Some time ago there has been a post (or a comment?) arguing against the tendency of not answering the questions one poses directly. Say for example: "Can you recommend me a book about virtue ethics?" being answered mostly by "Here's why virtue ethics is wrong" (this is a fictional example, it was not in the original post).

The discussion hit me deeply because from that time on I've noticed doing the same behavior a lot, and I've tried to correct myself with mixed success.

I've come to realize that there's a symmetryc 'bias' (it's not really a cognitive bias, more like a cognitive quirk): answering questions too literally. For example:

  • Can you reccomend me a book about rationality?
  • The one I liked the most is Rationality: from AI to zombie.
    [some times pass]
  • Hey, you know about the book you recommended me? I've found a blog that contains almost exactly the same contents: it's called LessWrong!
  • Yes, I know, it's five years I've been reading it.
  • Why didn't you said that?
  • Because you asked me for a book
  • [grumbles]

strike to the heart of the question, not to defeat it. I plan to write it still. finding time appears to be difficult.

Open thread, Apr. 18 - Apr. 24, 2016

by MrMind 1 min read18th Apr 2016176 comments


If it's worth saying, but not worth its own post (even in Discussion), then it goes here.

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