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undermind comments on One Argument Against An Army - Less Wrong

41 Post author: Eliezer_Yudkowsky 15 August 2007 06:39PM

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Comment author: undermind 12 April 2011 12:55:04AM *  7 points [-]

While this is certainly a nasty pitfall of rationalization, it is necessary to rehearse the evidence from time to time, for those of us without perfect memories. Otherwise, we end up in the situation "I know there was a good reason I believed this but I don't remember what it was"; this occurs to me far too often. Retracing all of the evidence that led to a particular belief is terribly time-consuming and impractical ("I know this was in a neuroscience book I read three years ago..."). Forgetting why you hold a particular belief is almost as bad as having no reason at all, and every rationalist should naturally strive to avoid this.
Of course, the time to rehearse why you hold a particular belief is not when being confronted with opposing arguments.

Comment author: [deleted] 12 April 2011 01:16:09AM 0 points [-]

An alternative to rehearsing is retesting. Not always practical, but sometimes practical. Retesting can go much quicker than the initial discovery, because often it is much easier to (re-)verify a solution than it is to come up with it. (this has an obvious surface relationship to the P versus NP problem)

Comment author: NancyLebovitz 12 April 2011 07:23:49AM 1 point [-]

Forgetting why you hold a particular belief is almost as bad as having no reason at all

Upvoted because of this line.