Re: Questions about the Singularity

From: Anders Sandberg (
Date: Fri Sep 07 2001 - 15:56:35 MDT

On Fri, Sep 07, 2001 at 02:16:46PM -0700, Mark Walker wrote:
> From: "Anders Sandberg" <>
> > Hmm, do you mean that since some philosophers thought comprehension of
> > eudaimonia was not possible for the many and the singularity is also
> > incomprehensible, there is a link? That sounds rather far-fetched.
> Really? What exactly do you find far-fetched? It seems to me that in both
> cases there is said to be an epistemic gap between (t least some) humans and
> those that are more godlike in their wisdom. If this epistemic similarity is
> not sufficient to constitute a link reflect on the fact that it seems to
> raise the same sorts of ethical and political consequences. If the
> postsingularity beings are wiser than us then they may have a better idea of
> what are eudaimonia consists in than we do; which is analogous to the
> position Plato attributes to the philosopher-king as compared with the hoi
> polloi. Plato thought the philosopher-kings and the guardians would be
> justified in bringing the many into line by force and deceit. Will the
> postsingularity beings be similarly justified?

I think you are mixing up the concept of the singularity with the
putative properties of posthumans. Using this way of reasoning christian
theology is clearly linked to eudaimonism, since God ought to be very
good at understanding eudaimonia. What Waldemar was originally pointing
out is that the singularity concept in our discourse tends to draw undue
attention to highly hypothetical futures which are also implied to be
unknowable and quite often appear static, and asking whether this
wouldn't limit our eudaimonic striving.

I agree with Charles that the idea of philosopher kings being justified
in using force to bring about their ideas is largely discredited. At
least I do not wish to support such behavior, neither of philosophers or

> > To extend the analogy, they could just be
> > reflections from a puddle of water near the entrance. The eudaimonic
> > issue is how to get out of the cave, and it is likely not helped by
> > intense study of the waves.
> >
> I am not sure I understand your analogy but I think I agree if you mean that
> we ought not to focus exclusively on the limitations of our vision.
> Eudamonistic theory is always triparte: it has a theory of humans as they
> are, humans as they should be if they realized their potential, and a theory
> about how to get from one to the other. Aristotle's metaphysical biology
> gives him his theory of what humans should be, i.e., his theory about what
> it would be for us to fully realize our essence. His theory of education and
> practical reasoning is supposed to help us get from where we are to where we
> should be. Of course for us education and pratical reasoning must be
> supplemented with a theory of how technology might allow us to turbo-charge
> various aspects of ourselves. Unlike Aristotle, we must admit that our view
> of what kinds of beings we ought to be is not sufficiently clear; we might
> need to be wiser than we are in order to fully appreciate what our
> eudaimonia consists in. Ours then is like the medieval quest where even the
> object of the quest is not fully cognized by its participants--we only see
> our telos through a glass-darkly--and only becomes clearer during the
> journey.

Agreed. There might also be the issue that the telos is not something
given, but something that will be defined by ourselves.

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

This archive was generated by hypermail 2b30 : Fri Oct 12 2001 - 14:40:26 MDT