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TheOtherDave comments on Truly Part Of You - Less Wrong

59 Post author: Eliezer_Yudkowsky 21 November 2007 02:18AM

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Comment author: TheOtherDave 28 October 2013 02:40:06PM 0 points [-]

I'm inclined to agree.

This comes up again in ways that I care more about in the Metaethics Sequence, where much is made of the distinction between normal ("instrumental") values and the so-called "terminal" values that are presumed to be their source. In both cases it seems to me that a directional tree is being superimposed on what's actually a nondirectional network, and the sense of directionality is an illusion born of limited perspective.

That said, I'm not sure it makes much difference in practical terms.

Comment author: RationalObserver 28 October 2013 07:23:01PM 0 points [-]

I haven't read any of that yet, but it sounds interesting. I'm commenting on articles as I read them, going through the sequences as they are listed on the sequences page.

I think it makes a practical difference in actually understanding when you understand something. The practical advice given is to "contain" the "source" for each thought. The trouble is that I don't see how to understand when such a thing occurs, so the practical advice doesn't mean much to me. I don't see how to apply the advice given, but if I could I most definitely would, because I wish to understand everything I know. In part, writing my post was an attempt to make clear to myself why I didn't understand what was being said. I'm still kind of hoping I'm missing something important, because it would be awesome to have a better process for understanding what I understand.

Comment author: TheOtherDave 28 October 2013 08:25:19PM 0 points [-]

I expect that in practice, the advice to "contain the source for each thought" can be generalized into the advice to understand various paths to derive that thought and understand what those paths depend on, even if we discard the idea that there's some uniquely specifiable "source".

Which is why I'm not sure it makes much difference.

That said, I may not be the best guy to talk about this, as I'm not especially sympathetic to this whole "Truly Part of You" line of reasoning in the first place (as I think I mentioned in a comment somewhere in this sequence of posts a few years ago, back when I was reading through the sequences and commenting on articles as I went along, so you may come across it in your readings).

Comment author: RationalObserver 28 October 2013 09:08:34PM 1 point [-]

Hmm, perhaps I was reading too much into it, then. I already do that part, largely because I hate memorization and can fairly easily retain facts when they are within a conceptual framework.

It's intuitive that better understanding some concept or idea leads to better updating as well as better ability to see alternative routes involving the idea, but it seemed like there was something more being implied; it seemed like there he was making a special point of some plateau or milestone for "containment" of an idea, and I didn't understand what that meant. But, as I said, I was probably reading too much into it. Thanks, this was a pleasant discussion :)