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michael_vassar3 comments on Three Dialogues on Identity - Less Wrong

31 Post author: Eliezer_Yudkowsky 21 April 2008 06:13AM

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Comment author: michael_vassar3 22 April 2008 03:53:21PM 2 points [-]

You buy into the Hu'wha's belief system when you respond to "The Hu'wha set great store on the literal truth of words, as well as their intent. " as different from their belief in souls. Words have no literal truth independent of webs of beliefs. The true answer to a question is what you have most reason to believe will leave the questioner best informed. In this case, the true answer is "no".

BTW, it's *definitely* not just hunter gatherers who can not know what it would mean for a fundamental assumption to be mistaken. An example from myself recently relates to Turing Machines. That some algorithms are simpler than others is a very fundamental assumption to me. I know that we don't know how to rank the complexities of Turing Machines, and that for any complex program there is a Turing Machine that outputs the output of that complex program in response to a single bit, but I don't know what it means for the assumption that some things are simpler than others to be mistaken so I suspect, possibly in the absence of adequate evidence, that there is some relevant sense in which the complexity of the program has simply been shifted into the Turing Machine, which is thus more complex than some other Turing Machine.