Re: Subjective measure? How does that work?

From: Hal Finney <>
Date: Thu, 29 Jan 2004 11:33:15 -0800

Wei Dai writes:
> Maybe a different example will make my point clearer. We could be living
> in base reality or a simulation. You can choose a measure in which the
> observer-moments like us living in base reality have a greater measure, or
> one in which the observer-moments living in simulations have a greater
> measure. These two measures have different implications on rational
> behavior. The former implies we should plan for the far future, whereas
> the latter says we should live for today because the simulation might end
> at any moment, and we should try to behave in ways that wouldn't bore the
> people who might be running and observing the simulation. (See Robin
> Hanson's "How To Live In A Simulation",
> Can you offer any arguments that one of these choices is
> irrational?

What about arguments that attempt to estimate the fraction of observers
who are in simulations versus in base realities, such as Nick Bostrom's
Simulation Argument,

Are you saying that such arguments are pointless, and that no matter
how convincing they became, both choices would be equally rational?
What is the difference between these kinds of arguments, and those
based on observation?

Or would you say that it is rational to reject observations? After all,
among the infinity of universal distributions there are enough to justify
rejecting any specific observation as a "flying rabbit", a special case
exception which is built into the UTM that defines the distribution.
There exist universal distributions which can accommodate any such

Doesn't this philosophy ultimately reject all evidence, and further,
make it impossible to make predictions? There is a universal measure
which is consistent with my past observations and yet lets me conclude
that the sun won't rise tomorrow. Is it just a matter of taste and not
rationality that determines my beliefs on this matter?

If my understanding of these questions is correct, we have to find
a stronger set of rules and constraints on rationality, for the term
to have a useful meaning. Maybe we don't have them yet, but it isn't
acceptable to call such a wide range of behaviors rational.

Received on Thu Jan 29 2004 - 14:35:06 PST

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