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anon2 comments on Your Strength as a Rationalist - Less Wrong

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

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Comment author: anon2 11 August 2007 01:50:21AM -2 points [-]

It's strange that it sounds like a rationalist is saying that he should have listened to his instincts. A true rationalist should be able to examine all the evidence without having to rely on feelings to make a judgment, or would be able to truly understand the source of his feelings, in which case it's more than just a feeling. The unfortunate thing is that people are more likely to remember the cases when they didn't listen to their feelings which ended up being correct in the end, than all the times when they were wrong.

The "quiet strain in the back of your mind" is what drives some people to always expect the worst to happen, and every so often they are right which reinforces their confidence in their intuitions more than their confidence diminishes each time they are wrong.

In some cases, it might be possible for someone to have a rational response to a stimulus only to think that it is intuition because they don't quite understand or aren't able to fully rationalize the source of the feeling. From my own experiences, it seems that some people don't make a hard enough effort to search for the source... they either don't seem to think that there is a rational source, or don't care to take the effort.... as long as they are able to ascertain what their feelings suggest they do, they really don't seem to care whether or not the source is rational or irrational.

A true rationalist would be able to determine the source and rationality of the feeling. The interesting question is if he fails to rationally explain the feeling, should he ignore the feeling, chalking it up to his weakness as a perfect rationalist.

Since we are all human and cannot be perfectly rational, shouldn't a rationalist decide that a seemingly irrational feeling is just that, irrational. Is it not more rational to believe that a seemingly irrational feeling is the result of our own imperfection as a human?

Comment author: MrPineapple 24 January 2011 12:59:00AM 31 points [-]

a rationalist should acknowledge their irrationality, to do otherwise would be to irrational.

Comment author: smallricochet 03 September 2011 10:23:36PM -2 points [-]

Wasn't it more a rationalist should listen to their subconscious (comprised of all their past experiences?)

That sounds simple enough. Unless we don't actually know that our subconscious is biased or something.