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Perplexed comments on Making Beliefs Pay Rent (in Anticipated Experiences) - Less Wrong

110 Post author: Eliezer_Yudkowsky 28 July 2007 10:59PM

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Comment author: Perplexed 22 July 2010 03:18:43AM 6 points [-]

I, too, am nervous about having anticipated experience as the only criterion for truth and meaning. It seems to me that a statement can get its meaning either from the class of prior actions which make it true or from the class of future observations which its truth makes inevitable. We can't do quantum mechanics with kets, but no bras. We can't do Gentzen natural deduction with rules of elimination, but no rules of introduction. We can't do Bayesian updating with observations, but no priors. And I claim that you can't have a theory of meaning which deals only with consequences of statements being true but not with what actions put the universe into a state in which the statement becomes true.

This position of mine comes from my interpretation of the dissertation of Noam Zeilberger of CMU (2005, I think). Zeilberger's main concern lies in Logic and Computer Science, but along the way he discusses theories of truth implicit in the work of Martin-Lof and Dummett.

Comment author: timtyler 30 November 2010 08:08:50PM *  0 points [-]

I, too, am nervous about having anticipated experience as the only criterion for truth and meaning. It seems to me that a statement can get its meaning either from the class of prior actions which make it true or from the class of future observations which its truth makes inevitable.

That seems obviously correct. However, unless you pursue knowledge for its own sake, you should probably not be overly concerned with preserving past truths - unless they are going to impact on future decisions.

Of course, the decisions of a future superintelligence might depend on all kinds of historical minutae that we don't regard as important. So maybe we should preserve those truths we regard as insignificant to us for it. However, today, probably relatively few are enslaved to future superintelligences - and even then, it isn't clear that this is what they would want us to do.