On Thu, 18 Apr 2002, Wei Dai wrote: > On Thu, Apr 18, 2002 at 11:57:28AM -0700, Brent Meeker wrote: > > Your approaches seem incoherent to me. If the universe is defined by a > > complete computable description then that description includes you and > > whatever decision process your brain implements. To treat the universe as > > computable and your choices as determined by some utility function and > > decision theory is contradictory. > > Why is that contradictory? Please explain. Also, what alternative do you > propose?
Perhaps "contradictory" is too strong a word - I should have stuck with "incoherent". But it seems you contemplate having different wishes about the future evolution of the world and you want to find some decision theory that tells you what action to take in order to maximize desirable outcomes. But if the world is already determined, then so are you actions and your decision processes. Thus are actions and decision processes are supposed to be determined in two completely different ways - one at the level of physical processes of the universe, the other at the level of desires and decision theory. These two are not necessarily contradictory, but to avoid contradiction you need to add the constraint on the decision theory you follow that it agree with what your actions are as defined by the mathematical description of the universe. Brent Meeker "If nature offers us a difficult knot to unravel, do not let us introduce in order to unravel it the hand of a being who then becomes an even more difficult knot to untie than the first one." --- Diederot