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Comment author: 333kenshin 09 January 2018 09:33:57AM *  0 points [-]

OK only 7 years late to this thread, but feel I've got a much more apt analogous exercise for a woman, which would be for her to take an assertive role (eg articulate strategy, awarding credit for work done, and delegating tasks) at a workplace meeting in which she is neither the organizer nor the highest ranked attendee. Bonus points if male attendees leave without the feeling she was being "bossy"

In response to Modularity and Buzzy
Comment author: Gharveyn 09 January 2018 07:32:06AM 0 points [-]

Regarding:

Libet says that in ”the traditional view of conscious will”, conscious will would appear at the onset or before brain activity. But "before" is impossible. The module that's making the decision to move the wrist is a part of the brain, and it has to have some physical existence. There's just no way that the conscious decision could come before the brain activity.

What if the accepted intuition regarding the relationships of our minds and bodies is wrong? What if our minds act through our brains to control our bodies, but are really independent of any particular physical body?

If it is true that there are many alternate reality universes, then perhaps we have multiple iterations of instances of our specific, personal dna sequences; the physical organisms encoded by our dna sequences in different universes may be collectivized by groups of minds sharing similar senses of identity including similar physical traits distributed across a spectrum of alternate realities.

To our own ways of seeing things, we each have many bodies sharing many minds distributed across many universes. It appears (to ourselves) as if our minds resemble energetic fields 'attuned' to our specific physical organisms, but capable of read/write/command operations across a spectrum of other organisms, such that those organisms most resembling 'our own' organisms are the easiest for us to operate.

Then, as we see it, it may be possible to have the will to do something before we can locate a brain/body able to act in response to our will.

Enjoy!

Comment author: Gharveyn 09 January 2018 06:00:23AM *  0 points [-]

Hi Toonalfrink, Status seeking appears to have its origins in infancy, consequently it is a fundamental form of cognitive behavior that can only be changed with sincere diligence and perseverance. Status confirmation rewards begin with early parental approval, and because it is a rewarding behavior, status seeking can resemble an addictive behavior.

Perhaps, in extreme cases there are people who may become addicted to their own hormones produced in response to the social and material privileges awarded to their status.

Like many behaviors, status seeking may become habituated, unconscious behavior.

Fortunately, many members of most societies often recognize inappropriate bids for approval or reward and may respond by chiding or punishing; however, the flip side is that punishment can become a form of status seeking gratification.

Even if a person feels as if status of any sort is deplorable or undesirable, they will most likely, at times, revert to status seeking behaviors, particularly when stressed.

Oddly enough, declaring status seeking to be deplorable can be a form of seeking status.

And yes, please, lets try to treat and regard all other people as equals, not only with regard to status, but in all other dimensions of existence, such as intelligence, security, justice, health care, finance, employment, and other resources.

Gung ho! We're all in this fix together, for better or worse.

Enjoy!

In response to comment by rkyeun on Reductionism
Comment author: entirelyuseless 06 January 2018 01:26:22AM 1 point [-]

Nope. There is no composition fallacy where there is no composition. I am replying to your position, not to mine.

Comment author: MugaSofer 05 January 2018 07:37:47PM *  0 points [-]

I don't think so - I think Eliezer's just being sloppy here. "God did a miracle" is supposed to be an example of something that sounds simple in plain English but is actually complex:

One observes that the length of an English sentence is not a good way to measure "complexity". [...] An enormous bolt of electricity comes out of the sky and hits something, and the Norse tribesfolk say, "Maybe a really powerful agent was angry and threw a lightning bolt." The human brain is the most complex artifact in the known universe. [...] The complexity of anger, and indeed the complexity of intelligence, was glossed over by the humans who hypothesized Thor the thunder-agent.

To a human, Maxwell's Equations take much longer to explain than Thor.

In response to Timeless Identity
Comment author: SafeAtLast 05 January 2018 03:48:22PM *  0 points [-]

I cannot experience what future me will experience, not even what past me experienced. I cannot experience what my hypothetical copy experiences. The configuration that leads to my identity is not important. The only thing I can value and preserve is what I experience now.

Why should I care about a copy of me? Invest on a resurrected version of myself?

Comment author: EllaDeker 05 January 2018 12:46:26PM *  0 points [-]

I think it's interesting topics for research papers, I've read something like that here: https://essays-service.com/blog/540-argumentative-essay-topics. It's great that students conduct similar studies. There are currently no qualitative content that is interesting to learn.

In response to comment by Unknown3 on Circular Altruism
Comment author: RST 29 December 2017 05:06:01PM *  0 points [-]

Suppose that the qualitative difference is between bearable and unbearable, in other words things that are over o below the pain tolerance. A pain just below pain tolerance when experienced for a small quantity of time will remain bearable; however, if it is prolonged for lots of time it will become unbearable because human patience is limited. So, even if we give importance to qualitative differences, we can still choose to avoid torture and your scenario, without going against our intuitions, or be incoherent. Now, let's assume that the time will be quite short (5 second for example), in this case I think it is really better to let billions of people suffer 5 second of bearable pain than to let one person suffer 5 second of unbearable pain. After all, people can stand a bearable pain by definition. However, pain tolerance is subjective and in real life we don't know exactly where the threshold is in every person, so we can prefer, as heuristic rule, the option with less people involved when the pains are similar to each other (maybe we have evolved some system to make such approximations, a sort of threshold insensitivity).

Comment author: Kevin 28 December 2017 10:28:24AM 0 points [-]

The idea that Bayes Camp could have been the most awesome thing at Burning Man is funny to me, looking back on this.

In response to comment by rkyeun on Magical Categories
Comment author: g_pepper 26 December 2017 11:08:26PM *  0 points [-]

I would be very surprised to find that a universe whose particles are arranged to maximize objective good would also contain unpaired sadists and masochists.

The problem is that neither you nor BrianPansky has proposed a viable objective standard for goodness. BrianPansky said that good is that which satisfies desires, but proposed no objective method for mediating conflicting desires. And here you said “Do remember that your thoughts and preference on ethics are themselves an arrangement of particles to be solved” but proposed no way for resolving conflicts between different people’s ethical preferences. Even if satisfying desires were an otherwise reasonable standard for goodness, it is not an objective standard, since different people may have different desires. Similarly, different people may have different ethical preferences, so an individual’s ethical preference would not be an objective standard either, even if it were otherwise a reasonable standard.

You seem to be asking a question of the form, "But if we take all the evil out of the universe, what about evil?"

No, I am not asking that. I am pointing out that neither your standard nor BrianPansky’s standard is objective. Therefore neither can be used to determine what would constitute an objectively maximally good universe nor could either be used to take all evil out of the universe, nor even to objectively identify evil.

In response to How to Be Happy
Comment author: ArthurRainbow 26 December 2017 02:01:35PM 0 points [-]

The link "http://www.bradp.com/brads-fashion-bible is broken. While it seems to be a self help link, it's not fashion related at all. It seems to be just pick up artist trick

Comment author: rkyeun 26 December 2017 10:28:03AM *  0 points [-]

I would be very surprised to find that a universe whose particles are arranged to maximize objective good would also contain unpaired sadists and masochists. You seem to be asking a question of the form, "But if we take all the evil out of the universe, what about evil?" And the answer is "Good riddance." Pun intentional.

Comment author: rkyeun 26 December 2017 09:56:46AM 0 points [-]

Composition fallacy. Try again.

Comment author: ArthurRainbow 26 December 2017 04:58:21AM 0 points [-]

For your information, Myrtle Young https://www.youtube.com/watch?v=EY3Lw_-bj5U is now a broken link. (sad. Sounds funny)

Apart from that, thanks. Interesting article. At least because I had no idea so much research where done on those subjects.

Comment author: British_Potato 22 December 2017 03:48:48PM *  0 points [-]

I am a bit confused here.

I responded—note that this was completely spontaneous—"What on Earth do you mean? You can't avoid assigning a probability to the mathematician making one statement or another. You're just assuming the probability is 1, and that's unjustified."

Is it? We have observed the mathematician making the statement. Assuming observation matches reality, and the statement is true, the probability of the mathematician having made the statement should be 1 or close to it because it has already happened. In every world, as long as the mathematician already makes this statement, the statement being something other is not possible. This eliminates the possibility of it being girl-girl and through orthodox statistics brings us to 1/3 yada yada. I've even run a small program to test it out, and it is very close to 1/3.

If the mathematician has one boy and one girl, then my prior probability for her saying 'at least one of them is a boy' is 1/2 and my prior probability for her saying 'at least one of them is a girl' is 1/2. There's no reason to believe, a priori, that the mathematician will only mention a girl if there is no possible alternative.

I have been pondering about this statement for hours on end. Assume I accept that the prior probabilities still need to be substantially considered despite the evidence, I am still confused about how there is a prior probability of 1/2 each for the mathematician saying that "at least one of them is a girl" and "at least one of them is a boy" (if she has a boy and a girl). Does this not assume that she can only make two statements about her state and no other? Aren't there many other ways she could have stated this such as "I have a boy and a girl" or simply "I have two girls" and "I have two boys"? Despite our prior probabilities for statements, the last two statements make the probability of both being boys 0 or 1. This is of course assuming the mathematician does not lie.

Finally, I'd like to understand how adding the possibility of the mathematician stating at least one girl increases the possibility of both being boys, rather than decrease it.

Wait.

The reason the probability increases is that since the mathematician chooses this statement despite having two options, it is now more likely there are two boys. I see. I got the intuition but I'd like this in mathematical notation. This still does not seem to fix the problem of already having many statements to choose from, making the assumption that the prior probability of her choosing to say at least one boy 1/2 dubious.

But I seem to now understand the reasoning behind it in the event that if the prior for making the statement is 1/2, the answer is indeed 1/2. Though this now seems to bring to forth how far back one needs to go to reach optimal probability and how there may be so many little subtle observations in real life which substantially impact the probability of events. Very exciting!

I'd very much like to see your work for the question! This is my first comment, I apologize for its length and any folly involved which is purely my own.

Cheers.

Comment author: NancyLebovitz 20 December 2017 03:35:23PM 1 point [-]

So, some years later, and I'm surprised I was upset. I consider this to be progress.

Comment author: DragonGod 18 December 2017 05:46:24AM 0 points [-]

I think this is the reason why a distinction between subjective and objective probability is needed.

In response to New Improved Lottery
Comment author: Guanyin 17 December 2017 06:58:55PM 0 points [-]

Or you could just fantasize about finding a billion dollars on the ground. After all, it could happen, so there's an epsilon chance of it happening without doing anything.

Comment author: PhilGoetz 17 December 2017 04:28:54PM *  1 point [-]

Yep, nice list. One I didn't see: Defining a word in a way that is less useful (that conveys less information) and rejecting a definition that is more useful (that conveys more information). Always choose the definition that conveys more information; eliminate words that convey zero information. It's common for people to define words that convey zero information. But if everything has the Buddha nature, nothing empirical can be said about what it means and it conveys no information.

Along similar lines, always define words so that no other word conveys too much mutual information about them. For instance, many people have argued with me that I should use the word "totalitarian" to mean "the fascist nations of the 20th century". Well, we already have a word for that, which is "fascist", so to define "totalitarian" as a synonym makes it a useless word.

The word "fascist" raises the question of when to use extensional vs. intensional definitions. It's conventionally defined extensionally, to mean the Axis powers in World War 2. This is not a useful definition, as we already have a label for that. Worse, people define it extensionally but pretend they've defined it intensionally. They call people today "fascist", conveying connotations in a way that can't be easily disputed, because there is no intensional definition to evaluate the claim.

Sometimes you want to switch back and forth between extensional and intensional definitions. In art history, we have a term for each period or "movement", like "neo-classical" and "Romantic". The exemplars of the category are defined both intensionally and extensionally, as those artworks having certain properties and produced in certain geographic locations during a certain time period. It is appropriate to use the intensional definition alone if describing a contemporary work of art (you can call it "Romantic" if it looks Romantic), but inappropriate to use examples that fit the intension but not the extension as exemplars, or to deduce things about the category from them. This keeps the categories stable.

A little ways back I talked about defining the phrase "Buddha nature". Phrases also have definitions--words are not atoms of meaning. Analyzing a phrase as if our theories of grammar worked, ignoring knowledge about idioms, is an error rationalists sometimes commit.

Pretending words don't have connotations is another error rationalists commit regularly--often in sneaky ways, deliberately using the connotations, while pretending they're being objective. Marxist literary criticism, for instance, loads a lot into the word "bourgeois".

Another category missing here is gostoks and doshes. This is when a word's connotations and tribal affiliation-signalling displace its semantic content entirely, and no one notices it has no meaning. Extremely common in Marxism and in "theory"; "capitalism" and "bourgeois" being the most-common examples. "Bourgeoisie" originally meant people like Rockefeller and the Borges, but as soon as artists began using the word, they used it to mean "people who don't like my scribbles," and now it has no meaning at all, but demonic connotations. "Capitalism" has no meaning that can single out post-feudal societies in the way Marxists pretend it does; any definition of it that I've seen includes things that Marxists don't want it to, like the Soviet Union, absolute monarchies, or even hunter-gatherer tribes. It should be called simply "free markets", which is what they really object to and much more accurate at identifying the economic systems that they oppose, but they don't want to admit that the essence of their ideology is opposition to freedom.

Avoid words with connotations that you haven't justified. Don't say "cheap" if you mean "inexpensive" or "shoddy". Especially avoid words which have a synonym with the opposite connotation: "frugal" and "miserly". Be aware of your etymological payloads: "awesome" and "awful" (full of awe), "incredible" (not credible), "wonderful" (thought-provoking).

Another category is when 2 subcultures have different sets of definitions for the same words, and don't realize it. For instance, in the humanities, "rational" literally means ratio-based reasoning, which rejects the use of real numbers, continuous equations, empirical measurements, or continuous changes over time. This is the basis of the Romantic/Modernist hatred of "science" (by which they mean Aristotelian rationality), and of many post-modern arguments that rationality doesn't work. Many people in the humanities are genuinely unaware that science is different than it was 2400 years ago, and most were 100% ignorant of science until perhaps the mid-20th century. A "classical education" excludes all empiricism.

Another problem is meaning drift. When you use writings from different centuries, you need to be aware of how the meanings of words and phrases have changed over time. For instance, the official academic line nowadays is that alchemy and astrology are legitimate sciences; this is justified in part by using the word "science" as if it meant the same as the Latin "scientia".

A problem in translation is decollapsing definitions. Medieval Latin conflated some important concepts because their neo-Platonist metaphysics said that all good things sort of went together. So for instance they had a single word, "pulchrum", which meant "beautiful", "sexy", "appropriate to its purpose", "good", and "noble". Translators will translate that into English based on the context, but that's not conveying the original mindset. This comes up most frequently when ancient writers made puns, like Plato's puns in the Crito, or "Jesus'" (Greek) puns in the opening chapters of John, which are destroyed in translation, leaving the reader with a false impression of the speaker's intent.

I disagree that saying "X is Y by definition" Is usually wrong, but I should probably leave my comment on that post instead of here.

Comment author: PhilGoetz 17 December 2017 04:17:28PM *  0 points [-]

[moved to top level of replies]

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