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Comment author: timujin 08 December 2014 08:34:57PM *  5 points [-]

No, it's actually fun. Brief examples:

  • "It depends". I have never been able to get away with just saying "it depends" - Russian version prompts you to either specify what it depends on, or explicitly refuse to, begging the question of why I am being so sneaky.

  • There is no word that means "complexity", but can not be alternatively understood as "difficulty". When I tell someone I want a complex challenge, they ask why I am not carrying heavy things around, as that is quite difficult.

  • In same vein, no word for "challenge" that doesn't also mean "ordeal". The distinction seems to be also missing from Russian brains, a very peculiar phenomenon that Russian culturologists are always upset about.

  • No different words for 'accuracy' and 'precision'.

  • No word for 'awesome' that is both strong enough and can be shown on TV. But, on the other hand, the obscene word for 'awesome' is much more awesome that 'awesome'.

  • English tenses are more flexible and consistent. Russian only has three, plus the standalone "have been"-like form. They don't distinguish between "I do things" and "I am doing things", for instance.

  • In English, you can put an emphasis on 'am' or 'is'. In Russian, to do that, you need to throw in a few extra words.

  • Context-independency. Russian has a small basic vocabulary, and compensates it with insanely complex syntactic structures that makes it harder to pull a couple of words from a sentence and understand what it is about.

To even things a bit, here are some advantages of Russian over Englsh:

  • Phonetics. If you know how to write a word, you automatically and unambiguously (with a single notable exception) know how to pronounce it. It works a little less perfect the other way around, but good enough that Russian spelling bees do not exist and don't even make sense.

  • English has a ridiculously huge amount of words that sound the same or similar, like 'to', 'two' and 'too', or 'bot' and 'bought'. The last one is just horrible - you insert three new letters, doubling word's length, and it still sounds the same. No such thing is possible in Russian.

  • Words "себя" and "авось".

  • Word formation. It is much more flexible than in English. You can easily say things like "недоперепрыгнул", which means "tried, but not succeeded, to jump over something".

  • Distinction between singular and plural "you".

  • Mat. English swearing pales in comparison to this.

Comment author: Azathoth123 09 December 2014 05:24:59AM -2 points [-]

It seems like half your complaints are that Russian doesn't make some distinction that English does and the other half are that Russian forces you to make distinctions that English doesn't. It strikes me that you're simply more comfortable thinking in English.

Comment author: [deleted] 08 December 2014 08:40:32AM 0 points [-]

Um, "hard work and loyalty to employers" can also be interpreted as desirable things that raise total utility in the long run.

Sure. But then you've already lapsed into consequentialism, and thus stuck yourself with a mandate to consider the trade-offs between desirable and undesirable consequences. This is not what deontological and virtue-theoretic politicians actually do. What they actually do is see an undesirable consequence, and start loudly pointing it out, signaling "Look how morally brave I am for being willing to let this sort of thing happen out of pure principle!"

Comment author: Azathoth123 09 December 2014 05:03:11AM 3 points [-]

But then you've already lapsed into consequentialism, and thus stuck yourself with a mandate to consider the trade-offs between desirable and undesirable consequences.

Yes, and deontologists and virtue ethicists consider trade offs between different principles or virtues.

This is not what deontological and virtue-theoretic politicians actually do.

This is not what consequentialists actually do either. In particular, I've never seen an actual utility function, much less using one to compute trade-offs.

"Look how morally brave I am for being willing to let this sort of thing happen out of pure principle!"

Well, this is also what consequentialists talking about trolley problems sound like.

Comment author: ChristianKl 08 December 2014 12:46:25AM 0 points [-]

I think limited liability corporations are a very political thing. I would guess that they don't exist in some communist countries.

Comment author: Azathoth123 09 December 2014 04:49:07AM 0 points [-]

I would guess that they don't exist in some communist countries.

Yes, and those countries' economies aren't doing to well.

Comment author: satt 08 December 2014 01:38:37AM 4 points [-]

It does not matter if those "reasons" are signaling, privilege, hegemony, or having an invisible devil on your shoulder whispering into your bloody ear: to impugn someone else's epistemology entirely at the meta-level without saying a thing against their object-level claims is anti-epistemology.

Ignoring reasons why someone believes what they believe is not good epistemology.

It depends.

If I understand all of someone's logical arguments for believing what they believe, and I have the knowledge and processing power needed to evaluate those arguments, and I want to know whether the belief is correct, I should ignore all of the non-logical reasons why they believe what they believe. Argument screens off authority, which means it also screens off non-authority and indeed anti-authority.

If someone tells me the sun's shining, and I look outside and see the sun's shining, it doesn't matter if the person told me the sun's shining because they're trying to signal something else; it doesn't matter if they're privileged; it doesn't matter if they're a hegemon; it doesn't matter if they have an invisible devil on their ear. I can see for myself that they're correct. The process that generated the claim has been rendered utterly irrelevant.

But of course I've made some assumptions there which are routinely false: I often don't have the knowledge or processing power needed to evaluate all of someone's arguments, and sometimes don't even know the arguments for a belief. If so, it's legitimate to use what I know about the belief-generating process as a cognitive shortcut to judge the belief. And this is true frequently enough that you have a good point, too: in real life we don't have time to do a full-blown evaluation of the belief network supporting a claim, in which case the "reasons why someone believes what they believe" can be useful (even important) evidence. Whether you are correct or eli_sennesh is correct is situation-dependent.

Comment author: Azathoth123 08 December 2014 05:45:03AM 0 points [-]

If I understand all of someone's logical arguments for believing what they believe, and I have the knowledge and processing power needed to evaluate those arguments,

Outside of math you also need the relevant evidence, i.e., observations, which requires you to trust that they have been accurately reported.

Comment author: Azathoth123 08 December 2014 05:24:03AM *  0 points [-]

As mentioned above, be very, very sure about what ethical framework you're working within before having a political discussion. A consequentialist and a virtue-ethicist will often take completely different policy positions on, say, healthcare, and have absolutely nothing to talk about with each-other. The consequentialist can point out the utilitarian gains of universal single-payer care, and the virtue-ethicist can point out the incentive structure of corporate-sponsored group plans for promoting hard work and loyalty to employers, but they are fundamentally talking past each-other.

Um, "hard work and loyalty to employers" can also be interpreted as desirable things that raise total utility in the long run. (Also note: the above is not at all an accurate description of any political position that I know off, I was just going with eli's example.)

This is a broad point in favor of consequentialism: a rational consequentialist always considers consequences, intended and unintended, or he fails at consequentialism. A deontologist or virtue-ethicist, on the other hand, has license from his own ethics algorithm to not care about unintended consequences at all, provided the rules get followed or the rules or rulers are virtuous.

Except, as I mentioned above in practice the conventionalist dismisses any consequences he can't or doesn't want to measure as "irrelevant virtue-ethical considerations". And that's not getting into his license to define the utility function however he sees fit.

Comment author: fubarobfusco 07 December 2014 05:34:49PM 2 points [-]

Do not ask whether a politician Believes in Global Warming. Ask whether that politician would want their kids to inherit a nice house in South Miami.

(But beware: if this trick gets around, politicians will buy or sell their Florida real estate in order to signal tribal allegiance.)

Comment author: Azathoth123 08 December 2014 05:09:08AM *  0 points [-]

So by that standard almost no politicians believe in global warming.

Notice how all the rich actors who show up at charity events to "fight global warming" are also lining up to buy beach front property. (They also tend to fly around in private jets, but that's a separate issue.)

Edit: The reason I didn't use politicians in the above example is that not all politicians can afford beachfront property and the ability to do so correlates with other things that may be relevant to whether you want him in power.

Comment author: [deleted] 05 December 2014 03:01:22AM 1 point [-]

The problem isn't objectification of women, it's a lack of non-objectified female characters.

The types of objectification are different, as you touch on. Men are not sexually objectified as often. When they are, they are shown in a position of power or self-direction, with women in contrasting positions of passiveness and submissiveness. This is most visible in advertising because it's the place where men are portrayed as specifically male rather than as people (with the assumption that all people worth knowing about or portraying must be men).

Your example of random mooks? They're there to shoot and die and follow orders. You can replace them with robots or ambulatory plants or aliens with no discernable gender. Calvin Klein ads? The men are there to be masculine.

Men are allowed to be short or tall, fat or thin, strong or weak. They can have long noses and bulbous noses and button noses and earlobes that hang down. Women have several molds they can fit -- they can be crones or grandmothers, or they can be minor variants of generic white sexy woman at different ages, between fifteen and thirty.

Even when women are portrayed as skilled, intelligent people with their own backstories and interests, you'd be hard pressed to find one that isn't portrayed in a way to make sexual objectification easy, even if it makes no sense with their story. Amita from Far Cry 4, for instance, is one of two leaders of a terrorist group fighting against an oppressive dictatorship. You'd expect that she'd have scars. You'd expect she'd be too busy to maintain long hair. You'd expect muscles. You'd expect powerful body language. You wouldn't exactly expect her to have turquoise earrings, wear eyeliner, have immaculately plucked eyebrows, have skin as smooth as marble, and wear a pouty / concerned expression half the time.

The huge problem is that women's perceived value can never exceed the ease with which they can be objectified.

Comment author: Azathoth123 08 December 2014 04:43:59AM 0 points [-]

Men are allowed to be short or tall, fat or thin, strong or weak.

The traits that make men attractive aren't primarily based on appearance. Thus it matters less what the traits are like. And men in movies and games frequently display them in large amounts. People will they're heroes to have unusually positive traits, thus men are unusually strong, courageous, cool under fire, etc. and women are unusually beautiful, as well as unusually pure, nurturing, etc. It is of course possible (but not necessary) to give women high levels in the masculine traits (and conversely). However, removing the positive masculine traits from men, or the positive feminine traits from women will lead to a product no one wants to watch/play.

Amita from Far Cry 4, for instance, is one of two leaders of a terrorist group fighting against an oppressive dictatorship. You'd expect that she'd have scars. You'd expect she'd be too busy to maintain long hair. You'd expect muscles. You'd expect powerful body language. You wouldn't exactly expect her to have turquoise earrings, wear eyeliner, have immaculately plucked eyebrows, have skin as smooth as marble, and wear a pouty / concerned expression half the time.

I agree this is unrealistic, then again the whole concept of warrior women fighting on par with men is itself completely unrealistic. Audiences tolerate this lack of realism because she at least displays (some) possitive feminine traits. They would also tolerate the more realistic option of having no warrior women. If you made female characters that realistically depict what it would take for women to fight on par with men (i.e., women who look like the Eastern block's doped Olympic athletes) you'll find that no one will want to watch/play them.

Comment author: shminux 04 December 2014 08:25:00PM 6 points [-]

What cause would an NRx EA donate to?

Comment author: Azathoth123 08 December 2014 04:18:47AM 1 point [-]

Sarah Hoyt isn't quite NRx, but her recent (re)post here seems relevant.

In particular, the old distinction between deserving and undeserving poor.

Comment author: skeptical_lurker 07 December 2014 07:08:26PM 0 points [-]

What ethical system do you follow?

Comment author: Azathoth123 08 December 2014 04:14:45AM 0 points [-]

I'm a virtue ethicist.

Comment author: [deleted] 01 December 2014 07:08:06PM 3 points [-]

I may write a full discussion thread on this at some point, but I've been thinking a lot about undergraduate core curriculum lately. What should it include? I have no idea why history has persisted in virtually every curriculum I know of for so long. Do many college professors still believe history has transfer of learning value in terms of critical thinking skills? Why? The transfer of learning thread touches on this issue somewhat, but I feel like most people on there are overvaluing their own field hence computational science is overrepresented and social science, humanties, and business are underrepresented. Any thoughts?

In response to comment by [deleted] on Open thread, Dec. 1 - Dec. 7, 2014
Comment author: Azathoth123 08 December 2014 03:48:37AM 1 point [-]

Here is Eliezer's post on the subject.

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