[Foundation-l] GFDL and relicensing

Anthony wikimail at inbox.org
Fri Nov 23 18:04:29 UTC 2007

On Nov 23, 2007 11:46 AM, Thomas Dalton <thomas.dalton at gmail.com> wrote:
> > To put it another way, if losing £100 is infinitely bad, then you'd
> > never engage in any risk, no matter how small, which had any chance of
> > leading to such a result.  This means, in essence, you'd never do
> > anything at all.
> I disagree that every action has a chance of losing everything you
> own.

It seems to me that even no action at all has that chance, although it
depends in part on what you consider "everything you own".  Your
initial statement suggested a loss as a monetary figure, which is both
easier to deal with and more appropriate to the situation at hand.

> Nevertheless, we're not talking about real life, we're talking
> abstractly - you were asking about the game theory perspective. Game
> theory doesn't assign values to outcomes, it just gives results based
> on the values you assume. You can assume any values you like. If you
> assume the value of money is logarithmic, there is a definite
> difference between risks and gains, therefore they are not the same
> from a game theoretic point of view.

I don't deny that there is a definite difference, nor do I claim that
they are completely the same.  I deny that they are *completely*
different.  The magnitudes are different, but everything else is the

And I don't see what making the value "logaritmic" has to do with
anything.  If the value of money is equal to the base ten logarithm of
the amount of money, then the difference between 0 and 100 is equal to
the difference between 100 and 1000, and thus is not infinite at all.

> From the point of view of a given
> value system, they might be equivalent or they might not, but that's
> part of the value system, not of game theory.
Agreed, at least for any sane value system.  Applying a value system
which gives infinite values to certain situations would probably
destroy game theory.

> For a more realistic value system that displays the same behaviour,
> assume there is a certain amount of money you need to live (to buy
> food, for example). If you have less than that, you die, if you have
> more than that, you get a few luxuries.

I can't make that assumption, because it is unrealistic.

> It's is reasonable to assert
> that no amount of luxuries is worth death (plenty of people would
> disagree, but it's still reasonable).

It really isn't, though.  No one lives their life with a sole purpose
of avoiding death, or more meaningfully (as it's probably impossible
to avoid death), with a purpose of extending their life as long as

And even if someone did live their life with a purpose of extending it
as long as possible, now you'd have to define the payout of living
life for a certain amount of time.  Is it worth a 1% chance of dying
one year from now for a 99% chance of increasing your lifespan from 80
years to 90 years?  You still can't separate potential risks from
potential gains.  No matter how much wealth you have, if you had more
wealth, you could protect yourself against more possible ways of

> (This is similar to the advice
> given to casino goers of keeping their taxi fare home in a different
> pocket to their gambling money - however sure you are of a bet, it's
> not worth risking not being able to get home.)

While it may be valid advice in terms of the situations one is likely
to find oneself in at a casino, it isn't literally true.  The cost of
having to hitchhike home might be great, but it's not infinite.

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