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Comment author: entirelyuseless 27 July 2017 02:07:45PM 1 point [-]

I will consider all statements meaningless unless I can argue otherwise (or I don't really care about the topic).

Then you should consider all statements meaningless, without exception, since all of your arguments are made out of statements, and there cannot be an infinite regress of arguments.

Comment author: moridinamael 27 July 2017 02:00:20PM 0 points [-]

Did anybody else immediately start trying to think of how to munchkin/minmax this technique?

Comment author: entirelyuseless 27 July 2017 01:55:28PM 0 points [-]

Can you actually support your claim that intention matters?

Artificial things are made for a purpose, and being made for a purpose is part of why they are called what they are called. This is an obvious fact about how these words are used and does not need additional support.

"Pain is the state that follows stubbing your toe and precedes saying ouch" is more of a pure definition.

If you mean pain is the conscious state that follows in that situation, yes, if you mean the third person state that folllows, no.

Similarly we could say that the sun is "giant ball of gas undergoing nuclear fusion" or we could say that it is "a bright spot in the sky" - the first is more of a theory than the second, but somehow I'm comfortable calling both of them "definitions".

Then you should wake up and stop being comfortable; the second is a better definition, exactly for that reason. Definitions shouldn't be falsifiable, and are not physical theories.

Well, if two things can be similar (or the same), then there has to be some way to compare them, right?

No. The stars outside event horizon of the visible universe are similar to the stars that we can see, but there is no way to compare them.

One can however ask the question, "Are the stars similar?" and one can answer yes or no. In the same way we can ask if the robot feels like we do and we can say yes and no. But there is access to the answer here, just as there no access in the case of the stars. That has nothing to do with the fact that either they are similar, or they are not, both in the case of the robot, and in the case of the stars.

Comment author: entirelyuseless 27 July 2017 01:49:16PM 0 points [-]

Why do you not think that?

I could say that a roomba is a mere machine, but you would probably object that this is just saying it is not conscious. Another way to describe this, in this particular context, is that the the roomba's actions do not constitute a coherent whole, and "perception" is a single coherent activity, and therefore conscious.

As I said, I'm not playing your game anyway, and I feel no obligation to describe what I think in your words rather than mine, especially since you know quite well what I am talking about here, even if you pretend to fail to understand.

More specifically I want to know, of all the feelings that you are capable of, how do you recognize that the feeling that follows stubbing your toe is the one that is pain?

By recognizing that it is similar to the other feelings that I have called pain. It absolutely is not by verbally describing how it feels or anything else, even if I can do so if I wish. That is true of all words: when we recognize that something is a chair or a lamp, we simply immediately note that the thing is similar to other things that we have called chairs or lamps. We do not need to come up with some verbal description, and especially some third person description, as you were fishing for there, in order to see that the thing falls into its category.

I'm sweating right now, and I don't think that's very similar to pain. Of course, getting burned causes pain.

It is not just that getting burned causes pain, but intense pain also feels similar to intense heat. Sweating is not an intense case of anything, so there wouldn't be much similarity.

Also, hurting yourself can produce swelling, which does feel warm, so that's another way to explain your association.

I am talking about how it feels at the time, not afterwards. And the "association" does not need to be explained by anything except how it feels at the time, not by any third person description like "this swelled up afterwards."

Comment author: entirelyuseless 27 July 2017 01:40:40PM 0 points [-]

I am not talking about pieces of paper. I am talking about people you see and talk to face to face, as commonly happened and still happens in real tribal environments.

Comment author: Viliam 27 July 2017 01:32:59PM *  1 point [-]

Once the students of physics were debating various interpretations of quantum mechanics. Prof. Nansen held up the cat and said: "Students! If this quantum random number generator displays zero, I will spare the cat. If it displays one, I will put it to the sword." The random number generator displayed one, so Nansen slew it.

After the lecture, when Prof. Joshu entered the classroom, Nansen told him what had happened. "Don't be sad, though. The cat is still alive, only in a parallel Everett branch," he said.

"I guess there is also a parallel Everett branch where people wear sandals on their heads instead of their feet. If that has no impact on our feelings or behavior in this branch, neither should have the fact that the cat is living in some branch," Joshu said.

"Oh crap. If you had told me this sooner, I would have spared the cat," Nansen said.

Comment author: Good_Burning_Plastic 27 July 2017 01:24:00PM 0 points [-]

Since other people are biologically similar to me, they probably say "I'm conscious" for the same reason as me, so it makes sense to believe them.

Be careful (2, 3).

Comment author: Viliam 27 July 2017 01:05:22PM 0 points [-]

When it comes to close-up stuff that can cause benefit or harm directly, you will find that most people really do have a model of the world.

This. Although even there people sometimes develop an absence of model. But often they don't.

in my experience we are still prone to this same behavior.

I like this approach in general. Complaining about humans doing stupid things is like complaining about water being wet. But it is potentially useful to look at some obviously stupid behavior and ask: "Am I doing this too? Maybe on a smaller scale, or in a different area, but essentially the same mistake?"

Comment author: Good_Burning_Plastic 27 July 2017 01:02:58PM *  0 points [-]

Meh. You can have two systems of coordinates related to each other by r_1 = R_Earth^2/r_2, theta_1 = theta_2, phi_1 = phi_2, t_1 = t_2 and as per general relativity both will give you the same answers if you use them right. (But one of the two will be much much easier to use right than the other.)

Comment author: cousin_it 27 July 2017 01:00:54PM *  0 points [-]

I think the idea of "meta-rationality" is that evaluating hypotheses using Bayes' rule isn't the limiting factor for humans. The hard part is coming up with good hypotheses. For that you need to make your mind a bit crazy and free, in a way that's hard to describe in Bayesian terms. That applies to both science and art, and LW doesn't really equip you for it.

Comment author: WalterL 27 July 2017 12:55:01PM 0 points [-]

Why are you trying to create a taxonomy of the antithetical approaches to rationality? What would you do with that once you had it?

I'm not opposed, mind, I just don't see the use.

Comment author: tadasdatys 27 July 2017 12:44:33PM 0 points [-]

I don't think that a roomba notices or perceives anything.

Why do you not think that? If there is something I'm not getting about that word, try making your taboo explanation longer and more precise.

By the way, I have some problems with "subjective". There is a meaning that I find reasonable (something similar to "different" or "secret"), and there is a meaning that exactly corresponds to consciousness (I can just replace the "subjectively" in your last post with "consciously" ans lose nothing). Try not to use it either.

Among other things, it usually feels a bit like heat. Why do you ask?

More specifically I want to know, of all the feelings that you are capable of, how do you recognize that the feeling that follows stubbing your toe is the one that is pain? What distinctive properties does it have?

Off topic, does it really feel like heat? I'm sweating right now, and I don't think that's very similar to pain. Of course, getting burned causes pain. Also, hurting yourself can produce swelling, which does feel warm, so that's another way to explain your association.

Comment author: tadasdatys 27 July 2017 12:44:30PM 0 points [-]

Intention matters for chairs as well. I am saying that all of the circumstances are relevant, and one factor like intention may not completely settle it, but it is one of the factors that determine the matter.

Can you actually support your claim that intention matters? To clarify, I'm suggesting that intention merely correlates with shape, but has no predictive power on its own.

It is a very bad thing for a theory of the meaning of a word.

It's somewhat complicated. "Experiences are brain states" is to an extent a theory. "Pain is the state that follows stubbing your toe and precedes saying ouch" is more of a pure definition. Similarly we could say that the sun is "giant ball of gas undergoing nuclear fusion" or we could say that it is "a bright spot in the sky" - the first is more of a theory than the second, but somehow I'm comfortable calling both of them "definitions".

And since this has two subjects in it, there is no subject that can feel them both and compare them.

Well, if two things can be similar (or the same), then there has to be some way to compare them, right?

Comment author: tadasdatys 27 July 2017 12:44:26PM 0 points [-]

fraudulent manoeuvre

What the hell? I'm not just annoyed because of how accusatory this sounds, I'm annoyed because it apparently took you a week of talking about alternative definitions to realize that I am, at times, talking about alternative definitions. Are you not paying attention at all?

Meaninglessness is not the default.

Well, it should be. I will consider all statements meaningless unless I can argue otherwise (or I don't really care about the topic). Obviously, you can do whatever you want, but I need you to explain to me, how it makes sense to you.

Other member's of your language community are willing to discuss things like robot pain. Does that bother you?

Sure, in a similar way that people discussing god or homeopathy bothers me. It's not exactly bad to discuss anything, but not all questions are worth the time spent on them either.

If definitions do not prove statements , you have no proof that robot pain is easy.

I did say "generally". Definitions do prove statements about those definitions. That is "define X as Y" proves that "X is Y". Of course, there are meaningful statements presented in the form "X is Y", but in those cases, we already have X well defined as Z and the statement is really a shorthand for "Z is Y". I guess I'm trying to convince you that in your case the definition Z does not exist, so making up a new one is the next best thing.

If you redefine pain, you are not making statements about pain in my language.

Yes, that's because your language is broken.

Comment author: MrMind 27 July 2017 12:31:02PM 0 points [-]

It reeeeeeally depends on your background. You can come at TT from many different directions: logic, programming, category theory, algebraic topology... the good news is that the contemporary view is that those are all facets of the same thing, a sort of generalized Church-Turing thesis.

Comment author: cousin_it 27 July 2017 11:35:56AM *  0 points [-]

If you're not an expert on some topic, and it's not too politicized, then I think trusting Wikipedia and using it as a starting point is the best strategy available today.

Comment author: simon 27 July 2017 09:48:55AM *  0 points [-]

Thanks for the kind words.

However, I don't agree. The additional 8 rooms is an unbiased sample of the remaining 80 rooms for beauty. The additional 8 rooms is only an unbiased sample of the full set of 81 rooms for beauty if the first room is also an unbiased sample (but I would not consider it a sample but part of the prior).

Actually I found a better argument against your original anti-thirder argument, regardless of where the prior/posterior line is drawn:

Imagine that the selector happened to encounter a red room first, before checking out the other 8 rooms. At this point in time, the selector's state of knowledge about the rooms, regardless of what you consider prior and what posterior, is in the same position as beauty's after she wakes up. (from the thirder perspective, which I generally agree with in this case). Then they both sample 8 more rooms. The selector considers this an unbiased sample of the remaining 80 rooms. After both have taken this additional sample of 8, they again agree. Since they still agree, beauty must also consider the 8 rooms to be an unbiased sample of the remaining 80 rooms. Beauty's reasoning and the selector's are the same regarding the additional 8 rooms, and Beauty has no more "supernatural predicting power" than the selector.

About only thirding getting the attention: my apologies for contributing to this asymetry. For me, the issue is, I found the perspectivism posts at least initially hard to understand, and since subjectively I feel I already know the correct way to handle this sort of problem, that reduces my motivation to persevere and figure out what you are saying. I'll try to get around to carefully reading them and providing some response eventually (no time right now).

Comment author: Thomas 27 July 2017 05:57:20AM 0 points [-]

Which tribe do you consider "real"? Those, you have a physical paper to prove your membership are only a few of them. Others are pretty undefined, but who cares?

Comment author: lmn 27 July 2017 05:40:07AM 0 points [-]

Agreed. Which is why the scientific approach is think about how to refute the claim that the earth is flat using only information you personally gather, rather than making snarky comments about the implausibility of the conspiracy.

Comment author: MakoYass 27 July 2017 02:32:33AM *  1 point [-]

It's good to see stories like this.

The notes about the impact on your sexuality are interesting. For a while I've been modelling fetishes as expressions of needs that've been displaced to fantasies and basal drives, unable to manifest in higher-minded consciously orchestrated virtue aspirations. They're the needs we find hard to admit to, problems we can't imagine finding a realistic solution to anywhere in the world (like we literally don't know what it would look like, it seems impossible, or, when we try to imagine it, the solution seems deeply undesirable). But they're deep needs, deep hungers. They wont go away. So the system shoves them into another place, a place where they can thrive as just fantasies, to keep them alive, to keep our attention on them, to keep us from giving up on them completely, however long it takes us to find our way to a realistic solution.

Your experiences seem to agree with that model. It has an interesting implication: fetishes are supposed to go away once the needs have been fulfilled, as they're mostly just a reflection of an unhealthy relationship with one's hungers. We've both experienced that. Heal the relationship, learn to perceive the solution in a healthy way, you can no longer exploit the displacement for pleasure. If instead you sustain the indulgence, that may make you very comfortable with retaining the neurosis, staying blind to the solution.

An example of where I would expect that to happen very easily is... Join a large, thriving, relatively long-lived community of people who harbor a memeplex that is exceptionally good at maintaining and amplifying your particular displaced hunger, maintaining the solution's indulgent, fantastical displacement. That is, join a kink community. It's not hard to imagine that there's a risk there, that they will have a cultural parasite for you, a culture that has feeds on and propagates through only people who are profoundly stuck in the neurotic conceptualization, something that will have been optimized to prevent you from getting to a place where you can see the solution in a realistic way. If it didn't defend its constituents from coming to recognize their cure, they would have spread it around among themselves, and the culture would have died. So, inevitably, we will be left only with...

Comment author: jimmy 27 July 2017 02:30:19AM *  0 points [-]

Simply seeing that there exist facts/evidence that support one side isn't enough to support the conclusion that it's actually right. To get there you have to make the jump "there exists this set of evidence for, therefore it is true", which is fallacious, in general, since sometimes there's more compelling facts/evidence in the other direction and you have to check for those too.

I don't really like the "fallacy" framework itself too much given the whole "logical fallacies as weak Bayesian evidence" thing, but I think there's an important point to be made in that you influence people through their (perhaps implicit) reasoning processes. The idea that there is this "separate" backchannel where you can influence people with things that have nothing to do with truth (in the target's frame) isn't a real thing, so any framing of "Dark Arts" as "using the Dark Channel [which is dark regardless of how it's used or what the underlying intent is]" is mistaken, and Dark Arts has to be recognized as the optimization of a message to pass through and be validated by the targets reasoning process even when it "shouldn't".

Comment author: entirelyuseless 27 July 2017 01:44:17AM *  0 points [-]

Your degree of conscious control is much more limited there. You can try to persuade yourself, but yourself might not be willing to be persuaded :-/

I agree that there is often more difficulty, but there is no difference in principle from the fact that you might decide to go to the store, but suddenly be overcome by a wave of laziness so that you end up staying home playing video games.

Huh? One of the most basic lessons of LW is that belief in propositions is not binary but a fraction between 0 and 1 which we usually call probability. If you think there is an 80% chance that the global warming theory is correct, this is your belief.

It is a question of being practical. I agree with thinking of probabilities as formalizing degrees of belief, but it is not practical to be constantly saying "there is an 80% chance of such and such," or even thinking about it in this way. Instead, you prefer to say and think, "this is how it is." Roughly you can analyze "decide to believe this" as "decide to start treating this as a fact." So if you decide to believe the global warming theory, you will say things like "global warming is happening." That will not necessarily prevent you from admitting that the probability is 80%, if someone asks you specifically about the probability.

This is precisely the difference between people who care about what reality actually is and people who are mostly concerned with society's approval.

Choose your side.

All humans care at least a little about truth, but also about other things. So you cannot divide people up into people who care about what reality actually is and people who care about other things like society's approval -- everyone cares a bit about both. Consequently, if some people say, "we care only about truth, and nothing else," those people are saying something false. So why are they saying it? Most likely, it is precisely because of one of the things they care about other than truth: namely looking impressive. Since I care more about truth than most people, including the people who want to look impressive, I will tell the truth about this: I care about truth, but I also care about other things, and the other things I care about can affect not only my actions, but also my thoughts and beliefs.

Comment author: entirelyuseless 27 July 2017 01:37:13AM 0 points [-]

Sure, everyone has certain groups that they imagine themselves as members of. But if they don't actually interact with those people, this is more a question of an imaginary tribe and imaginary status, not a real tribe or real status.

Comment author: entirelyuseless 27 July 2017 01:35:38AM 0 points [-]

"Perception" includes subjectively noticing something, not just being affected by it. I don't think that a roomba notices or perceives anything.

How does it feel? It feels bad, of course, but what else?

Among other things, it usually feels a bit like heat. Why do you ask?

Comment author: entirelyuseless 27 July 2017 01:32:46AM 1 point [-]

Are you saying that sometimes intention matters, just not for chairs?

Intention matters for chairs as well. I am saying that all of the circumstances are relevant, and one factor like intention may not completely settle it, but it is one of the factors that determine the matter.

Yes, in this case by "meaningful" I meant, "can be meaningfully extended to robots". I admit that this wasn't clear.

Unquestionably, it can be meaningfully extended to robots. You simply mean the same thing that you mean in the regular case. The only question is whether there is any feeling there, not if "feeling" has a meaning, since we already admitted that it does have a meaning.

Indeed, if it turned out that you did not have a brain or anything equivalent, you would have falsified my theory. Falsification is a good thing.

The possibility of falsification is a good thing for a physical theory. It is a very bad thing for a theory of the meaning of a word. As you already admitted, the fact that the pieces of furniture we normally sit on are called chairs is not subject to falsification, because that is just what is meant by "chair." But a physical theory of a chair, e.g. "chairs are made of atoms," is falsifiable, since someone could examine a chair and discover that it was not made of atoms. He would not then say, "We have discovered that 'chair' meant something different from what we thought." He would say, "We knew what 'chair' meant, and that is unchanged, but we have learned something new about the physical constitution of chairs."

In the same way, I am referring to certain feelings when I talk about "pain." The fact that the word pain refers to those feelings cannot be falsified, because it is just what that word means. But whether pain depends on a brain activity is a falsifiable physical theory; it has nothing to do with the meaning of the word "pain."

Unfortunately for you, you do have a brain.

Assuming that I do, that is fortunate, not unfortunate. But as I was saying, neither you or I know that I do, since neither of us has seen the inside of my head.

Are you going to feel the robot's feeling and compare?

No. The question is not whether the robot has a feeling which feels similar to me as my feeling of pain; the question is whether the robot has a feeling that feels to the robot the same way that my feeling feels to me. And since this has two subjects in it, there is no subject that can feel them both and compare them. And this is just how it is, whether you like it or not, and this is what "pain" refers to, whether you like it or not.

Comment author: gwillen 27 July 2017 01:09:13AM 0 points [-]

Seconding TAPL, it was the textbook for the type theory course I took in college, it is topnotch.

Comment author: Manfred 27 July 2017 12:12:07AM *  0 points [-]

The HoTT book is pretty readable, but I'm not in a position to evaluate its actual goodness.

Comment author: Erfeyah 26 July 2017 11:59:09PM *  0 points [-]

I believe that your distinctions instead of clarifying the concept of belief it has the opposite effect. Belief as a concept can signify:

  1. An embodied but not articulated attitude. In this sense a belief is only known when it is acted out.
  2. An articulated statement meant to describe the nature of a thing or to propose a certain course of action.

Although as a rationalist you tend to articulate your held beliefs and justify them within the rationalist methodology that does not qualify you, as far as I can see, to proclaim yourself the 'one true believer'. In addition an utterance of articulated belief does not constitute a guaranty that you will act accordingly. Only real action can prove whether you truly believe what you say. For this reason we can even conceive cases that a non-articulated but acted upon belief may be more 'real' than an articulated but not acted upon one.

Apart from this matter of consistency and sincerity we can examine the epistemological status of a belief that is derived by the rationalist methodology in contrast to a belief arrived by means of personal experience, cultural transmission, indoctrination etc. I have to admit that I am sceptical of the statement that you have a comprehensive model of the world based on Bayesian rationality and that you use it in every day life in all occasions. I would suggest an experiment. Try to articulate your full belief system by creating an actual graph. If your whole being is rationally articulated you should be able to achieve it and then observe for consistency of the graph with your behaviour. I, for once, have tried and realised that the majority of my beliefs (in the broad sense of the term) are embodied or/and unconscious with the conscious part (the intellect) constantly observing, analysing, articulating and feeding back.

Comment author: James_Miller 26 July 2017 11:44:38PM *  0 points [-]

Yes, but Adams explains at length how Trump is a master persuader, as with, for example, this Tweet "The day President Trump made his critics compare The Boy Scouts of America to Hitler Youth." I lot of what Adams says is P vs NP stuff where it's hard to figure out yourself but once someone explains it to you it seems obvious.

Comment author: justinpombrio 26 July 2017 10:31:46PM 1 point [-]

What is your goal? Type theory is at the intersection of programming languages and logic. If you care about programming languages and type systems, read TAPL:

https://www.cis.upenn.edu/~bcpierce/tapl/

If you care about type theory purely as a logic, I don't have an obvious recommendation, but could point you at some material.

(Programming Languages researcher)

Comment author: Jiro 26 July 2017 09:56:49PM 0 points [-]

(a) Harris says Trump is unethical and cites the example of Trump gate-crashing a charity event to falsely get credit for himself. Adams responds by saying that others are equally bad—that all politicians do morally dubious things. When Harris points out that Obama would never do such a thing, Adams says Trump is a very public figure and hence people have lots of dirt on him.

There's nothing wrong with Adams here, because

1) Harris's implicit argument is that Trump is unethical compared to other politicians, even if he doesn't actually say it. Thus, pointing out that other politicians are unethical is a legitimate rebuttal.

2) As far as I can tell from your summary, the argument is not "Trump gets caught at more bad things than other politicians", the argument is "Trump does more bad things than other politicians". If someone brings up an example of another politician who doesn't get caught as much, it's entirely proper to point out that it's harder for that politician to get caught and that not getting caught doesn't mean not doing bad things.

Instead, Adams always says, Trump “doesn’t pass the fact checks”. This move essentially makes it sound as if there’s some organization whose arbitrary and biased standards are what Trump doesn’t pass and so downplays the much more important fact that Trump lies.

This has some of the same problems as #1. Pretty much nobody tells the truth 100% of the time; saying that a politician lies really means he lies more than other politicians. Just because nobody explicitly said "... more than other politicians" doesn't mean the implication is not there. It is entirely correct to rebut this by saying "actually, other politicians lie, they just don't get caught at it by fact checkers".

Furthermore, if you don't think there are organizations that use arbitrary and biased standards for Trump lies, you haven't been paying attention to the controversy over fact-checking sites. Generally those sites are correct when it comes to facts, but selective about which facts to check and whether a literally true or false statement counts as mostly false or mostly true.

Comment author: buybuydandavis 26 July 2017 09:56:44PM 0 points [-]

Adams has stated why he doesn't make claims about Trump's character. Recent podcast.

He says his own moral views are such that if he went around shunning people for immorality, he'd be shunning everyone.

Comment author: buybuydandavis 26 July 2017 09:53:35PM 0 points [-]

The claim that Trump is a Master Persuader is falsifiable.

Comment author: buybuydandavis 26 July 2017 09:51:47PM 0 points [-]

The prediction of the win shows he has insights into Trump's capabilities, but not necessarily his intentions.

Comment author: buybuydandavis 26 July 2017 09:36:15PM *  0 points [-]

Adams uses several techniques (listed in the post) that could be used to argue for any position—even one that I wholeheartedly agree with. I suspect that in such a case I might not be quite so enthusiastic to point out the flaws in the reasoning.

So that perhaps the following is not quite what you really did:

Where I disagree with you is the claim that attacking someone's epistemological method is necessarily the same as attacking the positions they hold.

Maybe some of that extra enthusiasm leaks over into actual opposition to the person, like:

and he is the kind of figure we rationalists should know how to fight against.

Was Adams v. Harris a convenient vehicle to discuss the dangers of Dark Arts to epistemic rationality, or was a Dark Arts analysis a convenient vehicle for you to advocate opposition to Trump and Adams?

So please, contribute in the comments with your own observations about the Dark Arts involved here.

Have you stopped beating your wife yet?

I note this as one of the prime methods of the Dark Arts that one sees in the media all the time - the presupposition. I think it's actually amazing effective. I simply can't stand watching most talking head news media because the discussions presuppose some propagandistic talking point.

But to be even handed about this, I'll give you an example of presupposition from Trump. It's genius Dark Arts.

We’re going to win so much, you’re going to be so sick and tired of winning, you’re going to come to me and go ‘Please, please, we can’t win anymore.’ You’ve heard this one. You’ll say ‘Please, Mr. President, we beg you sir, we don’t want to win anymore. It’s too much. It’s not fair to everybody else.’”

From a dialectical standpoint, this is just absolute balderdash, silly and absurd. It's just goofy.

But from a Dark Arts perspective, it's amazing. The silliness disarms. Not only does he presuppose "winning", he has exactly the same silliness going on within the presuppositions themselves, that we'll all be begging to stop the winning, which again is rejected by the mind - "no, we won't get tired of winning!".

The dialectical mind thinks it is completely rejecting everything said, while underneath all that's left is the feeling of winning, winning, and more winning.

And this is not just analysis. This is empirical observation. It worked. It is yuge. Go search twitter for "not tired of winning yet" and #somuchwinning. They're basically "Hallelujah" for Trump supporters.

As a final note, I suggest that if you want to discuss the Dark Arts, find it in your side in politics. That way you can be sure you're not just using it as an avenue to attack an enemy, and will give them every benefit of the doubt before casting the accusing finger and proclaiming "I spy Dark Arts!" And you may learn some weaknesses in your side's arguments too.

Comment author: Lumifer 26 July 2017 08:16:53PM 0 points [-]

I don't know -- a typical Dark Arts technique would be to carefully select the facts/evidence to present (plus the facts NOT to mention) and this is not a fallacy, this is just a straight-up attempt to mislead.

Comment author: eternal_neophyte 26 July 2017 07:52:04PM 2 points [-]

The connection between neuroses and memories was something that made me think a lot. I've been trying to provoke myself into some kind of "transformation" for about 10 years, with some limited successes and a lot of failures for a want of insight. Information like this is really valuable so thank you for sharing your experience.

Comment author: jimmy 26 July 2017 07:13:48PM 0 points [-]

Something like that. I agree that you can engage in Dark Arts without ever doing something that can get you called out for using fallacious arguments, but I think the underlying structure is usually if not always the same. You do things that can be somewhat correlated with the truth in ways that will predictably lead to them being moved by it when in reality they shouldn't. For example, wearing a fake lab coat while speaking may not be an explicit "logical fallacy" but the effect is still "appeal to authority".

Comment author: sone3d 26 July 2017 07:04:17PM 5 points [-]

I hope this time it last for ever. Kaj <3

Comment author: Xianda_GAO 26 July 2017 06:49:18PM 1 point [-]

Very clear argument and many good points. Appreciate the effort.

Regarding your position on thirders vs halfers, I think it is a completely reasonable position and I agree with the analysis about when halfers are correct and when thirders are correct. However to me it seems to treat Sleeping Beauty more as a decision making problem rather than a probability problem. Maybe one's credence without relating consequences is not defined. However that seems counter intuitive to me. Naturally one should have a belief about the situation and her decisions should depend on it as well as her objective (how much beauty cases about other copies) and the payoff structure (is the money reward depends only on her own answer, or all correct answers or accuracy rate etc). If that's the case, there should exist a unique correct answer to the problem.

About how should beauty estimate R and treat the samples, I would say that's the best position for a thirder to take. In fact that's the same position I would take too. If I may reword it slightly, see if you agrees with this version: The 8 rooms is a unbiased sample for beauty, that is too obvious to argue otherwise. Her own room is always red so the 9 rooms is obviously biased for her. However from (an imaginary) selector's perspective if he finds the same 9 rooms it is an unbiased sample. Thirders think she should answer from the selector's perspective, (I think the most likely reason being she is repeatedly memory wiped makes her perspective somewhat "compromised") therefore she would estimate R to be 27. Is this version something you would agree?

In this version I highlighted the disagreement between the selector and beauty, the disagreement is not some numerical value but they disagree on whether a sample is biased. In my 4 posts all I'm trying to do is arguing for the validity and importance of perspective disagreement. If we recognize the existence of this disagreement and let each agent answers from her own perspective we get another system of reasoning different from SIA or SSA. It provides an argument for double halving, give a framework where frequentist and bayesians agrees with each other, reject Doomsday Argument, disagree with Presumptuous Philosopher, and rejects the Simulation Argument. I genuinely think this is the explanation to sleeping beauty problem as well as many problems related to anthropic reasoning. Sadly only the part arguing against thirding gets some attention.

Anyways, I digressed. Bottomline is, though I do no think it is the best position, I feel your argument is reasonable and well thought. I can understand it if people want to take it as their position.

Comment author: Lumifer 26 July 2017 06:44:23PM 0 points [-]

In history, you don't generally have to explain how something happens to assert that it did.

That does not apply to outside-of-the-mainstream views.

once you've translated Herodotus it's hard to claim that you have no real expertise in history

History is a very big subject. Translating Herodotus does not give you any insights into VI-VII century Arabia.

Comment author: TheAncientGeek 26 July 2017 06:25:36PM *  1 point [-]

Your solution is unconvincing because it can be fulfilled by code that is too simple to be to be convincing. If you change the definition of pain to remove the the subjective, felt aspect, then the resulting problem is easy to solve...but it's not the original problem. It's not that I can't understand you, it's that it's hard to believe anyone could pull such a fraudulent manoeuvre.

Meaninglessness is not the default. Other member's of your language community are willing to discuss things like robot pain. Does that bother you?

If definitions do not prove statements , you have no proof that robot pain is easy.

If you redefine pain, you are not making statements about pain in my language. Your schmain might be a trivially easy thing to understand, but it's not what I asked about.

Comment author: Eitan_Zohar 26 July 2017 06:18:08PM *  0 points [-]

Refraining from a 'detailed' reconstruction seems quite reasonable. In history, you don't generally have to explain how something happens to assert that it did.

Holland is indeed something of a pop author, but once you've translated Herodotus it's hard to claim that you have no real expertise in history.

Comment author: Lumifer 26 July 2017 06:03:39PM 0 points [-]

I did read the following sentence and noted that it does not have any footnotes attached to it -- as far as I can see it's an unsubstantiated assertion by some Wikipedia editor.

Besides "I'm not going to admit I was wrong, I just will stop talking/writing about this" counts as abandonment in my book.

As to Tom Holland, he is a writer, not an academic. Pop science, of course, has a rather large liking for outrageous claims.

Comment author: tadasdatys 26 July 2017 05:56:15PM 0 points [-]

Solve it , then.

Well, if you define pain exactly as "the state that follows damage and precedes the 'ouch'" then you would damage the robot, observe it say ouch, and then proclaim that it experiences pain. It's that simple. The fact that you asked, suggests that there's something you're seriously misunderstanding. But I can't explain it if I don't know what it is.

Prove that.

I feel like we've talked about this. In fact, here: http://lesswrong.com/lw/p7r/steelmanning_the_chinese_room_argument/dvhm

Remember when you offered a stupid proof that "purple is bitter" is category error, and then never replied to my response to it? Gosh, that was a while ago, and apparently we didn't move an inch.

To summarize, I believe that the phrase is meaningless, because instead of showing to me how meaningful it is, you repeatedly ask me stupid questions. At least, that's one additional data point.

But using them proves nothing?

Yes, definitions do not generally prove statements.

I am wondering who you communicate with when you use a private language

Considering that I provide you with the alternate definitions and explicitly state which definition I'm using where, I'm communicating with you.

Comment author: tadasdatys 26 July 2017 05:33:55PM 0 points [-]

The intention of the one who makes a chair is relevant, but not necessarily completely determinate. If someone says "I am making a chair," but it turns out that the thing has the shape of a hammer, it still will not be a chair.

When exactly is the intention relevant? If two objects have the same shape but different intended uses, and you still classify them the same, then the intention is not relevant. More generally, if we have variables X, Y and want to test if a function f(X,Y) depends not only on X, but also on Y, we have to find a point where f(X1, Y1) is not equal to f(X1, Y2). Are you saying that sometimes intention matters, just not for chairs? If not, I can only assume that intention doesn't determine anything and only shape is important.

I already notice the similarity between all the things that are called feelings

Yes, in this case by "meaningful" I meant, "can be meaningfully extended to robots". I admit that this wasn't clear.

If it turned out that I did not have a brain

Indeed, if it turned out that you did not have a brain or anything equivalent, you would have falsified my theory. Falsification is a good thing. Unfortunately for you, you do have a brain.

It matters whether it feels similar

Are you going to feel the robot's feeling and compare?

Comment author: tadasdatys 26 July 2017 05:33:39PM 0 points [-]

So any definition I propose is going to be synonymous or extremely close to that; otherwise I would not propose it.

Again you confirm that you don't understand what the game taboo is (rationalist or not). "Yellow bent fruit" is not a synonym of "banana".

"personal perception."

My criticism is that this description obviously matches a roomba. It can definitely perceive walls (it can become aware of them through sensors) and I don't see why this perception wouldn't be personal (it happens completely withing the roomba), although I suspect that this word might mean something special for you. Now, as I say this, I assume that you don't consider roomba conscious. If you do, then maybe I have not criticisms.

Is that the criticism you anticipated?

If your description of a banana does not suggest that it is fruit, your description will be extremely incomplete

I don't know what sort of scale of incompleteness you have. Actually, there could be an agent who can recognize bananas exactly as well as you, without actually knowing whether they grow on plants or are made in factories. A banana has many distinctive properties, growing on plants is not the most important one.

The point is that you are ignoring what is obviously central to the idea of pain, which is the way it feels.

How does it feel? It feels bad, of course, but what else?

Comment author: Eitan_Zohar 26 July 2017 05:24:43PM *  0 points [-]

Um... did you read the following sentence? She didn't abandon the idea at all. And there's at least one major work that argues for it: 'In the Shadow of the Sword.'

Comment author: Xianda_GAO 26 July 2017 04:52:26PM 0 points [-]

Yes, I have given a long run frequency argument for halving in part I. Sadly that part have not gotten any attention. My entire argument is about the importance of perspective disagreement in SBP. This counter argument is actually the less important part.

Comment author: tadasdatys 26 July 2017 04:43:50PM *  0 points [-]

But you have used "experience" as though it is meaningful, and you have implied that "feeling" is meaningless.

No, I used "experience" as a label. Let me rewrite that part:

That's assuming that "experience", as you use that word, is a meaningful category. If you didn't start from that assumption, and instead defined experiences as brain states, you could ...

Is that better? I understand that having two definitions and two similar but not identical concepts in one sentence is confusing. But still I expect you to figure it out. Was "identified" the problem?

Physical identity theory requires statements of the form "<mental state> is equivalent to <physical state>". if you reject all vocabulary relating to mental sates <...>

What vocabulary relating to what mental states do I reject? Give examples.

Whereas, from my point of view, 1st person experience was there all along.

Wasn't "chairness" there too? More importantly, can you actually offer an argument why "chairness" doesn't exist, other than pointing out that I just made it up? Preferably an argument that I couldn't make about consciousness just by swapping a few words?

Comment author: tadasdatys 26 July 2017 04:43:42PM 0 points [-]

There is a difference between a working hypothesis and an unfalsifiable dogma.

Is my position less falsifiable than yours? No, most statements about consciousness are unfalsifiable. I think that's a strong hint that it's a flawed concept.

Could explain what assumption you are dropping, and why, without using the word magical.

The assumption that "consciousness" is a meaningful (but supposedly poorly understood) concept that explains something happening either in the outside world or in my own head. I dropped it because I found that physicalism explains everything better. "Better" doesn't mean that I have all the answers about anything, it just means that the answers consciousness gives are even worse.

I don't understand what your problem with "magical" is?

I'd prefer if you settled on one claim.

Well, I suppose an assumption could be unnecessary without being meaningless, so the words aren't identical, but I do refer to the same thing, when I use them in this context. I also recall explaining how a "meaningless" statement can be considered "false". The question is, why are you so uncomfortable with paraphrasing? Do you feel that there are some substantial differences? Honestly, I mostly do this to clarify what I mean, not to obscure it.

That would be the problem for which there is no evidence except your say-so.

The "robot pain" problem is the problem where you think that maybe robots could feel pain, but you have not even a shred of an idea how to test if they do. That's a pretty big problem, regardless of what I say. Now, when I ask if this or that idea solves "robot pain" problem, I'm not asking if it produces an actual test, I just ask for a smallest hint that maybe the test could exist.

You can function practically without a concept of gravity, as people before Newton did.

That's ridiculous. The mathematical law of gravity was written down by Newton, but the concept of gravity, in the sense that "things fall down", is something most animals have. Do you literally think that nobody noticed gravity before Newton?

Comment author: tadasdatys 26 July 2017 04:43:38PM 0 points [-]

Do you prefer "naive"? Not exactly the same thing, but similar.

Comment author: Thomas 26 July 2017 04:10:44PM *  0 points [-]

"squeaks of affirmation" is the way a group remembers how something is until this group changes its mind about that. By some member shufflings or by adopting the new truth by the majority of its members. Or at least by its Politburo. Purges are necessary sometimes, though.

Comment author: Lumifer 26 July 2017 04:03:25PM *  2 points [-]

this "squeaks of affirmation" is the way a group thinks about a problem

No, this is the way a group maintains its current attitude towards a problem.

Combining the two words -- "group" and "thinking" -- is a problem in itself.

Comment author: Thomas 26 July 2017 03:53:49PM 0 points [-]

The truth is often painful. But this "squeaks of affirmation" is the way a group thinks about a problem.

A group might change its opinion about something by expelling some members and accept some fresh meat from the other group.

Or just by reversing its course on something. The fashion changes from time to time. I don't wear Matrix style outfit anymore. Now it seems to me, I never did. The whole group has changed their wardrobes and forget how elegant we were back then. Or just silly.

Yeah, this is painful, but what can you do?

Comment author: TheAncientGeek 26 July 2017 03:39:51PM *  1 point [-]

. With a strict physical definition the problem is easy,

Solve it , then.

with your definition the phrase is meaningless.

Prove that.

I don't think I've ever tried to prove anything by redefining any words [..] my definitions are better,

But using them proves nothing?

Who are you communicating to when you use your own definitions?

You're asking this as though I maliciously misinterpreted what you mean by consciousness.

I am wondering who you communicate with when you use a private language>

Comment author: Thomas 26 July 2017 03:34:09PM 0 points [-]

Everybody is a member of various groups. For example, I consider myself as a member of Aristotelians, who prefer to speculate about the solution of a problem, then to conduct an experiment. Galileo is one of us because he logically proved how the Apollo 15 feather-hammer experiment will pan out. But those pesky experimentalists see Galileo as one of them too, since he conducted several crucial experiments as well. I have never met Galileo, they have never met Galileo, still, we chart our groups this way.

This rather bizarre example illustrates two such perceived groups. There are a billion at least such divisions (imaginary or not) out there. And some people consider themselves as members of some. Rightly or wrongly, doesn't matter.

And then they judge what some high-status members of their group would say about the particular Quantum Mechanics conundrum. Then, they side with him about that.

Almost nobody actually ponders what the Hell is really going on with the Schrodinger's poor cat. Almost nobody.

Siding with some prominent member of your (perceived) tribe is a proxy for the thinking about it. Even if you don't see this high-status person named Heisenberg a lot, you side with him.

Most problems are not that deep. Like whether or not Antarctica is currently melting. People still don't have their opinions about this, but just side either with Al Gore, either with me. Well, they side with me only incidentally, they don't know that I exist. They know that lord Monckton exists and they maybe side with him. So they think Antarctica is melting very slowly, if at all.

If I tell you Antarctica is increasing its snow cover, you may be nerd enough to either believe me after some calculations ... either be nerd enough to prove me wrong. Doesn't matter which.

But most likely you will go to either Al Gore's either to lord Monckton's side. Even though you don't meet with those two very frequently.

Comment author: TheAncientGeek 26 July 2017 03:30:49PM *  0 points [-]

Yes, "feeling" and "experience", are pretty much the same thing,

So they are either both meaningful, or both meaningless. But you have used "experience" as though it is meaningful, and you have implied that "feeling" is meaningless.

That was a predictable problem. Physical identity theory requires statements of the form "<mental state> is equivalent to <physical state>". if you reject all vocabulary relating to mental sates, you cannot make that kind of statement, and so cannot express identity theory.

At this point someone could suggest that, if we started with the assumption that each object has an associated "chairness", then that is what we would want to compare. I'm sure you can see why that doesn't solve anything. And yet this is exactly what you do with experiences, from my point of view.

Whereas, from my point of view, 1st person experience was there all along.

Comment author: Lumifer 26 July 2017 03:26:05PM 0 points [-]

The point is that deciding to say something, or even deciding to believe it, is like any other decision, like deciding to go to the store.

Deciding to say something, sure, but deciding to believe is a bit different. Your degree of conscious control is much more limited there. You can try to persuade yourself, but yourself might not be willing to be persuaded :-/

Suppose you think there is an 80% chance that global warming theory is correct... Consequently I will believe it.

Huh? One of the most basic lessons of LW is that belief in propositions is not binary but a fraction between 0 and 1 which we usually call probability. If you think there is an 80% chance that the global warming theory is correct, this is your belief. I don't see any need to make it an "I believe it fully and with all my heart" thing.

Consequently the total expected utility of believing the theory is -0.192. Therefore I am not going to believe it

Correct. This is precisely the difference between people who care about what reality actually is and people who are mostly concerned with society's approval.

Choose your side.

Comment author: entirelyuseless 26 July 2017 03:17:55PM 0 points [-]

What sort of reasons are we currently talking about though? I want to hear reasons based on the properties of the objects being classified. You seem to accept whatever reasons you can come up with.

"Properties of the objects being classified" are much more extensive than you realize. For example, it is property of pain that it is subjective and only perceived by the one suffering it. Likewise, it is a property of a chair that someone made it for a certain purpose.

If IKEA made two identical objects and labeled one "chair" and another "table", would they then actually be different objects?

The intention of the one who makes a chair is relevant, but not necessarily completely determinate. If someone says "I am making a chair," but it turns out that the thing has the shape of a hammer, it still will not be a chair.

IKEA can have whatever intentions they want, but http://www.ikea.com/us/en/catalog/products/20299829/ is a stool. Are you seriously telling me that it isn't?

In most cases of that kind, the thing being called a table really is a table, and not a stool. Obviously I cannot confirm this in the particular case since I do not intend to buy it. But it is related to the fact that it is made for a certain purpose, as I said. In other words, in most cases the thing is not suitable for use as a stool: it might collapse after one occasion of sitting on it, or anyway after several days. In other words, being made as a table, it is physically unsuitable to be used as a seat. And consequently if it did collapse, it would quite correct to say, "This collapsed because you were using it as a stool even though it is not one."

That said, I already said that the intention of the makers is not 100% determining.

That's assuming that "feeling" is a meaningful category.

That's not subject to falsification, in the same way that it is not subject to falsification that the thing I am sitting on is called a "chair." In other words, I already notice the similarity between all the things that are called feelings in the same way that I notice the similarity between chairs.

If you didn't start from that assumption, and instead identified your experiences with brain states, you could go one step further and ask "are the states of the robot's processor/memory similar to my brain states", but then you hit the obvious classification problem.

Talk about assumptions. I assume, and you are assuming here, that I have a brain, because we know in most cases that when people have been examined, they turned out to have brains inside their heads. But the fact that my toe hurts when I stub it, is not an assumption. If it turned out that I did not have a brain, I would not say, "I must have been wrong about suffering pain." I would say "My pain does not depend on a brain." I pointed out your error in this matter several times earlier -- the meaning of pain has absolutely nothing at all to do with brain activities or even the existence of a brain. As far as anyone knows, the pain I feel when I stub my toe could depend on a property of the moon, and the pain I feel when I bump into a lamppost on a property of Mt. Everest. If that were the case, it would affect in no way the fact that those two pains feel similar.

There are some similarities and there are some differences, and you have to choose which of those are the most important to you, and there is no one right way to do it. Lack of knowledge isn't the main problem here.

This is completely wrong, for the reason I just stated. We are not talking about similarities between brain states -- we are talking about the similarity of two feelings. So it does not matter if the robot's brain state is similar to mine. It matters whether it feels similar, just as I noted that my different pains feel similar to one other, and would remain feeling similar, even if they depended on radically different physical objects like the moon and Mr. Everest.

Comment author: Lumifer 26 July 2017 03:17:35PM 0 points [-]

Ah, interesting. But it seems that this "Revisionist" school is about critically analysing Koran and hadiths -- basically not taking them at their word which is entirely reasonable. The claim that Islam didn't originate in Arabia is mostly limited to Crone and even she looks to have abandoned this claim: Wikipedia says "Later, Patricia Crone refrained from this attempt of a detailed reconstruction of Islam's beginnings".

Comment author: Lumifer 26 July 2017 03:09:48PM *  1 point [-]

people who are liable to interpret it only as a status move ... people who instinctively form conscious models of the world and interpret propositions as propositions and not as social maneuvers

The thing is, most people do both depending on the topic and the context. Exactly the same person who will be unthinkingly tribal with respect to, say, politics, will show amazing abilities to model and reason about the world when the subject switches to his hobby (say, sailing or gardening or BBQ).

The distinction you're pointing at is not a distinction between people, it's mostly a distinction between subjects (see e.g. "politics is the mind-killer").

Comment author: entirelyuseless 26 July 2017 03:05:37PM 0 points [-]

You expect that I will reject every description you could offer, but you haven't actually tried any. If you did try a few descriptions and I did find something wrong with each of them (which is not unlikely), your arguments would look a lot more serious.

There is a reason I expect that. Namely, you criticized a proposed definition on the grounds that it was "synonymous" with consciousness. But that's exactly what it was supposed to be: we are talking about consciousness, not something else. So any definition I propose is going to be synonymous or extremely close to that; otherwise I would not propose it.

But now I can only assume that you simply can't think of any such descriptions.

Your assumption is false. Let's say "personal perception." Obviously I can anticipate your criticism, just as I said above.

All descriptions are incomplete. You just have to provide a description that matches bananas better than it matches apples or sausages. A malicious adversary can always construct some object which would match your description without really being a banana, but at some point the construction will have to be so long and bizarre and the difference so small that we can disregard it.

If your description of a banana does not suggest that it is fruit, your description will be extremely incomplete, not just a little incomplete. In the same way, if a description of consciousness does not imply that it is subjective, it will be extremely incomplete.

Again, all descriptions are incomplete. "What makes someone say ouch" is quite accurate considering it's length.

The point is that you are ignoring what is obviously central to the idea of pain, which is the way it feels.

Comment author: Lumifer 26 July 2017 03:04:47PM 1 point [-]

The problem isn't rudeness, the problem is that this approach classifies the great majority of humanity as monkeys incapable of making any noises other than squeaks of affirmation towards the ingroup and screams of outrage towards the outgroup. At the very least, that's... wasteful.

Comment author: entirelyuseless 26 July 2017 02:57:38PM 0 points [-]

The point is that deciding to say something, or even deciding to believe it, is like any other decision, like deciding to go to the store. Human beings care about many things, and therefore many things can affect their decisions, including about what to believe. Let me give an example:

Suppose you think there is an 80% chance that global warming theory is correct. You say, "If I believe that the theory is correct, there will be an 80% chance that I am believing the truth, and a 20% chance that I am believing a falsehood. I get a unit of utility from believing the truth, and a negative unit from believing a falsehood. So that will give me 0.6 expected utility from believing the theory. Consequently I will believe it."

But suppose you also think there is an 80% chance that black people have a lower average IQ than white people. You say, "As in the other case, there is a positive expected utility from the probability of believing the truth, if I believe this. But there is a 99% chance that people will call me a racist, and being called a racist has a utility of -0.8. Consequently the total expected utility of believing the theory is -0.192. Therefore I am not going to believe it." Note that if there was a 99% chance that the theory was true in this case, your expected utility would be 0.18, which would be positive, so you would probably choose to believe it. So being called a racist can affect whether you believe it, but it will affect it less when you consider more probable theories.

As to that "good reason to say it", who judges what's a good reason and what is not?

If you mean whose judgement determines it, no one's does, just as no one's judgement determines whether the earth goes around the sun.

Comment author: Lumifer 26 July 2017 02:56:43PM 0 points [-]

Science is a methodology, not a set of conclusions.

At any given moment in time scientists are definitely wrong about a lot of stuff.

Comment author: Lumifer 26 July 2017 02:55:04PM 0 points [-]

I should have been clearer: in the quotes above replace "intent" with "intent with respect to the mentioned 'particular regard for the truth'".

Comment author: TheAncientGeek 26 July 2017 02:45:52PM *  0 points [-]

I start from where I last stopped - discarding all of my progress would be weird.

There is a difference between a working hypothesis and an unfalsifiable dogma. It seems to you that there is nothing to explain about consciousness because you only accept 3rd-person empirical data, because of your ontology.

You may think that dropping an initial assumption is inherently wrong,

Could explain what assumption you are dropping, and why, without using the word magical.

but it's quite normal, not only in physical sciences, but also in math. Note that I'm not contradicting consciousness, I just find it meaningless or, if you prefer, unnecessary.

I'd prefer if you settled on one claim.

the "robot pain" problem.

That would be the problem for which there is no evidence except your say-so.

You see, if I started from the assumption that gravity does not exist, my life would be very hard and I'd eventually have to introduce some concept that's like gravity but by another name.

You can function practically without a concept of gravity, as people before Newton did. What you can get away with theoretically depends on what you are trying to explain. Perhaps there is a gravity sceptic out there somewhere insisting that "falling object" is a meaningless term, and that gravity is magic.

Comment author: entirelyuseless 26 July 2017 02:26:21PM 0 points [-]

I understand this quotation as:

"What do good, high-status groups (that you can plausibly be a part of) think about Bound_up's post ?"

Unless you mean some online groups (e.g. a subset of this forum), you misunderstand, because I am not the member of any groups in real life, whether low or high status. I live alone and very frequently do not see anyone at all in a particular 24 hour period, including at work.

Comment author: lifelonglearner 26 July 2017 02:15:41PM *  0 points [-]

[General pushback in the opposite direction and providing an alternate view.]

Counterclaim 1: It's less of a status / posture thing. Most people just aren't thinking most of the time, but totally have the ability to form beliefs if pressed. Thinking of them as lazy evaluators might make more sense. "Smart" people are just those who have more metacognitive activity and are thus asking themselves questions and answering them with less need for external prompts from the environment.

Counterclaim 2: Yes, I think this model might be useful in providing better explanations for why "normal" people do things. But I also think that it can limit the way that "smart" people interact with "normal" people.

Models I myself tend to use try to focus on answering the question, "How can I take actions that improve this person's worldview / life trajectory?" which might involve using the concept that they don't have well-formed beliefs to inform how I move forward, but it certainly doesn't just end with noting that they're being mindless and writing them off as hopeless.

I guess I'm just worried that these sorts of models become an excuse for "smart" people to not even try when it comes to communicating "complex" ideas to "normal" people. I think there's something good that happens on both sides when your focus is on bridging inferential gaps and less on just modeling the other party as some sort of mindless adaptation executor.

I mean, that's part of why we end up with ontologies that refer to objects that only phenomenologically, right? Because it turns out that we get all sorts of cool additional functions when we start looking a little deeper.

Comment author: lifelonglearner 26 July 2017 02:06:34PM 0 points [-]

Thanks for the links! I'd bumped into both papers a little while back, and I'll indeed be citing them!

Comment author: TheAncientGeek 26 July 2017 01:38:17PM 0 points [-]

started from the same magical assumptions that everyone starts with, and eventually I found them unnecessary and unattractive.

There's that word again.

Comment author: Eitan_Zohar 26 July 2017 12:30:17PM *  0 points [-]

The idea as I know it comes from Patricia Crone, but it's been picked up by other historians like Tom Holland. Basically, it claims that Muhammad came from Jordan and the idea of Islam originating in Medina was an attempt to 'Arabize' the new religion.

Comment author: Dr_Manhattan 26 July 2017 12:20:11PM 0 points [-]

Eh, no, apparently. Although the article is comforting.

Things tend to converge to the truth when market forces make it advantageous. This is probably correct for Bayes.

Comment author: Bound_up 26 July 2017 11:43:05AM 0 points [-]

If you walk away using a properly watered-down version of this over-the-top description with its "obvious exceptions and caveats," then it will have exactly achieved its purpose.

I hope you won't be equally rude (but memorable) if you discuss this with people who are liable to interpret it only as a status move, and not as an attempt to describe pieces of reality. If you are discussing it with people who instinctively form conscious models of the world and interpret propositions as propositions and not as social maneuvers, then you might find that an over-the-top description will make the central idea clearer and more memorable.

You'll risk people not properly watering down the idea, of course, but if you trust your audience to water it down, you can enjoy the benefits of exaggeration. Nerdy or not, they are humans, after all, and exaggeration has its uses.

Comment author: Thomas 26 July 2017 09:46:44AM *  0 points [-]

I agree with your model, but without the nerd-exception.

This exception might sound not very elegant, but it's crucial. Either you model the world and people inside this world and you have beliefs. Either you just try to fit in. Most people do both. But a minority do modeling when things are complicated. Which is almost always. This minority you can call nerds or geeks or professors or whatever. You have to steal the name somewhere. Or even some day invent a new one.

Those models nerds make may be often wrong, but it was a try to really understand things and not just to fit in.

Comment author: MrMind 26 July 2017 09:40:30AM 0 points [-]

So eventually truth win out.

Eh, no, apparently. Although the article is comforting.

Comment author: MrMind 26 July 2017 09:30:24AM *  1 point [-]

That is probably the first post of that site that doesn't make me want to pull my hair out.
I am too trying to create a taxonomy of the antithetical approaches to rationality.
So far, I've classified them in two dimension: the existence of an objective truth (yes/no) and the fallibility of some part of human understanding (yes/no).
On the other hand, I don't feel that some political movements are against the method of rationality, as much as they are against the actual content of what said method has discovered. If one had the patience and if an alt-righter (say) had "climate change is a hoax" as a true objection, I believe that one could theoretically arrive at an agreement on what are the facts and what is a fair interpretation. Basically, I would just chuck political movements and their associated moral panic as generic tribalism.

Meta-rationalists have been promising a coherent account of meaning for nearly a century. Somehow, we’ve never delivered, although we think we understand it quite well. It’s time we put up or shut up.

I wholeheartedly agree on the last sentence. I also believe that to 'overcome' rationality, one needs transfinite computation, so good luck with that.

Comment author: Thomas 26 July 2017 09:19:06AM 2 points [-]

This is rude and unnecessary.

I understand this quotation as:

"What do good, high-status groups (that you can plausibly be a part of) think about Bound_up's post ?"

Those good, high-status people groups abhor Bound_up's post. They think it's entirely useless and even "narcissistic and hypocritical." Sure they do.

But some low life nerds like myself find it true. Just as it was expected to be.

Comment author: cousin_it 26 July 2017 08:53:54AM *  3 points [-]

Maybe the best strategy for you is to keep feeling a bit superior to "non-nerds", but learn enough manners and forethought to ensure that your conversations with them are pleasant. Reading Jane Austen might help.

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