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Lumifer 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: Lumifer 01 December 2016 03:43:43PM 0 points [-]

the mindset of seeing disagreements as good

It's interesting how you assume that disagreements are not likely to lead to bad real-world consequences.

Comment author: Jess_Whittlestone 02 December 2016 10:34:21AM 1 point [-]

I don't think I was assuming that, but good point - there are of course lots of nuances to whether disagreements are good/bad/useful/problematic in various ways. I definitely wasn't meaning to say "disagreements are always a good thing", but rather something much weaker, like "disagreements are not always a bad thing to be avoided, and can often be a good opportunity to learn more about the world and/or your own reasons for your beliefs, and internalising this mindset more fully seems very useful."

I don't think this means we should try and create disagreements where none exist already, or that the world wouldn't be a better place if people agreed more. But assuming a lot of disagreements already exist, identifying those disagreements can be a very good thing if you have good tools for resolving/making better sense of them. So when I say I'm excited about finding more disagreements, I mean that given the assumption that those disagreements already exist, and would have any potential bad real-world consequences regardless of whether I'm aware of them or not.

Comment author: Lumifer 02 December 2016 03:45:39PM *  0 points [-]

But assuming a lot of disagreements already exist, identifying those disagreements can be a very good thing if you have good tools for resolving/making better sense of them.

Yep, these... clarifications make the statement a lot more reasonable :-)

It's just that the original unconditional claim had a lot of immediate counterexamples spring to mind, e.g.:

  • When there is a power disparity between the two disagreeing (e.g. arguing with cops is generally a bad idea)
  • When you make yourself a target (see e.g. this)
  • When it's just unnecessary (imagine two neighbours who get along quite well until they discover that one is a Trumper and one is a Clintonista)
Comment author: Kenny 05 December 2016 07:21:56PM 0 points [-]

Ooh, I hope you're not upset because I disagree with you! Your examples, numbered for easier reference:

  1. When there is a power disparity between the two disagreeing (e.g. arguing with cops is generally a bad idea)
  2. When you make yourself a target (see e.g. this)
  3. When it's just unnecessary (imagine two neighbours who get along quite well until they discover that one is a Trumper and one is a Clintonista)

I'm not sure what disagreement you had in mind with respect to [2]; maybe whether 'forking someone's repo' was a sexual reference?

For [1], I can think of counter-counter-examples, e.g. where a copy suspects that you've committed a crime and you know you haven't committed that crime. If you could identify a shared crux of that disagreement you might be able to provide evidence to resolve that crux and exonerate yourself (before you're arrested, or worse).

For [3], I can also think of counter-counter-examples, e.g. where because both neighbors got along well with each other before discovering their favored presidential candidates, they're inclined to be charitable towards each other and learn about why they disagree. I'm living thru something similar to this right now with someone close to me. I agree with Jess and think that discovering disagreement can be a generally positive event, regardless of the overall negative outcomes pertaining to specific disagreements.

Saying 'water is good to drink' doesn't imply 'you can't hurt or kill yourself by drinking too much water'.

Comment author: Lumifer 05 December 2016 07:39:46PM 0 points [-]

It's hard to upset me :-)

Re [2] the disagreement was about whether that joke was (socially) acceptable.

One can always come up with {counter-}examples -- iterate to depth desired -- but that's not really the point. The point is to which degree a general statement applies unconditionally. I happen to think that "a disagreement is a positive event" is a highly conditional observation.

Oh, and I don't recommend double-cruxing cops. I suspect this will go really badly.

Comment author: ProofOfLogic 02 December 2016 01:17:44AM 1 point [-]

Disagreements can lead to bad real-world consequences for (sort of) two reasons:

1) At least one person is wrong and will make bad decisions which lead to bad consequences. 2) The argument itself will be costly (in terms of emotional cost, friendship, perhaps financial cost, etc).

In terms of #1, an unnoticed disagreement is even worse than an unsettled disagreement; so thinking about #1 motivates seeking out disagreements and viewing them as positive opportunities for intellectual progress.

In terms of #2, the attitude of treating disagreements as opportunities can also help, but only if both people are on board with that. I'm guessing that is what you're pointing at?

My strategy in life is something like: seek out disagreements and treat them as delicious opportunities when in "intellectual mode", but avoid disagreements and treat them as toxic when in "polite mode". This heuristic isn't always correct. I had to be explicitly told that many people often don't like arguing even over intellectual things. Plus, because of #1, it's sometimes especially important to bring up disagreements in practical matters (that don't invoke "intellectual mode") even at risk of a costly argument.

It seems like something like "double crux attitude" helps with #2 somewhat, though.

Comment author: Lumifer 02 December 2016 04:03:09PM 0 points [-]

See my reply to Jess.