Author Topic: Why emotions?  (Read 1510 times)

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Offline natlegend

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Why emotions?
« on: March 31, 2013, 07:43:25 AM »
Really? Why? What benefit does it have? Why be sad, why be angry, why be indifferent. Why feel anything at all? How does does it make us better? How does does it make is worse? Are we better as humans at feeling and expression emotions? Wouldn't it be easier if we just didn't?
You keep using that word. I do not think it means what you think it means.

Online One Above All

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Re: Why emotions?
« Reply #1 on: March 31, 2013, 07:44:12 AM »
BM
The truth is absolute. Life forms are specks of specks (...) of specks of dust in the universe.
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Offline Nick

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Re: Why emotions?
« Reply #2 on: March 31, 2013, 08:28:42 AM »
Must be part of our make up for survival.
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Offline shnozzola

Re: Why emotions?
« Reply #3 on: March 31, 2013, 08:52:43 AM »
I agree with Nick.  The obvious thing is survival.  Anger allows us to get through stress that can seem impossible, but love can keep people from killing their children (oh son, I see you've taken off the oil fill lid along the wall outside of the house and filled the heating oil tank in the basement with soil - what splendid effort :o). Thinking happy thoughts can keep people "marching".

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Offline The Gawd

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Re: Why emotions?
« Reply #4 on: March 31, 2013, 09:21:55 AM »
Really? Why? What benefit does it have? Why be sad, why be angry, why be indifferent. Why feel anything at all? How does does it make us better? How does does it make is worse? Are we better as humans at feeling and expression emotions? Wouldn't it be easier if we just didn't?
as stated already, survival...
I think, based on observation and reason, that some emotions simply stem from others. Say love was first, the fact that you love your "spouse" or what have you, and children, and parents and siblings, helps you to build a community where you all survive. So when someone you love dies, its only natural to be sad. I'm not sure sadness helps survival, but seems to be an offshoot from love (at least it makes sense in my head).

Offline Quesi

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Re: Why emotions?
« Reply #5 on: March 31, 2013, 09:22:13 AM »
Fascinating topic.  I'm a big fan of Kropotkin, who observed the role of cooperation, rather than competition, in the process of natural selection.  I googled Kropotkin this morning to try and find a pithy set of quotes to respond, and was surprised that I didn't find anything about emotions.

But I think that emotions are necessary components for cooperation.  Emotions help us create communities, assist each other, protect ourselves, respond to threats, and motivate us to find solutions to problems.  And members of strong communities have a better chance of survival than lone individuals.  Problem solvers have a better chance of survival. 

There is evidence that most emotional responses are instinctual responses, but there is also a strong body of evidence for the role of culture in the development of emotional responses to various situations.  And emotions are certainly not unique to humans.  Anyone who has ever owned a domestic animal knows that they experience joy and fear and love and frustration.  And even more simplistic life forms can be observed responding to fear, with a flee response, or can be observed weighing the pros and cons of desire vs fear, as they decide whether to travel through dangerous territory to seek a delicious meal.     

Although I didn't find any Kropotkin quotes, I found a couple of interesting articles, and here is an interesting chart on various problems, and their correlating emotions.  Sorry it is so big. 



http://www.iep.utm.edu/emotion/

Very interested in hearing feedback from others on this topic!

Offline kindred

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Re: Why emotions?
« Reply #6 on: March 31, 2013, 09:45:28 AM »
Has anybody every considered that emotions might just be an emergent property of intelligence?

I wonder if there has ever been a research paper with that as a premise? Emotions as an emergent property of intelligence might not be true but experimenting with it as an assumption might come up with new information to come up with better working assumptions.
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Offline Willie

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Re: Why emotions?
« Reply #7 on: April 02, 2013, 08:55:40 PM »
Has anybody every considered that emotions might just be an emergent property of intelligence?

The idea does appear in science fiction sometimes, though usually implied rather than stated. Andrew Martin in Bicentennial Man, for example. He developed a unique and complex personality, and what at least appeared to be emotions, despite having not been equipped with a personality chip. Johnny Five in Short Circuit is another example. Both were flukes, their sentience and emotions developed by accident even though they were not specifically designed for it.

Offline Add Homonym

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Re: Why emotions?
« Reply #8 on: April 03, 2013, 08:29:55 AM »
Emotions are just more qualia, like red and coffee smell.

I have a hypothesis that consciousness could take over from rote survival reflexes, after it developed the fear emotion. After that, consciousness could use the general sense of "I" and fear, to make the organism protect itself. Consciousness is formed from a range of qualia that make the organism think that its existence is the qualia. Try to imagine feeling no emotions, seeing no light, or colour, feeling no sensations, hearing nothing, smelling nothing, having no pleasure or pain. After subtracting everything, you either have pure consciousness, or nothing. I vote nothing; that consciousness is the qualia, not something that sits above them, watching them.

What was the question?
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Offline Tero

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Re: Why emotions?
« Reply #9 on: April 03, 2013, 10:48:19 AM »
A reason to get out of bed?

Offline penfold

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Re: Why emotions?
« Reply #10 on: April 03, 2013, 01:20:52 PM »
Really? Why? What benefit does it have? Why be sad, why be angry, why be indifferent. Why feel anything at all? How does does it make us better? How does does it make is worse? Are we better as humans at feeling and expression emotions? Wouldn't it be easier if we just didn't?

Of course we're better off. In fact the only way I have of knowing that is the wonderfully gooey and inscrutable mess of my emotions. Life without emotion (to paraphrase Kant) would be a graveyard. Emotion lies behind every 'ought'; every valuable thing; in fact it is the mechanism by which we can value things. In the great bleaching void of a universe governed by the second law of thermodynamics emotions are the tendons that keep us moored. They are the source of every heroic deed, every great work of art, every first kiss and every last utterance, every friendship and every joy.

The question isn't whether we would be better or worse without emotion; without emotion we would not be human, something unutterably alien would exist in our stead. Emotions are integral to humanity as tool-use and a liking for warm, dry, environs.

Orwell captures it best at the end of 1984 when Winston and Julia emerge from their torture devoid of emotion. They have ceased to be; they are ghosts inhabiting bodies and awaiting destruction with equanimity.  Orwell understood the humanizing need for emotion and lived a great life on that epiphany; from his time living with the homeless in Paris and London to taking a bullet to the neck fighting fascism in Spain.

So fie and fiddle to all those arch-rationalists! I'll raise a glass to emotion before reason any night. 
"Reality is that which, when you stop believing in it, doesn’t go away." - P.K.D.

Offline Seppuku

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Re: Why emotions?
« Reply #11 on: April 04, 2013, 03:04:11 AM »
I would say there is an advantage to having emotions, just as there's an advantage to feeling physical pain. Of course, I think our emotions have improved or become more controlled with intelligence, but you can see animals experiencing emotions too, not just humans. Lets consider my cats, for example, why the hell would caring/loving their owners be important? It's because we're able to provide them with warmth, shelter, comfort and food. Of course, it's not simply a trade, but they would experience these emotions because it's apart of their instincts. An animal will love their young to protect their genes, heck, even animals are seemingly cruel as crocodiles experience that emotion, there's one species of crocodile where the mother will adopt the children of the other crocodiles and protect each and every one and when moving from place to place, that crocodile will make sure each and every baby crocodile is accounted for and will waiting if one's trailing behind. Emotions can have that kind of effect.

Some animals will rely on being social, humans are such creatures, primates are typically social species and as are many other mammals. This to my mind would explain why we have social standards and morals to make us function together in society. Heck, even a chimpanzee can be shunned by his peers for being a bit of a dick and the chimpanzee may feel down about it because they would want acceptance within the group. At least it's how I see it.

Then of course, some species seek permanent companions, perhaps as a consistent mate, humans aren't the only to do this either. Of course, companionship also means 2 parents caring for the young.


As for scientific studies, well, I'm not aware of any specific ones, but I can definitely see there being advantages to our emotions in the natural world.
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Offline Noman Peopled

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Re: Why emotions?
« Reply #12 on: April 04, 2013, 03:48:14 PM »
So fie and fiddle to all those arch-rationalists! I'll raise a glass to emotion before reason any night.
That's not a dichotomy though, is it?
It's not like we get to choose whether to behave rationally or emotionally. Rather we attempt to reach emotional goals rationally (if that).
"Deferinate" itself appears to be a new word... though I'm perfectly carmotic with it.
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Re: Why emotions?
« Reply #13 on: April 04, 2013, 04:57:44 PM »
How about ... motivation toward or away from some thing or action? If we assume that emotions are a result of evolution, then that would make sense.

Earliest man may well have developed the fight or flight instinct based on fear of ...things that go bump in the night (any number of "unknowns"). There's an improvement in survival odds if one runs in fear of what turns out to be nothing, rather than staying put and finding oneself face to face with a sabre-tooth tiger. My guess is that other emotions evolved over time from that - adrenaline may be the key? That's purely speculative on my part - I haven't researched this at all, I'm just taking a break from homework...
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Offline natlegend

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Re: Why emotions?
« Reply #14 on: April 08, 2013, 03:30:12 AM »
Of course we're better off. In fact the only way I have of knowing that is the wonderfully gooey and inscrutable mess of my emotions. Life without emotion (to paraphrase Kant) would be a graveyard. Emotion lies behind every 'ought'; every valuable thing; in fact it is the mechanism by which we can value things. In the great bleaching void of a universe governed by the second law of thermodynamics emotions are the tendons that keep us moored. They are the source of every heroic deed, every great work of art, every first kiss and every last utterance, every friendship and every joy.

The question isn't whether we would be better or worse without emotion; without emotion we would not be human, something unutterably alien would exist in our stead. Emotions are integral to humanity as tool-use and a liking for warm, dry, environs.

Orwell captures it best at the end of 1984 when Winston and Julia emerge from their torture devoid of emotion. They have ceased to be; they are ghosts inhabiting bodies and awaiting destruction with equanimity.  Orwell understood the humanizing need for emotion and lived a great life on that epiphany; from his time living with the homeless in Paris and London to taking a bullet to the neck fighting fascism in Spain.

So fie and fiddle to all those arch-rationalists! I'll raise a glass to emotion before reason any night. 

Surely if we were devoid of emotion, we wouldn't be aware of it?

I'm yet to be convinced that emotion is a necessity for survival - particularly love. Looking after family, children, parents, is  is obviously a means to survive, but love just makes it complicated. Emotions cloud judgement, impair rational thought, and generally just get in the way. Without emotions we wouldn't have theists saying "but it just feels right to believe!".
You keep using that word. I do not think it means what you think it means.

Offline penfold

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Re: Why emotions?
« Reply #15 on: April 12, 2013, 10:03:42 AM »
I'm yet to be convinced that emotion is a necessity for survival - particularly love. Looking after family, children, parents, is  is obviously a means to survive, but love just makes it complicated. Emotions cloud judgement, impair rational thought, and generally just get in the way. Without emotions we wouldn't have theists saying "but it just feels right to believe!".

Two points:

First caring for others may be a rational strategy (though I am not convinced that you could show this beyond immediate family) but the mechanism which nature has evolved to guarantee it is emotion and there is a certain arrogance to think that this mechanism is redundant.

Secondly* rationality is not the stalwart and unambiguous system you seem to suppose; in fact it can be self-defeating. Imagine I am playing poker; I wish to play completely rationally. By rational I mean "play in the manner which benefits me most". This would mean that I should never play in a manner which harms me. Thus I should never bid on a hand I will lose, to do so is clearly irrational. However if I never bid on a losing hand my strategy would become obvious to other players and I would ultimately be unsuccessful. So I must at times play irrationally given my rational aim!

You may argue this is semantics, that this example of rational irrationality is still rational behaviour. But then the question becomes how do I rationally decide when it benefits me to act irrationally? (ie How do I decide to alter my poker game so my strategy does not become obvious). I could try and work it out 'mathematically', ie try to see how many losing hands I need to bid on to get the best overall outcome; however my opponents will also be adopting their own strategies and concealing them from me; making this kind of analysis impossible. In fact if I want to attain my rational goal of playing in the manner which benefits me most, I am going to have to adopt some non-rational strategies. My rationality demands I am sometimes irrational!

I have given the example of poker but this could equally well apply to almost any area of life, ethical and political decisions in particular. What am I to conclude? That given the rational aim of attaining the best outcome for me, I will at times have to employ non-rational strategies, and in this field emotion becomes essential.

This leads to make a claim, which may require further justification: emotional strategies are sometimes required to attain rational aims. Put another way, It would be irrational to get rid of emotions!

*The following owes much to Derek Parfit's book Reasons and Persons
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Offline LoriPinkAngel

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Re: Why emotions?
« Reply #16 on: April 13, 2013, 05:31:02 PM »
Has anybody every considered that emotions might just be an emergent property of intelligence?

Do you notice that on television or in movies highly intelligent characters are often portrayed as being stunted or abnormal emotionally.
ie.  Spock (although only 1/2 human); Bones; House; Sheldon, Leonard's mom; there are more buried in my faulty brain cells
It doesn't make sense to let go of something you've had for so long.  But it also doesn't make sense to hold on when there's actually nothing there.

Offline Razel

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Re: Why emotions?
« Reply #17 on: April 13, 2013, 05:53:33 PM »
Has anybody every considered that emotions might just be an emergent property of intelligence?

Do you notice that on television or in movies highly intelligent characters are often portrayed as being stunted or abnormal emotionally.
ie.  Spock (although only 1/2 human); Bones; House; Sheldon, Leonard's mom; there are more buried in my faulty brain cells

Television should never be used as evidence for anything other than how ignorant producers are.

Offline natlegend

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Re: Why emotions?
« Reply #18 on: April 16, 2013, 12:15:11 AM »
Has anybody every considered that emotions might just be an emergent property of intelligence?

Do you notice that on television or in movies highly intelligent characters are often portrayed as being stunted or abnormal emotionally.
ie.  Spock (although only 1/2 human); Bones; House; Sheldon, Leonard's mom; there are more buried in my faulty brain cells

Wow I hadn't even considered that. I think you're on to something there, and even though Razel says...

Television should never be used as evidence for anything other than how ignorant producers are.

...I'm thinking of the highly intelligent people within my own life, and realising that indeed, they are somewhat lacking regarding emotions. That doesn't make them bad people, and certainly I can still relate to them, but perhaps it's something worth thinking about?

Penfold, I understand your poker analogy, but if there were no emotion attached to the possiblity of losing, then perhaps you would take a risk on a possible losing hand, if by doing so you think you may win? Does it necessarily take emotions to be irrational, when to do so might be the way to achieve a certain goal?
You keep using that word. I do not think it means what you think it means.

Offline penfold

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Re: Why emotions?
« Reply #19 on: April 16, 2013, 03:56:45 AM »
Penfold, I understand your poker analogy, but if there were no emotion attached to the possiblity of losing, then perhaps you would take a risk on a possible losing hand, if by doing so you think you may win? Does it necessarily take emotions to be irrational, when to do so might be the way to achieve a certain goal?

I think there are cases where emotional strategies are required for the best outcome.

Imagine I am stuck with you on a desert island. Imagine also that we are both unable to deceive each other; we cannot lie (this proposal does not make a huge difference but it makes the analysis simple). I have a bomb and use this to enslave you. I say that if you do not obey me then I will detonate the bomb killing us both - because I can't lie you know my threat is genuine. The question is can you escape slavery without me killing us both? If you adopt a purely rational strategy you can't because I have made the threat any attempt by you to disobey will lead to death. And if I know you are completely rational I know that you will avoid this outcome; thus I can be sure you will be my loyal slave.

However imagine you start to behave in a highly emotional manner. Now I am in a difficult situation, if I give you an order, I am not sure that you will obey so I risk my own death. The more emotional you are the less likely I am to give you orders. If I trusted you to be rational I would always be happy to give you orders, because I know you will be rational and avoid death. If however, you are highly emotional then I cannot be certain so in order to avoid my own death I will stop giving you orders. Thus by adopting an emotional (as opposed to a rational) strategy you can escape your slavery.

This may seem a bizarre example but, in fact, it is the line of reasoning that leads to government's adopting "we don't negotiate with terrorists" strategies. At face value this strategy seems absurd, after all it may lead to very bad outcomes - the execution of prisoners or other such atrocities. However by adopting this highly irrational and emotional strategy terrorism is dissuaded because the terrorist, no matter how carefully they plan, can never guarantee a particular outcome. Thus terrorism cannot enslave governments.

I would contend that there are in fact many examples where such emotional strategies lead to better outcomes than merely rational strategies.

------------------------
edit

I just wanted to make two more points about the above example. You might object that by pretending to be emotional you are really being rational, thus it is still a rational strategy to escape slavery. However in my example you can't deceive me so I would know; but even without that caveat the argument still holds. If I suspect that your emotional behaviour is merely a rational attempt to break your slavery then I can still issue you orders because I know that when it comes to it you won't rationally behave in a manner which results in  your death. However if I believe that your emotional behaviour is genuine I will stop issuing orders - so a purely emotional strategy (rather than a 'covert' rational strategy) is best way to guarantee your freedom

You might also object that I cannot 'choose' to put aside rationality and behave emotionally; this may be fair, but does not really affect my point. Let us say there are three people on the island; me with the bomb, you behaving rationally, and Brenda who is highly emotional. I will be able to enslave you, but not Brenda. Thus I even if we can't choose to set aside rationality the fact remains people who are emotional will, in this situation, avoid slavery. Thus in this case emotional behaviour results in a better outcome than rational behaviour irrespective of whether or not we are free to choose between them.
« Last Edit: April 16, 2013, 04:19:36 AM by penfold »
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Online Graybeard

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Re: Why emotions?
« Reply #20 on: April 16, 2013, 06:01:01 AM »
I don't know why I haven't seen this topic before.

But I think that emotions are necessary components for cooperation.  Emotions help us create communities, assist each other, protect ourselves, respond to threats, and motivate us to find solutions to problems.  And members of strong communities have a better chance of survival than lone individuals.  Problem solvers have a better chance of survival. 

Very interested in hearing feedback from others on this topic!

With due deference to Cosmedes & Tooby, Nesse, and Keltner et al, these need some sort of expansion to demonstrate evolutionary advantage.

•   Being alone at night - Fear of being stalked by a predator [This is valid only in extreme circumstances, e.g. being in a strange place. If you are in you hut, having a woman and children with you makes predation more likely, not less, because you represent a greater food supply. Humans are social animals. The anxiety is through not being part of a group; it encourages you to join a group.]
•   Sexual infidelity - Sexual jealousy [Jealousy is merely an effect, not a cause. The cause is that your genes will not be passed on.]
•   Social ridicule - Social anxiety [Social anxiety is again merely an effect, not a cause. Social ridicule is handed out to make you conform to the norms of the society which you share. We are basically conservative and like people who are like us.]
•   Uneven reciprocity exchanges  - Pride, humiliation, obligation [Pride, humiliation, obligation are again merely an effect, not a cause. Uneven reciprocity exchanges are learning experiences and teach new thinking. They teach you caution and reasoning and, if applied, you accrue more benefit for yourself and society.]
•   Being cheated – Anger [This anger is the need to mete out personal justice. It comes from our morality. It thus tends towards regulating societies and forming hierarchies so that a greater social justice can be given to the group – see Uneven reciprocity exchanges above.]
•   Considering cheating or not fulfilling an expectation – Anxiety [This comes from a lack of understanding of betting odds -> great advantage for a small outlay. This is the same instinct that allowed us to work out how to set traps for animals – we cheat the animals. If we win, we eat and can survive to breed.]
•   Having cheated others – Guilt [This is always a fear of retribution. See uneven reciprocity exchanges and Being Cheated above.
•   Another individual has an unjustified favourable status – Envy [This is a lack of understanding of society, those who do understand it fare better: we are encouraged to understand, imitate and comply.]
•   Finding a mate - Desire, love [The breeding imperative that governs all.]
•   Protecting offspring - Love, compassion [The desire to achieve immortality through our genes. See Sexual infidelity and Being alone at night.]

What is not covered is “Loss” which gives rise to sadness. Sadness is purposefully unpleasant to discourage you from experiencing the same loss again. You may lose your spear, which teaches you to be more attentive to possessions, or you may lose your mate, which causes sadness, depending upon the time of loss, at not being able to reproduce or have a reliable friend and assistant. We can empathise with sadness, and this causes us to act differently, compassionately, cooperatively to avoid sadness.

Emotions are the signs of learning. They are visible and thus a lesson to all.
Nobody says “There are many things that we thought were natural processes, but now know that a god did them.”

Offline Razel

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Re: Why emotions?
« Reply #21 on: April 16, 2013, 07:14:21 AM »
However imagine you start to behave in a highly emotional manner. Now I am in a difficult situation, if I give you an order, I am not sure that you will obey so I risk my own death. The more emotional you are the less likely I am to give you orders. If I trusted you to be rational I would always be happy to give you orders, because I know you will be rational and avoid death. If however, you are highly emotional then I cannot be certain so in order to avoid my own death I will stop giving you orders. Thus by adopting an emotional (as opposed to a rational) strategy you can escape your slavery.

What?  If your captor doesn't want to die, then you can simply disobey your captor.  He won't push the button because it'll kill himself as well.

Offline penfold

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Re: Why emotions?
« Reply #22 on: April 16, 2013, 07:24:15 AM »
What?  If your captor doesn't want to die, then you can simply disobey your captor.  He won't push the button because it'll kill himself as well.

As pointed out the situation includes the clause I cannot lie, thus my threat, if made, binds me. You may object that this is unrealistic, and that's fair, but may aim is to give a clear account of a situation where emotional strategy has a better outcome than a rational one. Hence the 'no concealment' clause. In fact this correlates closer to real-world situations than you might expect. For a more a plausible (but hence more difficult to analyse) example see my earlier post on poker strategies.
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Offline Razel

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Re: Why emotions?
« Reply #23 on: April 16, 2013, 07:36:56 AM »
What?  If your captor doesn't want to die, then you can simply disobey your captor.  He won't push the button because it'll kill himself as well.

As pointed out the situation includes the clause I cannot lie, thus my threat, if made, binds me. You may object that this is unrealistic, and that's fair, but may aim is to give a clear account of a situation where emotional strategy has a better outcome than a rational one. Hence the 'no concealment' clause. In fact this correlates closer to real-world situations than you might expect. For a more a plausible (but hence more difficult to analyse) example see my earlier post on poker strategies.

The rational strategy in that situation would be to inform your captor that you'd rather die then be enslaved.  It'll probably end with you being enslaved anyways, or both of your deaths, but it basically has the same outcome as your "acting crazy" strategy.

Offline penfold

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Re: Why emotions?
« Reply #24 on: April 16, 2013, 08:02:51 AM »
The rational strategy in that situation would be to inform your captor that you'd rather die then be enslaved.  It'll probably end with you being enslaved anyways, or both of your deaths, but it basically has the same outcome as your "acting crazy" strategy.

No it doesn't; if the captor believes you to be rational he won't believe your threat and enslave you. If the threat is genuine then you are no longer acting rationally (as no rational system could will self-destruction), and so have adopted the emotional strategy outlined in my post. So either you are genuine in your ultimatum - in which case you are not acting rationally; or you are lying in which case the captor can still enslave you.
"Reality is that which, when you stop believing in it, doesn’t go away." - P.K.D.

Offline Mrjason

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Re: Why emotions?
« Reply #25 on: April 16, 2013, 08:13:03 AM »
The rational strategy in that situation would be to inform your captor that you'd rather die then be enslaved.  It'll probably end with you being enslaved anyways, or both of your deaths, but it basically has the same outcome as your "acting crazy" strategy.

No it doesn't; if the captor believes you to be rational he won't believe your threat and enslave you. If the threat is genuine then you are no longer acting rationally (as no rational system could will self-destruction), and so have adopted the emotional strategy outlined in my post. So either you are genuine in your ultimatum - in which case you are not acting rationally; or you are lying in which case the captor can still enslave you.

couldn't you rationally conclude that your captor will respond emotionally to to your threat and make it from a rational point of view...

Offline penfold

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Re: Why emotions?
« Reply #26 on: April 16, 2013, 08:21:04 AM »
couldn't you rationally conclude that your captor will respond emotionally to to your threat and make it from a rational point of view...

Yes you can; which is why in the initial thought experiment I specified that neither party could lie. However even without this caveat the argument still holds; even if I rationally decide to behave emotionally, it still implies that the emotional strategy gains a better outcome. Thus re-enforcing my initial claim that we sometimes require emotional strategies to attain rational aims, or put another way it would be irrational to get rid of emotions (as per the original question from natlegend).
"Reality is that which, when you stop believing in it, doesn’t go away." - P.K.D.

Offline Razel

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Re: Why emotions?
« Reply #27 on: April 16, 2013, 10:18:07 AM »
The rational strategy in that situation would be to inform your captor that you'd rather die then be enslaved.  It'll probably end with you being enslaved anyways, or both of your deaths, but it basically has the same outcome as your "acting crazy" strategy.

No it doesn't; if the captor believes you to be rational he won't believe your threat and enslave you. If the threat is genuine then you are no longer acting rationally (as no rational system could will self-destruction), and so have adopted the emotional strategy outlined in my post. So either you are genuine in your ultimatum - in which case you are not acting rationally; or you are lying in which case the captor can still enslave you.

It's not inherently rational to prioritize your own survival.  There are no inherent rational priorities.

If you do your crazy act, the captor will either think you're too crazy to risk giving a command, which can also be achieved if your captor believes you'd rather die than be enslaved.  If your captor risks it, and you really are crazy, you both die.  If you decide you'd rather live and follow the order anyways, then your captor can enslave you.

Offline natlegend

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Re: Why emotions?
« Reply #28 on: April 16, 2013, 08:19:12 PM »
But Penfold, your whole island/bomb premise depends on the inability for either party to lie. How is it irrational to lie, when the outcome may be a release from slavery and certain doom?
You keep using that word. I do not think it means what you think it means.