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lutorm comments on Guessing the Teacher's Password - Less Wrong

62 Post author: Eliezer_Yudkowsky 22 August 2007 03:40AM

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Comment author: lutorm 31 May 2010 05:05:16PM 3 points [-]

"If you aren't using the diffusion equation - putting in numbers and getting out results that control your anticipation of particular experiences - then the connection between map and territory is severed as though by a knife. What remains is not a belief, but a verbal behavior."

I'm surprised noone's commented on this before, but I think this is overly restrictive. If I'm familiar with the process of diffusion, I intuitively know what's going to happen, without actually plugging in numbers. I don't need to do math to reach the right conclusion, I can just sort of visualize what's happening. I think you progress from mechanically plugging in numbers to generalizing the behavior into a pattern that you can apply, like people can catch a ball in the air without actually calculating a parabola. That doesn't mean that there is no connection between map and territory. Of course, you have to take some care to make sure you're applying the right pattern, but that's no different than knowing to apply the right equation.