Yet another weird SF fan

I'm a mathematician, a libertarian, and a science-fiction fan. Common sense? What's that?

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Yet another weird SF fan

Wednesday, September 01, 2004

Mathematics and Individualism

The Ten O'Clock Scholar is applying transfinite mathematics to morality:

The Needs of the One outweigh the Needs of the Many, if human life is considered extraordinarly precious and valuable, in a counter-intuitive result!

It's those who place some finite value on human life, that thus fall naturally into pure utilitarian calculations -- and this leads them to deeply anti-human results. Because if then something is Good for the Collective, then 49% percent of the people can be massacred with impunity by this philosophy!

And of course, that's exactly what happens.

But when a special sanctity is placed on human life, giving it essentially infinite value, then by the Cantorian arithmetic of infinities, losing a single life is an equally horrific tragedy as 100, both of infinite loss!
This can be taken even further. If each human being is a Proper Class, then it's an error to regard a human being as a member of a set. That means any kind of collectivism becomes impossible.


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