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In response to The Semiotic Fallacy
Comment author: Creutzer 22 February 2017 11:42:15AM 1 point [-]

Interesting. Clearly your prison and Macholand examples have a game theoretic structure, where the value of your actions is partly influences by what they signal to the other players about your dispositions. It looks a bit like there is a heuristic that helps people choose the option with advantageous signalling value, but they apply it also in cases that don't have the iterated game structure that is required for this to make sense, such as, in particular, 2. This is essentially a different way of phrasing what I take you to be saying.

Comment author: kraryal 19 January 2016 09:28:20PM 6 points [-]

I'd like to see the executive functioning post. Your formatting and article flow seems quite good to me.

Comment author: Creutzer 23 January 2016 01:12:55PM *  1 point [-]

Seconding this. It seems like a super-important topic, so if you have something to say about it, please do.

Comment author: RaelwayScot 21 November 2015 09:08:27AM 0 points [-]

Do Bayesianists strongly believe that the Bayes' theorem accurately describes how the brain changes its latent variables in face of new data? It seems very unlikely to me that the brain keeps track of probability distributions and that they sum up to one. How do Bayesianists believe this works at the neuronal level?

Comment author: Creutzer 21 November 2015 11:31:52AM *  4 points [-]

The term you will want to use in your Google search is "Bayesian cognitive science". It's a huge field. But the short answer is, yes, the people in that field do assume that the brain does something that can be modelled as keeping and updating a probability distribution according to Bayes' rule. Much of it is computational-level modelling, i.e. rather removed from questions of implementation in the brain. A quick Google search did, however, find some papers on how to implement Bayesian inference in neural networks - though not necessarily linked to the brain. I'm sure some people do the latter sort of thing as well, though.

Comment author: OrphanWilde 27 October 2015 02:02:06PM 0 points [-]

American culture has a presupposition that every problem has a solution - that you can win.

Yep... although there's an implicit "Other cultures don't think that identifying a problem implies a requirement to try to correct it" there, which I'm not sure I believe?

Comment author: Creutzer 27 October 2015 07:10:36PM 1 point [-]

If by implicit you mean implied by me, that wasn't intended. But I think other cultures do, to varying degrees, people more towards thinking that a problem is either unsolvable or that trying to solve it isn't worth the bother. I always feel like "Sometimes, when you're screwed enough, you're screwed" counts as a radical realisation in contemporary America.

Comment author: IlyaShpitser 25 October 2015 08:37:59PM 3 points [-]

I do wonder how much of 'rationalist' stuff is contingent on American culture.

Comment author: Creutzer 27 October 2015 01:33:43PM *  2 points [-]

Here's my theory: American culture has a presupposition that every problem has a solution - that you can win. Any American rationalist will be able to tell you that their use of "winning" can, strictly speaking, just mean "not failing too hard", but... there's a reason why it's still called "winning". On a gut level, people from a culture that doesn't have this presupposition might find the whole thing much less relatable.

Comment author: PhilGoetz 22 October 2015 07:27:17PM *  0 points [-]

I'm not familiar with Schumann. Googling music theory forums indicates he's respected today mainly for his compositions for piano, while his symphonies are held in low regard. I'm now listening to his piano concerto in A minor, finished in 1845. I'm not very familiar with the 1830s or 1840s, but it doesn't sound anything like music from the 1820s or earlier.

I don't think music like this could have been written before Schumann. The piano necessary to play it didn't exist. Some key moments in the development of the piano:

The music forums say Liszt and Ravel's works required the double escapement, and some say Chopin's did, while one argues Chopin's pianos didn't have it. No word on Schumann.

Comment author: Creutzer 23 October 2015 12:16:33PM *  0 points [-]

That's true, and these technical developments were crucial for 19th century piano music, but keep in mind that harmonic language and musical form are quite independent from this and are highly relevant domains of innovation and creativity.

In any case, I'm not quite sure what the point is that you're trying to make.

Comment author: pragmatist 22 October 2015 03:10:17PM *  4 points [-]

I don't know of many analytic philosophers who scoff at his ethics, although there are certainly many who disagree with it. There are also many analytic philosophers who consider his ethics to be a significant advance in moral reasoning. As an example, Derek Parfit, in his recent book, constructs an ethical system that tries to reconcile the attractions of both consequentialism and Kantian deontological ethics.

Kant's discussion of the categorical imperative, especially the first formulation of the imperative (act according to the maxim that you would will to be a universal law), prefigures various contemporary attempts to reformulate decision theory in order to avoid mutual defection in PD-like games, including Hofstadter's notion of superrationality and Yudkowsky's Timeless Decision Theory. Essentially, Kantian ethics is based on the idea that ethics stems from nothing more than a commitment to rational decision-making and common knowledge of rationality among interacting agents (although with Kant it's not so much about knowing that other agents are rational but about respecting them by treating them as rational). I don't fully agree with this perspective, but I do think it is remarkably astute and ahead of its time.

Comment author: Creutzer 22 October 2015 04:03:41PM *  1 point [-]

In my experience, many people hold that when trying to derive the KI in the groundwork, he just managed to confuse himself, and that the examples of its application as motivated reasoning of a rigid Prussian scholar with an empathy deficit.

The crucial failure is not that it is nonsensical to think about such abstract equilibria - it is very much not, as TDT shows. But in TDT terms, Kant's mistake was this: He thought he could compel you to pretend that everybody else in the world was running TDT. But there is nothing that compels you to assume that, and so you can't pull a substantial binding ethics out of thin air (or pure rationality), as Kant absurdly believed he could.

Comment author: pragmatist 21 October 2015 06:38:01PM *  12 points [-]

Kant is talking about good and evil, delight, happiness, character, honor, etc., etc, while Russell is talking about looking at triangles. Which one are people going to want to read?

Except Kant also talked quite a bit about triangles and Russell also talked quite a bit about good and evil. And Kant discussed perceptual epistemology a whole lot more than Russell did. The Critique of Pure Reason, Kant's most significant work, is about epistemology, not ethics.

Also, while much of twentieth-century continental philosophy does build on Kant (although a lot of it is a reaction against Kant), so does much of twentieth-century analytic philosophy. In many ways, the true heirs of Kant in the twentieth century were the logical positivists. Their epistemology was closer to Kant's than any prominent continental philosopher's was. So Kant has just as much claim to being a founder of analytic philosophy as he does to being a founder of continental philosophy.

Kant was not the most lucid writer, but his style was not remotely "analogical" or "literary" (look through Kant's famous Transcendental Deduction and see whether those descriptors seem apt).. And much of Kantian philosophy is precisely formulated and subject to falsification. In fact, quite a bit of it has been falsified (his contention that space is necessarily Euclidean, for instance).

Comment author: Creutzer 22 October 2015 01:07:54PM *  1 point [-]

Indeed. Kant is a poor example for offensive continental philosophy because while he was a very bad writer, but you can reconstruct sensible ideas he was trying to express, at least when it's not about ethics. The really offensive philosophy is the one where the obscurity of the writing is not accidental in this way, but essential, and where the whole thing falls apart once you try to remove it.

Analytical philosophers also do not routinely scoff at Kant except for 1) his lack of skill as a writer and 2) his ethics.

Comment author: PhilGoetz 22 October 2015 02:14:00AM *  4 points [-]

A few minutes with Google turns up what a day on LessWrong did not:

Brahms was discovered by Robert Schumann in 1853. Schumann was at the time probably the most influential music critic in the world, and one of the most-respected composers. And he took Brahms on as... well, I can't tell from Google, even with dozens of hits, what their relationship was, but Brahms is usually described as Schumann's "protege" or "pupil". And Schumann promoted Brahms relentlessly for the next 2 years, until he (Schumann) went mad.

Comment author: Creutzer 22 October 2015 12:56:22PM *  1 point [-]

To be fair, if there is a mystery at all, then this only pushes it one step further: Schumann wasn't any more radically innovative than Brahms and yet was extremely influential and is still regarded as a composer of the first rank.

Comment author: Creutzer 21 September 2015 05:18:05PM *  3 points [-]

The people just adhere to the rhythmical structure that the piece began with; the pianist is, to them, just doing lots of syncopes. This isn't meaningfully described in terms of a priming effect, and so it's not clear that this should affect our view of priming research. (If you ask me, it's also not really meaningfully described by "people being controlled by what they can't perceive consciously". It's like saying you're being "controlled by what you can't perceive consciously" when you listen to somebody speak just because your language parser works subconsciously.) People are not parsing the second part of the piece "primed" by the first part. It's one piece and they're just assuming that the pianist isn't playing a metrically inconsistent structure, so he must be playing syncopes.

Nor is this interesting from a music cognition perspective, although there are interesting questions in its vicinity. Some pieces make you switch to a new metrical parsemetrical parse and if you're not a musician, you don't notice it - now that is interesting.

EDIT: To make it perfectly clear, priming would be: You parse piece 1 in a certain way. Piece 1 ends. Then you hear piece 2 and parse it like piece 1 even though a different parse if possible. The example here doesn't fit into this pattern at all, so I'm not very worried about people confusing things like it for priming.

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