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Comment author: ChristianKl 03 August 2017 01:30:15PM 1 point [-]

Your concept of a table is not the one that's used by most people. Most people don't have a problem imagining a 5-legged table and call an item like http://www.ikea.com/us/en/catalog/products/10135659/ a stool instead of a table.

Comment author: casebash 03 August 2017 02:00:52PM 0 points [-]

It's just an example.

Comment author: ChristianKl 03 August 2017 01:27:28PM 0 points [-]

Things in the territory don't appear in the map. They have a representation in the map.

Comment author: casebash 03 August 2017 02:00:21PM 2 points [-]

Yes, they don't appear in the map, but when you see a mountain you think, "Hmm... this really needs to go in the map"

Map and territory: Natural structures

1 casebash 01 August 2017 01:53PM

This will be a very short post which simply defines one term which I find useful when discussing the map and the territory.

I find it very useful to have a term that helps clarify that the map is not completely arbitrary and that there are things in the territory that are natural candidates for appearing in the map. For example, for the Ship of Thesus, one natural candidate is the pure, original, unmodified ship; another are the fixed percentages (ie. 50% original); another would be a continuity based measure. If you are asked to create a definition of what counts as the Ship of Thesus, these are some of the first ideas that you would come up with, although you would of course need to define it in much, much more detail to get all the way down to the level of the territory.

Or suppose you are trying to define what is meant by table. Again, the definition is purely arbitrary and whatever you choose, but there are certain natural structures in reality that pop out at you. One might be all four-legged, non-living objects with a flat top, another might relax the four-legged requirement so that it only required four legs at one particular time, ect.

When I'm explaining that a particular concept has been reified, it greatly clarifies my position to explain that I don't believe that the concept is empty, but there is *something* behind it that leads us to want that word. That something is really not a single thing (or else it would be real, not reified), but a collection of closely related 'natural structures'. Each of the definitions provided for the Ship of Thesus or a table corresponds to a different natural structure, while the term itself appears in the map. I hope you find this word useful too, but if you have any suggestions for a better term, please mention it in the comments.

Comment author: casebash 30 July 2017 02:26:18PM 0 points [-]

I think it is important to note that there are probably some ways in which this is adaptive. Us nerds probably spend far too much time thinking and trying to be consistent when it offers us very little benefit. It's also better socially in order to be more flexible - people don't like people who follow the rules too strictly as they are more likely to dob them in. It also much it much easier to appear sincere, but also come up with an excuse for avoiding your prior commitments.

Comment author: casebash 30 July 2017 12:58:22PM 1 point [-]

Interesting post, I'll probably look more into some of these resources at some point. I suppose I'd be curious to know which concepts you really need to read the book for or which ones can be understood more quickly. Because reading through all of these books would be a very big project.

Comment author: Dagon 12 July 2017 05:34:50PM 2 points [-]

I'm assuming you mean "new to you" ideas, not actually novel concepts for humanity as a whole. Both are rare, the latter almost vanishingly so. A lot of things we consider "new ideas" for ourselves are actually "new salience of an existing idea" or "change in relative weighting of previous ideas".

All to say that your rhetorical question is not the best way to think of this. Novelty isn't the hard part for ideas, it's application to decisions and weighting of competing ideas. Similarly, "recommendation" isn't the problem, it's one (imperfect) solution to the problem of decision-making costs (search costs in economic frameworks).

You're right it's not about time learning vs time practicing. It's about time in decision-making (including research, planning, and modeling results) vs time in action. Often called the explore vs exploit problem, and often framed as if it is knowledge being sought, but that's mostly because it's easier to come up with examples of that than examples of time spent deciding which framework fits better.

Comment author: casebash 14 July 2017 10:07:04AM 0 points [-]

"I'm assuming you mean "new to you" ideas, not actually novel concepts for humanity as a whole. Both are rare, the latter almost vanishingly so. A lot of things we consider "new ideas" for ourselves are actually "new salience of an existing idea" or "change in relative weighting of previous ideas"." - well that was kind of the point. That if we want to help people coming up with new ideas is somewhat overrated vs. recommending existing resources or adapting existing ideas.

Comment author: ChristianKl 13 July 2017 05:50:26PM 2 points [-]

Making posts like this produces unnecessary noise. The post stays per default even when the spam gets deleted.

Comment author: casebash 14 July 2017 10:05:05AM 1 point [-]

Hopefully the new LW has an option to completely delete a thread.

Comment author: username2 13 July 2017 10:41:55AM 2 points [-]


Comment author: casebash 13 July 2017 02:47:45PM 0 points [-]

I can't see any option to report it :-(

Comment author: cousin_it 12 July 2017 10:50:32AM *  2 points [-]

I think the point of reading is finding interesting ideas. For that purpose it's great. But trying to improve your life by reading usually leads to frustration and guilt. It feels liberating to let go of that notion and just read for the sake of reading. Better to spend your "improvement fuel" on other things, like joining targeted activities with other people.

Comment author: casebash 12 July 2017 01:51:50PM *  0 points [-]

I guess what I was saying that insofar as you require knowledge what you tend to need is usually a recommendation to read an existing resource or an adaption of ideas in an existing resource as opposed to new ideas. The balance of knowledge vs. practise is somewhat outside the scope of this article.

In particular, I wrote: "I'm not saying that this will immediately solve your problem - you will still need to put in the hard yards of experiment and practise - just that lack of knowledge will no longer be the limiting factor."

90% of problems are recommendation and adaption problems

7 casebash 12 July 2017 04:53AM

Want to improve your memory? Start a business? Fix your dating life?

The chances are that out of the thousands upon thousands of books and blogs out there on each of these topics there are already several that will tell you all that you need. I'm not saying that this will immediately solve your problem - you will still need to put in the hard yards of experiment and practise - just that lack of knowledge will no longer be the limiting factor.

This suggests if we want to be winning at life (as any good rationalist should), what is most important isn't creating brilliant and completely unprecedented approaches to solve these problems, but rather taking ideas that already exist.

The first problem is recommendation - finding which out of all of the thousands of books out there are the most helpful for a particular problem. Unfortunately, recommendation is not an easy problem at all. Two people may both be dealing with procrastination problems, but what works for one person may not work for another person. Further, even for the same idea, it is incredibly subjective what counts as a clear explanation - some people may want more detail, others less, some people may find some examples really compelling, others won't. Recommendations are generally either one person's individual recommendations or those which recieved the highest vote, but there probably are other methods of producing a recommendation that should be looked into, such as asking people survey questions and matching on that, or asking people to rate a book on different factors.

The second problem is adaption. Although you shouldn't need to create any new ideas, it is likely that certain elements will need more explanation and certain elements less. For example, when writing for the rationalist community, you may need to be more precise and be clearer when you are talking figuratively, rather than literally. Alternatively, you can probably just link people to certain common ideas such as the map and territory without having to explain it.

I'll finish with a rhetorical question - what percent of solutions here are new ideas and what percentage are existing solutions? Are these in the right ratio?

UPDATE: (Please note: This article is not about time spent learning vs. time spent practising, but about existing ideas vs. new ideas. The reason why this is the focus is because LW can potentially recommend resources or adapt resources, but it can't practise for you!).







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