Re: Why believe the truth?

From: Peter C. McCluskey (
Date: Tue Jun 24 2003 - 10:16:51 MDT

  • Next message: Eliezer S. Yudkowsky: "Re: Rightness and Utility of Patriotism" (Robin Hanson) writes:
    >At 10:53 AM 6/19/2003 -0700, you wrote:
    >>... It seems to me that truth is needed to achieve cooperation in a wide
    >>enough variety of circumstances that we would all better off if we could
    >>make a binding agreement to be as close to truthful Bayesians as our
    >>computational powers allow.
    >Yes, except on the key question of not facing uncomfortable truths. If
    >people really place a high enough value on this, we do them harm by making
    >them truthful, even if that aids cooperation on all other fronts.

     My impression is that the harm involved is substantially reduced if it
    can be coordinated such that few people need to be significantly more
    truthful than their peers at any one time. The benefits of deception seem
    to be largely a matter of competition for relative advantages over other

    >> It is harder to have disgreements with stock market prices that persist
    >>for years than it is to have persistent disgreements about how legislation
    >>is made, because market prices allow much less room for ambiguity and less
    >>room for selective use of evidence than descriptions of the legislative
    >>process do.
    >OK, I'll grant this point. But can't people just not look at the prices?
    >Most people never read the business stock page in the paper, and have little
    >idea of how IBM is doing. The public is amazingly ignorant when they want
    >to be.

     I can imagine a stable futarchy in which the majority of voters ignore
    all the issues that are decided by markets or believe the markets produce
    poor enough results that they don't need to agree with the markets. But I
    have trouble imagining how to get from here to there. The only obvious ways
    to get futarchy adopted seem to involve persuading a majority of voters to
    respect those markets more than they currently respect democracy. And that
    would seem to require challenging those voters to either make money on those
    markets or admit there's something wrong with the beliefs they cherish about
    their abilities as voters.

    Peter McCluskey          | "To announce that there must be no criticism of | the President, or that we are to stand by the
                             | President right or wrong, is not only unpatriotic
                             | and servile, but morally treasonable to the
                             | American public." - Theodore Roosevelt

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