PHIL: Dynamic Optimism as a tool in logical reasoning

From: Menno Rubingh (
Date: Wed Jan 12 2000 - 20:54:24 MST

Esteemed Extropians,

In reaction to the slightly annoying :-) (and in spite of our Extropian
'Dynamic Optimism' to me somewhat surprising) degree to which many people on
>H and Extropian mailing lists persist in exhibiting what I can only call
(techno-)pessimism and defaitism (see e.g. the threads 'extropian enemies
lists', 'Debate Failure', and 'Opposition to Transhumanism' on this mailing
list very recently), I want to posit the following thesis:

  ''Dynamic Optimism'' can be lifted a little in status, namely:
  from merely a method of LIVING more efficiently and more agreeably, we
  can lift it to a method of *THINKING*, i.e., of logical reasoning,
  comparable to the Scientific Method(+).

In Max More's essay on Dynamic Optimism (,
Dynamic Optimism is mainly presented as a way to organize one's own life more
efficiently, in order so as to spare oneself frustration and so as to get more
useful work done.

I think I can prove the fact that Dynamic Optimism can also be viewed as a
method of logical THINKING that can be used very profitably and perfectly
legitimately as a tool for reasoning, in a similar way as the Scientific
  (Briefly: Each hypothesis A that clashes with Dynamic Optimism is not useful
to an individual believing in hypothesis A, in a similar way as each
hypothesis B clashing with the Scientific Method is not useful to an
individual believing in hypothesis B. Hypothesis A is therefore 'false' in
the same way, and for the same reasons, as hypothesis B is 'false'.)

Promoting Dynamic Optimism in this way into a (formal) tool of logical
reasoning (where previously it was something between an informal rule-of-thumb
and a lifestyle) makes that one can make use of it in more ways, and above all
in *more direct* ways. It enables one to conclude in a very *direct* way that
alarmism and defaitism, apart from being useless, annoying, and
frustrating (though nevertheless much loved by some people), are also
(even) logically 'false'. (Where the word 'false' is used in exactly the same
way as when used in connection with the Scientific Method.) The reasoning
goes like this: is the theory obviously pessimistic (= non-Dynamically-
Optimistic) ? For example, does the theory say that whatever you do, things
will go wrong ? or that something is incapable of being modified by one's own
efforts into something more useful to oneself ? If yes, then we can conclude
directly that the theory is false.

Best Greetings, Menno (;

(+) The 'Scientific Method', or the 'Method of Scientific Thinking', is as 
follows: (1) Think rationally, i.e., logically; and (2) Do not believe 
anything without ''proof''.  (The 2nd element is the hardest part.)  (The 
because of its interesting-sounding name so well-known ''Occam's Razor'' is 
really only a sub-component of this 2nd element of the Scientific Method, 
making some aspects about things regarded as valid 'proof' more precise.) 

This archive was generated by hypermail 2b29 : Thu Jul 27 2000 - 14:02:15 MDT