Friday, 31 January 2020

Refuse to believe what isn't useful

I've previously written that truth and utility are not the same.

Corollary: you shouldn't believe things which are bad for you.

Moral claims that white people "should" pay reparations to black people can be refuted on moral grounds, or on the correct grounds that morality doesn't exist. But they can equally well be refuted by saying "No." Refusal is refutation. People who believe in the importance of truth will say that action is not argument or refutation. But they beg the question by assuming that truth is more important than utility. This belief in the "importance" of truth is a moral belief, and therefore wrong. It is more efficient to say "I am not going to believe that because it does not benefit me. I am not going to bother arguing with you, or thinking about it to convince myself. I am not going to do it."

Contrary to popular belief, you can choose what you believe.

Corollary: most people already do this. Most people's beliefs are determined by what is good for them. People whose beliefs are determined by what is good for them will tend to out-compete people who prefer to believe what they think is true. Ordinary people are not obsessed with philosophy.

In Donald Hoffman's talk "Do we see reality as it is?", he describes computer models which indicate that people who perceive reality in a way which increases their fitness, tend to outcompete people who perceive reality accurately.

No comments:

Post a Comment