Can an agent's intelligence level be negative? We extend the Legg-Hutter agent-environment framework to include punishments and argue for an affirmative answer to that question. We show that if the background encodings and Universal Turing Machine (UTM) admit certain Kolmogorov complexity symmetries, then the resulting Legg-Hutter intelligence measure is symmetric about the origin. In particular, this implies reward-ignoring agents have Legg-Hutter intelligence 0 according to such UTMs.
Commentators do not take Socrates’ theses in the Hippias Minor seriously. They believe it is an aporetic dialogue and even that Socrates does not mean what he says. Hence they are unable to understand the presuppositions behind Socrates’ two interconnected theses: that those who do wrong and lie voluntarily are better than those who do wrong unintentionally, and that no one does wrong and lies voluntarily. Arguing that liars are better than the unenlightened, Socrates concludes that there are no liars. (...) Instead, there are only those who know and those who don’t. The unenlightened cannot lie, and alien volitions, desires, or emotions are unlikely to mislead and deceive those who know, i. e., the wise. Why, then, is a thinker like Socrates ready to defy the experience and moral convictions of his contemporaries and even our own to such an extent? (shrink)
At the end of the fifth century B.C.E., the character of Odysseus was scorned by most of the Athenians: he illustrated the archetype of the demagogic, unscrupulous and ambitious politicians that had led Athens to its doom. Against this common doxa, the most important disciples of Socrates (Antisthenes, Plato, Xenophon) rehabilitate the hero and admire his temperance and his courage. But it is most surprising to see that, in spite of Odysseus' lies and deceit, these philosophers, who condemn steadfastly the (...) sophists' deceptions, praise his rhetorical ability, his polutropia. The word polutropia is ambiguous: for Antisthenes, it means either "diversity of styles and discourses" or "diversity of dispositions, characters, or souls". It is argued that the same distinction is implicitly at work in Plato's Hippias Minor, where Socrates defends Odysseus' polutropia against the pseudo "simplicity" of Hippias' favourite hero, Achilles. However, whereas Antisthenes tries to clarify these different meanings, Plato's Socrates exploits the ambiguity to confuse his interlocutor. Such a distinction sheds a new light on the Hippias Minor: Odysseus is polutropos in the first (positive) sense, while the simplicity of Achilles should be understood as a bad kind of polutropia. It provides an explanation for the first paradoxical thesis of the dialogue which many commentators do not admit as an expression of the true Socratic view, on the ground of its supposed immorality: that he who voluntary deceives is better than he who errs, for falsehood is, in one case, only in words, while in the other, it is falsehood in the soul itself. It is thus proposed that Odysseus' skill in adapting his logos to his hearers was probably a model for Socrates himself. The analogy between the hero and Socrates is especially clear in Plato's dialogues, which show the philosopher in an Odyssey for knowledge. (shrink)
Few recent events in the world of Platonic scholarship have caused more excitement than the publication of the initial volumes of R. E. Allen’s The Dialogues of Plato. Allen is on track to become the first scholar since Benjamin Jowett in the nineteenth century to produce a translation, with commentary, of all of Plato’s works. This feat is all the more impressive because Allen’s translations and comments thus far have been superb.