Short summary: You are mixing together two different views -- timeful and timeless view.

This sounds right to me, and I think your subsequent analysis is on target. So we have two views, the timeless view and the timeful view and we can't (at least directly) translate ethical principles like 'minimize evils' across the views. So say we grant this and move on from here. Maybe my question is just that the timeless view is one in which ethics seems to make no sense (or at least not the same kind of sense), and the timeful view is a view in which it is a pressing concern. Would you object to that?

the timeless view is one in which ethics seems to make no sense

I didn't fully realize that previously, but yes -- in the timeless view there is no time, no change, no choice. Ethics is all about choices.

Ethical reasoning only makes sense in time, because the process of ethical reasoning is moving the particles in your brain, and the physical consequence of that can be a good or evil action. Ethics can have an influence on universe only if it is a part of the universe. The whole universe is determined only by its laws and its contents. The only way ethic... (read more)

Stupid Questions Open Thread Round 3

by OpenThreadGuy 1 min read7th Jul 2012209 comments


From the last thread:

From Costanza's original thread (entire text):

"This is for anyone in the LessWrong community who has made at least some effort to read the sequences and follow along, but is still confused on some point, and is perhaps feeling a bit embarrassed. Here, newbies and not-so-newbies are free to ask very basic but still relevant questions with the understanding that the answers are probably somewhere in the sequences. Similarly, LessWrong tends to presume a rather high threshold for understanding science and technology. Relevant questions in those areas are welcome as well.  Anyone who chooses to respond should respectfully guide the questioner to a helpful resource, and questioners should be appropriately grateful. Good faith should be presumed on both sides, unless and until it is shown to be absent.  If a questioner is not sure whether a question is relevant, ask it, and also ask if it's relevant."


  • How often should these be made? I think one every three months is the correct frequency.
  • Costanza made the original thread, but I am OpenThreadGuy. I am therefore not only entitled but required to post this in his stead. But I got his permission anyway.



  • I still haven't figured out a satisfactory answer to the previous meta question, how often these should be made. It was requested that I make a new one, so I did.
  • I promise I won't quote the entire previous threads from now on. Blockquoting in articles only goes one level deep, anyway.