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Manfred comments on Sapiens - Less Wrong

31 Post author: Vaniver 08 April 2015 02:56AM

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Comment author: Manfred 09 April 2015 04:51:56AM *  5 points [-]

Many of the quotes set off warning bells for me (e.g. the first was "People easily understand that 'primitives' cement their social order by believing in ghosts and spirits [...]" - this is the ol' trick of privileging large chunks of the hypothesis you want to sound convincing, then calling them obvious background facts that everyone accepts.), but thank you very much for the review, have an upvote.

Comment author: Vaniver 09 April 2015 01:58:59PM *  2 points [-]

Many of the quotes set off warning bells for me

So, I definitely got the sense in some areas that Harari wanted to have his cake and eat it too, in the sense of both being able to say "important things are fictional!" and "of course, by 'fictional' I mean this entirely sensible thing." There are hints of this going on, but on reflection I saw it more as Harari not scrupulously avoiding that, and so figured I would give him a pass for it. (That is, there are paragraphs I would rewrite, but I'm not sure there are overarching claims I disagree with.)