Why organisms have suffering and happiness

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Brian Tomasik
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Re: Why organisms have suffering and happiness

Post by Brian Tomasik » Sat Oct 26, 2013 2:55 pm

DanielLC wrote: I think the key to this is knowing the difference between gradients of bliss and gradients of agony. After all, utility is only defined up to affine transformation. If you took a perfect utility maximizer and gave it a utility function that was always negative vs. one translated so that it's always positive, there'd be no difference.
If nonexistence is a state accessible to the agent, then it would want to stay alive with above-zero utilities but not with below-zero utilities. If you can reduce the utility of nonexistence along with everything else, then the behavior stays the same, but the hedonic value of nonexistence is pretty fixed at zero unless you have a weird way of regarding the situation.

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Re: Why organisms have suffering and happiness

Post by DanielLC » Sun Oct 27, 2013 5:16 am

If nonexistence is a state accessible to the agent, then it would want to stay alive with above-zero utilities but not with below-zero utilities.
I don't think nonexistence can really be said to have a hedonistic utility in any meaningful way. You can't decide you prefer unconsciousness to X, since you can't actually experience unconsciousness.

The average rate that happiness is felt during nonexistence is 0/0. You feel zero happiness for zero subjective time.
Consequentialism: The belief that doing the right thing makes the world a better place.

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Brian Tomasik
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Re: Why organisms have suffering and happiness

Post by Brian Tomasik » Sun Nov 03, 2013 1:39 am

Ok, but you could prefer for the experience you're having to not happen. If so, it's below zero.

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