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I like the sentiment, but the advice is too often not practical. Also, not much to do with rationality.

An internal combustion engine is like Carol's subjective cold-sensation in her left hand - one way among others to bring about the externally-observable behavior. (By "externally observable" I mean "without looking under the hood".) In Carol's case, that behavior is identifying 20 C water. In the engine's case, it's the acceleration of the car.

The subjective cold-sensation in her left hand should be part of the observable behavior, surely? To mix the analogies, if it were my job to disguise the fuel cell as a combustion engine, I certainly would feel like I had to include this subjective cold-sensation part.

But I'm not familiar enough with the discussions about uploading to know to what extent people intend to make the fuel cell keep the subjectively observable properties of a combustion engine.

Can anyone recommend good sources on the social dynamics of witch-hunts?

Not necessarily about witches, of course. I'm interested in the hand of Moloch in these situations: social incentives to go along, status rewards for being more morally outraged than your fellow citizen, self-protection by avoiding looking insufficiently outraged, the not necessarily intended but still unescapable prosecutorial traps, the social impossibility of denying the actual existence of the outrageous facts...

Would you attribute essentialist thinking to someone who prefers that watch?

Yes, I don't see why not. The only difference is a mental tag on their map.

(not that I would look down on anyone who has these preferences, or feel particularly inclined to work on diminishing my own similar preferences).

But there are readily perceivable differences. Just look under the hood.

Ok, no differences that would make her prefer the actual combustion engine, besides it having the essence of a real combustion engine.

To the extent that there really are no perceivable differences, it looks like essentialist thinking. But I wouldn't call a desire irrational (or rather, I wouldn't call it especially irrational), even a desire for a perceived essence.

A similar example would be two identical watches, one of which was given to you by your grandfather. Or the loss of value when you discover that the autographed picture you bought on e-bay is a forgery.

(maybe it's because I'm primed by a discussion on the stupid questions thread, or because I perceived hints that the third part would be controversial, but the example I had in mind as I read the post was of a heterossexual man rejecting trans women)

Also, here's Yvain applying this reasoning to this exact question.

(The people producing those videos say he's "producer and co-writer". Cynical-me suspects that "Gamergate fans" think he must be the real driving force because Anita Sarkeesian is a girl and therefore not to be taken seriously. I do hope cynical-me is wrong. Not-so-cynical me thinks Sarkeesian is more likely to be the real driving force because, other things being equal, a woman is more likely to feel strongly about this stuff than a man.)

Since it's been brought up...

As far as I can tell the best evidence they have for this is a widely circulated video (from before FemFreq) in which she says she's "not a fan of videogames".

And Mcintosh clearly "feels strongly about this", as much as any woman I've seen. The Gamergate people created a whole hashtag to display his tweets (#FullMcintosh), which also became, incidentally, what they use to indicate that they think someone has gone particularly far down the SJ rabbit hole.

Personally, I think the conclusion Viliam mentions doesn't rest in very solid evidence, but it's not far-fetched either. (meanwhile, the "because she's a girl" hypothesis looks very unlikely to me)

What, by the way, makes you think that Anita Sarkeesian doesn't truly believe in her cause? I've only seen a small quantity of her stuff, but what I've seen looks sincere (and fairly plausible) to me.

I'm not sure how familiar you are with videogames, or which of her videos you've seen. But I can't imagine how some of the ones I've seen could possibly have been made without outright dishonesty.


No, I mean people sometimes accuse leftists of holding positions motivated by hate. It's more common for this accusation to be made against right-wing positions (which is what the grandparent was talking about), but I don't think the reverse is all that rare.

Oh, that's quite close to my experience as well. Any disagreement about policies is actually a smokescreen - people only oppose leftist policies because they benefit from the status quo, you see, but they will invent anything to avoid admitting that (including, I gather, the entire field of Economics).

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