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Fallibilist comments on Open Letter to MIRI + Tons of Interesting Discussion - Less Wrong Discussion

0 Post author: curi 22 November 2017 09:16PM

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Comment author: ChristianKl 27 November 2017 01:35:11PM 3 points [-]

There are thousands of philosophers about whom I could ask the same question. It makes sense to focus attention on those people who are most likely to provide useful information and not those people who are engaging in the most effort to get heart by coming and posting in our forum.

Comment author: Fallibilist 29 November 2017 07:47:01PM 0 points [-]

There are thousands of philosophers about whom I could ask the same question.

Who are these thousands? It would be great if the world had lots of really good philosophers. It doesn't. The world is starving for good philosophers: they are very few and far between.

Comment author: ChristianKl 03 December 2017 03:40:56PM *  0 points [-]

I have no reason for me to believe that Curi is among the people who's a really good philosopher.

Popper might have said useful things given his time but he's dead. I won't read from Popper about what he thinks about the development of the No Free Lunch theorem and ideas that came up after he died.

Barry Smith would be an example of a person that I like and where it's worth to spend more time reading more of his work. His work of applied ontology actually matters for real world decision making and knowledge modeling.

Reading more from Judea Pearl (who by the way supervised Ilya Shpitser's Phd) is also on my long-term philosophic reading list.

Comment author: IlyaShpitser 29 November 2017 10:17:18PM 0 points [-]

I know lots of folks at CMU who are good.

Comment author: curi 29 November 2017 11:01:51PM *  0 points [-]

I don't suppose you're going to give names and references? Let alone point to anyone (them, yourself, or anyone else) who will take responsibility for addressing questions and criticisms about the referenced works?

Comment author: IlyaShpitser 29 November 2017 11:13:32PM *  1 point [-]

Spirtes, Glymour, and Scheines, for starters. They have a nice book. There are other folks in that department who are working on converting mathematical foundations into an axiomatic system where proofs can be checked by a computer.

I am not going to do leg work for you, and your minions, however. You are the ones claiming there are no good philosophers. It's your responsibility to read, and keep your mouth shut if you are not sure about something.

It's not my responsibility to teach you.

Comment author: Fallibilist 29 November 2017 11:51:02PM 0 points [-]

It's your responsibility to read, and keep your mouth shut if you are not sure about something.

I have read and I know what I am talking about. You on the other hand don't even know the basics of Popper, one of the best philosophers of the 20th century.

Comment author: curi 29 November 2017 11:32:57PM *  0 points [-]

That isn't even a philosophy book. And then you mention others who are doing math, not philosophy.

Comment author: IlyaShpitser 30 November 2017 07:38:28PM *  3 points [-]

Your sockpuppet: "There is a shortage of good philosophers."

Me: "Here is a good philosophy book."

You: "That's not philosophy."

Also you: "How is Ayn Rand so right about everything."

Also you: "I don't like mainstream stuff."

Also you: "Have you heard that I exchanged some correspondence with DAVID DEUTSCH!?"

Also you: "What if you are, hypothetically, wrong? What if you are, hypothetically, wrong? What if you are, hypothetically, wrong?" x1000


Part of rationality is properly dealing with people-as-they-are. What your approach to spreading your good word among people-as-they-are led to is them laughing at you.

It is possible that they are laughing at you because they are some combination of stupid and insane. But then it's on you to first issue a patch into their brain that will be accepted, such that they can parse your proselytizing, before proceeding to proselytize.

This is what Yudkowsky sort of tried to do.


How you read to me is a smart young adult who has the same problem Yudkowsky has (although Yudkowsky is not so young anymore) -- someone who has been the smartest person in the room for too long in their intellectual development, and lacks the sense of scale and context to see where he stands in the larger intellectual community.

Comment author: Fallibilist 01 December 2017 12:05:34AM 1 point [-]

curi has given an excellent response to this. I would like to add that I think Yudkowsky should reach out to curi. He shares curi's view about the state of the world and the urgency to fix things, but curi has a deeper understanding. With curi, Yudkowsky would not be the smartest person in the room and that will be valuable for his intellectual development.

Comment author: IlyaShpitser 01 December 2017 02:10:45AM 1 point [-]

Who are you talking to? To the audience? To the fourth wall?

Surely not to me, I have no sway here.

Comment author: Fallibilist 01 December 2017 02:24:56AM *  1 point [-]

Well, this comes back to the problem of LW Paths Forward. curi has made himself publicly available for discussion, by anyone. Yudkowsky not so much. So what to do?

Comment author: curi 30 November 2017 09:28:35PM *  0 points [-]

I don't have a sock puppet here. I don't even know who Fallibilist is. (Clearly it's one of my fans who is familiar with some stuff I've written elsewhere. I guess you'll blame me for having this fan because you think his posts suck. But I mostly like them, and you don't want to seriously debate their merits, and neither of us thinks such a debate is the best way to proceed anyway, so whatever, let's not fight over it.)

But then it's on you to first issue a patch into their brain that will be accepted, such that they can parse your proselytizing, before proceeding to proselytize.

People can't be patched like computer code. They have to do ~90% of the work themselves. If they don't want to change, I can't change them. If they don't want to learn, I can't learn for them and stuff it into their head. You can't force a mind, nor do someone else's thinking for them. So I can and do try to make better educational resources to be more helpful, but unless I find someone who honestly wants to learn, it doesn't really matter. (This is implied by CR and also, independently, by Objectivism. I don't know if you'll deny it or not.)

I believe you are incorrect about my lack of scale and context, and you're unfamiliar with (and ridiculing) my intellectual history. I believe you wanted to say that claim, but don't want to argue it or try to actually persuade me of it. As you can imagine, I find merely asserting it just as persuasive and helpful as the last ten times someone told me this (not persuasive, not helpful). Let me know if I'm mistaken about this.

I was generally the smartest person in the room during school, but also lacked perspective and context back then. But I knew that. I used to assume there were tons of people smarter than me (and smarter than my teachers), in the larger intellectual community, somewhere. I was very disappointed to spend many years trying to find them and discovering how few there are (an experience largely shared by every thinker I admire, most of whom are unfortunately dead). My current attitude, which you find arrogant, is a change which took many years and which I heavily resisted. When I was more ignorant I had a different attitude; this one is a reaction to knowledge of the larger intellectual community. Fortunately I found David Deutsch and spent a lot of time not being the smartest person in the room, which is way more fun, and that was indeed super valuable to my intellectual development. However, despite being a Royal Society fellow, author, age 64, etc, David Deutsch manages to share with me the same "lacks the sense of scale and context to see where he stands in the larger intellectual community" (the same view of the intellectual community).


EDIT: So while I have some partial sympathy with you – I too had some of the same intuitions about what the world is like that you have (they are standard in our culture) – I changed my mind. The world is, as Yudkowsky puts it, not adequate. https://www.lesserwrong.com/posts/dhj9dhiwhq3DX6W8z/hero-licensing

Comment author: ChristianKl 03 December 2017 04:01:30PM *  0 points [-]

I was generally the smartest person in the room during school, but also lacked perspective and context back then.

This is not that untypical in this community. LW Censi put the average IQ on LW at something like 140.

There are plenty of people inside Mensa that spend their youth being smarter than the people in the room in school and that go on to develop crackpot theories.

From the perspective of Ilya Shpitser, who was supervised for his Phd by Judea Pearl (who's famous of producing a theory of causality that's very useful for practical purposes), corresponding with David Deutsch in an informal way doesn't give you a lot of credentials.

Comment author: IlyaShpitser 03 December 2017 09:49:30PM 0 points [-]

Dear Christian, please don't pull rank on my behalf. I don't think this is productive to do, and I don't want to bring anyone else into this.

Comment author: curi 03 December 2017 04:16:18PM *  0 points [-]

I didn't correspond with David Deutsch in an "informal way" as you mean it. For example, I was the most important editor of BoI (other than DD ofc).

Comment author: curi 03 December 2017 04:04:18PM *  0 points [-]

I didn't say it was untypical, i was replying to the parent comment. Pay attention instead of responding out-of-context.

Comment author: ChristianKl 03 December 2017 03:46:02PM 0 points [-]

You could say that a lot of philosophers who dealt with logic where just doing math, that doesn't change anything about practical application of logic being important philosophically. Looking into what can be proven to be true with logic is important philosophically.

Comment author: ChristianKl 03 December 2017 03:33:09PM 0 points [-]

Being a good philosopher has nothing to do with taking responsibility for answering any questions that they are asked. Most people who are actually good care about their time and don't just spend significant amounts of time because a random person contacts them. They certainly don't consider that to be their responsibility.