Re: sentient rights (was RE: Battleground God)

From: Anders Sandberg (
Date: Thu Feb 21 2002 - 15:19:32 MST

On Thu, Feb 21, 2002 at 12:07:24PM -0800, wrote:
> Mike Lorrey writes:
> > Thus illustrating the primary divide between extropians and
> > left-transhumans.
> >
> > Rights are not social fictions, they are codified expressions of
> > objective observation of natural, physical law. TO think otherwise is
> > the height of irrationality.
> I don't agree with this view of rights, and I don't see where it arises
> from the Extropian Principles,
> In fact the words "right" and "rights" do not appear in that document.

The principles do not seem to be enough to constrain an ethical system;
they do not form a set of ethical axioms or constrain the basis for
extropian ethics. They certainly have ethical content, but this content
deals more with desirability of different things than the core
"mechanics" of an ethical system.

Personally I would say that this is not a flaw. Extropianism rather
inherits the ethical underpinnings of its parent philosophies of
libertarianism and humanism (a kind of philosophical object
inheritance); it is compatible with most versions of them, and does not
as expressed in the principles have to redo all the immense work that
has been done on expressing ethics and politics elsewhere. It is a bit
like how Robert Nozick simply starts _Anarchy, State, Utopia_ by simply
assuming certain rights - the book is not about deriving them, it is
what conclusions can be made *after* they have been derived.

One can try combining different ethical theories with extropianism and
see what happens. I would say that utilitarianism and extropianism are
not a very successful combination; such an extropian utilitarianism
would either have to be based on maximizing extropy or have to show that
increasing personal extropy and increasing utility are identical. In any
case it would tend to run over indiviuals in the pursuit of
maximization, and it seems hard to combine with the self organization
principle in the old version of the principles. A rights based form of
extropianism seems far more consistent, although we still have to find a
derivation of rights that convinces.

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

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