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JamesAndrix comments on "Arbitrary" - Less Wrong

15 Post author: Eliezer_Yudkowsky 12 August 2008 05:55PM

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Comment author: JamesAndrix 13 August 2008 05:46:57PM 0 points [-]

How about 'content that we expect to come with attached justifications, and those justifications are not present in the mind of the person putting forth the content.'

"Let's treat my car as a point mass of seven grams."

You may suspect that 7 is an arbitrary number having nothing to do with my car. If I said 683kg then you might think it is near the actual mass of my car. In neither case do you have justification. If I tell you I don't have a car, then you KNOW it's arbitrary, because it's a number I made up. Your label of arbitrariness depends on where you think I got the number.

Comment author: VAuroch 26 November 2013 07:13:38AM -1 points [-]

When you look at the large car, the number is plausible, so you need less evidence (minimal justification) to believe (or at least fail to challenge) the number. With the small number, extraordinary evidence would be needed (quite a lot of justification), so the number appears more arbitrary.