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Frank_Hirsch comments on Explaining vs. Explaining Away - Less Wrong

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

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Comment author: Frank_Hirsch 20 March 2008 12:35:33AM 3 points [-]

• Sarah is hypnotized and told to take off her shoes when a book drops on the floor. Fifteen minutes later a book drops, and Sarah quietly slips out of her loafers. “Sarah,”, asks the hypnotist, “why did you take off your shoes?” “Well . . . my feet are hot and tired.”, Sarah replies. “It has been a long day”. • George has electrodes temporarily implanted in the brain region that controls his head movements. When neurosurgeon José Delgado (1973) stimulates the electrode by remote control, George always turns his head. Unaware of the remote stimulation, he offers a reasonable explanation for it: “I’m looking for my slipper.” “I heard a noise.” “I’m restless.” “I was looking under the bed.”

The point is: That's how the brain works, always. It is only in special circumstances, like the ones described, that the fallaciousness of these "explanations from hindsight" becomes obvious.