Linguistic Freedom: Map and Territory Revisted

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Frame Control

I guess I'd recommend viewing the situation through multiple frames. For example:

- How does the situation appear from a maximally generous point of view?
- How does the situation appear from a maximally suspicious point of view?
- After consideration, what is the best overall point of view? Is it one or the other or a combination of both?

Perhaps this is already what you meant, but even if it is, I think there are benefits to being explicit

Chris_Leong's Shortform

Hopefully one day I get a chance to look further into quantum mechanics

I think it is worth someone pursuing this project, but maybe it'd make more sense to pursue it under the post-rationality brand instead? Then again, this might reduce the amount of criticism from rationality folk in exchange for increasing Viliam's worries.

(The main issue I have with many post-rationalists is that they pay too little heed to Ken Wilbur's pre/trans fallacy).

Chris_Leong's Shortform

If you're interpreting me as defending something along the lines of David Lewis, then that's actually not what I'm doing.

Chris_Leong's Shortform

Yeah, that's a reasonable position to take.

Chris_Leong's Shortform

I'm not claiming that there's a perfect correspondence between counterfactuals as different worlds in a multiverse vs. decision counterfactuals. Although maybe that's enough the undermine any coincidence right there?

Chris_Leong's Shortform

"I expect that agents evolved in a purely deterministic but similarly complex world would be no less likely to (eventually) construct counterfactuals and probabilities than those in a quantum sort of universe"

I'm actually trying to make a slightly unusual argument. My argument isn't that we wouldn't construct counterfactuals in a purely deterministic world operating similar to ours. My argument is involves:

a) Claiming that counterfactuals are at least partly constructed by humans (if you don't understand why this might be reasonable, then it'll be more of a challenge to understand the overall argument)
b) Claiming that it would be a massive coincidence if something partly constructed by humans happened to correspond with fundamental structures in such a way unrelated to the fundamental structures
c) Concluding that its likely that there is some as yet unspecified relation

Does this make sense?

Chris_Leong's Shortform

I'm beginning to warm to the idea that the reason why we have evolved to think in terms of counterfactuals and probabilities is rooted in these are fundamental at the quantum-level. Normally I'm suspicious at rooting macro level claims in quantum level effects because at such a high level of abstraction it would be very easy for these effects to wash out, but the multi-world hypothesis is something that wouldn't wash out. Otherwise it would seem to be all a bit too much of a coincidence.

("Oh, so you believe that counterfactuals and probability are at least partly a human construct, but they just so happen to correspond with what seems to us to be the fundamental level of physics, not because there is a relation there, but because of pure happenstance. Seems a bit of a stretch)"

Is Functional Decision Theory still an active area of research?

"The goal of decision theory is to determine what kind of agent you should be"

I'll answer this with a stream of thought: I guess my position on this is slightly complex. I did say that the reason for preferring one notion of counterfactual over another must be rooted in the fact that agents adopting these counterfactuals do better over a particular set of worlds. And maybe that reduces to what you said, although maybe it isn't quite as straightforward as that because I content "possible" is not in the territory.  This opens the door to there being multiple notions of possible and hence counterfactuals being formed by merging lessons from the various notions. And it seems that we could merge these lessons either at the individual decision level or at the level of properties about agent or at the level of agents. Or at least that's how I would like my claims in this post to be understood.

That said, the lesson from my post The Counterfactual Prisoner's Dilemma is that merging at the decision-level doesn't seem viable.

"FDT requires you to construct counterfactual worlds"

I highly doubt that Eliezer embraces David Lewis' view of counterfactuals, especially given his post Probability is in the Mind. However, the way FDT is framed sometimes gives the impression that there's a true definition we're just looking for. Admittedly, if you're just looking for something that works such as in Newcomb's and Regret of Rationality then that avoids this mistake. And I guess if you look at how MIRI has investigated this, which is much more mathematical than philosophical that the do seem to be following this pragmatism principle. I would like to suggest though that this can only get you so far. 

"We don't know how to construct counterfactual worlds. You get around this..."

I'm not endorsing counterfactual models out of lack of knowledge of how to construct counterfactual worlds, but because I don't think - contra Lewis - that there are strong reasons for asserting such worlds are out there. Further, it seems that our notion of counterfactuals are unavoidably rooted in themselves - this is just "the epistemics of counterfactual worlds are hard, so let's just work with models instead".

Is Functional Decision Theory still an active area of research?

I've been working on this topic on and off for a few years, but my most recent ideas have moved pretty far away from the FDT framework.

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