On the other hand, a lot of the basic ideas of rationality need Bayes theorem to justify them. ...

Not true. Theorem:Bayes is simply the result of more fundamental information-theoretic heuristics, which themselves would be capable, for the same reasons, of generating the same ideas of rationality -- though it would probably require a longer inferential path, which is why Theorem:Bayes seems like it's the grounding principle (rather than the best current operationalism of the true grounding principle).

The use of probabilities itself results from the sam... (read more)

A cautionary note about "Bayesianism"

by PhilGoetz 1 min read10th Jan 201116 comments


(Is Bayesianism even a word?  Should it be?  The suffix "ism" sets off warning lights for me.)

Visitors to LessWrong may come away with the impression that they need to be Bayesians to be rational, or to fit in here.  But most people are a long way from the point where learning Bayesian thought patterns is the most time-effective thing they can do to improve their rationality.  Most of the insights available on LessWrong don't require people to understand Bayes' Theorem (or timeless decision theory).

I'm not calling for any specific change.  Just to keep this in mind when writing things in the Wiki, or constructing a rationality workbook.