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apotheon comments on Semantic Stopsigns - Less Wrong

54 Post author: Eliezer_Yudkowsky 24 August 2007 07:29PM

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Comment author: apotheon 21 November 2007 08:10:23PM 4 points [-]

"What distinguishes a semantic stopsign is failure to consider the obvious next question."

I disagree. The distinguishing event is a refusal (not just a failure) to consider it, for reasons other than something like "I don't have the time right now." One cannot ask all questions in an average 70+ year lifetime, so one picks which avenues of questioning to pursue most fervently. Sometimes, one simply has to say "I choose to avoid thinking too much about what came before the big bang, because I have to spend more time thinking about the logical origin of ethics. That's more important to me."

A semantic stopsign is not marked by your failure to think past it, but by the belief in its inviolability as a rule of the road of thought.