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Chrysophylax comments on Fake Explanations - Less Wrong

58 Post author: Eliezer_Yudkowsky 20 August 2007 09:13PM

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Comment author: Chrysophylax 30 January 2013 06:51:34PM *  3 points [-]

Students who do not care about education do get away with not knowing anything. Detention is not much of a punishment when you don't show up.

It is difficult to prevent a student who cares deeply about eduction from admitting ignorance, since admitting ignorance is necessary in asking for explanations. The difficult task is persuading students who care about doing well to seek knowledge, rather than good marks. These students are not motivated enough to learn of their own accord - they never volunteer answers or ask questions openly, because they care more about not being thought ignorant (or, of course, keen) than about not being ignorant.

The point is not to allow students to "get away with" admitting ignorance. There is a vast difference between not knowing the answer and not wanting to know. Personally, I have never found it hard to tell the difference between students who don't want to know and students who don't want to be judged by their peers.

It has to teach you how to behave in the world, where you often have to make choices based on incomplete information.

It is very rarely a bad idea to publicly admit that you might be wrong, especially when you are guessing. A school that does not teach the importance of separating your beliefs and your ego has failed miserably. Whatever else it has taught, it has not taught its students how to learn.