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Wei_Dai comments on Recommended reading for new rationalists - Less Wrong

27 Post author: XFrequentist 09 July 2009 07:47PM

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Comment author: Wei_Dai 13 July 2009 02:23:25AM 6 points [-]

There seem to be few reviews of this book, and almost no citations to it in Google Scholar. I found one review at http://www.bayesianinvestor.com/blog/index.php/2009/04/28/good-and-real/. Quoting from it:

He uses a concept which he calls a subjunctive relation, which is intermediate between a causal relation and a correlation, to explain why a choice that seems to happen after its goal has been achieved can be rational. That is the part of his argument that I find unconvincing. The subjunctive relation behaves a lot like a causal relation, and I can’t figure out why it should be treated as more than a correlation unless it’s equivalent to a causal relation.

I'm having trouble understanding it too. And it concerns me that neither the evidentialist camp nor the causalist camp seem to see a need to rebut or comment on Drescher's ideas.

Comment author: Wei_Dai 15 July 2009 10:12:21AM 3 points [-]

Also, chapter 7, "Deriving Ought From Is", doesn't take into account an important difference between Newcomb's Problem and One-Shot Prisoner's Dilemma that I pointed out at http://lesswrong.com/lw/6r/newcombs_problem_vs_oneshot_prisoners_dilemma/. I think this is a fatal flaw for Drescher's argument.

Comment author: lukeprog 15 May 2011 01:51:18PM 1 point [-]

Thank you for these comments. I've been meaning to go through Drescher with a fine-toothed comb and write a review, but I'll probably never have time.