Saturday, March 05, 2005

Blog Review: Melbourne Philosopher

Many readers will recognise Tennessee of MelbournePhilosopher as a regular commenter to this site.

Aside from his own blog (linked above), he also hosts a more general purpose philosophy website, Melbourne Philosophy, that includes a 'wiki' section to which visitors are invited to contribute, and a recently added Aggregated Philosophy News section, which offers links to the most recent posts from various philosophy blogs around the net. (As yet it's mostly just tracking the various group blogs, so it complements enwe's meta-blog quite nicely, without too much overlap.) If you want your blog to appear on MP's auto-updated list, just leave a comment here.

To quickly highlight some other cool posts from his blog: MP's Parable of the Mugs raises questions about collective responsibility - something which also came up in my recent Charity post, where I discussed Parfit's case of the "thousand torturers".

More recently, MP originated the top-5 philosophers meme I posted last Friday. I also enjoyed his post on motivation, where he interpreted my own view as being...
against the idea of all motivation essentially "trickling down" from any single motive force, Grand Narrative, or Categorical Imperative. I more or less buy into [RC's] ideas about human motivation being more of a web of motivations rather than like a tree.

I'm not sure whether I've ever described it quite like that before, but I do like the web metaphor, and think it captures my position quite nicely.

MP goes on to ask how a programmer should structure the motivations of an Artificial General Intelligence. In particular, should we allow feedback from sub-goals to modify the more fundamental 'super-goals', or should we prefer a more uni-directional (foundationalist) approach? I prefer the flexibility of the former approach, and that seems to be the one that applies to humans. Feedback from the pursuit of our minor interests can influence our broader goals too - and potentially cause a revolutionary upheaval and reconsideration of our fundamental values.


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