Less Wrong is a community blog devoted to refining the art of human rationality. Please visit our About page for more information.

fool_hill comments on Your intuitions are not magic - Less Wrong

65 Post author: Kaj_Sotala 10 June 2010 12:11AM

You are viewing a comment permalink. View the original post to see all comments and the full post content.

Comments (31)

You are viewing a single comment's thread.

Comment author: fool_hill 10 June 2010 06:20:11PM 4 points [-]

i don't know why we prefer to hold on to our intuitions. your claim, that " we persist on holding onto them exactly because we do not know how they work" has not been proven, as far as I can tell, and seems unlikely. I also don't know why our own results seem sharper than what we learn from the outside [although about this later point, i bet there's some story about lack of trust in homo hypocritus societies or something] .

As somebody who fits into the "new to the site" category, I enjoyed your article.

Comment author: RobinZ 10 June 2010 07:15:23PM 3 points [-]

Welcome to Less Wrong! Feel free to post an explicit introduction on that thread, if you're hanging around.

I think the critical point is in the next sentence:

We only get the feeling of certainty, a knowledge of this being right, and that feeling cannot be broken into parts that could be subjected to criticism to see if they add up.

Yes, we don't know what the interiors are - but the original source of our confidence is our (frequently justified) trust in our intuitions. I think another related point is made in How An Algorithm Feels From Inside, which talks about an experience which is illusory, merely reflecting an artifact of the way the brain processes data. The brain usually doesn't bother flagging a result as a result, it just marks it as true and charges forward. And as a consequence we don't observe that we are generalizing from the pattern of news stories we watched, and therefore don't realize our generalization may be wrong.

Comment author: JDM 05 November 2012 01:18:55PM 0 points [-]

I think it's a combination of not understanding the process with a lifetime of experience where's it's far more right than wrong (Even for younger people, if they have 10-15 years of instinctive behavior being rewarded on some level, it's hard to accept there are situations it doesn't work as well). Combine that with the tendency of positive outcomes to be more memorable than others, and it's not too difficult to understand why people trust their intuition as much as they do.

your claim, that " we persist on holding onto them exactly because we do not know how they work" has not been proven, as far as I can tell, and seems unlikely.

It may not be the only reason, but an accurate understanding of how intuitions work would make it easier to rely less on it in situations it's not as we'll equipped for, just as an understanding of different biases makes it easier to fight them in our own thought processes.