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

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

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

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

Comments (92)

Sort By: Old

You are viewing a single comment's thread. Show more comments above.

Comment author: wedrifid 11 August 2011 08:28:38PM 3 points [-]

So, regarding the strategy students can adopt, the two ends of the spectrum are: 1) You can just memorize details long enough to regurgitate them in the lever-pressing experiments, and understand nothing critically; or 2) You can insist on trying to critically understand everything, and you will certainly fall behind and fail.

False dichotomy.

Nothing described as "two ends of the spectrum" is ever a false dichotomy. Or a true dichotomy, for that matter.

Comment author: [deleted] 11 August 2011 08:42:35PM 0 points [-]

While they do sometimes treat this as two ends of a spectrum, their ultimate conclusion

To pass the tests you need to just memorize and not think.

Relies on the earlier (perhaps unstated, or implicitly stated) premise that 1) and 2) are mutually exclusive.

Comment author: wedrifid 11 August 2011 10:02:19PM 2 points [-]

If you believe that the passage in question is a false dichotomy then you either do not understand what a dichotomy is or you parsed the quoted text incorrectly. The two ends of the spectrum are mutually exclusive (and look somewhat extreme) but for them to be dichotomous the entire rest of the spectrum - all the moderate parts - must be excluded.

Even if the text is somehow wrong or stupid it is not a false dichotomy.

Comment author: [deleted] 11 August 2011 10:26:58PM *  1 point [-]

Would you rather I called it a fake spectrum?

EDIT: I really don't understand the issue. In order to apply excluded middle to reach the conclusion, they have to both hold that the two ends of the spectrum are dichotomous, and that the rest of the spectrum either doesn't exist, or is inconsequential. So it's a spectrum in a name only, which as far as I can see is as good as a false dichotomy.

Comment author: wedrifid 11 August 2011 10:44:02PM 1 point [-]

Would you rather I called it a fake spectrum?

That is one of many things you could say that isn't just strictly and trivially false.

But it isn't my preferences you are satisfying. I don't mind if you say wrong things, I'm just going to reply with a correction if you do. (So 'rather?' is a strange question!)

Comment author: [deleted] 11 August 2011 10:50:07PM 2 points [-]

Let me rephrase, then. "Is there anything you would correct in characterizing the aforementioned as a fake spectrum?"

Honestly, if I have to write so strictly, it's almost too much effort.

Comment author: wedrifid 11 August 2011 11:04:11PM *  1 point [-]

I thought the answer 'no' would have come across, even while I distanced myself from the personal connotations.