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Emile comments on Intellectual Hipsters and Meta-Contrarianism - Less Wrong

149 Post author: Yvain 13 September 2010 09:36PM

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Comment author: Emile 14 September 2010 08:04:58AM 34 points [-]

One more time: the fact that those beliefs are in an order does not mean some of them are good and others are bad. For example, "5 year old child / pro-death / transhumanist" is a triad, and "warming denier / warming believer / warming skeptic" is a triad, but I personally support 1+3 in the first triad and 2 in the second. You can't evaluate the truth of a statement by its position in a signaling game; otherwise you could use human psychology to figure out if global warming is real!

Well worth stressing.

It's possible to go meta on nearly any issue, and there are a lot of meta-level arguments - group affiliation, signaling, rationalization, ulterior motives, whether a position is contrarian or supported by the majority, who the experts are and how much we should trust them, which group is persecuted the most, straw man positions and whether anybody really holds them, slippery slopes, different ways to interpret statements, who is working under which cognitive bias ...

Which is why I prefer discussions to stick to the object level rather than go meta. It's just too easy to rationalize a position in meta, and to find convincing-sounding arguments as to why the other side mistakenly disagrees with you. And meta-level disagreements are more likely to persist in the long run, because they are hard to verify.

Sure, meta-level arguments are very valuable in many cases, we shouldn't drop them altogether. But we should be very cautious while using them.

Comment author: Will_Newsome 18 September 2010 08:26:25AM *  6 points [-]

Going meta often introduces burdensome details. This will only lead you closer to truth when your epistemic rationality is strong enough to shoulder the weight.

Comment author: minusdash 03 January 2015 01:42:31AM 5 points [-]

That's a triad too: naive instinctive signaling / signaling-aware people disliking signaling / signaling is actually a useful and necessary thing.