Less Wrong is a community blog devoted to refining the art of human rationality. Please visit our About page for more information.

Joseph_Knecht comments on Reductive Reference - Less Wrong

20 Post author: Eliezer_Yudkowsky 03 April 2008 01:37AM

You are viewing a comment permalink. View the original post to see all comments and the full post content.

Comments (39)

Sort By: Old

You are viewing a single comment's thread.

Comment author: Joseph_Knecht 03 April 2008 11:59:06PM 0 points [-]

I prefer to think of the distinction between reality and our models of it not in terms of single-level versus multi-level but rather in terms of the thing itself versus descriptions of the thing: conceptual systems have levels, reality does not.

Thinking in terms of levels is applicable to conceptual systems, but not applicable to reality — applicable to conceptual systems about reality, but not to reality itself.

The notion of level is just a mental construct that is helpful in describing how we think and how we represent. It is a function of how we carve up reality conceptually, but reality itself doesn't contain bones and joints that are waiting to be carved — not even just one fundamental joint that we have no choice about how to carve.