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Scientific Self-Help: The State of Our Knowledge

There really isn’t very much directly done on procrastination


Attention Lurkers: Please say hi

I suppose that the most glaring example is that consequentialism, in some form or other, seems to be accepted as obviously correct by most of the commenters here. So, It's funny that you should reply, since I recall that you may be an exception to that stereotype.

Attention Lurkers: Please say hi

When I was in school, I viewed myself as a defender of rationality against the fuzzy and ant-scientific positions that I sometimes encountered in the philosophy department. My meta-positions were eerily similar to those that are preached here.

Less Wrong fascinates me because, when I can stand to read it, I see that it is full of people who have similar background commitments and standards of evidence as me, but who have reached shockingly different conclusions.

Levels of communication

I think this post underestimates the possibility for mis-communication on the "fact" level.

First, facts are hard to figure out. This is a fact (heh) worth repeating again and again in a community like this one. When one claims to search for objective truth, one must be held to a very high standard.

Second, two people operating at the 'fact' level might misunderstand each other if they are making observations on different conceptual levels. Russel never accepted Godel's incompleteness work because he was unwilling to engage with Godel's meta-level interpretation of certain Principia Mathematica expressions. Both were looking at the same expression, but each saw different true facts about it.

Third, many discussions here and in the real world are about facts about values.

When everyone is operating on the level of facts, they are detachedly trying to discover the truth about a certain subject.

I'm not saying that we can't rationally discuss values, but the idea that we can do so detachedly is less obvious. We should have values, and we should be attached to them (I value values!). If you disagree with me about that, are we disagreeing about facts or about values?

Understanding your understanding

Can we erase the relevant portion of the OPs memory, and see if he can re-derive these classifications?

Open Thread: March 2010, part 2

Here is one possible reason for being pleased to discover that one was unhappy in the past:

Times of apparent unhappiness can lead to great personal growth. For instance, the hardest, most stressful time of my life was studying for my physics honors exams. However, now that the exams are over, I am glad to have both the knowledge I gained in studying, and the self knowledge that I am capable of pushing myself as hard as I did. (Would skills learned during the missing time be retained? Even if they weren't, the latter reason above would still apply).

It would be devastating to lose the memory of any part of ones life, but I think there would be some satisfaction in learning that one had spent the missing time doing something difficult but worthwhile, even if one was not happy during that time.