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satt comments on Rationality Quotes July 2014 - Less Wrong

6 Post author: VAuroch 06 July 2014 06:51AM

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Comment author: satt 10 July 2014 11:17:19PM 43 points [-]

Charles II is said to have himself toyed with the philosophers, asking them to explain why a fish weighs more after it has died. Upon receiving various ingenious answers, he pointed out that in fact a dead fish does not weigh anything more.

— Robert Pasnau, "Why Not Just Weigh the Fish?"

Comment author: Gurkenglas 21 July 2014 11:53:37PM *  6 points [-]

Well that's not fair, generating hypotheses that fit an observation is sometimes useful, as Harry&Draco did when finding some that fit magic getting weaker. The philosophers, when acting as oracles, should not have to entertain the possibility that the assumptions given to them are wrong.

Comment author: NancyLebovitz 27 July 2014 10:12:53PM 8 points [-]

In general, considering how many wrong assumptions there are, I think it's good practice to check the assumptions one has been handed.

On the other hand, it's probably not fair for kings to play that sort of game.

Comment author: satt 02 August 2014 03:00:46PM 1 point [-]

In general, considering how many wrong assumptions there are, I think it's good practice to check the assumptions one has been handed.

Amplifying this: I'm fairly sure that (paraphrasing) "philosophers are useful for exposing other people's wrong assumptions" is one of the stock justifications for philosophizing!