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Zack_M_Davis comments on Changing Emotions - Less Wrong

22 Post author: Eliezer_Yudkowsky 05 January 2009 12:05AM

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Comment author: Zack_M_Davis 13 September 2016 01:59:08PM 1 point [-]

I certainly wouldn't defend the [...] thesis

"Wouldn't defend" is an interestingly ambiguous phrase!—it could mean "I don't think the thesis is true," or it could mean "I think the thesis is true, but I'm not going to argue for it here." The thing to remember is that the ambiguity is meant for the listener, not the speaker; it's important not to let your sensible caution about what beliefs you're willing to argue for under your True Name distort your model of the true state of reality. And precisely because other people are also cautious about what they're willing to argue for, there could be all sorts of important truths—actionable information that you can use to make important life decisions better—that take special rationality skills to discover, that you won't automatically learn about just by reading what almost everyone says, because almost everyone is too cowardly to just say the Really Obvious Thing.

This, unfortunately, is why you probably won't understand what I'm talking about for another seven years and eight months.

Comment author: ChristianKl 13 September 2016 02:27:47PM 0 points [-]

"Wouldn't defend" is an interestingly ambiguous phrase!—it could mean "I don't think the thesis is true," or it could mean "I think the thesis is true, but I'm not going to argue for it here."

That sounds like "thesis is true" or "thesis is not true" are reasonable positions. Bayesian beliefs have probabilities attached to them.

There are also other reasons why one might not argue for giving a belief a high credence. I might hold my belief based on a variety of personal experiences that I can't condense into a post. I might also hold it based on confidential information that I'm not willing to share.

Comment author: Zack_M_Davis 03 October 2016 10:24:54PM 2 points [-]

That sounds like "thesis is true" or "thesis is not true" are reasonable positions. Bayesian beliefs have probabilities attached to them.

Sometimes, even people who understand Bayesian reasoning use idiomatic phrases like "believe is true" as a convenient shorthand for "assign a high probability to"! I can see how that might be confusing!

Comment author: ChristianKl 04 October 2016 05:48:40PM 0 points [-]

Most of the beliefs of the "I wouldn't defend it publically" are neither >0.999 credence or <0.001 and it's worthwhile to mentally categories them differently.

Comment author: Zack_M_Davis 04 October 2016 06:55:36PM 4 points [-]

Again, people sometimes use idiomatic English to describe subjective states of high confidence that do not literally correspond to probabilities greater than 0.999! (Why that specific threshold, anyway?)

You know, I take it back; I actually can't see how this might be confusing.