised that as a priority on my regimen because being able to cause compliance in people without their perceiving it as duress is useful. This is also why I've been teaching myself how to code; and why I also pay attention to any manner of topics.

I could keep going down the list, but that about summarizes it.

Comment by Logos01 on Be Happier · 2012-04-24T23:15:27.547Z · LW · GW

Not fulfilling the potential itself, but rather the capacity to do so, (which can only properly be measured by the actualization / acting-upon-of said capacity). As to why -- well, fundamentally it's the notion that maximized instrumentality is the maximally optimal instrumental state. From there the question becomes; "is maximized instrumentality useful?"

That is a "self-proving" terminal value. One need only ask the question to see that it implies its answer. "Is being useful useful?" Well... yes. Whatever it is you want to do or achieve is transparent / irrelevant to this.

Being useful is useful. The "use" of being useful is that it's useful.

These are essentially tautological statements.

So when I ask, "what's the use of being happy" -- saying "It makes you happy" is true (tautologically) but not an expression of utility, whereas having utility is useful because it's useful is also tautologically true but is an expression of utility.

Comment by Logos01 on Be Happier · 2012-04-24T23:04:44.374Z · LW · GW

Emotion dressed up as pseudo-intellectualism. How do I know that/ Because the answer is so supremely obvious.

... Is there maybe some other manner in which I could explain that I was revealing my emotional biases in order to get them out of the way of the dialogue that would be more effective for you?

... What exactly is so baffling? People want to be happy for it's own sake

Why? The position is alien to me.

but in the end you're going to be faced with the fact that it's just a terminal value and you're going to have a hard time "explaining" it.

Handwaving is non-explanation. You might as well say "because magic". I was opening myself up to the dialogue of perhaps exploring mindspace alien to me -- and giving others the opportunity to do so in kind.

P.S. The specific use of the word contemptible is what tipped me off to the fact that you're not emotionally prepared to ask a good question here.


That's all I got. Maybe someone better suited to the dialogue will come along. Thanks for your time I guess?

Comment by Logos01 on Be Happier · 2012-04-24T23:00:10.040Z · LW · GW

That question segfaults in my parser.

Comment by Logos01 on Be Happier · 2012-04-24T16:03:37.807Z · LW · GW

"Happiness" is neither to be aimed at nor avoided. Doing what you truly want is to be aimed at, and not avoided.

So then you reject altogether the core premise of the article, which also stated; "Actively want to be happier. Motivation and investment matter."

Of course, I can also note that the only way, from my perspective, to guarantee your maximal significance (in terms of material impact upon the world) -- is to always strive for something you don't have; to wish to be more than you are in every possible sense of the word... including the efficacy with which you strive for more.

In other words; to 'condemn' yourself to always be incapable of doing what you "truly want" -- because you will never, ever be good enough at getting better.

Comment by Logos01 on Be Happier · 2012-04-24T07:07:10.244Z · LW · GW

Might be fun?

Okay. So what?

Sure beats the alternative?

Does it? Why? What is the alternative? How is 'happy' better?

It's compatible with all the good drugs and keeps you off all the bad ones?

I can't help but not that this is post hoc ergo propter hoc reasoning.

Let's engage in a bit of an exercise. I am a thirty year old man. I have never in my life experienced happiness. I have no prospects of becoming happy. Everyone I have ever seen who was happy seemed, in many fundamental ways, contemptible to me: they were complacent, they were 'satisfied'; they settled and lacked any driving ambition or devotion to achieving the uttermost limits of what they could achieve or become. They did not utilize the maximum of their potential to impact the world, and instead... seem less.

Explain to me why I should want to be like that. What is useful about this? Why is it good?

I am open to total revision of my worldview. I come to this dialogue with a history that I relate only to reveal my preconceptions; that they might be accounted for.

So to hug the hypothesis: "What's so great about being happy?"

Comment by Logos01 on Be Happier · 2012-04-24T06:39:21.860Z · LW · GW

Alright... after reading through much of this, a certain line struck me over and over again.

Actively want to be happier. Motivation and investment matter.

I have only one question.


(To clarify: I mean: Why be happy? Why want to be happy? How is it useful? What 'good' is happiness?)

Comment by Logos01 on Harry Potter and the Methods of Rationality discussion thread, part 16, chapter 85 · 2012-04-24T03:39:18.273Z · LW · GW

Emotional blackmail on LeStrange. Also -- half a year is too long a time period. by far.

Figure without time turners but with healing magics and potions an eight month birth. Rip the kid out of her womb, and heal her back into active duty. You lose her services for maybe a month. (Up to six months in and she's still combat-capable.)

Heal both kid and mother, and there you go. (also, if we can assume accelerated gestation potions then we get even more silly. No "downtime" at all No need for time turners.)

Comment by Logos01 on Forked Russian Roulette and Anticipation of Survival · 2012-04-06T12:43:47.544Z · LW · GW

It's the same argument though.

How much money would I have to pay you for you to let me rape you in a way that causes no physical trauma, after dosing you with a drug that prevents you from remembering the hour before or after it?

Would that dollar amount change if I told you I had already given you the drug?

The problem I see is your treatment of this arrangement as a "black box" of you[entering] and you[exiting]. But this is illegitimate. There were ten rounds of you[copy-that-dies] that would also be you[entering].

Have you read EY's writings on timeless decision theory? It seems to me that this is a variation.

Comment by Logos01 on Harry Potter and the Methods of Rationality discussion thread, part 13, chapter 81 · 2012-04-03T03:02:43.033Z · LW · GW

So instead of a war, let's look at a potential asteroid strike.

I didn't say that there weren't good reasons for resisting the pointlessly-occurring phenomenon. I said only that it was pointless. Or are you now going to impose fundamental purposefulness and agency onto the very fabric of the cosmos? This gets exceedingly ridiculous. I have never once argued that your usage is invalid. Why do you insist on refusing to recognize mine, despite the legitimacy of the terms and the framing with which I have presented them demonstrating clearly that I was using a definition you were not?

This is what passes for reasoned discourse?

Revise your position.

but the idea that it's somehow more pointless to resist utility hits

Oh bloody hell. I never said anything of the sort. Update your position, and stop tilting at windmills. This conversation has ceased, in the meantime, to be worthy of any investment by me.