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In response to Two Cult Koans
Comment author: John_David_Galt 02 January 2008 09:13:00PM -2 points [-]

It seems to me that some people take the notion "Never accept anything uncritically!" (or equivalently, "There are no certainties in science!") too far.

The core tenets of logic as set out by Mill, at least, must be accepted uncritically and never doubted, or the whole conversation in which they are doubted disintegrates into fallacy and nonsense, and thus becomes useless (except to a dishonest speaker who might use it to manipulate irrational people). There are other beliefs which are similarly necessary (for instance, mathematics) if the discussion extends to topics where they apply.

Comment author: tristanhaze 17 October 2014 02:20:24AM 0 points [-]

Mill?! When are you from, John David Galt?!

Comment author: tristanhaze 01 October 2014 12:12:06PM 1 point [-]

I just want to say that the title of this post is fantastic, and in a deep sort of mathy way, beautiful. It's probably usually not possible, but I love it when an appropriate title - especially a nice not-too-long one - manages to contain, by itself, so much intellectual interest. Even just seeing that title listed somewhere could plant an important seed in someone's mind.

Comment author: tristanhaze 01 October 2014 12:09:41PM 0 points [-]

I just want to say that the title of this post is fantastic, and in a deep sort of mathy way, beautiful. It's probably usually not possible, but I love it when an appropriate title - especially a nice not-too-long one - manages to contain, by itself, so much intellectual interest. Even just seeing that title listed somewhere could plant an important seed in someone's mind.

Comment author: Jiro 25 August 2014 03:35:32PM 1 point [-]

I think that Keats is not trying to convey fake reductionism, but he is trying to convey "scientists believe in fake reductionism".

The fact that he doesn't believe it himself doesn't change his misunderstanding of it.

In response to comment by Jiro on Fake Reductionism
Comment author: tristanhaze 26 August 2014 04:31:43PM 0 points [-]

I don't see any reason to think he's trying to convey that scientists in general, or good ones, or anything like that, believe in fake reductionism. Some people do, and it's more charitable to Keats to presume he was just alluding to them.

In response to Fake Reductionism
Comment author: RobinHanson 17 March 2008 11:09:20PM 12 points [-]

This seems to be reasonable account - but I'm somewhat bothered by the fact that it is an unflattering account of people who are not here to defend themselves.

Comment author: tristanhaze 25 August 2014 01:08:31PM 1 point [-]

I agree with Robin that that indeed seems the weak point. It is far from clear to me, and I suspect it is not the case, that Keats here is doing something along the lines of actually trying to convey that, oh, there's nothing special about rainbows, science has explained them, or whatever. Rather, he's invoking and playing with that sort of trope, for a sophisticated poetic purpose.

I think the main point or points of Eliezer's post here are sound, but even suggesting that that sort of thing could be pinned on Keats is a needless distraction. Obviously serious poetry isn't Eliezer's strong point, as I'm sure he'd be the first to agree. The introductory quote could still be used to good effect though.

Comment author: [deleted] 01 July 2014 04:31:02AM 2 points [-]

Having children fundamentally changes you, mentally. What may not have been a priority before, suddenly becomes a terminal value in itself once you bond with a little one. This is definitely something hard-wired into brains by evolution--ask any parent about their experience!

In response to comment by [deleted] on Happiness and Children
Comment author: tristanhaze 08 July 2014 03:42:45AM 0 points [-]

I think you're probably right about this (not based on first-hand experience of having a child, mind - I haven't), but I can't quite see what it's doing here. Is this meant to be some sort of objection to the comment you're replying to? It isn't obviously in tension with it.

Comment author: anandjeyahar 28 May 2014 03:59:16PM 1 point [-]

Am not sure I follow your comment. I think I get the basic gist of it and I agree with it, but I gotta ask. Did you really mean ostend(or was it a typo?)?. I can't really find it as a word in m-w.com or on google.

Comment author: tristanhaze 08 July 2014 03:28:12AM 0 points [-]

Yep, what The Ancient Geek said. Sorry I didn't reply in a timely way - I'm not a regular user. I'm glad you basically agree, and pardon me for using such a recherche word (did I just do it again?) needlessly. Philosophical training can do that to you; you get a bit blind to how certain words are, while they could be part of the general intellectual culture, actually only used in very specific circles. (I think 'precisification' is another example of this. I used it with an intelligent nerd friend recently and, while of course he understood it - it's self explanatory - he thought it was terrible, and probably thought I just made it up.)

Hope you look at Wittgenstein!

Comment author: tristanhaze 04 May 2014 02:02:57AM 2 points [-]

Filled in. This is a good idea. I would be interested in getting some feedback on the feedback, or seeing a writeup of some of the lessons or issues that come out of this.

In response to comment by [deleted] on Rationality Quotes May 2014
Comment author: Viliam_Bur 02 May 2014 07:14:01PM *  10 points [-]

The reason why the thing can't be expressed is that it's too definite for language.

This feels like a combination of words that are supposed to sound Wisely, but don't actually make sense. (I guess Lewis uses this technique frequently.)

How specifically could being "definite" be a a problem for language? Take any specific thing, apply an arbitrary label, and you are done.

There could be a problem when a person X experienced some "qualia" that other people have never experienced, so they can't match the verbal description with anything in their experience. Or worse, they have something similar, which they match instead, even when told not to. And this seems like a situation described in the text. -- But then the problem is not having the shared experience. If they did, they would just need to apply an arbitrary label, and somehow make sure they refer to the same thing when using the label. The language would have absolutely no problem with that.

Comment author: tristanhaze 04 May 2014 01:53:42AM *  2 points [-]

How specifically could being "definite" be a a problem for language? Take any specific thing, apply an arbitrary label, and you are done.

This remark seems to flow from an oversimplified view of how language works. In the context of, for example, a person or a chair, this paradigm seems pretty solid... at least, it gets you a lot. You can ostend the thing ('take' it, as it were) and then appy the label. But in the case of lots of "objects" there is nothing analogous to such 'taking' as a prior, discrete step from talking. For example, "objects" like happiness, or vagueness or definiteness themselves.

I think you may benefit from reading Wittgenstein, but maybe you'd just hate it. I think you need it though!

Comment author: bramflakes 03 May 2014 09:11:42PM 2 points [-]

What like?

Comment author: tristanhaze 04 May 2014 01:37:28AM 18 points [-]

For my part, I've found the economic notions of opportunity cost and marginal utility to be like this.

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