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Comment author: NaomiLong 21 March 2012 09:14:54PM 6 points [-]

Thanks for the compilation. This point was especially useful:

Before you stake your argument on a point, ask yourself in advance what you would say if that point were decisively refuted. If you wouldn't actually change your mind, search for a point that you find more convincing.

I think beginning rationalists should first look to make sure they're willing to change their mind on a subject, period.

Comment author: NaomiLong 29 December 2011 07:40:09AM 1 point [-]

I only wish that this post had been in a more visible place, so I could have found it before now. This seems like it will be very useful. Thank you for compiling.

Comment author: Airedale 23 April 2010 02:06:36AM 4 points [-]

Well-written post.

But given the relatively high numbers of upvotes received by many of the recent posts in this vein (including yours and the posts you link), it’s not at all clear to me that the particular intellectuals who read Less Wrong are really engaging in “sub-optimal levels of careful introspection.” It’s also possible to go too far in the introspection direction.

Comment author: NaomiLong 19 December 2011 02:58:00AM 1 point [-]

I've been reading Less Wrong for about four months now and I haven't really made the effort to optimize my introspection levels. Alicorn's series and this post, plus some other outside influences, have placed doing that higher on my list of priorities. I'm not necessarily the average Less Wrong reader, however.

In response to Fake Selfishness
Comment author: Stephen 08 November 2007 06:24:31AM 2 points [-]

Taking a cue from some earlier writing by Eli, I suppose one way to give ethical systems a functional test is to imagine having access to a genie. An altruist might ask the genie to maximize the amount of happiness in the universe or something like that, in which case the genie might create a huge number of wireheads. This seems to me like a bad outcome, and would likely be seen as a bad outcome by the altruist who made the request of the genie. A selfish person might say to the genie "create the scenario I most want/approve of." Then it would be impossible for the genie to carry out some horrible scenario the selfish person doesn't want. For this reason selfishness wins some points in my book. If the selfish person wants the desires of others to be met (as many people do), I, as an innocent bystander, might end up with a scenario that I approve of too. (I think the only way to improve upon this is if the person addressing the genie has the desire to want things which they would want if they had an unlimited amount of time and intelligence to think about it. I believe Eli calls this "external reference semantics.")

In response to comment by Stephen on Fake Selfishness
Comment author: NaomiLong 12 October 2011 08:32:38PM 1 point [-]

It seems like this is based more on the person's ability to optimize. The altruistic person who realized this flaw would then be able to (assuming s/he had the intelligence and rationality to do so) calculate the best possible wish to benefit the most number of people.

Comment author: AnnaSalamon 20 October 2010 08:54:42PM 12 points [-]

Thanks for letting me know. If you want any help charting a good education, especially a good rationality education, I'd love to talk to you (I just sent you a PM also to that effect, which you can see by clicking on the red mailbox icon next to your name).

Are there any other teenagers on LW who care to reveal themselves?

Comment author: NaomiLong 10 July 2011 08:56:53PM 2 points [-]

This is a little less than a year late, but oh well. I'm an almost-18 year old female who found LessWrong through HPMoR, which a friend of mine recommended to me (he is also interested in LessWrong and regularly reads the site). If you see this, I would love any advice you have to offer about "charting a good education, especially a good rationality education."