Less Wrong is a community blog devoted to refining the art of human rationality. Please visit our About page for more information.

Perrr333 comments on Your Strength as a Rationalist - Less Wrong

69 Post author: Eliezer_Yudkowsky 11 August 2007 12:21AM

You are viewing a comment permalink. View the original post to see all comments and the full post content.

Comments (113)

Sort By: Old

You are viewing a single comment's thread.

Comment author: [deleted] 10 February 2015 12:34:32AM 0 points [-]

Was a mistake really made in this instance? Is it not correct to conclude 'there was no problem'? Yes, the author did not realise the story was fictional; but what of what he concluded implied the story was not fictional?

Furthermore, is it good to berate oneself because one does not immediately realise something? In this case, the author did not immediately realise the story was fictional. But evidently the author was already working toward that conclusion by throwing doubt on parts of the story. And the evidence the author had was obviously inconclusive; the story could have been fictional (and the lie could have been invented at several stages), or the complainant could perhaps have simply misinterpreted chest pains as something else, or perhaps the doctors could have in fact made a mistake etc. Given all that, it seems rather after-the-fact to conclude the "Rational" conclusion one should have reached was that the story was a fiction. Surely the "Rational" conclusion would be to suspend judgement pending further investigation; or perhaps judge, but judge lightly. In any case, the self-flagellation at the end of the article seemed unnecessary. Humans are not capable of permanently being "Rational" thinkers; to get to the "Rational" conclusions, it is often best to proceed in baby-steps we can take rather than "Rational" leaps prescribed by whatever vision of "Rationality" is imagined by the author.