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Eliezer_Yudkowsky comments on Explaining vs. Explaining Away - Less Wrong

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

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Comment author: Eliezer_Yudkowsky 17 March 2008 06:04:37PM 1 point [-]

Because you did not break the "belief that you are wearing socks" into understandable steps, you are holding the claims to different standards, a subtle but correctible kind of confirmation bias.

In matters such as these, I consider a cognitive process to be "understood" when you know how to duplicate the relevant features given an unboundedly large but finite amount of computing power.

Yes, there are points to be argued about how you know you "understand" something's "relevant features", given that you can't actually build an exact duplicate, or even build something that "does the same thing" using your available computing power. AIXI, for example, has fooled many people who don't truly understand the math, and some of those who do understand the math, into thinking that they understand (by the above definition) far more than they actually do.

But that is the one and same definition that I try to apply in all cases, and it is why I am willing to label visual processing of socks "understood", while still challenging advocates of free will to sketch out what kind of specific mind could, even in principle, have free will.