RE: ethics, joyous growth, etc.

From: Ben Goertzel (
Date: Tue Feb 03 2004 - 07:51:20 MST

> > Also, what if the MAXIMUM INTENSITY of positive qualia is
> achievable only
> in
> > a universe where the AVERAGE VALENCE of qualia is near zero? I.e., what
> if
> > universes in which lots of positive AND negative qualia exist, are the
> ones
> > in which the most intensely wonderful positive qualia exist?
> not likely, but if so, then we're screwed :)
> we are in a universe in which 'good' cannot be realized,
> therefore existence
> is evil.
> In that case, the moral thing would be to opt for a dull universe I guess.

That depends on how you compute the average in your "pleasure principle"
(nexus principle), assuming we interpret the pleasure principle as being
"maximize the average joy experienced by all beings in the universe"

Define a p'th power average as

ave_p( x1, ..., xn ) = ( sum_n (x1^p + ... + xn^p) /n )~(1/p)

As p gets bigger this tends to value the maximum more and more. Depending
on how you set p, one may value a dull universe or one may value a universe
with peaks of wild pleasure and valleys of despair. My own preference is
for a moderately large p; I'll take the torment to get the moments of wild
ecstasy... but only within reason...

> > There are a lot of things about qualia we don't understand...
> particularly
> > when talking about the universe-wide system of interlocking qualia...
> I agree, that is why comparison between positive and negative qualia,
> especially quantitative ones, are impossible with our current level of
> knowledge.
> But there are very clear areas in which we _can_ use qualia morality. For
> example, abortion is not a problem if there isn't a developed
> neural net in
> the fetus. For example, going to war for any reason is wrong, since no
> economic advantage given to 100 million people will make up for 1
> guy losing
> an arm.

These cases are not clear at all. How do you know a fetus without a brain
has zero qualia? How do you know the total pleasure-increase of the 100M
people isn't greater than the total pleasure-decrease of the guy who lost
the arm?

-- Ben G

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