::  Posts  ::  RSS  ::  ◂◂RSS  ::  Contact

Perhaps Utilitarians Should *Make* Happier People

November 9th, 2010
ideas, utilitiarianism  [html]

My current partial utilitarianism has mostly been focused on trying to increase global happiness with international development work. It's based on my understanding that poverty, hunger, and disease make people unhappy. This seems likely, but reading (what I think was) this boston globe article and being reminded of it by this random lesswrong comment other has made me wonder: what if people have some genetic propensity to happiness? Independent of their circumstances, what if some people are just born to be more likely to be happy than others? If we found this to be so, should we then work to increase the fraction of the population with high "happiness aptitude"? Perhaps by targeting charitable giving to help people who tend to be happier (so they can afford to have more kids, while people who tend to be unhappy wouldn't have the same advantage)? Or fetal screenings for "happiness aptitude" just as we can now do for down syndrome? I don't think either of these would work, but the idea that there is a genetic predisposition to happiness ought to be testable, and it ought to be possible to make there be more people born with that predisposition.

Recent posts on blogs I like:

How Fast New York Regional Rail Could Be Part 2

In my last post about New York regional rail schedules, I covered the New Haven and Harlem Lines of Metro-North and the Main Line and Hempstead Branch of the LIRR. I was hoping to cover more lines tonight, but due to time constraints only the Hudson Line …

via Pedestrian Observations October 17, 2019

Strong stances

I. The question of confidence Should one hold strong opinions? Some say yes. Some say that while it’s hard to tell, it tentatively seems pretty bad (probably). There are many pragmatically great upsides, and a couple of arguably unconscionable downsides. …

via Meteuphoric October 15, 2019

What do executives do, anyway?

An executive with 8,000 indirect reports and 2000 hours of work in a year can afford to spend, at most, 15 minutes per year per person in their reporting hierarchy... even if they work on nothing else. That job seems impossible. How can anyone make any im…

via apenwarr September 29, 2019

more     (via openring)

More Posts:


  ::  Posts  ::  RSS  ::  ◂◂RSS  ::  Contact