# Is Using Someone's Reason Against Them Fraud?

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Why isn't it reasonable to suppose that they could have predicted it? My 9-year-old son could have predicted it, and he's only just now learning long division. If a third grader's basic math skills could work that out, I don't see why I couldn't expect the same of Bob and Alice. I think you don't give poor Bob and Alice nearly enough credit for being thinking folks.

I explained why in my response to selene. But I'll explain why in more detail here:

At the beginning of the auction, Alice bids \$1, because she thinks that there is a 50% chance that Bob will drop out and she will get \$19. There is also a 50% chance that Bob will bid \$2 and win the auction, in which case she loses \$1. Her expected gains for bidding on the first round is 0.5*19 - 0.5*1 = \$9, while her expected gains for not bidding at all is \$0. Thus, she should bid \$1 on the first round. Similarly for Bob. Since Alice has already bid \$1, he needs to bid \$2 to win. If he does, his expected gains are 0.5*18 - 0.5*2 = \$8, which is more than if he doesn't, i.e. \$0.

This goes on and on until the bid is at \$10. At this point, Alice reasons, well if Bob bets more than \$10, then his expected gains would be negative, so he won't bid more than \$10, and Alice can certainly win the auction by betting \$11 and getting \$9. Bob, of course, is thinking the same thing and so he tries to bet more than \$10.

Once the bid reaches \$20, the same reasoning applies as in the first paragraph, except in this case each player is trying to minimize his losses. But by that point, Carl has already won.

That doesn't explain anything except that you think Bob and Alice are lacking in basic math skills. If you can do the math (and if a third-grader can do the math), why would I not expect Bob and Alice to be able to do the math?

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Any endeavor which depends entirely on 'knowing' the content of another person's consciousness is irrational, so the premise of your game is irrational as are the actions of the 'players'.

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Thing is, you are buying into the notion that people should be treated as beings that require protection both from things that they cannot predict and from things that they can predict but don't. Objectivism treats people as 1) beings that are entirely capable of protecting themselves, and 2) beings that can survive (learn, recover, thrive) even when they have failed to protect themselves.

For the sake of argument, go ahead and tell us what specifically it is that you think Carl has done wrong and what you would suggest to do about it.

Again, you're misunderstanding the situation. The auction was not something that simply happened to Alice and Bob, like a natural disaster. It was all Carl's doing. Unlike a natural disaster or some kind of accident, there is someone who can be held responsible for their actions.

I can't tell you exactly what Carl has done wrong since, as I said, it has not yet been identified as a kind of wrong. I think Carl should be tried and punished if found guilty, just like with any other crime.

That doesn't explain anything except that you think Bob and Alice are lacking in basic math skills. If you can do the math (and if a third-grader can do the math), why would I not expect Bob and Alice to be able to do the math?

As I've shown, Bob and Alice already did do the math. They did it perfectly. And yet, they were still screwed.

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Any endeavor which depends entirely on 'knowing' the content of another person's consciousness is irrational, so the premise of your game is irrational as are the actions of the 'players'.

This is absolutely ridiculous. If it is irrational to try to predict what someone else will do, then any attempt to deal with a reality with more than one person in it would be irrational.

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Alice and Bob can be held responsible for their actions. We can agree to disagree.

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Alice and Bob can be held responsible for their actions. We can agree to disagree.

If you believe that someone can act against their own interests by being rational, then you need to check your premises.

Reason cannot fail, unless someone tries to use force or fraud or this third thing, apparently.

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Any endeavor which depends entirely on 'knowing' the content of another person's consciousness is irrational, so the premise of your game is irrational as are the actions of the 'players'.

This is absolutely ridiculous. If it is irrational to try to predict what someone else will do, then any attempt to deal with a reality with more than one person in it would be irrational.

Nope, your OP described the participants as acting "in their rational self-interest all the way".

Do you understand rational self-interest? It is not rational when the outcome turns completely on another's unpredictable acts. It's irrational and unself-interested to guess and gamble on anything significant, it's instead mystical whimsy. Notwithstanding those mathematical calculations, which prove - what?

So the game can be dismissed out of hand as ridiculous.

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Nope, your OP described the participants as acting "in their rational self-interest all the way".

Do you understand rational self-interest? It is not rational when the outcome turns completely on another's unpredictable acts. It's irrational to guess and gamble on anything significant, it's instead mystical whimsy. Notwithstanding those mathematical calculations, which prove - what?

So the game can be dismissed out of hand as ridiculous.

In what sense is it "not rational"? When you do something rationally, that means that you've done the best you can given your goals and information. Sometimes, you have no information about something, but reality still demands that you make a decision.

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Here's my issue with that line of reasoning. If it is not fraud, then Alice and Bob were being entirely rational.

Non sequitur.

You seem to be laboring under the mistaken opinion that any decision absent fraud must, by definition, be "rational."

Not so. "Rational" doesn't mean "in the absence of fraud."

J

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Nope, your OP described the participants as acting "in their rational self-interest all the way".

Do you understand rational self-interest? It is not rational when the outcome turns completely on another's unpredictable acts. It's irrational to guess and gamble on anything significant, it's instead mystical whimsy. Notwithstanding those mathematical calculations, which prove - what?

So the game can be dismissed out of hand as ridiculous.

In what sense is it "not rational"? When you do something rationally, that means that you've done the best you can given your goals and information. Sometimes, you have no information about something, but reality still demands that you make a decision.

SoMad: Traders trade value for value where both sides feel they're getting the greater value. It is irrational to suppose someone would not pursue their self interest and trade a greater value for a lesser one (i.e. \$20 for \$1). The persons who thought they could accomplish this deserved the lesson. Everyone pursues, rightfully, their self interest.

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As some of you have said, I don't think that Carl did anything fraudulent, in the technical sense. However, I disagree that Alice and Bob's choice to participate was rational because they were entertained.

Are you claiming that any and all forms of entertainment that people choose must be rational?!!!

First of all, they were not entertained. I'd say they were the exact opposite of entertained. We may have been entertained, Carl may have been very very entertained, but Alice and Bob certainly weren't.

Alice and Bob appeared to be entertaining themselves with the act of competing with each other. If not, then your hypothetical seems to be something constructed out of imaginary psychology and behavior that has no relevance to reality.

Secondly, they were not expecting to purchase entertainment in any case. They were expecting to buy money.

Yeah, but then time continued on, and they discovered an opportunity for entertainment, and took it. Their "not expecting it" earlier has no bearing.

If they knew that they were going to be "entertained" they may have considered the price too high, which would mean that Carl's plan would fail. Think about it this way. Who would go to a store where every item was some unknown price that you couldn't know until you agreed to buy the item? No one, obviously.

Yeah, so why invent fictional people who would do what real people wouldn't?

As for gambling, gambling is irrational. If you are a rational person, then you would know you can't beat the odds in a casino.

Wrong. If you're a rational person, you know that you can beat the odds, but that doing so is unlikely.

J

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Here's my issue with that line of reasoning. If it is not fraud, then Alice and Bob were being entirely rational.

Non sequitur.

You seem to be laboring under the mistaken opinion that any decision absent fraud must, by definition, be "rational."

Not so. "Rational" doesn't mean "in the absence of fraud."

J

Sorry, in that post I meant to say that Bob and Alice were capable of acting in their rational self-interest. If this was fraud, then you're right they could still be rational even if they could not act in their rational self-interest.

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SoMad: Traders trade value for value where both sides feel they're getting the greater value. It is irrational to suppose someone would not pursue their self interest and trade a greater value for a lesser one (i.e. \$20 for \$1). The persons who thought they could accomplish this deserved the lesson. Everyone pursues, rightfully, their self interest.

False. Immoral people certainly don't.

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Not false. Explain yourself.

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As some of you have said, I don't think that Carl did anything fraudulent, in the technical sense. However, I disagree that Alice and Bob's choice to participate was rational because they were entertained.

Are you claiming that any and all forms of entertainment that people choose must be rational?!!!

The context of that quote is that some people were arguing that Alice and Bob were acting rationally because they may have been entertained by the outcome. But I was pointing out that just because one is entertained by the outcome, that does not mean that their behavior was rational.

Alice and Bob appeared to be entertaining themselves with the act of competing with each other. If not, then your hypothetical seems to be something constructed out of imaginary psychology and behavior that has no relevance to reality.

Non-sequitur. It's entirely possible that someone might do something even if they were not entertained by the act.

Yeah, but then time continued on, and they discovered an opportunity for entertainment, and took it. Their "not expecting it" earlier has no bearing.

It does matter because if you don't get the product you expected to buy and have paid for, then you have been defrauded.

Yeah, so why invent fictional people who would do what real people wouldn't?

That case only considers what would happen if they knew the outcome. The whole point is that they didn't.

Wrong. If you're a rational person, you know that you can beat the odds, but that doing so is unlikely.

You know what I mean.

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Not false. Explain yourself.

Morality is acting in your own rational-self interest. Immoral people, by definition, don't do this.

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I think it is time to send Doll Head to the Doll Hospital and do some serious interventions:

Do some testing...

write some meds....

and keep her under observation...

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And what did Bob and Alice do with Ted and Carol?

...inquiring kinksters need to know...

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Not false. Explain yourself.

Morality is acting in your own rational-self interest. Immoral people, by definition, don't do this.

Ah. BTW, sorry for my abrupt reply earlier, I was multitasking.

I did not say rational self interest. Value is subjective (Mises). People pursue what they perceive is their self interest in trying to trade what to them is a lessor value for a greater one. In this case it would be hard to argue that a lesser amount of money is subjectively of more value than a greater one (unless Carl was nuts or a member of some strange cult). The trader principle is trading value for value, it is understood by both sides that a trade will take place when both parties perceive gain. That is a rational exchange. Therefore Alice and Bob were irrational to suppose they could gain while Carl lost. By your definition they were acting immorally and deserved what they got.

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Ah. BTW, sorry for my abrupt reply earlier, I was multitasking.

I did not say rational self interest. Value is subjective (Mises). People pursue what they perceive is their self interest in trying to trade what to them is a lessor value for a greater one. In this case it would be hard to argue that a lesser amount of money is subjectively of more value than a greater one (unless Carl was nuts or a member of some strange cult). The trader principle is trading value for value, it is understood by both sides that a trade will take place when both parties perceive gain. That is a rational exchange. Therefore Alice and Bob were irrational to suppose they could gain while Carl lost. By your definition they were acting immorally and deserved what they got.

Is this objectively true? Because if value is subjective, then Alice and Bob cannot say that Carl is acting irrationally just because his values don't conform to their own.

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I think that the kind of thing that Carl pulled is called a "gambit":

A device, action, or opening remark, typically one entailing a degree of risk, that is calculated to gain an advantage.

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Ah. BTW, sorry for my abrupt reply earlier, I was multitasking.

I did not say rational self interest. Value is subjective (Mises). People pursue what they perceive is their self interest in trying to trade what to them is a lessor value for a greater one. In this case it would be hard to argue that a lesser amount of money is subjectively of more value than a greater one (unless Carl was nuts or a member of some strange cult). The trader principle is trading value for value, it is understood by both sides that a trade will take place when both parties perceive gain. That is a rational exchange. Therefore Alice and Bob were irrational to suppose they could gain while Carl lost. By your definition they were acting immorally and deserved what they got.

Is this objectively true? Because if value is subjective, then Alice and Bob cannot say that Carl is acting irrationally just because his values don't conform to their own.

SoMad: I believe so. If you haven't read Mises he is such a pleasure to read. The exemplar reasoning human being. When I first read Mises many years ago I filled a notebook with words and their definitions. I reread many times before not needing (mostly) my notebook. I recommend him for years of enjoyment and enlightenment if you'd like to put off your deathwish for awhile. I started this habit reading Ayn Rand when I read the word "epistemology" for the first time and I was so delighted when I looked it up and found out what it meant. I found a home.

Carl is running a con but it is so obvious and the price is cheap the lesson does Alice and Bob a service.

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I started this habit reading Ayn Rand when I read the word "epistemology" for the first time and I was so delighted when I looked it up and found out what it meant. I found a home.

Very nicely stated.

James Joyce was wrong on that because Ayn showed me that same home and I can live in it each and every day that I conscously choose too.

Thanks

A...

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Carl is running a con but it is so obvious and the price is cheap the lesson does Alice and Bob a service.

Carl is running a con, but the question is, is he doing anything wrong? Do there exist non-coercive and non-fraudulent unethical actions?

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Carl is running a con but it is so obvious and the price is cheap the lesson does Alice and Bob a service.

Carl is running a con, but the question is, is he doing anything wrong? Do there exist non-coercive and non-fraudulent unethical actions?

Carl is perpetrating a fraud but an obvious one with not serious consequences. Are you familiar with the term hormesis? A low level toxin can have a positive effect on an organism. Carl's con game does not rise to the level of being prosecuted for a crime. I wouldn't put anything past him though, and wouldn't invite him to dinner.

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