The Meaning of life

John K Clark (
Sun, 9 Feb 1997 12:58:33 -0800 (PST)


On Sun, 09 Feb 1997 Eliezer Yudkowsky <> Wrote:

>in your version of the Universe, people assign value for completely
>traceable causal reasons.


>The only question is whether the reasons are traceable to reason or
>evolution. You say that if traceable to reason, they are "imposed";
>if to evolution, they are "free". I say exactly the reverse.

For the purposes of this argument it doesn't matter a bit if reason or
Evolution CAUSED you to act in a certain way, in both cases they are
"imposed". If I make a logical decision, that means that out of an infinite
number of choices I narrowed things down to one particular action. When
somebody tells me that my choice was smart, logical, reasonable, that I had
reasons (causes) for doing what I did, I am not embarrassed or insulted,
I am flattered.

When somebody tells me that my choice was stupid, illogical, unreasonable,
that I had no reasons (no causes) for doing what I did, I am embarrassed and
insulted, I am most certainly not flattered.

>I have chosen to identify with my reason, rather than my evolution
>imposed emotions.

So, you have chosen to identify with evolution imposed reason. I don't wish
to insult you so let me say that I think your choice is reasonable, there
were reasons, causes, for you to make that decision. I'm not sure if the
causes were in your genes or your environment and it doesn't matter, they're
still causes.

>What I decide to do, is me. [...] You appear to have chosen to
>identify with your heart. What you want to do, is you.

You decide to do things you don't want to do??? Why do you do them?

>I don't want my emotions assigning positive value to things that
>aren't really worth anything.

"Want" is an emotion. You don't "want" your emotions assigning positive value
to things, because that would make you sad, or at least, you think it would
make you sad. You think the idea of maximizing intrinsic value (whatever that
is) will make you happy, while maximizing subjective value will not.

>Who says all is computation, and all else is superstition?
>Who says Church-Turing is simply too restrictive?
>Who is an atheist?
>Who respects faith?
>Who thinks consciousness is just information?
>Who thinks qualia just don't compute?

Answer: Me #1,3 and 5, You #2,4 and 6

>Lord, thy name is irony.

I need a little help here, I don't see it.

John K Clark

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