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wedrifid comments on Scientific Self-Help: The State of Our Knowledge - Less Wrong

138 Post author: lukeprog 20 January 2011 08:44PM

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Comment author: wedrifid 22 January 2011 03:08:26AM *  0 points [-]

This is, of course, why 'self help' is best performed in communities where other people's agendas are not there to interfere with your progress. Given that success is for most part social and zero sum there will inevitably be epistemic pollution as a result of other people trying to influence your behaviour for their own purposes. Morality, after all, is mostly a tool used by people with (an appropriate kind of social) power to control the behaviour of those most vulnerable to its influence. (Note that sometimes it also serves a useful overall social purpose but it is not there to help you.)

Edit: If nothing else having specialised self help communities prevents every single remotely related conversation from ending up derailed into ethics.

Comment author: HughRistik 22 January 2011 06:51:05AM 6 points [-]

In my view, the problem isn't inherent in discussion of ethics, it's just that many notions of ethics (particularly in social interaction) are just hypocritical and wrong from the start. Basically, people's conventional ideas about "self", "authenticity", and "manipulation" are largely an ephemeral slave morality. (Sorry if I'm giving anyone inferential distance shock, but I've outlined this position in the past here in massively long comments that I'm too lazy to dig up.)

The problem with throwing out the ethical baby with the bathwater is that then it's hard to get help optimizing your self-improvement according to a particular vision of ethics.

Comment author: wedrifid 22 January 2011 07:02:45AM 1 point [-]

In my view, the problem isn't inherent in discussion of ethics, it's just that many notions of ethics (particularly in social interaction) are just hypocritical and wrong from the start.

I agree with you here and also note that what I am wary of is not environments in which ethical discussions take place but rather environments in which discussions pertaining simple instrumental or epistemic considerations are systematically diverted by ethical discussion or moral proscription. That is, it is what is lost and the implied introduction of bias into what remains that is the problem.

Comment author: MartinB 22 January 2011 03:47:53AM 0 points [-]

best performed in communities where other people's agendas are not there to interfere with your progress.

careful you who take advice from.

Comment author: wedrifid 22 January 2011 04:10:06AM 1 point [-]

careful you who take advice from.

Obviously. But your advice in this particular instance appears, shall we say, ambiguous at best.

Comment author: MartinB 22 January 2011 04:41:20AM 2 points [-]

Ambiguious posting is matter of habit for me. In this context: I experienced both growth oriented communities. And others that punish you for looking into improvement. Or people that give bad advice for all kinds of reasons. It was difficult for me to understand that this happens and why.

Comment author: wedrifid 22 January 2011 04:45:51AM 0 points [-]

Well said.