Re: Anders Sandberg's Value System

Anders Sandberg (
Tue, 4 Feb 1997 18:12:07 +0100 (MET)

On -1 xxx -1 wrote:

> Anders Sandberg wrote:
> >In my personal ethical system, I regard complex, diverse
> >systems as a fundamental good (this is a completely
> >arbitrary basis, but it works quite well).
> What do you mean when you say that it works quite well? (Do
> you use another non-arbitrary value system to evaluate the
> effects of first one, or how shall we understand this?)

Most ethical systems in use overlap to a great extent (almost all suggests
that kindness is a good idea and practically none of them says killing or
stealing are OK); this is IMHO due to memetic and social co-evolution,
possibly with a biological component. Thus most of the ethical systems,
regardless of what divine or philosophical support they claim, tend to
uphold a generally functioning society of humans (if people actually
behaved 100% according to them it would be even nicer, but most realistic
ethical systems have a 'graceful breakdown' property: they work
reasonably well even if not everyone follows them).

What is surprising is that many "standard ethical precepts" like not
killing can be deduced from my complexity ethics without adding extra
assumptions; this suggests for me that it will be at least
generally compatible with "standard ethics", that it might work in a
social setting and that it is in some sense minimal, avoiding a lot of
extraneous assumptions. Of course, making it work in practice is not
always easy, and there are still some arbitraryness about 'diversity',
but I think I manage to follow it in general.

> BTW, David Pearce has worked out a theory of why you are so
> fond of complexity. The basic idea is that your dopaminergic
> pathways are hyperactive, so that you almost never
> experience suffering. The closest you come to suffering is
> occasional *boredom*, which therefore, Pearce reasons,
> naturally becomes your notion of evil. But boredom is
> generally caused by repetition and monotony; hence
> complexity, its opposite, come to be seen by you as the
> supreme good. :-)

Touché! I like this explanation, it seems to fit almost too well. Yes, I
consider boredom one of the greatest evils in the universe, and that is
one of the reasons I became a transhumanist in the first place.

Hmm, I might get the chance to check out my CNS soon; I'll take a look at
the dopaminergic pathways and see if the results support the theory.

Anders Sandberg Towards Ascension!
GCS/M/S/O d++ -p+ c++++ !l u+ e++ m++ s+/+ n--- h+/* f+ g+ w++ t+ r+ !y