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ksvanhorn comments on The limits of introspection - Less Wrong

56 Post author: Yvain 16 July 2011 09:00PM

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Comment author: ksvanhorn 17 July 2011 03:53:49AM 5 points [-]

OK, so you've given us the bad news. Is there any good news, i.e., research showing how you can get a more accurate picture of what your true preferences are and the true reasons for your behaviors?

Comment author: Yvain 17 July 2011 09:45:16PM 12 points [-]

I don't think there are true preferences. In one situation you have one tendency, in another situation you have another tendency, and "preference" is what it looks like when you try to categorize tendencies. But categorization is a passive and not an active process: if every day of the week I eat dinner at 6, I can generalize to say "I prefer to eat dinner at 6", but it would be false to say that some stable preference toward dinner at 6 is what causes my behavior on each day.

I think the best way to salvage preferences is to consider them as tendencies in reflective equilibrium. I'll explain that more later.

Comment author: Curiouskid 26 December 2011 02:40:43PM 3 points [-]

Just thought I'd link to the place where you address this question so that others don't have to go digging around.


Comment author: lessdazed 17 July 2011 11:41:16AM 0 points [-]

What makes this bad news?

Comment author: ksvanhorn 17 July 2011 03:27:15PM 10 points [-]

It's hard to maximize your expected utility if you don't really know what your utility function is. And attempts at self-improvement may founder if you have an inaccurate picture of yourself.