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Psychohistorian comments on Harnessing Your Biases - Less Wrong

10 Post author: swestrup 02 July 2009 08:45PM

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Comment author: Psychohistorian 03 July 2009 02:16:31AM *  1 point [-]

This is what I meant by epistemology. It's not the bad beliefs causing bad epistemology (with certain exceptions, like some instances of religion, in which people may mess up their epistemology to retain their beliefs), but the bad epistemology causing the beliefs. I picked a bit too extreme an example to illustrate my point, and made note of alternative examples in the original.

If I told the car mechanic, "Actually, the Earth revolves around the Sun, which is one star among billions in one galaxy among billions, and you should believe me because God told me so," and he changes his beliefs accordingly, he's not really any better off than he was. The problem is not his belief, it's his system for validating beliefs.

By contrast, if I actually explained why that statement was true and he said, "Well, duh, of course I was wrong! I really should have looked into that!" then I'd say he never had much of a problem to begin with, other than a lack of curiosity.