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Ben_Jones comments on Reductionism - Less Wrong

40 Post author: Eliezer_Yudkowsky 16 March 2008 06:26AM

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Comment author: Ben_Jones 17 March 2008 03:03:27PM 1 point [-]

I agree that there is a difference between the object in the mind and the object in the world, but I wouldn't call it distortion any more than a chair is a distortion of the table next to it.

But the chair isn't seeking to imitate the table. That's one thing that minds do that nothing else does - form abstract representations. It's not magic, but it's a pretty impressive trick for a couple of pounds of quivering territory.

Besides, you've already acknowledged that the mental concept has a causal link with the object itself. Chairs aren't causally linked to tables. Like you say, they're both just different parts of reality. Minds and maps are more subtle.

We may believe that 'what we see is what's actually there', but in truth there are millennia of evolutionary filters and lenses distorting our perception of the territory. And you can't start eliminating the errors from your map until you realise that a) you have a map, b) your map is not the territory, and c) your map doesn't even look much like the territory.

That last paragraph's for the back of the book, Eliezer.