I was asked what 'in the limit' means, so probably others wonder as well. 'In the relevant extreme case' is pretty close.

Elliot Temple | Permalink | Comments (0)
People who think that all government documents are bad and evil, and attack laws on principle, and who also go to Bill of Rights rallies, are silly.

Anyone who reads too much into this, and tells me not all libertarians are like this, will be beaten severely.

Elliot Temple | Permalink | Comments (0)
Suppose an approach to answering moral questions is, in the limit, convergent with the truth, but the calculations involved are more complex -- require more computing resources. This would be, in the limit, a *wrong* approach. At the least, because wasting all these resources (as opposed to using the right approach) means less resources to avoid mistakes, create value, etc...

Well before the limit, this allows us to say the non-utopian versions of consequentialism and deontology may well be convergent with true morality, but are still wrong to hold or use.

Elliot Temple | Permalink | Comments (0)
Parenting strategies that rely on parents being larger, cannot be right.

Parenting strategies that rely on children having bad memory, cannot be right.

Parenting strategies that rely on children always agreeing with the first idea a parent has, cannot be right.

In different situations, the answers to various questions that depend on the circumstances, can be different.

People who do not understand a proposition, can't know if it's horribly false or exceptionally true.

To live morally, requires creativity.

A mechanical parenting strategy, cannot be right.

People do not do things for no reason.

It cannot be right to ask someone to sacrifice infinately before retalliating.

It cannot be right to come kill me, for the purpose of going to the dentist.

To fully maximise the realisation of one's intentions, one must be willing to change one's intentions to ones that are better realisiable.

Statements like this are interesting due to their truth, and also can provide a framework for solving various problems. But what should we call them? I've been considering them epistemic. This is perhaps not ideal. I don't have a better idea. Normally, I don't care about categorisations such as this, but it seems valuable to me to be able to communicate the idea that I'm referring to statements like this.

Elliot Temple | Permalink | Comment (1)
Sometimes, a bunch of independent groups, have the same goals in a field. How can this be explained?

Sometimes, each group is Good. People who are Right about a subject, will agree and want the same things to happen in that field. For example, the US, Israel, and Australia all want the same thing to happen in Iraq.

Another way it can happen, is for Logic Of Situation reasons. For example, "anti"-racist groups and secular humanist groups, both find the logic of their situation, as anti-American groups during a discussion of War on Iraq, to imply they should make asses of themselves opposing the war.

Of course, there is the conspiracy explanation, but this is generally a very bad one. This claims that they are secretly not independent groups. A real world example might be various terrorist organisations and various terrorist harbouring states. But you only call them independent, and think their links don't exist, if you are really silly.

There is the luck "explanation" which is true on rare occassions.

Elliot Temple | Permalink | Comment (1)
I think smalltalk is only interesting with people one already has a deep relationship with, or sometimes for the sake of observing human behavior or some meta goal.

If the point of some way of interacting, is to let anyone get along, regardless of their merit, what the fuck good is that? (in the context of personal relationships and meeting people and hanging out and such -- obviously such a way would be nice for total strangers, as it'd mean no wars).

Elliot Temple | Permalink | Comments (0)
Here's a theory: if two people mostly agree about epistemology, this will allow them to agree to a large extent in all other spheres.

They will be able to agree what should be uncontroversial, and about many forms of criticism. They will agree on what facts are reasonable to believe, even if they choose differently. When there is a continuum of positions on a subject, even if they do not agree about quite what the right spot is, they will be able to understand why the other is further in whatever direction, and agree that each is being reasonable, even if perhaps mistaken. Why reasonable, if wrong? Because they will know that their arguments for the specific place on the continuum, are not so uncontroversial and precise as to necessitate reasonable people to agree.

My current view is that the worst type to person to try and talk to about serious stuff, is not the one with some bad moral theories, but rather the one with bad epistemic theories. (Note that a certain minimum morality is required to hold a good epistemology, so moral inverters are not gonna pass my epistemic criterion. Mainly what's required for good epistemology, is valuing truth-seeking, or something along those lines. And note that valuing means people without values are out.)

Elliot Temple | Permalink | Comment (1)
http://www.samizdata.net/blog/archives/003109.html#008951

David Carr and many others (including myself) attack Blair for considering the adoption of a European Constitution. Its very existence is an affront to national sovereignty.

Saying something is wrong, because it's an afront to national sovereignty? That's statist. But this is coming from a libertarian, who if he's anything like the rest of the samizdata community, is normally rabidly anti-state.

Elliot Temple | Permalink | Comments (0)
Yet Another Problem With The NAP

At airports, they say if you leave your bag unattended, it will like get confiscated. (I'm sure you can get it back after it's checked, or sumtin). Is leaving a bag unattended using force? Not in standard English...

I know, I know, leaving it unattended is negligent and risks other people, but at some point of warping and twisting a phrase to mean things it doesn't say, we gotta give it up.

Elliot Temple | Permalink | Comments (0)
There are two bad philisophical ideas called Consequentialism and Deontology. The first means judging moral theories, based on their consequences. The second, means judging moral theories, based on principles.

One wonders how one is supposed to judge consequences without having any principles to judge them on.

And one wonders how one is supposed to decide what principles are good, without thinking about their consequences.

Also, in the limit, the two approaches are convergent. ("In the limit" is such a great phrase! Thanks Kolya ^_^)

Elliot Temple | Permalink | Comments (0)
Here's an example of a moral theory that fails by it's own standards:

I'm going to spank my children, to help them develop good character.

Note this does not fail by pure logic. But it does fail by explanation. Our best explanations tell us, the basic effect of spanking, is fucking children up badly.

Elliot Temple | Permalink | Comments (0)
curi: And this one time, at bandit camp
Elliot: hey, it's kinda sunny out
Lia: yeah, it's pretty nice
curi: Hey!!! Pay attention to me!
Isyn: *running towards curi, brandishing longsword*
curi: eek! *starts running in circles to avoid Isyn*
Isyn: *stops chasing curi*
curi: heheh. armor sux.
Isyn: *begins chanting in the tongue of dragons*
curi: d00d, the audience has no clue what you're saying. how is this gonna entertain them?
curi: on second thought, you do sound a bit funny ;p
Isyn: *points at curi and intones a final, sharp word*
curi: *stops moving entirely*
Isyn: *walks slowly over to curi, savouring his victory*
Lia: Hey, errr, Isyn, I think you made your point. Want to stop this now?
Elliot: *tries to hide his smile*
Isyn: *grimly strides on*

curi, an unmoving figure, in a shiny silver cloak that contrasts strongly with the natural surroundings, remained frozen through Isyn's approach. He remained frozen as Isyn gripped his sword in two hands, and brought it back. He gave no reaction to Lia's increasingly frantic shouts of dismay. He did not seem to notice Elliot's stifled laughter.

leftist: Why is Elliot laughing? Obviously he's a warmonger and delights in blood.
Isyn: *swings sword*
Elliot: Maybe I just know more than you, dumbass. Go away 'fore I shoot you.
Sword: *passes through curi*
curi: fades out of existence as the sword hits him
Isyn: What!? *curses*
leftist: Shoot me!? Shoot me!?!?!? You really are bloody! If I know my history, and I think I do, there was someone else who liked shooting people. His name was Hitler.
Elliot: Whatever. *shoots leftist dead*
Elliot: *glances at Lia*
Lia: What? I don't mind. He was possessed by a demon anyway.
Elliot: Really!?
Lia: Wait, you shot him without knowing that?
Elliot: -_-o
Isyn: *looking around confused*
Isyn: *feels a pain in the back of his neck and spins 'round*
curi: teehee, I sporked you!
Isyn: (scowling) swings longsword
curi: *dances back*
Isyn: *presses forward, swinging artfully and masterfully, relying on training and muscle memory, while ignoring his emotions*
curi: *dodges each strike in the nick of time, moving inhumanly fast*
curi: (talking while dodging) It wasn't very nice to use magic on me.
curi: Not gonna answer me bitch? Well, it wasn't. I might even think you were trying to kill me or something.
Isyn: *does a feint, then lunges forward. it looks like there is no way curi could evade the coming blow*
curi: *wraps cloak around self, laughing*
sword: passes through curi as he fades out.
Isyn: *begins casting a divination to find curi's location*
curi: (putting an arm over Lia's shoulders) Didya know you're really hot when you're worried? :-D
Lia: (pushing curi's arm away) Shut up, curi >_<
curi: Hey, can I eat the leftist?
Elliot and Lia: -_-o
curi: What? I've never been a cannibal before.
Elliot: Go see if he's signed up for cryo. If not, enjoy.
Lia: Umm, aren't you forgetting something?
curi: Isyn? Whatever.
Isyn: *finishes divination*
Isyn: Aha, I've found you fiend. You shall not escape me again.
curi: d00d, I run faster than you. how ya gonna catch me?
Isyn: *starts taking off armor*
curi: *sneaks up while Isyn is pulling chainmail over head, and pokes him in the belly with spork*
Isyn: oww!
curi: heheh, bitch
Isyn: *gets armor off, grabs up sword, and starts attacking*
curi: *dodging about* This is getting old.
Elliot: yeah, I agree. and we wouldn't want bored readers. sum1 do sumtin fast.
Lia: curi, why don't you apologise?
curi: You want me to apologise? *jumps back* Sounds like someone is worried about my safety. *ducks a slash*
Lia: shut up, curi
Elliot: wait, that's a good idea. if you apologise, there is no stain on Isyn's honour.
curi: If Lia didn't like me, she'd be a freak. To take my comments back, would be an insult.
others: *anime fall*
Elliot: Why not apologise?
curi: I don't wanna
Elliot: you'd rather do all the work of avoiding that sword?
curi: it's rather easy
curi: *slips on some wet grass and falls on back*
Isyn: *grabs a pouch off his belt, and dumps the dust contained within on curi*
curi: *cough, sneeze*
Isyn: *stabs curi*
curi: *fades out*
Isyn: last time i buy anti-teleportation dust from a Used Potion Salesman
curi: I shouldn't have to apologise. I did nothing wrong.
Elliot: I suppose you'd also say you shouldn't be attacked, yes?
curi: yeah. Isyn is acting badly.
Elliot: And you know better, and know how to end this incident, but instead intentionally perpetuate his misbehavior. How right is that?
curi: it's fun, and he deserves it
Elliot: part of morality is wanting the right things
curi: I shouldn't want fun?
Elliot: specious
curi: so ya hold it's better ta just apologise than let this go on?
Elliot: indeed
curi: but what about *my* honour?
Elliot: what's dishonourable about doing the right thing?
curi: yo, Isyn-d00d, sorry 'bout hitting on your girl.
Elliot: Why'd you use a possessive?
Isyn: d00d? O_o;;
Lia: Poor, curi. Very poor.
curi: ok ok, sheesh
curi: *takes a knee* Isyn Kaitsol, Priest of Amilise, and Mage of Great Renown, I humbly beseech the, accept this conveyance of sorrow at the harm I have caused you and yours. I am but a simple fool, with many errors in my ways; I meant not to wrong you.

Elliot Temple | Permalink | Comments (0)
It is a common practice at schools, to have debates and assign kids to each side. Defending a side one disagrees with, is supposed to be a good skill. What are they missing? Both that there is a truth of the matter, and that to argue against what one thinks true, means to say things one thinks false (or to avoid saying anything substantive, which I suppose is rather common). Fucking relativists.

Going to sleep. Mean to try and write curi/Isyn dual soon after I wake.

Elliot Temple | Permalink | Comments (2)
(I really do mean to update more. Internet access has been a bit sporadic. This should change in a few days.)

By reader request, Torture

curi: *pulls out a whip*
Elliot: no no, the idea is to write about it
curi: it's not very hard. i can't imagine someone too stupid to work out the basics actually capturing anyone.
Elliot: no no, like the morality of torturing people. like they caught a terrorist guy. should they torture him? is that kosher? etc
curi: can we do a skit for a visual aid?
Elliot: ummm, let's not
curi: how dull! *walks off*

So anyway, given that I don't care about the NAP, torture sounds just fine to me. It's not a good idea to hurt people for no reason, but torture *with a goal*, makes sense. Torture is pretty nasty, so it'd be best to only use in extreme cases. Terrorists qualify. Umm, questions?

Elliot Temple | Permalink | Comments (0)
Gil wrote in the Tentativity comments here:
I think that until there is consensus that the right thing to do is refrain from coercing other people, then people will use whatever wealth and power they have to try to do just that.

I replied: I think this statement is exactly what's wrong with mainstream libertarianism. It has both the conspiracy problem (the view that people with power, want to abuse it) and the non-coercion problem (the view that non-coercion is prior to morality and self-evident).

Elliot Temple | Permalink | Comments (2)