From chapter 76:

"I asked Professor Quirrell why he'd laughed," the boy said evenly, "after he awarded Hermione those hundred points. And Professor Quirrell said, these aren't his exact words, but it's pretty much what he said, that he'd found it tremendously amusing that the great and good Albus Dumbledore had been sitting there doing nothing as this poor innocent girl begged for help, while he had been the one to defend her. And he told me then that by the time good and moral people were done tying themselves up in knots, what they usually did was nothing; or, if they did act, you could hardly tell them apart from the people called bad. Whereas he could help innocent girls any time he felt like it, because he wasn't a good person. And that I ought to remember that, any time I considered growing up to be good."

Isn't this equivalent to renouncing Harry's entire rational approach of weighing costs vs. benefits?

In the chapter, what Harry is arguing is very different from what Quirrell said. Harry is arguing that Dumbledore is not optimizing correctly, presumably because he feels the pain of the deaths of his friends more than he feels the pain of all the things that were prevented by their deaths. Quirrell is saying, Don't try to optimize; just be free, amoral, and chaotic, and do whatsoever you will.

If you're optimising without vast computing power, and without complete knowledge of your utility function, you can seek heuristics and decide to follow them even when subsequent calculations tell you otherwise.

11wedrifid9yI don't think that is what Quirrell is saying. He is criticising a real failure mode in in 'good' people.
7pedanterrific9yYes. Which is why the very next thing Harry said was According to you: The relevant quote would be from Chapter 20: Yay, ethical egoism!

Harry Potter and the Methods of Rationality discussion thread, part 9

by Oscar_Cunningham 1 min read9th Sep 2011725 comments


(The HPMOR discussion thread after this one is here.)

The previous thread is over the 500-comment threshold, so let's start a new Harry Potter and the Methods of Rationality discussion thread.  This is the place to discuss Eliezer Yudkowsky's Harry Potter fanfic and anything related to it. The latest chapter as of 09/09/2011 is Ch. 77.

The first 5 discussion threads are on the main page under the harry_potter tag.  Threads 6 and on (including this one) are in the discussion section using its separate tag system.  Also: one, two, three, four, five, six, seven, eight.  The author page is the central location for information about updates and links to HPMOR-related goodies, and AdeleneDawner has kept an archive of Author's Notes.

As a reminder, it's often useful to start your comment by indicating which chapter you are commenting on.

Spoiler Warning:  this thread is full of spoilers.  With few exceptions, spoilers for MOR and canon are fair game to post, without warning or rot13.  More specifically:

You do not need to rot13 anything about HP:MoR or the original Harry Potter series unless you are posting insider information from Eliezer Yudkowsky which is not supposed to be publicly available (which includes public statements by Eliezer that have been retracted).

If there is evidence for X in MOR and/or canon then it's fine to post about X without rot13, even if you also have heard privately from Eliezer that X is true. But you should not post that "Eliezer said X is true" unless you use rot13.