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Comment author: Kindly 02 February 2015 02:29:08PM 9 points [-]

Hypocrisy doesn't bother me. Everyone's got his ideal, and then the reality of what he can actually deliver. Scratch hypocrisy, and you're more likely to lose the ideal than the reality.

Milo Behr, Beowulf: A Bloody Calculus.

Comment author: undermind 05 February 2015 12:59:04PM 0 points [-]

Love it -- mainly because it invokes one of my favourite paradoxes.

If you preach hypocrisy, and you are in fact hypocritical, than you're not a hypocrite. And if you aren't a hypocrite, then you are.

Comment author: Eliezer_Yudkowsky 08 January 2015 11:22:51PM 61 points [-]

For what it’s worth, I endorse this aesthetic and apologize for any role I played in causing people to focus too much on the hero thing. You need a lot of nonheroes per hero and I really want to validate the nonheroes but I guess I feel like I don’t know how, or like it’s not my place to say because I didn’t make the same sacrifices… or what feels to me like it ought to be a sacrifice, only maybe it’s not.

Comment author: undermind 16 January 2015 05:45:06AM 22 points [-]

“Clever kids in Ravenclaw, evil kids in Slytherin, wannabe heroes in Gryffindor, and everyone who does the actual work in Hufflepuff.”

You've already said it. But it doesn't hurt to repeat.

Comment author: undermind 30 December 2014 05:07:49PM 1 point [-]

I'm skeptical that experiments involving rubber hands are an effective way to gain social status.

You have some decent arguments (though ChristianKI's critiques show where they need work), but I think the weirdness factor is just too high. Even if someone were personally convinced, what happens when they try to tell their friends?

Mainly I found it very cool to read about Ramachandran and the table. It's especially interesting in the context of embodied cognition. If our mental lives are determined and made meaningful by the fact that we have physical bodies that we live in and have to make do stuff, how do we reconcile this with the notion that "There is a sense in which one’s body image is itself a ‘phantom’: one that the brain constructs for utility and convenience." ?

Comment author: zedzed 03 November 2014 04:09:50PM *  25 points [-]

Thanks for the thanks, but I'll also comment on iarwain1's discipline getting this done. This journey began about 7 months ago, and through all the difficulties life has thrown, the progress has been consistent.

I'll also comment that the grading system above is very difficult, and were I running this particular course, it would've been upwards 100%.

Comment author: undermind 03 November 2014 05:20:16PM 5 points [-]

In any reasonable class, the score should have exceeded 100%.

Perhaps in any ordinary class at a North American institution. But I don't think such grading schemes are reasonable -- there's more to reach for (and more humility, and much finer discrimination) when 80% is difficult to achieve.

Comment author: JoachimSchipper 30 October 2014 06:27:05AM 2 points [-]

I didn't exactly disagree with the content, right?

Part of the problem is just that writing something good about epistemic rationality is really hard, even if you stick to the 101 level - and, well, I don't really care about 101 anymore. But I have plenty of sympathy for those writing more practical posts.

Comment author: undermind 30 October 2014 06:35:54AM 1 point [-]

No, you didn't.

And kudos (in the form of an upvote) to you for suggesting something to improve the niceness of rationalists -- as has been pointed out many times, that's something we should work on.

Yeah, instrumental rationality is (epistemically) easier -- on the writer as well as on the reader. Epistemic rationality requires rigor, which usually implies a lot of math. Instrumental rationality can be pretty successful with a few examples and a moderately useful analogy.

Comment author: jpaulson 30 October 2014 05:09:30AM 0 points [-]

I was using "power" in the sense of the OP (which is just: more time/skills/influence). Sorry the examples aren't as dramatic as you would like; unfortunately, I can't think of more dramatic examples.

Comment author: undermind 30 October 2014 05:30:35AM *  1 point [-]

I had that problem too (from the commentary here, this lack of specific examples is the post's biggest issue) -- whatever examples I could come up with seemed distinctly unspectacular.

However, I think avoiding common failure modes -- being less wrong -- is a decent way to increase the expected value of your power.

Comment author: JoachimSchipper 27 October 2014 05:55:41AM *  1 point [-]

This is not nice - could you try to find a more pleasant way to say this?

Also, LW does do epistemic rationality - but it's easier to say something useful and new about practical matters, so there are more posts of that kind.

Comment author: undermind 30 October 2014 05:25:05AM *  2 points [-]

Sure, it was snarky, but I thought it was funny.

It's a decent criticism of a decent chunk of LW, such that I don't have a great response to it. Check your accuracy at a meta-level to determine when to lie to yourself? That seems to be how this technique is used, but it feels like an unsatisfactory response.

Comment author: undermind 30 October 2014 05:19:27AM 2 points [-]

I'm wary of advice that doesn't generalize.

I'm wary of advice that does claim to generalize. Giving good advice is a hard problem, partly because it's so context-specific. Yes, there are general principles, but there are tons of exceptions, and even quite similar situations can trigger these exceptions.

Kant got into this kind of problem with (the first formulation of) the categorical imperative. There are many things that are desirable if some people, but not everybody, does them -- say, learning any specific skill or filling a particular social function.

What's difference between the nurse who should leave in order to take meta-level responsibility, and the nurse who should stay because she's needed as a gear?

There are several bad answers to this, and you're right to be suspicious of them. In particular, feeling like you're special is not sufficient reason to act like you're special.

But different people have different value systems and abilities. If people are given the opportunity to develop their skills (up to the limit of interest and/or natural ability), then they should differentiate their roles based on value systems.

In this case: some people want stability, family, friends etc., and some people want to change the world. (It gets difficult for those of us who want all of the above, unfortunately.) No, you don't get to dictate what other people can do with their lives. But I really think you're in no danger of doing so -- even if you do make a distinction between yourself and other nurses (which is really not arbitrary, as you seem to be afraid it is), you're just choosing your own path, not theirs.

Comment author: undermind 30 October 2014 04:58:44AM 3 points [-]

I probably am going to leave nursing.

This makes me sad to hear. It sounds like you've been really enjoying it. And I think that those of us here on LW have benefited from your perspective as a nurse in many ways -- you've demonstrated its worth as a career choice, and challenged people's unwarranted assumptions.

Comment author: Kawoomba 29 October 2014 07:23:00AM 4 points [-]

This is a tangent, but to light up the whole environment just to get a few more photons to the retina is a strange approach, even if it seems to be the go-to treatment (light boxes etc.). Why not just light up the retina with a portable device, say glasses with some LED lights tacked on. That way you can take your enlightenment with you! Could be polarised to reflect indirectly off of the glasses into your eye, with little stray radiation.

Not saying that you should McGyver that yourself, but I was surprised that such a solution did not seem to exist.

But, it's hard to have a truly original thought, so when I googled it I found this. Seems like a good idea, no? Same principle as your artificial sky, if one would work, so should the other.

Also, as an aside to the tangent, tangent is a strange phrase, since it doesn't actually touch the main point. Should be polar line or somesuch.

Comment author: undermind 30 October 2014 04:48:39AM 2 points [-]

Also, as an aside to the tangent, tangent is a strange phrase, since it doesn't actually touch the main point. Should be polar line or somesuch.

"Tangent" is perfectly appropriate -- it touches a point somewhere on the curve of the main argument, and then diverges. There is something that made the association with the tangent.

And, to further overextend this metaphor, this implies that if someone's argument is rough enough (i.e. not differentiable), then it's not even possible to go off it on a tangent.

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