X-Message-Number: 11089
Date: Wed, 13 Jan 1999 07:10:41 -0800
From: "Joseph J. Strout" <>
Subject: Re: values

In message 11079, Robert Ettinger wrote:

>Certainly every formulation of values must be utilitarian in some sense,
>seeking to promote one's goals in the most effective way.

I'm sorry, I should have used a capital "U".  Utilitarianism is not seeking
to promote one's own goals effectively.  It is basically seeking to
maximize the total combined "good" for all people.  ("Good" is often
equated with happiness or satisfaction.)

>My own criterion of value is similar to Aristotle's, who (among many others,
>ancient and modern, although always a small minority) said that happiness is
>the only end in itself; all other goals or values are only means to ends.

Right -- but you appear to hold that we should each maximize our own
happiness, possibly at the expense of others.  That's the bit to which I
was objecting.  (Also, I think there must be more to it than mere
happiness, or we ought to hook everyone up to IVs feeding them nutrients
and bliss-inducing drugs.)

>In other words, the Hedonists, Epicureans, and Utilitarians all had a good
>partial initial handle on the correct approach, but quickly lost their way
>because they lacked the necessary technical tools of biology, physics, and
>mathematics. We can do much better.

I believe mathematics can be a big help; I'm not sure I see the relevance
of biology and physics.  But I think this is growing a bit off-topic for
Cryonet.  Perhaps we should pursue this further by private email?

Best regards,
-- Joe

|    Joseph J. Strout           developer: MacOS, Unix, 3D, AI     |
|                 http://www.strout.net              |

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