Less Wrong is a community blog devoted to refining the art of human rationality. Please visit our About page for more information.

Peter_McCluskey2 comments on Taboo Your Words - Less Wrong

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

You are viewing a comment permalink. View the original post to see all comments and the full post content.

Comments (128)

Sort By: Old

You are viewing a single comment's thread.

Comment author: Peter_McCluskey2 17 February 2008 05:20:43PM 2 points [-]

The hemlock example demonstrates tcpkac's point well. How do you decide to conclude that Albert and Barry expect different results from the same action? To me, it seems obvious that they should taboo the word hemlock, and notice that one correctly expects Socrates to die from a drink made from an herb in the carrot family, and the other correctly expects Socrates to be unharmed by tea made from a coniferous tree. But it's not clear why Eliezer ought to have the knowledge needed to choose to taboo the word hemlock.

Comment author: Normal_Anomaly 27 November 2011 11:01:31PM 1 point [-]

The hemlock example also suggests a step toward resolution. Let the two people who disagree design an experiment that would resolve the disagreement, to one or both of the following standards:

  1. The level of detail necessary for a scientific paper.
  2. Such that a third party could perform the experiment without asking any extra questions.

In the hemlock example, Albert and Barry would (hopefully) notice the problem when writing up the preparation of the drink. If the experiment can be carried out practically, then it becomes relatively easy.