Comment by yuxi_liu on Physical linguistics · 2019-05-15T20:43:01.388Z · score: 1 (1 votes) · LW · GW

In a language consistent with deterministic eliminative materialism, value judgments don't do anything, because there are no alternative scenarios to judge about.

I am not sure about nondeterministic eliminative materialism. Still, if consciousness and free will can be eliminated, even with true randomness in this world, value judgments still seem to not do anything.

Comment by yuxi_liu on Physical linguistics · 2019-05-14T22:54:58.263Z · score: 1 (1 votes) · LW · GW

I'm glad you liked it. I was expecting some harsh words like "that's nothing new" or "that's nihilistic and thus immoral".

Comment by yuxi_liu on Physical linguistics · 2019-05-14T22:51:22.813Z · score: 1 (1 votes) · LW · GW

I am not fully committed to eliminative materialism, just trying to push it as far as possible, as I see it as the best chance at clarifying what consciousness does.

As for the last paragraph, if your analysis is correct, then it just means that a classical hedonic utilitarian + eliminative materialist would be a rare occurrence in this world, since such agents are unlikely to behave in a way that keeps itself existing.

If the project of eliminative materialism is fully finished, it would completely remove value judgments from human language. In the past, human languages refer to the values of many things, like the values of animals, plants, mountains, rivers, and some other things. This has progressively narrowed, and now in Western human language, only the values of biological neural networks that are carried in animal bodies are referred to. If this continues, this could lead to a language that does not refer to any value, but I don't know what it would be like.

The Heptapod language seems to be value-free, and describes the past and the future in the same factual way. The human languages describes only the past factually, but the future valuefully. A value-free human language could be like the Heptapod language. In the story Story of Your Life, the human linguist protagonist who struggled to communicate with the Heptapods underwent a partial transformation of mind, and sometimes sees the past and future in the same descriptive, value-free way. She mated with her spouse and conceived a child, who she knew would die in an accident. She did it not because of a value calculation. An explanation of "why she did it" must instead be like

  • On a physical level, because of atoms and stuff.
  • On a conscious level, because that's the way the world is. To see the future and then "decide" whether to play it out or not, is not physically possible.

Physical linguistics

2019-05-13T19:30:28.263Z · score: 23 (7 votes)
Comment by yuxi_liu on Reference request: human as "backup" · 2019-04-30T14:15:08.833Z · score: 1 (1 votes) · LW · GW

No, it was something way older, from maybe 2000-2009.

Reference request: human as "backup"

2019-04-29T17:13:51.493Z · score: 7 (4 votes)
Comment by yuxi_liu on Evolution "failure mode": chickens · 2019-04-28T07:20:16.602Z · score: 14 (3 votes) · LW · GW

Okay I posted the whole thing here now.

Evolution "failure mode": chickens

2019-04-26T11:42:34.789Z · score: 24 (12 votes)

Let's Watch: 10-on-10: The Chronicles of Evolution - Eörs Szathmáry

2019-04-20T00:13:58.796Z · score: 10 (2 votes)