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Wei_Dai comments on Taboo Your Words - Less Wrong

72 Post author: Eliezer_Yudkowsky 15 February 2008 10:53PM

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Comment author: Wei_Dai 30 June 2011 10:18:56PM *  7 points [-]

Consider a hypothetical debate between two decision theorists who happen to be Taboo fans:

A: It's rational to two-box in Newcomb's problem.
B: No, one-boxing is rational.
A: Let's taboo "rational" and replace it with math instead. What I meant was that two-boxing is what CDT recommends.
B: Oh, what I meant was that one-boxing is what EDT recommends.
A: Great, it looks like we don't disagree after all!

What did these two Taboo'ers do wrong, exactly?

Comment author: Alicorn 30 June 2011 10:24:15PM 3 points [-]

A: Let's taboo "rational" and replace it with math instead. What I meant was that two-boxing yields more money.
B: Oh, what I meant was that one-boxing yields more money.
A: We don't disagree about what "more money" means, do we?
B: Don't think so. Okay, so...

Comment author: Wei_Dai 30 June 2011 10:35:29PM 0 points [-]

I'm not getting your point, and also "yields" is not math...

Comment author: Perplexed 30 June 2011 11:54:05PM 0 points [-]

"Recommends" is math?

Comment author: Vladimir_Nesov 30 June 2011 11:58:59PM *  1 point [-]

It refers to the math that can be filled in on demand (more or less). In Alicorn's dialog, the intended math is not clear from the context, and indeed it seems that there was no specific intended math.

Comment author: Perplexed 01 July 2011 12:11:16AM *  1 point [-]

I disagree. Alicorn's version is more mathematically meaningful, to my mind, than WeiDai's. But to return to the original problem:

A. Two-boxing yields more money than would be yielded by counterfactually one-boxing.
B. Taboo "counterfactually". ...

Comment author: Wei_Dai 01 July 2011 12:15:07AM *  0 points [-]

Sorry, I thought it would be clear that it just means [the CDT formula] = 'two-box'.

Comment author: Vladimir_Nesov 30 June 2011 11:08:28PM *  1 point [-]

Presumably, they don't notice a point where the factual pursuits have lost their purpose. Arguments should be not just about factual correctness, but also about relevance of those facts.

Comment author: nshepperd 01 July 2011 03:38:29AM 4 points [-]

They still haven't explained why A two-boxes and B one-boxes.

Comment author: hamnox 01 July 2011 02:02:47PM 4 points [-]

They stopped talking after they taboo'd "rational". Both can agree that CDT recommends one thing, and EDT recommends another, but if you dropped them into Omega's lap right now they would still disagree over which decision theory to use. They replaced the word with their own respective spins on its meaning, but they failed to address the real hidden query in the label: Is this the best course of action for a reasonable person to take?