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glennfriesen comments on The Virtue of Narrowness - Less Wrong

56 Post author: Eliezer_Yudkowsky 07 August 2007 05:57PM

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Comment author: glennfriesen 28 February 2012 11:49:37PM 2 points [-]

I've found this to be true: there are lumpers, and there are splitters.

Sometimes, individually, in some fields, lumpers can be splitters. Sometimes, individually, in some fields, splitters can be lumpers. Mostly, though, lumpers default to lumping; and splitters default to splitting.

I'm a splitter. I don't like using generic terms. I like using specifics. My blood boils when people misuse terms (recently happened when someone used a term I use regularly, "cognitive dissonance", to describe someone not agreeing with someone else's opinion)

Many others I've butted heads and befriended have been lumpers. They group everything as much as possible, and seem to think that splitters are "too detail-oriented".


I am so glad I stumbled across this site, btw. Great work!

Comment author: pnrjulius 05 May 2012 09:54:11PM 2 points [-]

The key, it seems to me, is to learn when to lump and when to split.

Sometimes generality is exactly what we need; other times precision and specificity are required. How we know which is which is a problem that I think is difficult, but not insoluble.

Comment author: Nikario 23 December 2014 01:59:01PM 0 points [-]

Exactly. Many people seem angry because lumpers lump when they should split. And in those cases I am angry as well. But one could write the complementary article complaining about spliters splitting when they should lump. I am also angry in those cases. Daniel Dennett makes a good point about this in his article "Real Patterns".