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RobinHanson comments on Don't Believe You'll Self-Deceive - Less Wrong

15 Post author: Eliezer_Yudkowsky 09 March 2009 08:03AM

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Comment author: RobinHanson 09 March 2009 02:44:05PM 6 points [-]

It seems to me you are trying to deceive yourself into thinking that you cannot comfortably self-deceive. Your effort may indeed make it harder to self-deceive, but I doubt it changes your situation all that much. Admit it, you are human, and within the usual human range of capabilities and tendencies for self-deception.

Comment author: Eliezer_Yudkowsky 09 March 2009 04:59:15PM 1 point [-]

Thus did I carefully write, "cannot deliberately self-deceive", not, "cannot self-deceive".

Comment author: RobinHanson 09 March 2009 05:21:21PM 8 points [-]

We have a continuum of degrees of deliberation to our actions. Even if I agree that you cannot self-deceive at the strongest degree of deliberation, that isn't in practice much of a restriction on your ability to self-deceive.

Comment author: Eliezer_Yudkowsky 09 March 2009 06:26:48PM *  4 points [-]

Might seem that way to you because you don't actually go around all day saying, "And now I shall doublethink myself into believing X!" Deliberate self-deception is a subset of self-deception well worth slicing off the carcass. E.g. Utilitarian from OB.

Just because the boundary of deliberate self-deception is fuzzy, doesn't mean the boundary is not worth drawing. The more so in this particular case, as if you wonder "Is this a deliberate self-deception that I can't get away with, or a non-deliberate one that I might still be able to pull off?" it has already reached the point of being deliberate. (Repeating this to yourself will make it even more true.)