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).

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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.)

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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.

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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.

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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 ^_^)

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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.

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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).

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Character Bios

Elliot: Me but virtually always serious.
curi: Me but less restrained.
Isyn: Dungeons and Dragons character. Grew up poor on farm; wanted power; joined cult and became priest of Amilise Siliv. Wants to learn arcane magic. Some semi-evil tendencies.
Lia: D&D character too. Real name is Caeli Melarn. Think of a paladin, but more holy and more rare. She's also a princess.
Amilise Siliv: A Goddess.
Other People: They don't matter much. *g*

UPDATE: Silly me, I totally forgot to explain that Lia and Isyn are romantically involved, which is why Isyn got mad when curi said Lia had a crush on curi.

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curi: Go to sleep.
Elliot: not tired
curi: write a blog then
Elliot: about..?
curi: i dunno
Elliot: brilliant
curi: hmpf, it's not my fault you're boring
Elliot: What, bitch?
curi: I called you boring.
Elliot: ...
curi: Go outside.
Elliot: It's cold outside.
curi: so wear some clothes
Elliot: gah, I hate you
curi: wow, i got skillz
Elliot: you're proud of this?
curi: can you do it?
Elliot: umm -_-o
curi: thought so
Isyn: I can
curi: no, when you say mean things you *mean it*
Isyn: your point being?
curi: that's no fun
Isyn: fuck you
curi: QED
Isyn: fuck you
Lia: umm, guys, you know you're on air?
Isyn: whatever
curi: what!?
Elliot: *^_^* yeah, I kinda thought I'd get a free blog off you people embarrassing yourselves
curi: *outraged, strides towards Elliot*
curi: embarrassing myself!?
curi: *trips on rug and falls on face*
Elliot: teehee
Isyn: you suck, curi
curi: sheesh, Isyn, can't you tell the difference?
Isyn: What are you talking about?
curi: *exaggerated sigh*
Lia: Isyn, he means that, while everyone knows he's a sweetie, and nothing he says is serious, you seem to be mean
curi: Me a sweetie? I think someone has a crush.
Isyn: (sounding all formal) For this grievous offense against my honour, I challenge you to mortal combat. Choose your weapon.
others: -_-o
Elliot: I wonder if my blog should be blood-free
curi: that'd be boring
curi: I mean moreso
Lia: Your blog is wonderful, Elliot
Elliot: *beams*
Isyn: Hello!?
curi: ok, ok. I pick, ummm, a spork.
Isyn: You're going to dual me with a spork?
curi: I will pwn you with my spork, bitch.
Elliot: (to camera) pwn is a stronger version of own. You weren't worth owning, so I pawned you... :-D
Isyn: Well, I choose a longsword.
curi: Hey, if I find a dragon named 'spork', could he fight for me?
others: -_-o
Isyn: Scared, are we?
curi: yeah, that's it...
curi: Hey, Elliot, I got an idea. you should make this a teaser, and then write the fight later.
Elliot: why?
curi: cause you don't have a clue what to write, and I was making an excuse for you. sheesh, dumbass.
Elliot: hmmm
Isyn: *prays*
Elliot's Living room: *fades out*
Grassy Field: *fades in*
Audience: holy shit, a prayer just worked?
Elliot: hmmm, maybe i should write char bios
Audience: ya think!?
Isyn: *draws longsword*
curi: *draws plastic spork*
Narrator: The noon sun beat down on the two combatants, shining off Isyn's chainmail, sword, and shield. curi was notably lacking in metal attire, but at least his spork was clean. Isyn had a murderous glint in his eye. curi looked amused. Elliot was busy hastily writing char bios. Lia appeared worried, but chose not to interfere.
curi: blah blah blah. what a terrible narration.
Narrator: Excuse me?
curi: *stabs the narrator in the neck with his spork*
Narrator: *dies messily*
curi: Alright, so, picture some dumbass decked out in heavy stuff, with a sword and a shield, but no helmet. Picture some grass, and some trees in the background, and a river off to the side that I intend to dump Isyn in (I hear it's fun to swim in armor, and I do want him to have a nice time). And picture me, handsome as can be, decked out with a bloody spork--
Isyn: (shouting) For Amilise! For Lia!
Isyn: *charges*
curi: How rude!
Elliot: *pauses time*
Elliot: More later. *waves*

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Morality

Imagine you traveled back in time and met Bob the Caveman. And imagine you tried to tell him about cars. "They're made out of metal...umm, it's like rock but harder, and they are empty inside, and they have wheels...these are like feet, and they go really fast and they are powered by fire. They can cover a day's walk in the time it takes to eat a meal." Bob might find this a bit far out, but it's within the realm of possibility.

Now, imagine you tried to tell him that people drive them around according to very strict rules, and though there are millions, going very fast, they rarely hit each other. Everyone follows little bits of paint on the ground -- that you have to look for to notice -- and obeys colored lights. Now Bob would laugh. How could so many people be so organised, with very little enforcement, just some signs, lights, and paint!? How can they, when two lanes merge, weave cars together one by one -- acting in unison with total strangers? How can they take turns at a stop sign, and let pedestrians walk in front of them? How does anyone ever manage to change lanes in heavy traffic? The amount of consent created over driving, is far more amazing than the cars themselves.

Elliot Temple | Permalink | Comment (1)
Relationship Theory

Premise: Jack and Jill have a relationship.

Challenge: Name one obligation Jack has to Jill. "To act rightly," does not count, as all people should do that all the time anyway.

My Solution: Can't be done. Details of some physical events needed. (Comment if you have another...)

Conclusion: Relationships, in and of themselves, do not create obligations.

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