X-Message-Number: 27763
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From: David Stodolsky <>

Subject: Re: Nick Bostrom interview, status-quo bias (was ...perfect 
Date: Sun, 26 Mar 2006 16:15:36 +0200

On 22 Mar 2006, at 15:33, Tim Freeman wrote:

> This is a special case of Nick's antidote for the status-quo bias,  
> which
> is the tendency for people to prefer existing situations over new ones
> regardless of the merits of the alternatives.  Introducing the dragon
> as the cause of death (as a change from the status-quo of immortality)
> feels different from having a status-quo of old age and decrepitude.
> The general case is described in his paper here:
>    http://www.nickbostrom.com/ethics/statusquo.pdf
> Status-quo bias is probably the main reason people reject cryonics, so
> this might be worthwhile reading.  This is more useful than hypotheses
> about terror management because it leads to a potential fix.

The comparison is inappropriate. Bostrom is proposing a solution to a  
specific bias, that he assumes is important.

Terror management theory is a way of investigating bias and  
understanding what makes people do what they do. It has nothing to  
say directly about how to overcome bias. However, it does state that  
a bias may be impossible to overcome. This suggests that the approach  
of Bostrom may be erroneous.


David Stodolsky    Skype: davidstodolsky

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