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In-The-Limit Worldview Theory

If we start with some worldview, it will have inconsistencies (internal contradictions) and it will not be aware of all facts and won't have stances on everything. However, over time, we can make it more consistent, and take stances on more issues (make it more complete), then in the limit, it would be perfectly consistent and have stances on all possible issues. Such that no matter what someone told you, you'd never need to change your worldview anymore.

In the limit means in the extreme case. Like if you kept making your worldview more complete and more consistent until you couldn't anymore that'd be the limit

I posit there are three different perfectly consistent complete worldviews that you could have reached. One is commonly called true. But there's actually 2 others that are consistent and complete.

One is empty or null. When asked questions it .... doesn't answer. On the way there I suppose adherents would deny stuff matters. But in the limit, I don't think they could speak or move. They'd be dead. They would have no theories and not be able to learn or get new ones.

And the last is the inverse/false/evil/opposite/bad whatever view. None of the three worldviews share any common points of agreement. But unlike the null view, this one does say stuff about the world ... but none of it true. It has some sort of twisted logic whereby false statements are made to all come out consistent. I don't know the details of it. But I think it is possible to be consistent about opposing truth/goodness.

One consequence of this is: people complain that logic alone can't tell us about morality. It can tell us what contradicts what, but how's it to say what is good? Well, if we accept these three in-the-limit views, we can speak about statements approaching one of them, or being a member of one of them. Now logic can do everything but one single value judgment of comparing the three WVs. And I believe the value judgment is pretty easy. One view says life doesn't matter. One says life is bad. One says life is good...

You may object that logic alone can't tell us everything, because, for example, physics isn't determined by logic. Nor is which house my friend lives in. Well, of course contingent questions depend on contingent details (contingent means not necessary means not implied by logic). But that's not the point. I'm not saying we should figure everything out by pure logic. As stated, first we would need to know everything (have all three views laid out) and then we could answer all moral questions with logic (well actually we could say which of the three worldviews various ideas were part of). (Actually some statements aren't part of any. We'd identify those separately as simply inconsistent ideas.)

The point was simply that this is theoretically possible (well not with perfection, but with arbitrarily high accuracy). Which means if someone says "morality is a matter of taste" ... Well, logically, the matter of taste is between three choices, one of which says life is bad and one says life doesn't matter.... This retort is useful and important.

The three worldviews share no common points of agreement. So if we determine a proposition is in one (say: Jews shouldn't die is in the good one), then contradictory theories (Jews should die) are not in the good one.

We do need independent (from what I've said here) arguments about which propositions go in which worldview. But if you can argue that a proposition is in one of the worldviews, then you can refer to the in the limit consequences it, and of its rivals, which is powerful.

PS This is my entirely original theory. Just saying. :-)

Elliot Temple on November 24, 2003

Comments (12)

>Well, if we accept these three in-the-limit

>views, we can speak about statements

>approaching one of them, or being a member of

>one of them.

Doesn't that hold only if there's a unique inverse worldview? There's usually more than one way to be wrong about any given issue.

Tom Robinson at 10:48 AM on November 24, 2003 | #627

I don't believe there is more than one way to be *consistently* wrong about everything.

Elliot at 11:00 AM on November 24, 2003 | #628


Approaching the inverse-WV would then be a matter of "conjecture, refutation, and denial"!

Tom Robinson at 2:41 PM on November 24, 2003 | #629

I don't think you need take a position about whether world views would tend to a limit in the long run. It is sufficient for your purposes that this be true about any particular class of issues.

My guess is that world views which continually improve would continue to improve without limit.

David Deutsch at 7:57 PM on November 24, 2003 | #630

I think many many people hold something pretty close to the null or empty world view. It's not actually being dead, but it is certainly being asleep.

I think it is as bad as the inverse world view, because instead of judging where judgement is required (consistently wrong judgements are evil, but at least there's something to argue against), the person gets a sore bottom from sitting on the fence.

emma at 4:19 AM on November 25, 2003 | #631

David I think you're right.

Tom I don't think the mechanisms for adopting evil views are anywhere near that simple.

Elliot at 4:02 PM on November 25, 2003 | #632
i like the idea of putting worldviews on a continuum. it helps for comparing/contrasting worldviews.

Anonymous at 2:51 PM on February 6, 2016 | #4922
wow, so many ex-TCS people in these comments.

Anonymous at 9:32 AM on February 7, 2016 | #4926
it's too bad the early curi blog comments got lost. they were with a third party service which went out of business. they were in a popup window that was an add-on at blogspot. blogspot itself didn't support comments.

curi at 10:23 AM on February 7, 2016 | #4927
oh, remember that old comment thing! that was even better to have that as it was pre year of disgrace 2003. so the comments are lost forever?

i erased lots of my stuff even on wayback machine. now i regret it, i'd like to read it again.

Anonymous at 12:44 PM on February 7, 2016 | #4928
sadly, i'm pretty sure those earliest comments are lost forever

curi at 1:30 PM on February 7, 2016 | #4929
like tears in rain :(

Anonymous at 1:42 PM on February 7, 2016 | #4931

What do you think?

(This is a free speech zone!)