I briefly considered trying to calculate out the utilitarian value of the left and right branches, but decided it's probably a bit long for a comment and that people wouldn't enjoy it very much. Would I be wrong?

9RobinZ9y Oh, the brain in a vat on a trolley [http://www.mindspring.com/~mfpatton/Tissues.htm]! A true classic of the genre.
2SeventhNadir9y Jokes aside, is that a common criticism of consequentialist ethics? How do we determine the "morality" of an act by its consequences if the consequences extend into time infinitely and are unknown to us beyond the most temporally immediate?

Contrived infinite-torture scenarios: July 2010

by PlaidX 9y23rd Jul 20101 min read199 comments

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This is our monthly thread for collecting arbitrarily contrived scenarios in which somebody gets tortured for 3^^^^^3 years, or an infinite number of people experience an infinite amount of sorrow, or a baby gets eaten by a shark, etc. and which might be handy to link to in one of our discussions. As everyone knows, this is the most rational and non-obnoxious way to think about incentives and disincentives.

  • Please post all infinite-torture scenarios separately, so that they can be voted up/down separately. (If they are strongly related, reply to your own comments. If strongly ordered, then go ahead and post them together.)
  • No more than 5 infinite-torture scenarios per person per monthly thread, please.