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ata 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: ata 04 January 2011 07:46:19PM *  3 points [-]

Free-floating beliefs have to at least feel like beliefs. You can't even think you have a belief about whether Wulky Wilkinsen is a barnbeanbaggle unless you think you have some idea of what "barnbeanbaggle" is being used to mean. The thing about using a made-up word is that it's too easy to notice that you don't know what to anticipate from it. The thing about "post-utopian" is that, even if you have some idea of what "post-utopian" is supposed to mean, being told (by someone you perceive as sufficiently authoritative) that a certain author is "post-utopian" is quite likely to just make you selectively interpret that author's works to fit that schema. Similar to how you can make professional wine tasters describe a white wine the way they usually describe red wines by dying it red.

Comment author: alexvermeer 04 January 2011 09:20:07PM 1 point [-]

The made-up word being too easy to notice is a good point.

  1. "I believe Wulky is a post-utopian."
  2. "The professor says Wulky is a post-utopian, and I expect to figure out what the term means and confirm or disconfirm this claim by reading his book."

When I first read this post I thought (2), and if I understand it right, the post is attacking (1).

I may be getting too tied-up with the labels being used...

Comment author: Will_Sawin 05 January 2011 10:29:01PM 0 points [-]

You originally misunderstood Eliezer's point, and now understand it.

If many people will similarly misunderstand it, that is a reason for Eliezer to change it on lesswrong or if/when it appears in his book. If you are relatively unusual, it is only a weak reason.

Reasons not to change it would be a lack of viable alternatives. Can we think of an alternative better than "post-utopian" or "barnbeanbaggle"? For example, a less meaningful term from literary theory or another field?

Comment author: BarbaraB 14 June 2012 08:07:18PM 1 point [-]

My boyfriend just suggested "metaspontaneity" !

Comment author: BarbaraB 14 June 2012 09:03:04PM 0 points [-]