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

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

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Comment author: Duncan_Sabien 30 November 2016 07:20:13PM 0 points [-]

What I was gesturing at with the "orange superior to green?" example is something very large, very subjective, very fuzzy, with a lot of uncertainty in interpretation, but that nevertheless could be boiled down to something concrete.

Things that might make a color superior to another color: more people rate it more highly, it's more prevalent on buildings and clothes and in pictures, it produces greater levels of happiness when registered in the brain, it's cheaper to produce at the same price, it has more effective uses within a given society, people will pay more for an otherwise-identical version of a thing that's in that color, etc. etc. etc.

To get at what someone might "really mean" when they say something like orange is superior to green, I'd propose a whole bunch of these as hypotheses, and then try some form of pseudomath or other concrete weighting of the three or four most relevant categories. Once I had something like "Okay, so it's the subjective ratings of 7 billion people plus the results of brain scans when exposed, and if those come up 50/50 then we'll pull in, as a representative data point, how many different deliberate uses of each color there are in the continent of Europe," I'd feel like yes, there was in fact a true answer to the question (but not one we'd ever be able to find in practice).