Re: Singularity-worship

Eliezer Yudkowsky (
Sat, 07 Dec 1996 18:36:53 -0600

> The trouble I have is that you used the term "self-justifying", I've never
> seen a self-justifying sentence, at least I don't think I have, but I really
> don't know what that means.

"If this sentence is true, Santa Claus exists."
If the sentence is true, then the condition is true AND the conditional
is true and so Santa Claus exists.
The conditional IS true.
Santa Claus does exist.

> By far the deepest problem in Philosophy, why is there something rather than
> nothing?
I don't know. That there is in point of fact something illustrates that
there are self-justifying causes. By analogy, there may be
self-justifying goals. And, the problem is neither deepest - nor the
most complicated.

> - From your statement above we can safely conclude that another example of a
> non-self-justifying entity would be any idea any human being has ever been
> able to formulate in his head. If EVERYTHING is non self justifying then the
> concept has no contrast and so no value.
Your first statement is true, but your second is not. See above.

> You mentioned that you took Prozac. The only reason to take Prozac is if
> despite its negative features it made your brain operate in a way you liked
> better than when you did not take Prozac. Evolution never came up with a
> gland that secrets Prozac. Why do you take Prozac?
It was recommended by someone who, in retrospect, did not know what he
was doing. There was some hope, however, since people on Prozac DO obey
Algernon's Law. A surplus of mental energy and self-esteem is NOT an
evolutionary advantage, however easier it makes daily life; it
short-circuits some of evolution's most powerful goads and
behavior-modification tools.

> What's the difference between computational and cognitive causality?
> Nothing, unless you believe in the soul and other such mumbo jumbo.

Computational causality is what makes a Turing machine move forwards in
time. Cognitive causality is what makes a person say: "A causes B" and
is a problem in AI/cognitive science rather than philosophy.

> What's the difference between computational and thermodynamic?
Thermodynamic causality is a statistical application of Occam's Razor.

> What's the difference between cognitive and platonic?
> Nothing, except cognitive wants to put mind in a special category for some
> ill-defined reason.
Platonic is the reason why 2 + 2 = 4; it is a form of causality which
does not involve time. Cognitive causality is a set of algorithms.

> What's the difference between computational and platonic?
Would you agree to the statement: "All computations are equally
existent regardless of any physical implementation?"

--       Eliezer S. Yudkowsky

Disclaimer:  Unless otherwise specified, I'm not telling you
everything I know.