Showing posts from December, 2022

Possibilizing vs. actualizing

Some behavior seems like it's just making things possible, without actually doing much of anything, while other behavior seems to actually do something. Is there a principled, or a useful, distinction between possibilizing and actualizing? Is it possible to possibilize a large effect on the world without actualizing large effects on the world?

Ultimate ends may be easily hidable behind convergent subgoals

$\require{AMScd}$ Thought and action in pursuit of convergent instrumental subgoals do not automatically reveal why those subgoals are being pursued——towards what supergoals——because many other agents with different supergoals would also pursue those subgoals, maybe with overlapping thought and action. In particular, an agent's ultimate ends don't have to be revealed by its pursuit of convergent subgoals. It might might therefore be easy to covertly pursue some ultimate goal by mostly pursuing generally useful subgoals of other supergoals. By the inspection paradox for the convergence of subgoals, it might be easy to think and act almost comprehensively like a non-threatening agent would think and act, while going most of the way towards achieving some other more ambitious goal.

Politically convergent perverse instability

[Epistemic status: just a guess / hypothesis.] Suppose Alice is anti-immigration and has political power. She politically pushes for laws against immigration, government spending towards capacity to prevent immigration like walls and guards, policies to deport illegal immigrants, and so on. Alice also pushes against policies to cope with whatever the current de facto status quo is, e.g. to alleviate harms done by whatever is already going on, or at least doesn't push for such alleviation policies. Those policies would alleviate pressure to change, and Alice wants change; they'd make the status quo less bad, and Alice doesn't like the status quo. And, those policies being passed would constitute, relative to Alice's desired anti-immigration stance, a symbolic victory for the side opposing Alice; it would "say", in the language of politics, that "we are okay with the status quo, we're organizing to make something like the status quo work well". Pl