This I believe
Bayes and kindness
- If the universe is probabilistic, deriving certainty about the world is impossible.
- We can't know if we are in a simulation, indeed, there's a decent likelihood we are in one.
- So, why should we bother trying to define 'knowledge' in relation to reality?
- Instead, it's better to reference the one thing we can be relatively confident about:
- Our own internal experiences. "I expect this experience with this probability" is one of three types of meaningful statements.
- The other two are deductive statements of any sort and "I oberve this about my mental state."
- It is possible to be deductive and wrong: I've gotten plenty of geometry proofs wrong.
- It is possible to be introspective and wrong.
- We cannot be certain of future experiences, introspection, or deduction.
- There are no meaningful certain statements. Everything is probabilistic.
- We're probably in a simulation. Having my ethics work in the reality I experience is a plus.
- As a consequence, I reject Nozick's experience machine: why is two levels of simulation worse than one?
- I would also reject it even if we weren't in a simulation.
- I'm a hedonist. I think pleasure is good.
- I'm not some wirehead wannabe: I want to experience a variety of pleasures.
- I'm a total utilitarian, considered over the course of the universe.
- I'm also a rule utilitarian, in the service of my act-utilitarianism.
- We are imperfect and flawed beings, and ignoring this leads to trouble.