Intro to Naturalism

Wiki Contributions


for me i think it took about 3 years, but the first 50% of it only took one or two months once i got deliberate about it

Yes of course, and I certainly didn't mean to leave you with just that one comment. I really mean to say "I think something is wrong here. More to come as I figure it out." But also it may take me a while before I'm ready for the next installment.

I am glad you are ok. I do not want to undermine whatever it is that keeps you by-and-large mentally healthy, especially as you contribute to the communal survival effort, and, ya know, be my spouse and all.

Also, I think it would probably be wrong not to tell you that the presumably shallow and probably somewhat inaccurate version of this that I heard while reading struck me as pretty self deceptive. Or at least, not sufficiently anti-self-deceptive for it to sit right with me.

It may take me awhile to pin down exactly what is not sitting right with me, and how exactly it is sitting instead. But I think most of it is concentrated in "Victory Conditions" and in "The Plan", and a maybe some of it is also in "Sculptors and Sculptures".

I think the heart of my objection may be exactly what I wrote about in 2016, quite unclearly and at length I'm sorry to say, in an essay called "When Your Left Arm Becomes A Chicken". How relevant this essay is depends a lot on what exactly it means to you to "change your victory condition". But when I hear "victory condition", it sounds an awful lot like the Kierkegaardian thought experiment thingy I talk about in the essay, the part about unrequited love for the princess.

i downvoted Jensen's comment because i think "this is cringy" is a super extra mind-killy sort of concept and i want less of it around.

i've added this. i sort of dislike it aesthetically, but i think this post is a genuinely valuable resource and i worry that once Duncan's post is no longer on the front page, people will no longer be clear on why i'm cursing at them.

but Ray are you really so sure i should not be the one to turn The Sequences into a collection of belligerent tiktoks? i've been covering the same beat for ten years what if it's time for A CHANGE?

FWIW, it's not at all clear to me, before really thinking about, what the difference is between "holding oneself to a standard" and "holding someone else to a standard". Here's what happens when I try to guess at what the differences might be.

1) Maybe it has something to do with the points at which intervention is feasible. When holding yourself to a standard, you can intervene in your own mind before taking action, and you can also attempt to course-correct in the middle of acting. When holding someone else to a standard, you can only intervene after you have observed the action. 

2) Like 1, except since you can also intervene after observing the action when holding yourself to a standard as well, "holding yourself to a standard" is an umbrella covering a wider range of thingies than "holding someone else to a standard", but some of the thingies it covers are the same.

3) Perhaps the difference is a matter of degree, for some reason? Like perhaps there is something about holding other people to standards that makes the highest standard you can reasonably hold someone to much lower than the highest standard you can reasonably hold yourself to, or (less plausibly?) vise versa.

Of these, 2 certainly seems the closest to matching my observations of the world in general; but it does not help me make sense of Duncan's words as much as 1 does.

(speaking loosely) This is such a weird conversation, wtf is happening.

(speaking not so loosely) I think I'm confused? I have some (mutually compatible) hypotheses:

H1) the concept "burden of proof" is doing a lot of STUFF here somehow, and I don't quite understand how or why. (Apparently relevant questions: What is it doing? Why is it doing it? Does "burden of proof" mean something really different to Duncan than to Said? What does "burden of proof" mean to me and where exactly does my own model of it stumble in surprise while reading this?)

H2) Something about personal history between Duncan and Said? This is not at all gearsy but "things go all weird and bad when people have been mad at each other in the past" seems to be a thing. (Questions: Could it be that at least one of Duncan and Said has recognized they are not in a dynamic where following the rationalist discourse guidelines makes sense and so they are not doing so, but I'm expecting them to do so and this is the source of my dissonance? Are they perhaps failing to listen to each other because their past experiences have caused strong (accurate or not) caricatures to exist in the head of the other, such that each person is listening mainly to the caricature and hearing mainly what they expect to hear by default? What exactly is their past history? How much do which parts of it matter?)

H3) Duncan and Said have different beliefs about the correct order of operations for disagreements (or something like that). Perhaps Duncan emphasizes "getting structural discourse practices in proper order first", while Said emphasizes "engaging primarily with the object level topic by whatever means feel natural in the moment, and only attending to more structural things when stuck". (Questions: Is this true? Why the difference? Are there times when one order of operations is better than another? What are the times?)

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