I don't know a lot about decision theory, and I have to guess at an unidentified person's thought process, but I'll take a swing at this:

  • They might have downvoted you because real-world deterrence involves causal influence. Usually where there's talk of precommitments, there's also talk of acausal trade, so I think your brain lumped them together, but agents can precommit in ordinary trade as well. However, it is true that you can analyze ordinary trade in acausal terms, and it seems that you have done this. So your words implied that deterrence doesn't involve any causal effects, which is false, but you really just wanted to point out that you can analyze ordinary trade acausally, which is true.

  • They might have downvoted you because they think it's silly to talk about provably cooperative humans, or further, because they find it objectionable that your ideas about decision theory and provable cooperation would lead you to what they consider a morally repugnant conclusion in your counterfactual (i.e. retaliate anyway); I think I've seen some people who think things like that. I do consider this a lot less likely than the first possibility.

  • They might have downvoted you because the agent in the downvoter's simulation of your counterfactual was using causal decision theory.

Also, I don't really get what the point would be if deterrence were acausal. Were you thinking something like, "Deterrence is acausal, therefore maybe tense is not a concept that we can even apply to deterrence."?

Rationality Quotes Thread June 2015

by Gondolinian 1 min read31st May 2015134 comments


Another month, another rationality quotes thread. The rules are:

  • Please post all quotes separately, so that they can be upvoted or downvoted separately. (If they are strongly related, reply to your own comments. If strongly ordered, then go ahead and post them together.)
  • Do not quote yourself.
  • Do not quote from Less Wrong itself, HPMoR, Eliezer Yudkowsky, or Robin Hanson. If you'd like to revive an old quote from one of those sources, please do so here.
  • No more than 5 quotes per person per monthly thread, please.
  • Provide sufficient information (URL, title, date, page number, etc.) to enable a reader to find the place where you read the quote, or its original source if available. Do not quote with only a name.