Book V

Mere Goodness

What makes something valuable—morally, or aesthetically, or prudentially? These three sequences ask how we can justify, revise, and naturalize our values and desires. The aim will be to find a way to understand our goals without compromising our efforts to actually achieve them. Here the biggest challenge is knowing when to trust your messy, complicated case-by-case impulses about what’s right and wrong, and when to replace them with simple exceptionless prin­ciples.

Ends: An Introduction

U
Fake Preferences


  1. Not for the Sake of Happiness (Alone)
  2. Fake Selfishness
  3. Fake Morality
  4. Fake Utility Functions
  5. Detached Lever Fallacy
  6. Dreams of AI Design
  7. The Design Space of Minds-in-General

V
Value Theory


  1. Where Recursive Justification Hits Bottom
  2. My Kind of Reflection
  3. No Universally Compelling Arguments
  4. Created Already in Motion
  5. Sorting Pebbles into Correct Heaps
  6. 2-Place and 1-Place Words
  7. What Would You Do Without Morality?
  8. Changing Your Metaethics
  9. Could Anything Be Right?
  10. Morality as Fixed Computation
  11. Magical Categories
  12. The True Prisoner’s Dilemma
  13. Sympathetic Minds
  14. High Challenge
  15. Serious Stories
  16. Value is Fragile
  17. The Gift We Give to Tomorrow

W
Quantified Humanism


  1. Scope Insensitivity
  2. One Life Against the World
  3. The Allais Paradox
  4. Zut Allais!
  5. Feeling Moral
  6. The “Intuitions” Behind “Utilitarianism”
  7. Ends Don’t Justify Means (Among Humans)
  8. Ethical Injunctions
  9. Something to Protect
  10. When (Not) to Use Probabilities
  11. Newcomb’s Problem and Regret of Rationality

Interlude: The Twelve Virtues of Rationality