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RichardKennaway comments on Instrumental Rationality is a Chimera - Less Wrong

7 Post author: Tom_Talbot 16 April 2009 11:15PM

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Comment author: RichardKennaway 17 April 2009 08:29:46AM 4 points [-]

There is no such thing as instrumental rationality. What is the rational way to butter toast? Brew coffee? Drive a car? Raise a child? Conduct a particle physics experiment?

The rational way to do all of these things is to discover and do what it physically requires to achieve them. To be constrained by how the world is, as opposed, for example, to merely wishing for buttered toast, saying the name of God over the espresso machine, driving straight out into heavy traffic the first time you sit behind a steering wheel, beating a baby to make it stop crying, or neglecting the study of all the mathematics, physics, engineering, and management necessary to build and run the LHC.

I am not seeing the problem here. There is such an art, and OB and LW are about it.

Rather than racking their brains in an attempt to come up with something novel to say on the topic of abstract rationalism, we should encourage contributors to tell us about something they specialise in, to give us advice backed by evidence and reasoned argument about something they know a lot about, and to direct us to useful references wherein we may learn more.

I agree. We need war stories (if that's not an off-puttingly masculine way of describing it) in addition to generalities. "The Art must have a purpose other than itself."

Bodies creating software or hardware specifications sometimes make the following rule: no specification without implementation. Anyone proposing something for the spec must also demonstrate an implementation. The principle can be widely applied.

I don't have a war story to add to this post though. Today, like most working days, I will apply myself to various mathematical and programming tasks at work, but I doubt anyone wants to hear about finite element modelling or GUI design on LW. In the evening I will do various other things not of consequence here. Where is rationality being applied? Well, where would it not be being applied?

Comment author: fmgn 19 April 2017 09:17:50AM 1 point [-]

Masculinity isn't off-putting.

Comment author: contravariant 24 April 2017 09:50:23AM *  0 points [-]

That's a subjective value judgement from your point of view.

If you intend it to be more than that, you would have to explain why others shouldn't see it as off-putting.

Otherwise, I don't see how it contributes to the discussion other than "there's at least one person out there who thinks masculinity isn't off putting", which we already know, there's billions of examples.

Comment author: Lumifer 24 April 2017 07:56:14PM 0 points [-]

I don't see how it contributes to the discussion

<gives contravariant a mirror>

Comment author: ialdabaoth 24 April 2017 11:07:19PM 0 points [-]

I love how this is the hill we're dying on.

Comment author: Lumifer 24 April 2017 11:19:12PM 0 points [-]

No bodies yet, in fact I would consider this preventive maintenance...