tag:blogger.com,1999:blog-6642011.post5609858024968498484..comments2021-10-19T18:44:27.532-04:00Comments on Philosophy, et cetera: Maximizing over Infinite TimeRichard Y Chappellhttp://www.blogger.com/profile/16725218276285291235noreply@blogger.comBlogger7125tag:blogger.com,1999:blog-6642011.post-11447742621925164722007-09-25T14:01:00.000-04:002007-09-25T14:01:00.000-04:00Here's what I think the consequentialist should be...Here's what I think the consequentialist should be up to. In a choice among relevant actions a-n, they must choose the best consequences C. The C(a) is a sum of the following potential outcomes of a., SUM[O(a)1 - O(a)n], where O(a)1 is (say) the hedonic quality of possible outcome O1, multiplied by the probability that O1 happens, given a. This by itself won't solve the problem, because if these sums are infinite they might not converge on a value.<BR/><BR/>But here's the solution: Because we're interested only in picking the best action from among relevant alternatives, we only need sum over outcomes that get assigned <I>different</I> probabilities conditional on the action. This is why happenings in the far future are correctly ignored: it's because the probability of a good outcome a hundred years from now, conditional on my kicking a puppy, are the same as the probability of a good outcome a hundred years from now conditional on my not kicking the puppy. We just have no reason to think that either of the available actions will have either a positive or a negative impact on the far future. Looking at the <I>far</I> future does not help us choose between a and b in this case. (In some cases it does, like in decisions about whether to permanently steralize the universe.) What helps us choose between actions a and b lies in the outcomes which acquire one value for their probability conditional on a, and a different value conditional on b. So those are the only ones we need to sum over. We focus on the difference-makers since the others are known to be a wash. But these differences will not be infinite even in an infinite universe. This has to do with the fact that probabilities of outcomes conditional on specific actions get far more hazy in the far future, and pretty quickly the probabilities of any outcome given a is inidistinguishable from the probability of the same outcome given b.Anonymousnoreply@blogger.comtag:blogger.com,1999:blog-6642011.post-5121010672986705262007-09-25T12:11:00.000-04:002007-09-25T12:11:00.000-04:00Relevant?:http://www.qwantz.com/archive/000604.htm...Relevant?:<BR/>http://www.qwantz.com/archive/000604.html<BR/><BR/>I don't think an infinite time sequence entails infinite amounts of good. A deep freeze or other similar "one-way" events (e.g. human extinction) seem to mean that the time frame in which goodness can be achieved may be finite.Anonymousnoreply@blogger.comtag:blogger.com,1999:blog-6642011.post-18845326317096051732007-09-25T09:47:00.000-04:002007-09-25T09:47:00.000-04:00If you want something old, Stoicism presents an in...If you want something old, Stoicism presents an infinite world. The line, "it seems plausible that we could focus the scope of our consideration on the universe in which we live without being open to an accusation of arbitrariness" might as well be an echo of the Stoa.<BR/><BR/>So let's see, try Seneca "On Constancy" or "On the Good Life".Jaredhttps://www.blogger.com/profile/05265489395138702227noreply@blogger.comtag:blogger.com,1999:blog-6642011.post-5326819067034839782007-09-25T04:15:00.000-04:002007-09-25T04:15:00.000-04:003 things:- I don't see any problem with ordering i...3 things:<BR/>- I don't see any problem with ordering inifinities. We can take the difference in the utility between the two options, integrate to infinity, and see whether the result is positive or negative.<BR/>- If the span of future time over which our current actions will have any influence is finite, this solves the problem.<BR/>- From a practical perspective someone who values all future times equally probably shouldn't consider far future times simply because of the large uncertainties in any predicitons.Anonymousnoreply@blogger.comtag:blogger.com,1999:blog-6642011.post-91564626016507486302007-09-25T02:22:00.000-04:002007-09-25T02:22:00.000-04:00in more detail > where every action/decision resul...in more detail <BR/><BR/>> where every action/decision results in another universe seems to make moral choices worthless<BR/><BR/>one could value being hte good version of yourself as oppsoed to the evil one. or to make your good world the actual world from your perspective.<BR/><BR/>> how are we to non-arbitrarily judge what maximizes the good? <BR/><BR/>statistics mean that it doesn't matter. if you maximize welfare for an arbitrary period of time it has a greater chance to do so for other periods of time than to try to minimize welfare (etc). Ideally one would take all information available.<BR/>the question of "what time" is in itself the arbitrary problem.<BR/><BR/>> Now, it is clearly disputable that the universe will continue infinitely, but it certainly seems plausible.<BR/><BR/>Maybe - but I suggest not very plausible.<BR/><BR/>GNZAnonymousnoreply@blogger.comtag:blogger.com,1999:blog-6642011.post-21855278834552166122007-09-25T02:15:00.000-04:002007-09-25T02:15:00.000-04:00I in the past have used the infinite multiverse ar...I in the past have used the infinite multiverse argument to defend god as a benevolent utilitarian. <BR/><BR/>I think that that case stands apart from the infinite universe case where you can effectively have a "greater infinity" (at least in any sense that you or I care about).<BR/><BR/>GNZAnonymousnoreply@blogger.comtag:blogger.com,1999:blog-6642011.post-46547395588944702982007-09-25T01:52:00.000-04:002007-09-25T01:52:00.000-04:00http://www.nickbostrom.com/ethics/infinite.pdfPers...http://www.nickbostrom.com/ethics/infinite.pdf<BR/><BR/>Personally though, I'm not convinced that we can apply value theories, or any form of decision theory, to and infinite universe.Michael Vassarhttps://www.blogger.com/profile/14093368267892307038noreply@blogger.com