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djc comments on Philosophy: A Diseased Discipline - Less Wrong

88 Post author: lukeprog 28 March 2011 07:31PM

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Comment author: djc 30 March 2011 05:22:56AM *  25 points [-]

As a professional philosopher who's interested in some of the issues discussed in this forum, I think it's perfectly healthy for people here to mostly ignore professional philosophy, for reasons given here. But I'm interested in the reverse direction: if good ideas are being had here, I'd like professional philosophy to benefit from them. So I'd be grateful if someone could compile a list of significant contributions made here that would be useful to professional philosophers, with links to sources.

(The two main contributions that I'm aware of are ideas about friendly AI and timeless/updateless decision theory. I'm sure there are more, though. Incidentally I've tried to get very smart colleagues in decision theory to take the TDT/UDT material seriously, but the lack of a really clear statement of these ideas seems to get in the way.)

Comment author: lukeprog 30 March 2011 05:32:31AM 15 points [-]

Yes, this is one reason I'm campaigning to have LW / SIAI / Yudkowsky ideas written in standard form!

Comment author: [deleted] 09 June 2013 08:43:42PM 7 points [-]

As a professional philosopher who's interested in some of the issues discussed in this forum. . .

Oh wow. The initials 'djc' match up with David (John) Chalmers. Carnap and PhilPapers are mentioned in this user's comments. Far from conclusive evidence, but my bet is that we've witnessed a major analytic philosopher contribute to LW's discussion. Awesome.

Comment author: enye-word 10 May 2017 08:51:59AM 0 points [-]

In the comment he links to above, djc states "One way that philosophy makes progress is when people work in relative isolation, figuring out the consequences of assumptions rather than arguing about them. The isolation usually leads to mistakes and reinventions, but it also leads to new ideas."

When asked about LessWrong in a reddit AMA, David Chalmers stated "i think having subcommunities of this sort that make their own distinctive assumptions is an important mechanism of philosophical progress" and an interest in TDT/UDT.

(See also: https://slatestarcodex.com/2017/02/06/notes-from-the-asilomar-conference-on-beneficial-ai/)

(Sorry to dox you, David Chalmers. Hope you're doing well these days.)

Comment author: Vladimir_Nesov 30 March 2011 10:51:20AM 3 points [-]

Incidentally I've tried to get very smart colleagues in decision theory to take the TDT/UDT material seriously, but the lack of a really clear statement of these ideas seems to get in the way.

Do you know about the TDT paper?

Comment author: XiXiDu 30 March 2011 01:23:59PM 6 points [-]

So I'd be grateful if someone could compile a list of significant contributions made here that would be useful to professional philosophers, with links to sources.

Actually in one case this "forum" could benefit from the help of professional philosophers, as the founder Eliezer Yudkowsky especially asks for help on this problem:

I don't feel I have a satisfactory resolution as yet, so I'm throwing it open to any analytic philosophers...

I think that if you show that professional philosophy can dissolve that problem then people here would be impressed.

Comment author: radical_negative_one 30 March 2011 06:23:59AM *  1 point [-]

Incidentally I've tried to get very smart colleagues in decision theory to take the TDT/UDT material seriously, but the lack of a really clear statement of these ideas seems to get in the way.

Just in case you haven't seen it, here is Eliezer's Timeless Decision Theory paper. It's over a hundred pages so i'd hope that it represents a "clear statement". (Although i can't personally comment on anything in it because i don't currently have time to read it.)

Comment author: djc 30 March 2011 06:45:48AM 24 points [-]

That's the one. I sent it to five of the world's leading decision theorists. Those who I heard back from clearly hadn't grasped the main idea. Given the people involved, I think this indicates that the paper isn't a sufficiently clear statement.

Comment author: [deleted] 30 March 2011 06:31:40AM 6 points [-]

It's somewhat painful to read. I've tried to read it in the past and get a bit eyesore after the first twenty pages.

Doing the math, I realize it's probably irrational for Yudkowsky-san to spend time learning LaTeX or some other serious typesetting system, but I can dream, right?

Comment author: lukeprog 13 July 2012 04:58:53AM 11 points [-]

Your dream has come true.

Comment author: [deleted] 13 July 2012 05:41:24AM 2 points [-]

Happiness is too general a term to express my current state of mind.

May the karma flow through you like so many grains of sand through a sieve.

Comment author: wedrifid 13 July 2012 05:50:06AM 0 points [-]

May the karma flow through you like so many grains of sand through a sieve.

Not quite sure how this one works. Usually I associate sieve with "leaking like a sieve", generally a bad thing---do you want all his karma to be assassinated away as fast as it comes?

Comment author: [deleted] 13 July 2012 06:03:17AM 2 points [-]

Oh, no. Lukeprog is the sieve, and the grains of sand are whatever fraction of a hedon he gets from being upvoted.

Comment author: gmpalmer 10 December 2012 02:23:43PM *  0 points [-]

I hope this is corrected later in the paper and my apologies if this is a stupid question but could you please explain how the example of gum chewing and abscesses makes sense?

That is, in the explanation you are making your decision based on evidence. Indeed, you'd be happy--or anyone would be happy--to hear you're chewing gum once the results of the second study are known. How is that causal and not evidential?

I see later in the paper that gum chewing is evidence for the CGTA gene but that doesn't make any sense. You can't change whether or not you have the gene and the gum chewing is better for you at any rate. Still confused about the value of the gum chewing example.

Comment author: RichardKennaway 30 March 2011 10:14:56AM *  5 points [-]

The LaTeX to format a document like that can be learnt in an hour or two with no previous experience, assuming at least basic technically-minded smarts.

Comment author: rhollerith_dot_com 30 March 2011 12:10:42PM *  5 points [-]

The LaTeX to format a document like that can be learnt in an hour or two

And the learning (and formatting of the document) does not have to be done by the author of the document.