Profile for Student of Trinity


Recent posts

Pages

AuthorRecent posts
Satellite Shootdown in General
Electric Sheep One
Member # 3431
Profile #14
Yeah, that 2004 eclipse was great. I got an astronomy class at a college not far from Boston to show up to observe the eclipse, during the game in which the Red Sox won the world series for the first time since 1918. I achieved this feat of pedagogical leadership by two means:
1) telling them that Babe Ruth's curse could be broken by a ritual conducted in the dark of the moon, and
2) mounting a large screen tv in the room just below the rooftop observatory, and letting them sketch the progressing eclipse in commercial breaks.

--------------------
Listen carefully because some of your options may have changed.
Posts: 3335 | Registered: Thursday, September 4 2003 07:00
The Graveyard Thread in General
Electric Sheep One
Member # 3431
Profile #16
You were only pretending they were ever alive. Those who live by the sword ...

--------------------
Listen carefully because some of your options may have changed.
Posts: 3335 | Registered: Thursday, September 4 2003 07:00
Congratulations Jeff in General
Electric Sheep One
Member # 3431
Profile #27
Those plates may be unsellable now, but with production strictly limited to only 800 firing days, their value is poised to soar on the post-production collectors' market, where prices are only limited by market demand.

--------------------
Listen carefully because some of your options may have changed.
Posts: 3335 | Registered: Thursday, September 4 2003 07:00
Scope of Ethics in General
Electric Sheep One
Member # 3431
Profile #68
The problem with your objections, Diprosopus, is that it is not always clear whether you are trying to identify a significant and basic problem in a given ethical theory, which really ought to be remedied, or are merely concocting ad hoc hard cases, which prove only that no system is entirely perfect.

If you do understand the inevitable limitations of any systematic ethics, then you are quite right that we can still reasonably try to improve our understanding of ethics. But the bar is then raised for worthwhile critiques. To say that a notion fails to provide certainty, or to tell us the truth necessarily, or the like, is always an easy point to make; but it is not worth making, because nothing provides certainty or infallibility, anyway. You have to make it plausible that the concerns you raise are actually important. A specific and realistic example, as opposed to a far-fetched hypothetical scenario that is obviously going to be a special case for anyone's ethics, can help a lot with this.

--------------------
Listen carefully because some of your options may have changed.
Posts: 3335 | Registered: Thursday, September 4 2003 07:00
G5 wishlist. in Geneforge 4: Rebellion
Electric Sheep One
Member # 3431
Profile #300
A snarky portable servant mind ... hmmm, maybe better would just be a chatty servant mind sitting near a good shop. Someplace you come back to a lot, but not your backpack.

--------------------
Listen carefully because some of your options may have changed.
Posts: 3335 | Registered: Thursday, September 4 2003 07:00
Scope of Ethics in General
Electric Sheep One
Member # 3431
Profile #64
I'm not appealing to authority; I'm telling you that you have a lot of reading to do, which I cannot summarize here. Perhaps a philosopher or mathematician could, but I almost certainly lack the expertise, and quite certainly lack the time.

Tarski and Gödel are both relevant, because there is no rigor short of a formal system, and their theorems pertain to formal systems in general.

--------------------
Listen carefully because some of your options may have changed.
Posts: 3335 | Registered: Thursday, September 4 2003 07:00
Scope of Ethics in General
Electric Sheep One
Member # 3431
Profile #62
I refer you to Messrs. Gödel, Tarski, and Wittgenstein, and wish you the best of luck.

--------------------
Listen carefully because some of your options may have changed.
Posts: 3335 | Registered: Thursday, September 4 2003 07:00
Episode 4: Spiderweb Reloaded. Something like that anyway. in General
Electric Sheep One
Member # 3431
Profile #751
Now we just have to wait for Episode 5: Spiderweb Fired Back.

--------------------
Listen carefully because some of your options may have changed.
Posts: 3335 | Registered: Thursday, September 4 2003 07:00
Scope of Ethics in General
Electric Sheep One
Member # 3431
Profile #60
I don't fault ambition. I see appreciating the failure of systemization not as giving up on understanding ethics, but as progress in doing so. The Enlightenment had its heart in the right place, but was insufficiently rigorous in its reasoning to discern the surprising limits of rigorous reason. Those were discoveries of the twentieth century, and they rank as breakthrough advances in the pursuit of truth, regardless of the fact that they made truth seem much less accessible than it had. Destroying an illusion is progress.

--------------------
Listen carefully because some of your options may have changed.
Posts: 3335 | Registered: Thursday, September 4 2003 07:00
Scope of Ethics in General
Electric Sheep One
Member # 3431
Profile #58
I entered this thread by saying as much about two ideas about ethics as seems appropriate in a message board post. You responded with an unlikely hypothetical situation in which one of these ideas would not work well. Your point in so doing seemed to be that the hypothetical possibility of a hard case makes a law worthless. I conclude that you seem to be interested only in rigorous formal prescriptions that must apply neatly to every possible case.

I consider that there are no such systems. There is no universally adequate formulaic definition of a chair; how can there be one of morality? Morality is not meaningless, any more than furniture classification is meaningless. It is useful and admits widespread consensus. But it is nowhere near as simple as gravitation.

--------------------
Listen carefully because some of your options may have changed.
Posts: 3335 | Registered: Thursday, September 4 2003 07:00
Scope of Ethics in General
Electric Sheep One
Member # 3431
Profile #55
It may be disheartening, but it is hardly absurd. Many of the best things rely on common sense. Validity is itself a will o' the wisp, and no guarantee of truth even if attained.

--------------------
Listen carefully because some of your options may have changed.
Posts: 3335 | Registered: Thursday, September 4 2003 07:00
Scope of Ethics in General
Electric Sheep One
Member # 3431
Profile #53
On the contrary, I think both those features do tell us true things about ethics, and that that's a darn good thing, because we have precious few other sources to draw on for ethical truth, besides common opinion and practicality.

--------------------
Listen carefully because some of your options may have changed.
Posts: 3335 | Registered: Thursday, September 4 2003 07:00
Getting political in General
Electric Sheep One
Member # 3431
Profile #106
After 2000, everyone in the world learned that the US president is really elected by the handful of electoral college members, not the massive general election. But the details of how this system actually works are still not widely understood.

The elephant in the middle of the room, which the media managed to avoid mentioning throughout the 2000 fiasco, is the fact that membership in the electoral college is hereditary, being held by lineal descendents of George Washington's Freemason lodge.

Careful gerrymandering since the 19th century has also kept half of the House of Representatives, and nearly all of the US Senate, in the effective control of tiny groups of voters. We hear these people referred to as 'swing voters', but few people realize that 'swing voters' are in fact the tenants and domestic servants of a small number of establishment families.

The members of the Electoral College, to be precise.

--------------------
Listen carefully because some of your options may have changed.
Posts: 3335 | Registered: Thursday, September 4 2003 07:00
Scope of Ethics in General
Electric Sheep One
Member # 3431
Profile #51
Yes, the categorical imperative explicitly requires you to sign off on applying all your own principles to everyone else. That's its point, that the litmus test for whether your principles are moral is whether or not you're cool with applying them to everyone else as well.

By my lights at least, there is definitely something good about the categorical imperative. It succinctly captures a sound principle. I don't think it works as a perfect logical foundation for all of ethics, but I think that in practice it would catch an awful lot of stuff that most people would like to call unethical, and that a fair amount of this stuff would be hard to catch otherwise. Of course people today don't need to read Kant to recognize that double standards are wrong. But expressing this principle clearly and prominently was a substantial contribution.

And I think the Golden Rule has a similar status. It's not an axiom sufficient to support a rigorous global theory of ethics all by itself. But it can be a handy rule of thumb, and that's not a small thing. Looked at carefully, though, it is quite different from the categorical imperative. In particular it is more turn-the-other-cheek-Christian than I realized before this discussion (especially Zeviz's posts), because it is so easily compatible with holding yourself to a tougher ethical standard than you ask of anyone else.

--------------------
Listen carefully because some of your options may have changed.
Posts: 3335 | Registered: Thursday, September 4 2003 07:00
Nyyyoron~! in General
Electric Sheep One
Member # 3431
Profile #19
There's no troll like an old troll.

--------------------
Listen carefully because some of your options may have changed.
Posts: 3335 | Registered: Thursday, September 4 2003 07:00
What is better Shapers or Rebels? in Geneforge 4: Rebellion
Electric Sheep One
Member # 3431
Profile #37
quote:
Originally written by Safey:

quote:
Originally written by Student of Trinity:

The appealingly reasonable moderate Shapers are a nice coat of paint on the bars of a cage. The cage won't break without violence. How many centuries of slavery does it take to outweigh a year of war?
And the Drakons aren't? As of now you can't choose the human rebellions without choosing the Drakons.

Right. The Drakons are Shapers writ large, and they dominate the rebellion. The way that both things have happened gradually, over the course of three games, has convinced me that both things were all but inevitable. So it's not even a choice between cage and war. It's choose your cage, and we'll throw in a war for free.

It's all about the power. With the ability to create and control life, dropping moral constraints is a huge advantage because it lets you do more things. So the worst on either side will have more power; and so the best on either side will condone the worst, in order to retain enough power to have some chance of escaping the cage, or the war.

The moderate rebels and Shapers are in a classic prisoner's dilemma. If both at once were to reject their more vicious factional allies, there might be some chance at an optimal outcome for everyone. But if either one of the moderate sides rejects its own stronger but uglier allies, while the other group of moderates grits its teeth and stays in its traces, the war will quickly be won by the side that stayed united. The moderate group that stuck with its own bad guys will be able to keep pushing for moderation from within the victor's ranks, and the moderate group that broke ranks will face the worst of all possible worlds. So in accordance with classic min-max game theory, both groups of moderates are bound to stick to their guns, despite their misgivings, and the whole world slips inexorably downwards.

It seems as though there has to be some third option, even if all it really does is provide a sort of catalyst allowing the moderates on both sides to link up. On the other hand, it's far from clear that even the mildest Shapers and rebels are yet close enough to each other to link up. So, a plague on both their houses.

[ Thursday, February 14, 2008 07:18: Message edited by: Student of Trinity ]

--------------------
Listen carefully because some of your options may have changed.
Posts: 3335 | Registered: Thursday, September 4 2003 07:00
Episode 4: Spiderweb Reloaded. Something like that anyway. in General
Electric Sheep One
Member # 3431
Profile #717
Drakefyre moves fast.

--------------------
Listen carefully because some of your options may have changed.
Posts: 3335 | Registered: Thursday, September 4 2003 07:00
What is better Shapers or Rebels? in Geneforge 4: Rebellion
Electric Sheep One
Member # 3431
Profile #22
That's all true, except ... except ...

The appealingly reasonable moderate Shapers are a nice coat of paint on the bars of a cage. The cage won't break without violence. How many centuries of slavery does it take to outweigh a year of war?

--------------------
Listen carefully because some of your options may have changed.
Posts: 3335 | Registered: Thursday, September 4 2003 07:00
What is better Shapers or Rebels? in Geneforge 4: Rebellion
Electric Sheep One
Member # 3431
Profile #19
As of A5, Avernum has a serious theme as well as a cool setting. For the first time I find myself caring equally what happens next in Geneforge and in Avernum.

--------------------
Listen carefully because some of your options may have changed.
Posts: 3335 | Registered: Thursday, September 4 2003 07:00
Genefroge 1 in Geneforge Series
Electric Sheep One
Member # 3431
Profile #3
New people can gather anywhere they want.

You can do a few things in G1 without canisters, but not very much. With high leadership or by joining sects, you can pick up training in some skills from NPCs. And you can pick up skills by reading the preserved documents in certain tombs. I think you can maybe get a couple of spells and creations by these means, but you will never get the high level ones.

You can probably still win the game without canisters if you are playing a Guardian. I know the game has been finished without canisters, but I don't remember whether it was really finished successfully, or whether the player just managed to find the boat and get off Sucia Island.

If you're playing G1 for the first time, get every canister you can find (except for one bad one and one useless one — feel free to skip those). The game plot assumes that you use a lot of them; it's only in G2 and later that using fewer canisters has any meaning.

[ Wednesday, February 13, 2008 05:28: Message edited by: Student of Trinity ]

--------------------
Listen carefully because some of your options may have changed.
Posts: 3335 | Registered: Thursday, September 4 2003 07:00
What is evil in General
Electric Sheep One
Member # 3431
Profile #13
This is evil.

--------------------
Listen carefully because some of your options may have changed.
Posts: 3335 | Registered: Thursday, September 4 2003 07:00
Episode 4: Spiderweb Reloaded. Something like that anyway. in General
Electric Sheep One
Member # 3431
Profile #694
I predict we'll see Rentar-Ihrno again, in A6. As a paperweight.

--------------------
Listen carefully because some of your options may have changed.
Posts: 3335 | Registered: Thursday, September 4 2003 07:00
Scope of Ethics in General
Electric Sheep One
Member # 3431
Profile #40
To get the CI from GR, you need at least a few additional assumptions:

1) Thinking badly about people because they have committed a given action counts as doing unto them as far as the GR is concerned.

2) You must formulate moral principles for everyone, not only for yourself, and automatically think badly of anyone who violates a moral principle that you think should apply to them.

These may be reasonable assumptions, but they are not in the GR per se. In my picture of Jesus's moral theory, for instance, 2) was explicitly denied (the injunction against judging). If you are simply never allowed to think badly of other people, then even if thoughts do count as actions in accordance with 1), still no conclusions follow about your moral principles applying to other people.

So the GR does not imply the CI. Neither does the CI imply the GR without further assumptions, such as (probably with others as well)

3) If I don't want someone to do something to me, then I further believe that it is wrong for them to do it.

This 3) is not trivial. For instance it means that I can never have preferences which I acknowledge as being less than rights. Jesus's moral theory also rejects 3), I believe. If I accidentally damage someone's property, I consider that they have a right to take compensation from me. Naturally I would still prefer that they do not take compensation from me, at least if they can afford the loss more than I can.

So the GR, without 3), requires me to forego taking compensation when others wreck my stuff, at least if I can afford to; but it does not require that I believe this forebearance should be general law, as the CI would. Maybe in fact it should, and this is a victory for the CI; but that would be more than the GR implies.

If it helps to clarify the context of my remarks, I should say that I see only negative value in this kind of hairsplitting moral logic. That is, I think it can serve to discredit invalid conclusions. I do not think it can suffice to generate a satisfactory general theory of morality. So I'm not going to try to prove the validity, consistency, or general goodness of the GR or anything else.

[ Tuesday, February 12, 2008 00:07: Message edited by: Student of Trinity ]

--------------------
Listen carefully because some of your options may have changed.
Posts: 3335 | Registered: Thursday, September 4 2003 07:00
Best game to buy in General
Electric Sheep One
Member # 3431
Profile #4
Geneforge 4 is technically and structurally the best of the Geneforge series, but the Geneforge story is really one long epic. You don't need to know previous games to play each one, but they do follow directly. So if you get into the story there's a lot of motivation to play them all in sequence. Or if you start later, you can go back to see the backstory firsthand, learn some details that haven't yet come directly into the later story but that do affect your understanding of it, and find out about some roads not taken. (Like the seemingly moderate and enlightened group called the Awakened, who died out when the war heated up. Or did they really? Maybe we'll learn differently in G5.)

--------------------
Listen carefully because some of your options may have changed.
Posts: 3335 | Registered: Thursday, September 4 2003 07:00
[PPP] Alas, friends, we look toward uncertain times in General
Electric Sheep One
Member # 3431
Profile #6
Conversely, how much space are you needing? Is it an option just to zip everything for the time being, or is it already efficiently stored?

--------------------
Listen carefully because some of your options may have changed.
Posts: 3335 | Registered: Thursday, September 4 2003 07:00

Pages