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benelliott comments on Confidence levels inside and outside an argument - Less Wrong

129 Post author: Yvain 16 December 2010 03:06AM

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Comment author: benelliott 16 December 2010 08:47:31PM *  5 points [-]


Comment author: Thomas 16 December 2010 08:58:39PM 1 point [-]

So, you say, it's possible it isn't true?

Comment author: ata 16 December 2010 09:09:42PM *  6 points [-]

I would say that according to my model (i.e. inside the argument (in this post's terminology)), it's not possible that that isn't true, but that I assign greater than 0% credence to the outside-the-argument possibility that I'm wrong about what's possible.

(A few relevant posts: How to Convince Me That 2 + 2 = 3; But There's Still A Chance, Right?; The Fallacy of Gray)

Comment author: Thomas 16 December 2010 09:37:21PM 0 points [-]

How to Convince Me That 2 + 2 = 3

You can think for a moment, that 1024*10224=1048578. You can make an honest arithmetic mistake. More probable for bigger numbers, less probable for smaller. Very, very small for 2 + 2 and such. But I wouldn't say it's zero, and also not that the 0 is always excluded with the probability 1.

Exclusion of 0 and 1 implies, that this exclusion is not 100% certain. Kind of a probabilistic modus tollens.

Comment author: byrnema 16 December 2010 09:13:57PM *  0 points [-]

it's not possible that that isn't true

What is it that is true? (Just to clarify..)

Comment author: Thomas 16 December 2010 09:19:48PM -1 points [-]


Probabilities of 1 and 0 are considered rule violations and discarded.

Discarding 0 and 1 from the game implies, that we have a positive probability - that they are wrongly excluded.

Comment author: benelliott 16 December 2010 09:00:09PM *  6 points [-]


I get quite annoyed when this is treated as a refutation of the argument that absolute truth doesn't exist. Acknowledging that there is some chance that a position is false does not disprove it, any more than the fact that you might win the lottery means that you will.

Comment author: christopherj 18 November 2013 05:00:02AM *  1 point [-]

Someone claiming that absolute truths don't exist has no right to be absolutely certain of his own claim. This of course has no bearing on the actual truth of his claim, nor the truth of the supposed absolute truth he's trying to refute by a fully generic argument against absolute truths.

I rather prefer Eliezer's version, that confidence of 2^n to 1, requires [n - log base 2 of prior odds] bits of evidence to be justified. Not only does this essentially forbid absolute certainty (you'd need infinite evidence to justify absolute certainty), but it is actually useful for real life.