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In response to comment by oge on Self-verification
Comment author: Nanashi 25 April 2015 08:49:24PM 0 points [-]

Specifically, I planned on imagining what my response would be if I found a message supposedly "from myself" that was transmitted using one of these methods. How likely would I be to truly integrate into my identity this event of which I have no memory?

In response to comment by Nanashi on Self-verification
Comment author: RichardKennaway 26 April 2015 09:12:30AM 0 points [-]

Have you ever read your own diary from fifty years previously? :)

Comment author: fubarobfusco 26 April 2015 02:07:26AM 0 points [-]

According to Marx, in capitalism, improvements in technology and rising levels of productivity increase the amount of material wealth (or use values) in society while simultaneously diminishing the economic value of this wealth, thereby lowering the rate of profit—a tendency that leads to the paradox, characteristic of crises in capitalism, of "reserve army of labour" and of “poverty in the midst of plenty”, or more precisely, crises of overproduction in the midst of underconsumption.

— Wikipedia, "Overproduction"

Comment author: RichardKennaway 26 April 2015 09:10:35AM 1 point [-]

Has anyone made a mathematical model of that? I don't know what most of the words in it mean, in concrete terms.

It sounds like "we can make more than we want with less labour than we can supply." Is that accurate?

In scarcity, which has been all of history up to the present, everyone's strategy has been to get as much work as they can, make as much stuff as they can, and sell as much stuff as they can, in order to get as much stuff as they can in exchange. I can imagine that when half the workforce can make twice as much stuff as everyone wants, that may not work so well. But that's just a verbal story, and I don't trust those.

Comment author: Anders_H 25 April 2015 06:21:19PM 2 points [-]

I'm not sure why this comment is being downvoted - perhaps because of the tone - but the content in it is true

The definition of parallel lines is essentially "lines that don't intersect". We therefore do not need an axiom to show that if two lines are parallel, the do not intersect - this just follows from the definition.

The fifth postulate says that for every line L and point P outside of L, the parallel line L' through P is unique (Existence of L' follows from axioms 1 through 4)

Comment author: RichardKennaway 25 April 2015 10:56:18PM 1 point [-]

I'm not sure why this comment is being downvoted

This:

This is bad and you should feel bad.

Comment author: Epictetus 25 April 2015 06:57:35PM 1 point [-]

The existence of prostitution puzzles me, because it looks like a dysfunction of human sexuality in agricultural societies.

Prostitution might not even be a uniquely human phenomenon.

There's also a question of what, exactly defines prostitution. It's straightforward enough when it's a one-time transaction, but what to make of a relationship where one party provides regular sex in exchange for food and a place to stay (a paleo sugar daddy)?

Comment author: RichardKennaway 25 April 2015 08:34:01PM 0 points [-]

but what to make of a relationship where one party provides regular sex in exchange for food and a place to stay

Sounds like one idea of traditional marriage. The woman promises to provide sex and the man promises to provide. Some feminists (e.g. Germaine Greer) have described this arrangement as prostitution.

In response to Self-verification
Comment author: RichardKennaway 24 April 2015 10:17:49AM -1 points [-]

The problem is equivalent to this one: An unstoppable force is coming your way. Devise an immovable shield against it.

Comment author: sentientplatypus 22 April 2015 06:37:57PM 1 point [-]

Not saying you should start drinking but almost no one likes the taste of alcohol the first time they try it.

Comment author: RichardKennaway 22 April 2015 09:40:15PM 2 points [-]

Submitting...

Comment author: Error 21 April 2015 02:51:03PM 3 points [-]

People are very well able to distinguish them -- we are doing so right here.

Are we? We're discussing the distinction, sure, but is each of us distinguishing the other's statements about implicature from the other's implications about implicature? Did I say everything you think I said? Did you say everything I think you said?

If I read this thread, then attempt to write down a list of significant statements you made from memory, and then compare that list to your actual text; will it contain things you did not say? Will it also contain things that I thought followed from what you said, but that you neither said nor meant?

My understanding of the original quote is that it will. I found that surprising, enlightening, and scary.

Comment author: RichardKennaway 21 April 2015 04:47:00PM *  1 point [-]

We're discussing the distinction, sure, but is each of us distinguishing the other's statements about implicature from the other's implications about implicature?

No, because we do not need to. We are responding to what we perceive the others' meanings to be, regardless of how explicitly they were expressed. Only if we are are uncertain of an implication, or if one person perceives an implication that another did not intend, do we need to raise the issue.

If I read this thread, then attempt to write down a list of significant statements you made from memory, and then compare that list to your actual text; will it contain things you did not say?

Yes. This will still be the case if you do not do this from memory, but write out a paraphrase with the original text in front of you.

Will it also contain things that I thought followed from what you said, but that you neither said nor meant?

It may well do that as well. Communication is fallible. That is why it has to be a two-way process: fire and forget doesn't work. Hence also such devices as the ideological Turing test: formulating someone else's views on a subject in a way that they agree is accurate.

ETA: The university library has the Clark & Clark book. Kahnemann and Tversky don't give a page reference, but chapters 2 and 3 of C&C discuss implicatures. What I gather from it is that yes, people make them. In experiments, their memories of a text are influenced in various ways by the background knowledge that they bring to bear. Incongruous details are more often forgotten, while congruous but absent details are added in retelling. The experiments cited in Clark & Clark measure things like how long certain linguistic comprehension tasks take and what errors are made. These are compared with the predictions of various models of how the brain is processing things.

Sounds like Bayesian updating to me, with the evidence received (the text) not being so strong as to screen off the priors. But unless you are specifically attending to it (as you might well be doing, e.g. when examining a witness at a trial) all you are aware of is the result.

I found that surprising, enlightening, and scary.

Welcome to consciousness of abstraction! Your brain does not distinguish true beliefs from false beliefs!

Comment author: Error 20 April 2015 11:39:36PM 3 points [-]

I'm not sure I agree. Expecting people to judge stated claims and ignore implicature all the time is unreasonable, sure. But expecting them to judge stated claims over implicature when the stated claim is about empirical facts strikes me as plenty reasonable.

...or that was my opinion until now, anyway. This bit about the brain not actually distinguishing the two has me questioning it. I still don't think that it's okay to conflate them, but if the tendency to do so is hardwired, then it doesn't represent willful stupidity or intellectual dishonesty.

It is, however, still a problem, and I don't think it's one that can be blamed on the speaker; as Gunnar points out elsethread, it's hard to explicitly rule out implicatures that you yourself did not think of. It's also hard to have a discussion when you have to preface statements with disclaimers.

I should add that I am talking about relatively neutral statements here. If I may steal an example from yvain, if you say "The ultra-rich, who control the majority of our planet's wealth, spend their time at cocktail parties and salons while millions of decent hard-working people starve," you pretty much lose the right to complain. For contrast, if you say "90% of the planet's wealth is held by the upper 1%," and your discussion partner asks you why you support the monster Stalin, I think you're on solid ground asking them WTF.

...or again, so I thought. If the brain really doesn't distinguish between the neutral version of that statement and the listener's belief that people making it must be Communists, then the comparison is inevitable and I am boned.

Comment author: RichardKennaway 21 April 2015 07:08:29AM 2 points [-]

This bit about the brain not actually distinguishing the two has me questioning it.

It clearly an overstatement. People are very well able to distinguish them -- we are doing so right here. Perhaps what people are actually doing (I have not seen the Clark&Clark source to know what concrete observations they are discussing) is considering the implications to have been intended by the speaker as much as the explicit assertions. Well, duh, as the saying is.

Implicatures aren't some weird thing that the poor confused mehums do that the oppressed slans are forced to put up with. You don't say things when they are clear without being said, because it's a waste of time. It's a compression algorithm. As with any compression algorithm, the more you compress things, the more vulnerable the message is to errors, and you have a trade-off between the two.

This, btw, is my interpretation of the Ask/Guess cultural division. These are different compression algorithms, that leave out different stuff. Mixing compression algorithms is generally a bad idea: too much stuff gets left out if both are applied.

Comment author: Elo 21 April 2015 12:37:30AM 1 point [-]

Sometimes with that detachment comes the "freedom from outcome and failure" which is all that some people need to be encouraged to try to talk to strangers.

I started thinking wine only tasted like alcohol, now it tastes like rotting grapes with an alcoholic after-taste. which is not any nice than before.

For example with spirits - do you get the burning sensation that is usually described as "fire in your belly" or "burning down the throat" with say; scotch, vodka, rum...?

Comment author: RichardKennaway 21 April 2015 04:56:42AM 1 point [-]

For example with spirits - do you get the burning sensation that is usually described as "fire in your belly" or "burning down the throat" with say; scotch, vodka, rum...?

Only in the throat.

Comment author: DeVliegendeHollander 18 April 2015 09:20:28PM 1 point [-]

One of the reasons I don't really understand how intelligence can mean optimization or goal-seeking is that I too have seen it negatively correlated with happiness. Happiness can mean many things but probably one big chunk of its meaning will be a felt reward for goals achieved so this disassociation does not really go well with it being an optimization or goal-reaching ability.

You have probably heard the Bertrand Russel quote (1951) "One of the painful things about our time is that those who feel certainty are stupid, and those with any imagination and understanding are filled with doubt and indecision." if there is any truth in it, the issue is that intelligence causes worrying and thus stress and unhappiness.

I may be a pessimist but often it felt unavoidable to me, the smarter you are, the more ways you can imagine how can things go horribly wrong.

Of course it is possible that it is another factor, let's dub it with a (not very) random variable name D, the D factor making you invest your mind into making up negative outcomes, not positive outcomes. Perhaps very intelligent people with very low D factor exist who can imagine a hundred ways how a plan can work better than expected.

But, alas, it seems smart people worry more than utopianize, come up with more negative outcomes than positive ones.

I wonder if there is a method to force your brain to imagine a potential positive outcome for every imagined negative one.

Comment author: RichardKennaway 19 April 2015 07:42:41AM 1 point [-]

One of the reasons I don't really understand how intelligence can mean optimization or goal-seeking is that I too have seen it negatively correlated with happiness. Happiness can mean many things but probably one big chunk of its meaning will be a felt reward for goals achieved so this disassociation does not really go well with it being an optimization or goal-reaching ability.

If people choose goals according to their ability to achieve them, then ability and success in achieving those goals will be uncorrelated. Where a correlation would be expected is between ability and achievements, not between ability and the difference between achievements and goals.

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