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What would be a good name for the view that the value of our decisions is primarily determined by how they affect causally-disconnected regions of the multiverse?

by Natália Mendonça1 min read9th Aug 202018 comments


Effective AltruismWorld Optimization

I’m looking for a word similar to “longtermism” to refer to the view that the most important determinant of the value of our decisions is how they affect regions of the multiverse[1] that are causally-disconnected from ours (henceforth “causally-disconnected regions”), since those regions are very big and can contain far more value-bearing locations than causally-connected regions.[2]

(Affecting causally-disconnected regions is possible if there is some subjunctive dependence between our decisions and outcomes in those regions; for example, if there are copies of us simulated in them.)

This is related to views posed by Wei Dai in this post (though note that he doesn’t use any terminology like “causally-disconnected region”; my usage of that term is influenced by Mati Roy). I’m interested in this because it seems to me that many of the intuitions that would lead someone to support longtermism would also lead them to support this view, as Wei Dai indicated in the last paragraph of this comment.

80000hours used to call a cluster of ideas related to caring about the long-term future the “long-term value thesis,” so I might start calling this the “causally-disconnected value thesis”; however, that sounds a bit too long and cumbersome, which is why I’m asking this question.

[1] If you don’t think there is a multiverse, just interpret my usage of “multiverse” as referring to the same thing as “universe.”

[2] Note that this definition is more analogous to how William MacAskill defines strong longtermism than to how he defines longtermism.

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4 Answers

"Acausalism" works, but might be confused with the idea that acausal dependence matters at all, or with other philosophical doctrines that deny causality in some sense.

I'm not sure whether to be located in a place is a different thing from the place subjunctively depending on your behavior.

Some more ideas: "outofreachism" (closest to "longtermism"), "extrauniversalism", "subjunctive dependentism" (hardest to strawman), "elsewherism", "spooky axiology at a distance"

any of the 2x2 of Acausal/Nonlocal Consequentialism/Longtermism

Er, isn't "affect causally disconnected" an oxymoron?