Re: PHIL: The extropian principles

Timothy Bates (
Sat, 06 Mar 1999 16:58:52 +1100

> My position, as declared about a year back, has always been that
> "extropy" should be defined in terms of Extropians"
That is like saying that democracy should be defined in terms of democrats. Instances are not a concept. An average instance is not a concept.

In addition, Given that most of the criticism of idealists has been that they personalize and divide things, it is humorous that the alternative "open" view often correlates with personalized definitions excluding the views of people who call themselves extropian and moving to such definitions as
> those beliefs most commonly held across Eric
> Watt Forste's list of Very Extropian Persons and any people who aren't
> on the list but should be.

i.e., exactly whoever person X wants to include.

This is an argument to authority. That is why I and others reject this whole "lack of principle to preserve openness" argument.

People have to make decisions, and if we don't make them at the front end on principle, then we will have to make them at the back end. At that point we get the sort of thing that is being discussed here: decisions based on subjective calls to power.

> I believe that Extropianians, to the best of my knowledge of many, many,
> people, stand for the belief that sentient life can and should seek,
> through the use of ultratechnology: Complete dominion over the physical
> Universe; transhuman, superhuman, and unlimited intelligence; absolute
> freedom from all coercion; transcendence of any limit that can be
> transcended; total knowledge of everything.

Which is a very firm definition with many correlates and consequences which we can discuss rationally. Excellent! Now this puts all the cards on the table and real openness will prevail. For instance you have included the principle of absolute freedom from all coercion that I suggested should be an intrinsic part of extropy, but which met with wide-spread disagreement from several "luminaries".

> Note that we may have different definitions of "freedom", and how much
> of should be sought using modern technology, but we all agree that the
> U.S. government exerts more coercion on its citizens than is desirable
> and that all coercion, even if permitted as means to an end, is
> undesirable in principle.

Reading the recent archive, we see that this is explicitly not the case. Max More, for instance, says highly coercive communitarian governments can be extropian (even though he explicitly is not).

> We also have different definitions of
> "intelligence" and even "knowledge".

Of course, diversity is not a problem: it is a virtue (source of new ideas).

Unwillingness to subject our diverse views to explicit competitive tests IS a problem.

Let's just treat it like science - I define intelligence as x and you define it as y and then we can test and see is wrong first ;-)

JVirey said it best when he said
>> I'm much more concerned with the term "extropian" actually >> meaning something than with fitting the label.

Let's argue about what it should mean, not just give it up to mean anything. tim