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johnswentworth comments on Double Crux — A Strategy for Resolving Disagreement - Less Wrong

61 Post author: Duncan_Sabien 29 November 2016 09:23PM

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Comment author: johnswentworth 29 November 2016 10:33:47PM 10 points [-]

A suggestion: don't avoid feelings. Instead, think of feelings as deterministic and carrying valuable information; feelings can be right even when our justifications are wrong (or vice versa).

Ultimately, this whole technique is about understanding the causal paths which led to both your own beliefs, and your conversational partner's beliefs. In difficult areas, e.g. politics or religion, people inevitably talk about logical arguments, but the actual physical cause of their belief is very often intuitive and emotional - a feeling. Very often, those feelings will be the main "crux".

For instance, I've argued that the feelings of religious people offer a much better idea of religion's real value than any standard logical argument - the crux in a religious argument might be entirely a crux of feelings. In another vein, Scott's thrive/survive theory offers psychological insight on political feelings more than political arguments, and it seems like it would be a useful crux generator - i.e., would this position seem reasonable in a post-scarcity world, or would it seem reasonable during a zombie outbreak?

Comment author: korin43 30 November 2016 02:41:47AM 4 points [-]

This feels like a point but I'm having trouble thinking of specific examples. What would a crux like this look like and how could you resolve the disagreement involved with it?

Comment author: johnswentworth 30 November 2016 05:07:13PM 6 points [-]

Let's use the school uniforms example.

The post mentions "uniforms make students feel better about themselves" as something to avoid. But that claim strongly suggests a second statement for the claimant: "I would have felt better about myself in middle school, if we'd had uniforms." A statement like that is a huge gateway into productive discussion.

First and foremost, that second statement is very likely the true cause for the claimant's position. Second, that feeling is something which will itself have causes! The claimant can then think back about their own experiences, and talk about why they feel that way.

Of course, that creates another pitfall to watch out for: argument by narrative, rather than statistics. It's easy to tell convincing stories. But if one or both participants know what's up, then each participant can produce a narrative to underlie their own feelings, and then the real discussion is over questions like (1) which of those narratives is more common in practice, (2) should we assign more weight to one type of experience, (3) what other types of experiences should we maybe consider, and (4) does the claim make sense even given the experience?

The crux is then the experiences: if I'd been through your experience in middle school, then I can see where I'd feel similarly about the uniforms. That doesn't mean your feeling is right - maybe signalling through clothing made your middle school experience worse somehow, but I argue that kids will find ways to signal regardless of uniform rules. But that would be a possible crux of the argument.

Comment author: rational_rob 07 December 2016 12:36:55PM 1 point [-]

I always thought of school uniforms as being a logical extension of the pseudo-fascist/nationalist model of running them. (I mean this in the pre-world war descriptive sense rather than the rhetorical sense that arose after the wars) Lots of schools, at least in America, try to encourage a policy of school unity with things like well-funded sports teams and school pep rallies. I don't know how well these policies work in practice, but if they're willing to go as far as they have now, school uniforms might contribute to whatever effects they hope to achieve. My personal opinion is in favor of school uniforms, but I'm mostly certain that's because I'm not too concerned with fashion or displays of wealth. I'd have to quiz some other people to find out for sure.

Comment author: BarbaraB 21 December 2016 05:57:40AM 0 points [-]

Are the uniforms at US schools reasonably practical, comfortable and do they have reasonable colour, e.g. not green ? As a girl of socialism, I experienced pioneer uniforms, which were not well designed. They forced short skirts on girls, which are impractical in some weather. The upper part, the shirt, needed to be ironed. There was no sweather or coat to unify kids in winter.. My mother once had to stand coatless in winter in a wellcome row for some event. I can also imagine some girls having aesthetic issues with the exposed legs or unflattering color. But what are the uniforms in the US usually like ?

Comment author: ESRogs 11 January 2017 07:24:32AM 0 points [-]

What's wrong with green?

Comment author: hairyfigment 11 January 2017 11:43:52PM 2 points [-]

Well, it's not easy.

Comment author: Lumifer 21 December 2016 03:55:03PM 0 points [-]

Schools in the US are run locally and are very diverse. Some schools (mostly private ones) require uniforms, but as far as I know the majority of public schools do not. There are dress codes -- all schools have policies about what's acceptable to wear to school -- but within those guidelines you can generally wear what you want.

Comment author: Duncan_Sabien 07 December 2016 10:37:24PM 0 points [-]

I should note that my own personal opinions on school uniforms are NOT able-to-be-determined from this article.