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entirelyuseless comments on "Flinching away from truth” is often about *protecting* the epistemology - Less Wrong

72 Post author: AnnaSalamon 20 December 2016 06:39PM

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Comment author: entirelyuseless 20 December 2016 02:16:22PM 3 points [-]

I like this post and the general idea that flinching away has a purpose is a good one, but I think rather than saying it is about protecting "the epistemology," I think it would be better simply to say that it has a goal, and that goal could be any number of things. That sounds bad because if the goal isn't truth, then you are flinching away from the truth for the sake of something other than truth. But what you're actually recognizing here is that this isn't always bad, because the goal that is preventing you from accepting the truth is actually something positive, and changing your mind at the moment might prevent you from reaching that goal. Whereas if you wait to think about it more, at some later time you may be able to both change your mind and achieve your goal.

It sounds like your technique is to try to figure out a way to do precisely that, both accept the truth and still achieve the goal which was impeding it. And this will often be possible, but not always; sometimes the truth really does have bad consequences that you cannot prevent. For example, losing my religion was especially difficult for me because I knew that I would lose most of my social life and a lot of respect from most people who know me, as well as (for concrete reasons concerning particulars that I won't go into) making large changes in my external form of life which I did not particularly desire. And those consequences simply could not be prevented.