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Latanius2 comments on Explaining vs. Explaining Away - Less Wrong

46 Post author: Eliezer_Yudkowsky 17 March 2008 01:59AM

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Comment author: Latanius2 17 March 2008 10:06:43AM 2 points [-]

"If we cannot learn to take joy in the merely real, our lives will be empty indeed."

It's true... but... why do we read sci-fi books then? Why should we? I don't think that after reading a novel about intelligent, faster-than-light starships the bus stopping at the bus stop nearby will be as interesting as it used to be when we were watching it on the way to the kindergarten... Or do you think it is? (Without imagining starships in place of buses, of course.)

So what non-existing things should we imagine to be rational (= to win), and how? I hope there will be some words about that in tomorrow's post, too...

Comment author: Rixie 02 April 2013 05:23:54PM *  0 points [-]

That doesn't mean that we can't take joy in what is not merely real, nor that we should be delighted everytime we see the bus stopping at the bus stop.

There are four types of things in the world:
* Things that are real and uninteresting.
* Things that are real and interesting.
* Things that are unreal and uninteresting.
* Things that are unreal and interesting.

I assume that no one would invent something unreal and uninteresting, so that leaves us with three categories.

In this article, Eliezer argues that the category real and interesting exists.
He doesn't say that the two remaining categories don't exist.
So feel free to enjoy your unreal, interesting sci-fi, and to disregard the real, uninteresting bus stops.
(Not that I'm implying that bus stops and other mundane things can't be interesting as well, but no one is interested in everything.)

I find that thinking this way gives us a better perspective on a lot of things, like when people say, "People only want what's bad for them."

(Um, I can't figure out how to do bulleted lists. I've copied the little asterisk thing directly from the help page, but I still can't get it to work. Could someone tell me what I've done wrong?)

Comment author: arundelo 02 April 2013 06:00:43PM 0 points [-]

Formatting help: a list must be its own paragraph.