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[Link] MAD Trollies

0 gworley 23 January 2017 06:57PM
Comment author: gjm 20 January 2017 02:25:27PM 2 points [-]

Not quite. I think there's a three-way distinction to be made here, between being (1) small (not many users), (2) niche-y (users are unusual in some way), and (3) creepy (users are unusual in some highly displeasing way). If LW "feels like a ghetto" for an "outcast subset of the population" that "lacks respectability", I think that's #2 or #3 rather than just #1, and I'm curious exactly what gworley has in mind.

Comment author: gworley 20 January 2017 06:49:09PM 1 point [-]

I wouldn't have come up with #2 and #3, but those are definitely related to the issue.

Comment author: gjm 20 January 2017 01:53:15AM 2 points [-]

Do you think the Less Wrong of, say, two years ago was less ghetto-ish?

Comment author: gworley 20 January 2017 06:37:10PM 1 point [-]


Comment author: Lumifer 19 January 2017 07:57:02PM 3 points [-]

What is "post-rationality"?

Comment author: gworley 19 January 2017 08:18:26PM 0 points [-]

While rationality is nominally that which wins, and so is thus complete, in practice people want consistent, systematic ways of achieving rationality, and so the term comes to have the double meaning of both that which wins and a discovered system for winning based around a combination of traditional rationality, cognitive bias and heuristic research, and rational agent behavior in decision theory, game theory, etc.

I see post-rationality as being the continued exploration of the former project (to win, crudely, though it includes even figuring out what winning means) without constraining oneself to the boundaries of the latter. I think this maybe also better explains the tension that results in feeling a need to carve out post-rationality from rationality when it is nominally still part of the rationalist project.

Comment author: gworley 19 January 2017 07:43:19PM 7 points [-]

I think a serious issue with posting content on Less Wrong, and why I don't do it beyond link posts, is that Less Wrong feels like a ghetto, in that it's a place only for an outcast subset of the population. I don't feel like I can just share Less Wrong articles to many places because Less Wrong lacks respectability in wider society and is only respectable with those who are part of the LW ghetto's culture.

This doesn't mean the ghetto needs to be destroyed, but it does suggest that many of our brightest folks will seek other venues for expression that are more respectable, even if it's dropping (rising) to the neutral level of respectability offered by an anonymous blog. We might come home and prefer to live in LW (the discussions), but an important part of our public selves is oriented towards participating with the larger world.

Maybe as a reader you'd like Less Wrong to be a better place to read things again, just as the average person living in a ghetto may prefer for its luminaries to continue to focus their efforts inward and thus make the ghetto better on average, but as a writer Less Wrong doesn't feel to me like a place I want to work unless I don't think I can make myself respectable to a wider audience.

Comment author: moridinamael 19 January 2017 06:05:30PM *  6 points [-]

Google suggests nothing helpful to define Keganism, and that Keganites are humans from the planet Kegan in the Star Wars Expanded Universe. Could you point me to something about the Keganism you're referring to?

FWIW I view a lot of the tension between/within the rationality community regarding post-rationality as usually rooted in tribal identification more than concrete disagreement. If rationality is winning, then unusual mental tricks and perspectives that help you win are part of instrumental rationality. If some of those mental tricks happen to infringe upon a pristine epistemic rationality, then we just need a more complicated mental model of what rationality is. Or call it post-rationality, I don't really care, except for the fact that labels like post-rationality connotationally imply that rationality has to be discarded and replaced with some other thing, which isn't true. Rationality is and always was an evolving project and saying you're post- something that's evolving to incorporate new ideas is getting ahead of yourself.

In other words, any valid critique of rationality becomes part of rationality. We are Borg. Resistance is futile.

Comment author: gworley 19 January 2017 07:30:09PM 0 points [-]

Part of the issue seems to be that some rationalists strongly reject what has come to be called post-rationality. I've certainly gotten plenty of blow back on my exploration of these topics over the last couple years from rationalists who view it as an antirationalist project. It's hard for me to measure what proportion of the community expresses what views, but there's a significant chunk of the rationality community seems to be solidifying into a new form of the antecedent skeptic/scientific rationality culture that is unwilling to make space for additional boundary pushing much beyond the existing understanding of the Sequences.

Maybe these folks are just especially vocal, but it does make the environment more difficult to work in. I'm on writing very publicly now because I finally feel confident enough that I can get away with being opposed by vocal community members. Not all are so lucky, and thus feel silenced unless they can distance themselves from the existing rationalist community enough to create space for disagreement without intolerable stress.

[Link] Universal Hate

4 gworley 18 January 2017 06:32PM

[Link] Disgust and Politics

1 gworley 17 January 2017 12:19AM
Comment author: Jiro 13 January 2017 04:13:33PM *  0 points [-]

I have a strong prior that someone who tells me that for principled reasons I should do X, but by those same principles he only needs to do Y, where Y is much more convenient to him than X is to me, is affected by cognitive biases and should be ignored. It's easy to overestimate the utility gain to the world from doing X and underestimate the loss to me specifically from doing X, when you don't have to do X yourself.

"You must follow vegetarianism, but I don't need to follow vegetarianism as strictly because I'm signalling" is an example of that. It is, of course, still logically possible, but that's not the way to bet.

This also applies to global warming opponents who can take plane flights because it helps them promote global warming activism, or buy carbon credits, while I can't take such plane flights and someone at my income level must make sacrifices that are far more personal than buying carbon credits. It also applies to effective altruists who think people should give X% of their income when at a financial stage that they themselves have not reached yet.

Comment author: gworley 13 January 2017 06:34:43PM 0 points [-]

Sure, although I'm not telling anyone to do anything here, just laying out my own reasoning for my actions. I would prefer it if other people took some actions, but hardly think they should do those things, as in I don't believe there is some moral argument that compels them. They can make up their own minds, though I'd like to try to influence them.

To any extent I'm trying to influence anyone it's too, for now, share in displaying vegetarian virtue, which is what I am myself doing.

Comment author: JacekLach 11 January 2017 05:44:45PM 3 points [-]

The initial argument that convinced you to not eat meat seems very strange to me:

Her: why won’t u eat rabbits? Me: because i had them as pets. i know them too well. they’re like people to me.

This reads to me as: I don't think eating rabbits is immoral, but I have an aesthetic aversion to them because of emotional attachment, rather than moral consideration. Is that not the right reading?

Her: i will get you a pet chicken Me: … Me: omg i’m a vegetarian now :-/

So, you've now built extended your emotional attachment towards rabbits to all animals? Or just the possibly-pettable-ones? But firstly, why do you think that's a good thing?

I guess as an instrumental tactic for "I want to become a vegetarian but can't seem to stick to it", 'imagine your favourite pet, but they're <another animal species>' might work. But it's surprising that without that initial impetus this worked.

Comment author: gworley 11 January 2017 08:31:09PM 0 points [-]

As I've stated in the piece and elsewhere in the comments, I don't think of myself as making moral distinctions, but if you must phrase it in those terms think of me as a preference utilitarian, but you are right that unlike in moral theory proper the source of moral consideration lies solely in my own preferences, which matches more with aesthetic theory if you're inclined to think in that way (like with morality, I view aesthetics as trying to put too much essence in the world as a result of trying to understand it from an insufficiently broad frame).

I have no way to say that I think what I did is "good", as in I don't see my actions through the lens of morality so I cannot judge things "good" or "bad". I conceptualize this instead as more completely satisfying my preferences, although I'm open to a more parsimonious understanding.

It is probably true that I already believed in favor of being a vegetarian but wasn't acting on it, although I also wasn't trying to be one either, but that is likely relevant. My conversion story should not be taken as an argument for all people to become vegetarians: it's instead an argument for me to be a vegetarian so I can more get what I want.

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