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Eliezer: the rationality of defection in these finitely repeated games has come under some fire, and there's a HUGE literature on it. Reading some of the more prominent examples may help you sort out your position on it.

Start here:

Robert Aumann. 1995. "Backward Induction and Common Knowledge ...(read more)

Nick,

Fair enough, but consider the counterfactual case: suppose we believed that there were some fact about a person that would permit enslaving that person, but learned that the set of people to whom those facts applied was the null set. It seems like that would still represent moral progress in...(read more)

Nick:

<i>I don't think discovering better instrumental values toward the same terminal values you always had counts as moral progress, at least if those terminal values are consciously, explicitly held.</i>

Why on earth not? Aristotle thought some people were naturally suited for slavery. We now...(read more)

One possibility: we can see a connection between morality and certain empirical facts -- for example, if we believe that more moral societies will be more stable, we might think that we can see moral progress in the form of changes that are brought about by previous morally related instability. Tha...(read more)

So here's a question Eliezer: is Subhan's argument for <i>moral</i> skepticism just a concealed argument for <i>universal</i> skepticism? After all, there are possible minds that do math differently, that do logic differently, that evaluate evidence differently, that observe sense-data differently....(read more)

<i>Suppose that 98% of humans, under 98% of the extrapolated spread, would both choose a certain ordering of arguments, and also claim that this is the uniquely correct ordering. Is this sufficient to just go ahead and label that ordering the rational one? If you refuse to answer that question yours...(read more)

Eleizer,

Things like the ordering of arguments are just additional questions about the rationality criteria, and my point above applies to them just as well -- either there's a justifiable answer ("this is how arguments are to be ordered,") or it's going to be fundamentally socially determined and ...(read more)

Right, but those questions are responsive to reasons too. Here's where I embrace the recursion. Either we believe that ultimately the reasons stop -- that is, that after a sufficiently ideal process, all of the minds in the relevant mind design space agree on the values, or we don't. If we do, th...(read more)

Eliezer,

The resemblance between my second suggestion and your thing didn't go unnoticed -- I had in fact read your coherent extrapolated volition thing before (there's probably an old e-mail from me to you about it, in fact). I think it's basically correct. But the method of justification is imp...(read more)