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Wenceslao 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: Wenceslao 30 June 2015 08:43:35PM 3 points [-]

Interesting post. However, I do not agree completely in the conclutions on the end.

I am a student in math science, what involves me into an enviroment of researchers of this area. In this way, I am able to see that this people's work is based on beliefs that 'does not exists', I mean, they work on abstract ideas that generally only exists in their minds. And now I wonder, does their efforts 'does not pay rent'? They live from structures and stuff that, in the most of the cases, cannot be found in 'real life', and so, according to the article's conclution, this would not be worth thinking, as is not flowing from a question of anticipation (what were we anticipating if it does not exists?).

Maybe I'm missunderstanding the post, or maybe it is just focus in other life experiences.

Comment author: LawrenceC 30 June 2015 09:18:47PM *  2 points [-]

You're definitely right that there's some areas where it's easier to make beliefs pay rent than others! I think there's two replies to your concern:

1) First, many theories from math DO pay rent (the ones I'm most aware of are statistics and computer-science related ones). For example, better algorithms in theory (say Strassen's algorithm for multiplying matrices) often correspond to better results in practice. Even more abstract stuff like number theory or recursion theory do yield testable predictions.

2) Even things that can't pay rent directly can be logical implications of other things that pay rent. Eliezer wrote about this kind of reasoning here.