This is Eric Drexler's Typepad Profile.
Join Typepad and start following Eric Drexler's activity
Join Now!
Already a member? Sign In
Eric Drexler
Recent Activity
Regarding the magnitude of the gap between the results of scientific-realist and (proposed) utility-based grounds for belief, there are questions of both (1) the basis for judgments of utility, and (2) regardless of that basis, a special risk of unintended consequences. Setting aside the idea that utility actually determines reality (presumably making HIV vanish, etc.), the utility of beliefs that affect consequential actions will depend on the objective causal relationships that determine those consequences. Problem (1) is that actual utility depends on objective causal relationships, hence a thoroughgoing abandonment of realism would sever judgments of utility from their necessary basis (this is essentially Sawin’s point #2). Beyond this, slippage from reality-based belief could create illusory benefits of further slippage, in a spiral with no inherent stopping point. Problem (2) is that non-reality-based beliefs have both consequences for other beliefs and consequences for actions in a scope that cannot, in general, be anticipated. Although this parallels the usual problem of judging the (partially unanticipated) consequences of actions, it cuts deeper in that it affects the basis for judgment itself across an indefinitely large range of future actions. This should reinforce belief in the utility of beliefs that closely track reality.
Toggle Commented Apr 29, 2011 on Utility and Truth at Dylan Matthews
Eric Drexler is now following The Typepad Team
Apr 28, 2011