Formalizing Preference Utilitarianism in Physical World Models

Received: 23 April 2015; Accepted: 27 August 2015; Published online: 16 September 2015


Most ethical work is done at a low level of formality. This makes practical moral questions inaccessible to formal and natural sciences and can lead to misunderstandings in ethical discussion. In this paper, we use Bayesian inference to introduce a formalization of preference utilitarianism in physical world models, specifically cellular automata. Even though our formalization is not immediately applicable, it is a first step in providing ethics and ultimately the question of how to “make the world better” with a formal basis.

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