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JGWeissman 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: JGWeissman 25 February 2011 11:17:30PM 0 points [-]

In this example, Joe's belief that he's smart and beautiful does pay rent in anticipated experience. He anticipates a favorable reaction if he approaches a girl with his gimmick and pickup line. As it happens, his innaccurate beliefs are paying rent in inaccurate anticipated experiences, and he goes wrong epistemically by not noticing that his actual experience differs from his anticipated experience and he should update his beliefs accordingly.

The virtue of making beliefs pay rent in anticipated experience protects you from forming incoherent beleifs, maps not corresponding to any territory. Joe's beliefs are coherent, correspond to a part of the territory, and are persistantly wrong.

Comment author: MoreOn 25 February 2011 11:24:56PM 0 points [-]

If my tenants paid rent with a piece of paper that said "moneeez" on it, I wouldn't call it paying rent.

In your view, don't all beliefs pay rent in some anticipated experience, no matter how bad that rent is?

Comment author: JGWeissman 25 February 2011 11:32:24PM *  0 points [-]

In your view, don't all beliefs pay rent in some anticipated experience, no matter how bad that rent is?

No, for an example of beliefs that don't pay rent in any anticipated experience, see the first 3 paragraphs of this article:

Thus begins the ancient parable:

If a tree falls in a forest and no one hears it, does it make a sound? One says, "Yes it does, for it makes vibrations in the air." Another says, "No it does not, for there is no auditory processing in any brain."

Suppose that, after the tree falls, the two walk into the forest together. Will one expect to see the tree fallen to the right, and the other expect to see the tree fallen to the left? Suppose that before the tree falls, the two leave a sound recorder next to the tree. Would one, playing back the recorder, expect to hear something different from the other? Suppose they attach an electroencephalograph to any brain in the world; would one expect to see a different trace than the other? Though the two argue, one saying "No," and the other saying "Yes," they do not anticipate any different experiences. The two think they have different models of the world, but they have no difference with respect to what they expect will happen to them.

Comment author: MoreOn 25 February 2011 11:34:40PM *  1 point [-]

Two people have semantically different beliefs.

Both beliefs lead them to anticipate the same experience.

EDIT: In other words, two people might think they have different beliefs, but when it comes to anticipated experiences, they have similar enough beliefs about the properties of sound waves and the properties of falling trees and recorders and etc etc that they anticipate the same experience.

Comment author: JGWeissman 25 February 2011 11:53:11PM 2 points [-]

Two people have semantically different beliefs.

Taboo "semantically".

See also the example of The Dragon in the Garage, as discussed in the followup article.

Comment author: MoreOn 26 February 2011 12:31:18AM 0 points [-]

Taboo'ed. See edit.

Although I have a bone to pick with the whole "belief in belief" business, right now I'll concede that people actually do carry beliefs around that don't lead to anticipated experiences. Wulky Wilkinsen being a "post-utopian" (as interpreted from my current state of knowing 0 about Wulky Wilkinsen and post-utopians) is a belief that doesn't pay any rent at all, not even a paper that says "moneeez."

Comment author: Steven_Bukal 27 June 2011 07:41:47PM 1 point [-]

If my tenants paid rent with a piece of paper that said "moneeez" on it, I wouldn't call it paying rent.

Or they pay you with forged bills. You think you'll be able to deposit them at the bank and spend them to buy stuff, but what actually happens is the bank freezes your account and the teller at the store calls the police on you.