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Unnamed 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: Unnamed 05 December 2016 10:09:35PM *  3 points [-]

(This is Dan from CFAR)

Here are a few examples of disagreements where I'd expect double crux to be an especially useful approach (assuming that both people hit the prereqs that Duncan listed):

2 LWers disagree about whether attempts to create "Less Wrong 2.0" should try to revitalize Less Wrong or create a new site for discussion.

2 LWers disagree on whether it would be good to have a norm of including epistemic effort metadata at the start of a post.

2 EAs disagree on whether the public image of EA should make it seem commonsense and relatable or if it should highlight ways in which EA is weird and challenges mainstream views.

2 EAs disagree on the relative value of direct work and earning to give.

2 co-founders disagree on whether their startup should currently be focusing most of its efforts on improving their product.

2 housemates disagree on whether the dinner party that they're throwing this weekend should have music.

These examples share some features:

  • The people care about getting the right answer because they (or people that they know) are going to do something based on the answer, and they really want it to go well.
  • The other person's head is one of the better sources of information that you have available. You can't look these things up on Wikipedia, and the other person's opinion seems likely to reflect some relevant experiences/knowledge/skills/models/etc. that you haven't fully incorporated into your own thinking.
  • Most likely, neither person came into the conversation with a clear, detailed model of the reasoning behind their own conclusion.

So digging into your own thinking and the other person's thinking on the topic is one of the more promising options available for making progress towards figuring out something that you care about. And focusing on cruxes can help keep that conversation on track so that it can engage with the most relevant differences between your models and have a good chance of leading to important updates.

There are other cases where double crux is also useful which don't share all of these features, but these 6 examples are in what I think of as the core use case for double crux. I think it helps to have these sorts of examples in mind (ideally ones that actually apply to you) as you're trying to understand the technique, rather than just trying to apply double crux to the general category of "disagreement".