What if you couldn't distinguish between two different reasoning mechanisms by any finite amount of observation, but they led to completely different conclusions?

The universe in which at some date in the future every paperclip turns into a non-paperclip, and every non-paperclip turns into a paperclip, would look just like the universe where no such thing ever happens.

And there are infinitely many such switching universes - one for each switching date - and only one non-switching universe. So even if they seem unlikely, this should be balanced by their numbers.

Are you willing to take the risk that all your effort to make more paperclips will lead to fewer paperclips because you simply assumed how universe works?

Nice try, but correct reasoning implies a complexity penalty because predicating my reasoning on arbitrary parameters would be filtered out quickly given informative observations.

What do you mean by rationalism?

by Marius 1 min read16th Dec 201015 comments


I've been lurking here a bit, and am trying to understand what people here mean by rationalism.  Many articles here seem to refer to discussion participants as rationalist while meaning very seemingly-different things, including intelligent, socially awkward, well-educated, and unencumbered by education.  I'm trying to make a little more sense of the word/concept.

Surely it does not refer to rationalist in the empiricism/rationalism divide, because it doesn't seem to be used in quite that way.