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In response to The Winding Path
Comment author: chaosmosis 27 November 2015 08:08:40AM *  -1 points [-]

I like the vibes.

But worse, the path is not merely narrow, but winding, with frequent dead ends requiring frequent backtracking. If ever you think you're closer to the truth - discard that hubris, for it may inhibit you from leaving a dead end, and there your search for truth will end. That is the path of the crank.

I don't like this part. First, thinking that you're closER to the truth is not really a problem, it's thinking you've arrived at the truth that arguably is. Second, I think sometimes human beings can indeed find the truth. Underconfidence is just as much a sin as overconfidence, but referring to hubris in the way that you did seems like it would encourage false humility. I think you should say something more like "for every hundred ides professed to be indisputable truths, ninety nine are false", and maybe add something about how there's almost never good justification to refuse to even listen to other people's points of view.

The path of rationality is a path without destination.

I don't agree with this either, or most of the paragraph before it: there are strong trends.

Comment author: thomblake 20 December 2012 02:26:50PM 2 points [-]

Can you give an example of a case where they don't overlap, that PhilGoetz is arguing about?

Comment author: chaosmosis 20 December 2012 11:26:32PM *  1 point [-]

Giving one future self u=10 and another u=0 is equally as good as giving one u=5 and another u=5.

So, to give a concrete example, you have $10 dollars. You can choose between gaining 5 utilons today and five tomorrow by spending half of the money today and half of the money tomorrow, or between spending all of it today and gaining 10 utilons today and 0 tomorrow. These outcomes both give you equal numbers of utilons, so they're equal.

Phil says that the moral reason they're both equal is because they both have the same amount of average utility distributed across instances of you. He then uses that as a reason that average utilitarianism is correct across different people, since there's nothing special about you.

However, an equally plausible interpretation is that the reason they are morally equal in the first instance is because the aggregate utilities are the same. Although average utilitarianism and aggregate utilitarianism overlap when N = 1, in many other cases they disagree. Average utilitarianism would rather have one extremely happy person than twenty moderately happy people, for example. This disagreement means that average and aggregate utilitarianism are not the same (as well as the fact that they have different metaethical justifications which are used as support), which means he's not justified in either his initial privileging of average utilitarianism or his extrapolation of it to large groups of people.

Comment author: drethelin 20 December 2012 08:55:45AM -1 points [-]

I'd just like to say that your complaints about length are pretty funny in their ironic stupidity.

Comment author: chaosmosis 20 December 2012 09:10:46AM *  0 points [-]

I said that length was useful insofar as it added to communication. Was I particularly inefficient? I don't think so. As is, it's somewhat ironic, but I think only superficially so because there isn't any real clash between what I claim as ideal and what I engage in (because, again, I think I was efficient). And there's not stupidly there at all, or at least none that I see. You'll need to go into more detail here.

Comment author: drethelin 20 December 2012 08:56:46AM 1 point [-]

Also, you say changing the nature of the game like it's not important. It's like you want to play basketball back before they cut the bottoms out of baskets.

Comment author: chaosmosis 20 December 2012 09:08:45AM -1 points [-]

I understand what you're getting at, but what specifically is important about this change? I see the added resource intensity as one thing but that's all I can think of whereas I'm reading your comment as hinting at some more fundamental change that's taking place.

(A few seconds later, my thoughts.)

One change might be that the goals have shifted. It becomes about status and not about solving problems. Maybe that is what you had in mind? Or something else?

Comment author: JoshuaZ 07 December 2012 01:39:41PM 2 points [-]

Yes, at some level one can interpret Kant as saying something like "use decision theory, not game theory."

Comment author: chaosmosis 20 December 2012 08:07:14AM 1 point [-]

Quick Question, a few weeks later: would you be willing to take a guess as to what problems might have caused my comment to be downvoted? I'm stumped.

Comment author: thomblake 19 December 2012 04:55:37PM 2 points [-]

10 utilons plus 0 utilons is equivalent to 5 utilons plus 5 utilons not because their average is the same but because their total is the same.

This is incoherent. "Average is the same" and "total is the same" are logically equivalent for cases where n is the same, which I think are all we're concerned about here.

Comment author: chaosmosis 20 December 2012 07:31:50AM *  0 points [-]

It could be either, so he's not justified in assuming that it's the average one in order to support his conclusion. He's extrapolating beyond the scope of their actual equivalence, that's the reason his argument is bringing anything new to the table at all.

He's using their mathematical overlap in certain cases as prove that in cases where they don't overlap the average should be used as superior to the total. That makes no sense at all, when thought of in this way. That is what I think the hole in his argument is.

The Rosenhan Experiment

3 chaosmosis 14 September 2012 10:31PM

I haven't seen any links to this on Lesswrong yet, and I just discovered it myself. It's extremely interesting, and has a lot of implications for how the way that people perceive and think of others are largely determined by their environmental context. It's also a fairly good indict of presumably common psychiatric practices, although it's also presumably outdated by now. Maybe some of you are already familiar with it, but I thought I'd mention it and post a link for those of you who aren't.

There's probably newer research on this, but I don't have time to investigate it at the moment.


Comment author: TheOtherDave 14 September 2012 08:54:42PM 0 points [-]

how would a possibly insane person determine that insanity X is a possible kind of insanity?

Perhaps they couldn't. I'm not sure what that has to do with anything.

Also, this approach presumes that your understanding of the way probabilities work and of the existence of probability at all is accurate. Using the concept of probability to justify your position here is just a very sneaky sort of circular argument

Sure. If I'm wrong about how probability works, then I might be wrong about whether I can rule out having X-type insanity (and also might be wrong about whether I can rule out being a butterfly).

Comment author: chaosmosis 14 September 2012 09:40:48PM *  0 points [-]

Perhaps they couldn't. I'm not sure what that has to do with anything.

I didn't think that your argument could function on even a probabilistic level without the assumption that X-insanity is an objectively real type of insanity. On second thought, I think your argument functions just as well as it would have otherwise.

Comment author: TheOtherDave 14 September 2012 09:13:47PM 2 points [-]

But, if someone doesn't want to admit that logic exists or you just disagree with someone as to what logic is, there's really nothing to be done but to walk away.

That's not necessarily true. If we disagree on what logic is, I can work out the rules of what you consider logic and decide whether, using those rules, I come to a different conclusion than you do (in which case I can try to convince you of that different conclusion using your rules), or I can attempt to convince you that you're wrong via illogical means (like telling you a convincing story, or using question-begging language, or etc.). I can also do the latter if you reject logic altogether.

Comment author: chaosmosis 14 September 2012 09:36:10PM 0 points [-]

Truth, thanks.

Comment author: PhilGoetz 12 September 2012 09:12:00PM *  11 points [-]

I saw something for the first time today. I replied to a comment that had been down-voted, and the site asked me,

Replies to downvoted comments are discouraged. Pay 5 Karma points to proceed anyway?

So, if one person dislikes a comment, it shouldn't be responded to? I disagree strongly. This makes the site enforce a tyranny of the majority. It punishes resistance to groupthink.

I don't think Alice should be prohibited from responding to Bob, ever. If two users create drama with back-and-forth responses, they have both chosen to do so.

Comment author: chaosmosis 14 September 2012 09:34:42PM *  3 points [-]

I missed some of the earlier threads and didn't want to reignite them. I feel more comfortable replying to PhilGoetz's comment since it's only from two days ago.

One problem that I didn't see anyone discuss is that this feature is likely to drive away new users. This policy discourages interaction with new users because unpopular comments overlap significantly with comments from new users. By discouraging commenters from responding to the low quality posts of new users, we disincentivize the picking of low hanging fruit, which is the opposite of what we should be doing. In addition, by doling out karma penalties at a set level rather than as a fraction of total accumulated karma, new users face much heavier fees than regular users, which will also result in increased insularity.

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