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mtraven comments on Cached Thoughts - Less Wrong

51 Post author: Eliezer_Yudkowsky 11 October 2007 11:46PM

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Comment author: mtraven 14 October 2007 01:26:43AM 0 points [-]

You seem to shy away from the obvious conclusion of your otherwise excellent post. Our slow brains are entirely unable to do much reasoning from first principles, therefore we ought to pay strict attention to such received ideas that have stood the test of time, and have been culturally cached. "Love isn't rational" strikes me as an excellent example. If our rationality is bounded, as it certainly is, then it is often rational to not try to think things out from first principles, but accept the evolved memes of the surrounding culture. You may have undermined the whole purpose of this website. Perhaps our biases are important, perhaps they are reliable guides, and overcoming them leaves us with nothing to go on but our slow and falliable reason.

Note that this is not a mere academic argument. The political left has often been prone to the idea that they could throw off the shackles of social convention and replace them with something more rational. This has seldom worked out well. Politically, you've made an excellent argument for the very arational Burkean conservate point of view.

Comment author: JJ10DMAN 10 August 2010 12:23:36PM 1 point [-]

I don't think most of us would agree that everyone out there is playing human rational capacity to the hilt and needs to slow down on attacking its biases and prejudices. After all, the modern critical examination of human biases, while touched upon throughout history, is essentially a century old or less.