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larsyencken comments on Welcome to Less Wrong! (2012) - Less Wrong

25 Post author: orthonormal 26 December 2011 10:57PM

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Comment author: larsyencken 08 April 2012 10:20:34AM 6 points [-]

Hi all,

My name's Lars. I'm from Melbourne, Australia, and have a background in software/mathematics/languages. I've also tutored classes in logic and artificial intelligence. Like a lot of folks commenting here, I've been reading articles on LessWrong for a while, but now I'm keen to understand the community around it a bit more.

I've been interested in rationality for some years. One of my favourite posts so far is "Intellectual Hipsters and Meta-contrarianism". It helped me notice signalling in arguments, and reduce greatly the amount I do it myself.

I think people struggle to keep track of all the different aspects of big societal issues, so I'm very interested in tools to help people share their arguments, evidence and understanding better. I notice when we talk about issues, our short term memory severely limits the depth of what we can discuss. Writing is definitely better, but I wonder, is it the endpoint? Has anyone had much success with argument mapping tools, or other alternative ways of expressing reasoning and evidence?

Comment author: TheOtherDave 08 April 2012 02:37:22PM 0 points [-]

Writing is definitely better, but I wonder, is it the endpoint? Has anyone had much success with argument mapping tools, or other alternative ways of expressing reasoning and evidence?

That's an excellent question. I haven't, but would be interested in exploring this if you have a preferred tool.

I've gotten some benefit when talking about complex issues from introducing formalisms such as labeling key entities and using those labels rather than vague pronouns, or being precise about "there exists an X" vs "for all X", and stuff like that. That said, there are signalling difficulties with doing that in most communities.

Comment author: larsyencken 09 April 2012 12:41:21AM 0 points [-]

I've tried Rationale before (http://rationale.austhink.com/), but unfortunately it's not free. It's good at organising evidence and counter-evidence, teasing out premises, and trying to ground each one.

With larger arguments, it helps a lot in keeping track of all the parts -- better than writing. Where it fell down was in comparing the relative weight of different pieces of evidence, or in general handling uncertainty.

Comment author: TheOtherDave 09 April 2012 01:11:42AM 0 points [-]

Mm. Not really interested in paying for the privilege at the moment.

Comment author: wedrifid 08 April 2012 11:52:36AM 0 points [-]

My name's Lars. I'm from Melbourne, Australia

Welcome Lars. There are quite a bunch of us from Melbourne.

Comment author: larsyencken 09 April 2012 12:42:34AM 0 points [-]

Thank you. I understand there was a meetup last week. Do they run regularly?

Comment author: wedrifid 09 April 2012 08:10:38AM 0 points [-]

Thank you. I understand there was a meetup last week. Do they run regularly?

They seem to run regularly, and I believe there are several different kinds of meetups. I'm not really the one to ask though - I haven't been to one. Something always seems to come up.