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Grognor comments on Fireplace Delusions [LINK] - Less Wrong

32 Post author: mas 03 February 2012 04:13AM

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Comment author: Desrtopa 03 February 2012 02:11:03PM 10 points [-]

I think that we may face the opposite danger though, of being too prepared to accept claims that are issued with challenges to show our rational impartiality. I think that's the sort of reaction I caught myself having when I read it.

Comment author: Grognor 03 February 2012 07:28:32PM *  2 points [-]

I worry about this all the time, but honestly, we know rationality is hard, and we know you're never quite sure you're doing it right. Because humans tend to try to validate their own beliefs way harder than than conflicting ones, applying the virtue of evenness probably means closer to rejecting your own beliefs if possible than "searching equally hard for flaws in your own arguments as well as others". If you state the latter goal, you are likely to fall into one of the many, many traps that let you think you were right all along.

But I do worry about it all the time. What if, instead of being a leaf on the wind, I'm a rocket-propelled leaf trying to figure out the direction of the wind prematurely and flying off into space, never to be seen again? Then I'd be in space, and there's no oxygen there, and leaves can't survive without oxygen.

Comment author: Desrtopa 03 February 2012 08:11:22PM 0 points [-]

I do think it's possible to overcome. If there's any rationalist skill I feel I've developed to a notable level, it's the ability to scrutinize my own internal monologue as it occurs rather than trying to work out after the fact what I was thinking, so while part of me was urging me to accept it to prove my impartiality to myself, I was able to notice this as I was reading it.

Comment author: [deleted] 04 February 2012 11:40:27PM 0 points [-]

it's the ability to scrutinize my own internal monologue as it occurs rather

Do you have any advise on how not to become internally polarized? I sometimes find myself wanting something to be true but then when I realize that (I want something to be true) some part of me try to compensate for my "emotional favoritism", and I end up with one side dismissing anything I would like to be true in a somewhat compulsive manner and another side inducing negative emotions every time it's candidate gets knocked down.

Comment author: Desrtopa 04 February 2012 11:59:52PM *  2 points [-]

I try to emulate the views of an impartial person in internal monologue. I think it helps to engage in a lot of debates and discussions and take pains to observe the differences between people who have incentives to engage in motivated reasoning and people who don't, so you can notice in yourself "That doesn't seem like a way I'd respond if I weren't engaging in motivated reasoning," or "that really does seem like what I'd expect from an unbiased person."