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Oligopsony 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: Oligopsony 09 August 2010 06:40:37PM 2 points [-]

What's important isn't the number of degrees of removal, but that the belief's being true corresponds to different expected sensory experiences of any kind at all than its being false. The sensory experience of perceiving patterns of ink on a piece of paper counts.

Now you could say: "reading about the Crusades in history books is strong evidence that 'the Crusades happened' is the current academic consensus," and you could hypothesize that the academic consensus was wrong. This further hypothesis would lead to further expected sensory data - for instance, examining the documents cited by historians and finding that they must have been forgeries, or whatever.

Comment author: Dpar 09 August 2010 07:01:01PM -2 points [-]

If you adapt that position, then the belief in ghosts for instance will result in the sensory experience of reading or hearing about them, no? Can you then point to ANY belief that doesn't result in a sensory experience other than something that you make up yourself out of thin air?

If the concept of sensory experience is to have any meaning at all, you can't just extrapolate it as you see fit. If you can't see, hear, smell, taste, or touch an object directly, you have not had sensory experience with that object. That does not mean that that object does not exist though.

DP

Comment author: Unknowns 09 August 2010 07:11:15PM 2 points [-]

Yes, ghost stories are evidence for the existence of ghosts. Just not very strong evidence.

There can be indirect sensory evidence as well as direct.