All of Creutzer's Comments + Replies

Both the russian and chinese vaccines use chunks of proteins that are thousands (and likely tens of thousands) of amino acids long, in a mostly inactivated form.

The Russian vaccine, unlike the Chinese one, is not an inactivated virus. It uses an adenovirus vector for delivery of genetic material that makes the body's cells synthesise antigen material, much like the AstraZeneca/Oxford vaccine.

Interesting. Clearly your prison and Macholand examples have a game theoretic structure, where the value of your actions is partly influences by what they signal to the other players about your dispositions. It looks a bit like there is a heuristic that helps people choose the option with advantageous signalling value, but they apply it also in cases that don't have the iterated game structure that is required for this to make sense, such as, in particular, 2. This is essentially a different way of phrasing what I take you to be saying.

Seconding this. It seems like a super-important topic, so if you have something to say about it, please do.

The term you will want to use in your Google search is "Bayesian cognitive science". It's a huge field. But the short answer is, yes, the people in that field do assume that the brain does something that can be modelled as keeping and updating a probability distribution according to Bayes' rule. Much of it is computational-level modelling, i.e. rather removed from questions of implementation in the brain. A quick Google search did, however, find some papers on how to implement Bayesian inference in neural networks - though not necessarily linked to the brain. I'm sure some people do the latter sort of thing as well, though.

That said, being a statistical or philosophical Bayesian does not require one to believe this cognitive science hypothesis. If Bayesian cognitive science were soundly disproven tomorrow, [] would still stand in its entirety.
Search also for "Bayesian brain".

If by implicit you mean implied by me, that wasn't intended. But I think other cultures do, to varying degrees, people more towards thinking that a problem is either unsolvable or that trying to solve it isn't worth the bother. I always feel like "Sometimes, when you're screwed enough, you're screwed" counts as a radical realisation in contemporary America.

Here's my theory: American culture has a presupposition that every problem has a solution - that you can win. Any American rationalist will be able to tell you that their use of "winning" can, strictly speaking, just mean "not failing too hard", but... there's a reason why it's still called "winning". On a gut level, people from a culture that doesn't have this presupposition might find the whole thing much less relatable.

Once I heard a debate about fantasy literature, how culture impacts the world building. In Western fantasy -- think Tolkien's Middle Earth -- you have the good kingdom on one end of the map (their backs are protected by the ocean, they only have to fight on one front), the evil kingdom is on the other side of the map, the heroes fight and despite all the complications they ultimately win. In Eastern European fantasy -- think Sapkowski's Witcher -- you have the more-or-less good kingdom in the middle, surrounded by evil kingdoms (often much larger) on all sides; victory is impossible, the heroes fight to survive yet another day, and they consider themselves lucky when they do. I would add that in Russian fantasy -- think Lukyanenko's Night Watch -- the balance between good and evil is considered a fact of life and no one even tries to change it anymore, both live in the same kingdom; the good guys only wake up when the balance seems to shift too much on the side of evil. So yeah, culture has an unconscious impact on optimism / pesimism.
Yep... although there's an implicit "Other cultures don't think that identifying a problem implies a requirement to try to correct it" there, which I'm not sure I believe?

That's true, and these technical developments were crucial for 19th century piano music, but keep in mind that harmonic language and musical form are quite independent from this and are highly relevant domains of innovation and creativity.

In any case, I'm not quite sure what the point is that you're trying to make.

In my experience, many people hold that when trying to derive the KI in the groundwork, he just managed to confuse himself, and that the examples of its application as motivated reasoning of a rigid Prussian scholar with an empathy deficit.

The crucial failure is not that it is nonsensical to think about such abstract equilibria - it is very much not, as TDT shows. But in TDT terms, Kant's mistake was this: He thought he could compel you to pretend that everybody else in the world was running TDT. But there is nothing that compels you to assume that, and so you can't pull a substantial binding ethics out of thin air (or pure rationality), as Kant absurdly believed he could.

I absolutely agree that Kant's system as represented in the Groundwork is unworkable. But you could say the same about pretty much any pre-20th-century philosopher's major work. I think the fact that someone was even trying to think about ethics along essentially game-theoretic lines in the 18th century is pretty revolutionary and worthy of respect, even if he did get important things wrong. As far as I'm aware, no one else was even in the ballpark. ETA: I do think a lot of philosophers scoff (correctly) at Kant's object-level moral views, not only because of their absurdity (the horrified tone in which he describes masturbation still makes me chuckle) but because of the intellectual contortions he would go through to "prove" them using his system. While I believe he made very important contributions to meta-ethics, his framework was nowhere near precise enough to generate a workable applied ethics. So yeah, Kant's actual ethical positions are pretty scoff-worthy, but the insight driving his moral framework is not.

Indeed. Kant is a poor example for offensive continental philosophy because while he was a very bad writer, but you can reconstruct sensible ideas he was trying to express, at least when it's not about ethics. The really offensive philosophy is the one where the obscurity of the writing is not accidental in this way, but essential, and where the whole thing falls apart once you try to remove it.

Analytical philosophers also do not routinely scoff at Kant except for 1) his lack of skill as a writer and 2) his ethics.

My random sample was from his ethics, though I didn't pull it from there intentionally. I took the first book by Kant that showed up in a search of my computer. Who were Kant's contemporary philosophical competitors?
I don't know of many analytic philosophers who scoff at his ethics, although there are certainly many who disagree with it. There are also many analytic philosophers who consider his ethics to be a significant advance in moral reasoning. As an example, Derek Parfit, in his recent book, constructs an ethical system that tries to reconcile the attractions of both consequentialism and Kantian deontological ethics. Kant's discussion of the categorical imperative, especially the first formulation of the imperative (act according to the maxim that you would will to be a universal law), prefigures various contemporary attempts to reformulate decision theory in order to avoid mutual defection in PD-like games, including Hofstadter's notion of superrationality and Yudkowsky's Timeless Decision Theory. Essentially, Kantian ethics is based on the idea that ethics stems from nothing more than a commitment to rational decision-making and common knowledge of rationality among interacting agents (although with Kant it's not so much about knowing that other agents are rational but about respecting them by treating them as rational). I don't fully agree with this perspective, but I do think it is remarkably astute and ahead of its time.

To be fair, if there is a mystery at all, then this only pushes it one step further: Schumann wasn't any more radically innovative than Brahms and yet was extremely influential and is still regarded as a composer of the first rank.

I'm not familiar with Schumann. Googling music theory forums indicates he's respected today mainly for his compositions for piano, while his symphonies are held in low regard. I'm now listening to his piano concerto in A minor, finished in 1845. I'm not very familiar with the 1830s or 1840s, but it doesn't sound anything like music from the 1820s or earlier. I don't think music like this could have been written before Schumann. The piano necessary to play it didn't exist. Some key moments in the development of the piano: * 1820: first 7-octave piano [] * 1820-1843: various [] patents [] on the iron piano frame * 1820: the vertical escapement [], allowing one to play the same note twice in succession * 1834: steel wire, probably made possible by iron frames, allowing louder playing and hence greater dynamic range * 1840: stronger steel wire [] * 1844: the sustain pedal invented [] The music forums say Liszt and Ravel's works required the double escapement, and some say Chopin's did, while one argues Chopin's pianos didn't have it. No word on Schumann.

The people just adhere to the rhythmical structure that the piece began with; the pianist is, to them, just doing lots of syncopes. This isn't meaningfully described in terms of a priming effect, and so it's not clear that this should affect our view of priming research. (If you ask me, it's also not really meaningfully described by "people being controlled by what they can't perceive consciously". It's like saying you're being "controlled by what you can't perceive consciously" when you listen to somebody speak just because your langua... (read more)

Uhm, what? Why? Bla bla bla indeed. (Sorry, I couldn't resist.) It's not actually very relevant.

If you don't believe that logical (or, for that matter, any other sort of) impossibility implies non-existence, then you are understanding either "logical impossibility" or "non-existence" in a way different from just about everybody else. So if there is any point to this discussion, it should be to elucide how you understand them.

Thanks for making that clear to me. I don't like the idea of having inconstent terminology usage to everyone else, so in that case I'm at deep fault. A few minutes (hours?) ago I had a moment of clarity and I'm pretty sure I'm psychotic right now. I caught myself out in the delusion I've been having for a couple of days, which I have had in the past for unfortunately far longer, that society and economies are going to collapse and we're going to be forced to farm or raid people and because I'm passive and shit at gardening I'll die a horrible death. Which, I should have good reason to believe is absurd because economic collapses are extremely rare, highly unlikely in developed countries like ours, there are measures in place to intervene in food security crises, so on and so forthe. The point is, this is consistent my prolific shit posting over the last half-day which I will probably go back and perhaps get rid of the ones without comments. Meanwhile, this thread is probably going to be extremely interesting to me when I recover from this because it formalises how it captures, to some extent how I've been relating to the world. To some extent I miss that if I had managed to reply to your comment further into this state it might have been very interesting. On the other hand, perhaps if not for it, I wouldn't have recognised that this indeed is a problem right now and my delusion isn't just a single odd piece of psychosis admist normal thinking otherwise. Ok I better get off this thing and figure out to get some help so my assignments can still be submitted in time...I've lost so much karma in the last half day haha. Unless this is some kind of self-doubt, or worry/anxiety thing and I'm just making a feel of myself to refuse actually updating my beliefs faced with compelling reason. I don't know, I feel very odd. I'll probably update this at some point. Unless something goes very wrong...a little while ago I was thinking of retiring this account and also how interest

Well, the conclusion should read not "more things" but "at least as many". Things might accidentally not exist.

I feel the fact that you reject premise 1 just means that you don't really grasp the concept of impossibility, logical or otherwise... Or you have a different concept of existence.

The reason why I used a semi-formal notation was to suggest that if you formalise it all, you can actually prove "P(x doesn't exist) ≥ P(x is impossible)" as a tautology. (Ignoring the issue that with specifically logical impossibility, you get into a bit of trouble with probability assignments to tautologies.)

Seems undecidable [], circa Godel bla bla bla.

How can P(x doesn't exist) < P(x is logically impossible)? That's... well, logically impossible.

If I've understand correct, you're saying that the probability that x doesn't exist, can't less than the probabiltiy that x is logically impossible. The reason that it can be true, is because I'm not smart enough to interpret that complicated proposition whether it's in symbolic form or even after I've managed to translate it into words. Therefore, P(x doesn't exist) may very well be < P(x is logically impossible), I have no idea.

When someone tells you to be more confident, it's probably because they believe your perception of yourself is worse than reality.

The cynical alternative hypothesis is that "be more confident" actually means "be higher status".

The practical problem is, of course, enforcing this prohibition on procreation. Forced sterilisation is difficult to sell and problematic because the subjects might wish to have children with other people. RISUG might be a solution, once it becomes available.

I'm not sure what I think of the fact that everyone is concerned with the genetics of possible offspring in the case of incest, but nobody minds two chronically depressed, highly neurotic people, one of whom has a hereditary autoimmune condition, procreating... (The domain of quantification for the sli... (read more)

Obligatory cynicism: But then you don't get social status for being right, so there's not incentive to do it.

That is very true. Many people also seem to interpret the politeness rule of not talking too much about oneself in such a way that no hint about interesting topics ever gets picked up because giving your opinion on something, or relating experiences, is "talking too much about yourself" unless you were explicitly asked. The only solution I've is to simply avoid people who are frustrating like that.

This was my first thought, too. The Singaporean psychology grad student is a member of the same culture as you; the local fashion designer is not.

Moral theories predict feelings

No. This is what theories of moral psychology do. Philosophical ethicists do not consider themselves to be in the same business.

Do you need to date to have regular sex?

Unless you're in the top 30% or so of attractiveness, I think the answer to that question is "yes".

Very good point! It's a ubiquitous stereotype, but it's not a priori clear to me that workplace romance leads to a net decrease in productivity, and I haven't seen real evidence for it. Google Scholar yielded nothing, it either ignores the search word "productivity" or just yields papers that report the cliché.

Off the top of my head, some reasons why people would to marry despite intending not to have children:

  1. residence permits
  2. taxes (a pretty big deal in some countries)
  3. warm fuzzy feeling about cementing a very-long-term relationship in the culturally approved way, signalling commitment
  4. doing the culturally expected thing in a very-long-term relationship and not wanting to advertise their child-free status

To be honest, I don't see that at all.

So how would you define "empirical equivalence"?

Sure. There are other people who have no interest in eventually procreating!

If you are far enough from the time in life when potential partners will eventually want to procreate and can deal emotionally with the certainty that you will have to break up at least at that point (although realistically you may well break up earlier), there is also a point in dating people outside that group.

EDIT: As an addendum, keep in mind that especially at a young age, people who say they will or might want to have children might do so only as a cultural default. Once expo... (read more)

I have been present at the weddings of two couples who have no intention to procreate.

You could charitably understand everything that such people (who assert that metaphysics is BS) say with a silent "up to empirical equivalence". Doesn't the problem disappear then?

No because you need a theory of metaphysics to explain what "empirical equivalence" means.

Lunch could still be an important factor, postprandial somnolence is a well-known phenomenon. There might be a phenomenological difference between that and sleepiness, though. We often do not properly distinguish between sleepiness and fatigue.

Of course, when I examined the thing's source code, I knew it would reason this way, and so I did not put the million.

Then you're talking about an evil decision problem. But neither in the original nor in the genetic Newcombe's problem is your source code investigated.

No, it is not an evil decision problem, because I did that not because of the particular reasoning, but because of the outcome (taking both boxes). The original does not specify how Omega makes his prediction, so it may well be by investigating source code.

Sorry about that, then. I've just heard too many philosophers say such things non-humorously.

Languages are implemented in individual brains and so private languages are perfectly conceptually possible, Wittgenstein notwithstanding.

That was meant humorously. Obviously such things exist. But one could argue that these do not match some strict definitions of what a language is.

No, it doesn't, because your guess is wrong.

This is basically the issue of whether categorical imperatives are a coherent concept. I have the same feeling as you: that they are not, and that I don't even understand what it would mean for them to be. I'm continually baffled by the fact that so many human minds are apparently able to believe that categorical imperatives are a thing. This strikes me as a difficult problem somewhere at the intersection between philosophy, linguistics, and cognitive psychology.

If you don't even understand what it would mean, this could be a symptom that you are understanding "categorical imperative" differently than they do. I'm going to guess that you are assuming metaethical motivational internalism []. Therein lies your difficulty.

I wonder if what this really means isn't that it is possible for a culture not to have a concept of amorality. What I mean by this is the following: they have a concept of what things ought to be like, and it encompasses both moral and non-moral imperatives. What they did not realise is that you can just ignore a subclass of these oughts (namely, the moral ones) without rationality compelling you to do otherwise and thereby be an amoralist.

Well Plato argues that "if you know the right you will always do the right". Heck, this idea, in the form that "all problems are caused by ignorance", is still around today.

On the other hand, you would not and quite possibly could not have spent all that time on learning valuable things. At least some of it would have been used up by some other sort of relaxation.

Note, though, that you basically need to achieve native-like levels of proficiency in order to use one Slavic language to understand another. So you may well never be able to collect this return on the investment at all. My Russian isn't anywhere near this level and, living in Central Europe, the only use I ever make of it is talking to Russians. Signage in Slavic-speaking countries becomes somewhat comprehensible, but that's about it otherwise. Russian does, of course, allow you to communicate in Central Asia, the Caucasus, and the Baltic countries, which is nice if you want that, but also likely to be irrelevant for most people.

True, but also: I smell some significant business opportunities in the general direction of Central Asia. It is a very virgin market for e.g. tech products and they have natural resources / fossil fuels to pay with.

Do we even know that TV killed local accents and dialects in any country? Because I'm not sure that Slavic languages ever had such radical dialectal variety as English and German.

The Slavs just promoted their radical dialects to full-blown languages, mostly due to political fragmentation.

Are you aware of the movement of Experimental Philosophy? They say exactly the same thing: that what we should really do is investigate the cognitive algorithms that give rise to philosophical intuitions. Which requires doing cognitive psychology rather than pointless arguing. There have been very interesting investigations into, for example, what factors people's attributions of blame or causation are sensitive to.

(And the only thing that saved my ass was completely unrelated to my skills or work, it was a random office-politics advice from internet that I decided to test experimentally at work a few days ago, and luckily it worked.)

Asides like this should be forbidden as cruelty to animals... I mean readers. I think the kind and compassionate thing to do is to either say what it is, link to it, or never, ever mention it.

Of course it sounds more palatable to other people, but actually it's a completely different attitude from the one you're actually taking! You're just viewing other people's success as a means to what is eventually your own success after all. This is not at all the bizarre universal love and self-abnegation that the initial post suggested to me.

I also suspect you might be in a relatively atypical life situation if you manage to leverage this business-like perspective into universal social skills because you can just apply it to practically everyone you mee... (read more)

There's a pretty noticeable difference between someone doing something for their own sake and someone doing something for the sake of another. Compare two pretty universal experiences: "Talking to someone who is only interacting with you because they want something" and "Being the recipient of a no-strings-attached favor". This attitude is universal; it's not specific to business. Everyone has wants and goals, not just business people. What you imagine my life situation to be isn't really very relevant. Unless you live in a solitary confinement, this is applicable to you.

The egoistic perspective on people as a resource-to-be-developed doesn't help at all, because it's not what I understand by "genuinely caring about other people's success". It also breaks the analogy with the case of children, because the potential that parents and educators see in children is (hopefully) not the potential to be a useful resource for them later on.

I think we're looking at a huge inferential distance between us due to a difference in life situation and probably personality...

If you understand the concept that other people have value, then it sounds like your primary issue is just with the semantic meaning behind "genuinely caring about other people's success". Which is fine, it's an overly complex idea to try to distill into a single sentence and I would expect there to be a fair amount of clarification needed. But to be clear, it's a semantic disagreement rather than one about the underlying meaning. If I had to be less succinct with my explanation I'd say: "Being confident enough in one's own self-improvement processes that one expects more incremental value in dedicating unallocated time to other people's success than one's own." If you have a disagreement with that, I'd much rather discuss that than semantics. (The reason I chose one phrasing over the other is that, "I care more about your success than my own" sounds a lot more palatable to the person I'm helping out than, "I expect to see more value if I spend this time helping you than if I spend this time helping me.")

I'm not sure that something that requires a fundamental way in my values (I'm sorry, but I do not care about most people's success more than myself and I don't see why I should and don't want to; in fact, I think I owe it to my friends to care about them and myself more than about a random stranger) and the acquisition of a delusion (most people are not potential singular geniuses; neither am I, of course) is really the optimal strategy here... But fortunately, there must be other strategies, because lots of people are good at social interaction without having either those values or that delusion.

Your reluctance is both common and understandable. But it's actually not that difficult to reconcile. Let's talk about this from an egoist perspective. First of all, why should you care about other people? Simple: other people are a potentially valuable resource. Despite protestations otherwise, many smart people labor under the delusion that they are of singular genius and importance, and thus have a very difficult time truly grasping the idea that other people can be as valuable as they themselves are. Your car, computer, bike, house, appliances, etc. are all resources that can accomplish certain ends much more efficiently than you can. So it doesn't feel alien to put your own short term needs secondary to the long term maintenance of these resources. The reason it feels so alien to do the same thing with people is that you haven't quite internalized the value of other people. But what does that have to do with valuing other people's success more than yours? Simple: if you've already made the right meta-cognitive choices, then the incremental value of spending "unallocated" time on yourself isn't all that high. If you already devote an hour a day to reading, then opting to spend two hours at home reading on a weekend instead of going out doesn't really provide much incremental benefit. If you are confident enough in your own life choices, then you don't need to spend much active time on your own success because it's already taking care of itself. The stereotypical charismatic, socially adept extrovert tends to be much more confident and slightly less "intelligent" than your average LWer. Why is that? First of all, they're not worried that the time they spend on others will affect themselves negatively. And because they aren't as "intelligent", they have a more acute awareness of just how valuable other people can be. TL;DR: it only requires a fundamental change in your values if part of your fundamental value system says "other people are worthless". And it on

That's right, but it's not clear to me that this would give rise to the effect that DeVliegendeHollander and me are talking about. I'll grant that it's conspicuous that all the "socially skilled" people I mentioned are all extraverts. It would also seem natural that an introvert has a less positive attitude towards meeting people because his expected utility from the encounter is naturally lower. But it's not clear that introverts would necessarily have to have a negative response that I have to meeting people. For one thing, I've seen people who... (read more)

I'm not claiming this is the sole or even the most important axis -- it's one more way to look at the situation. I expect that not liking people (or, say, be bored by neurotypicals) is correlated with introversion, but these two characteristics do not have to go together hand in hand. And social skills (defined as the ability to manipulate social situations -- regardless of what you like or how you feel) are a different thing entirely.

Also, you might enjoy reading [Veronica Decides to Die].

You might also experience intense annoyance, though, as I did.

I suspect you're right. All the "socially skilled" people I've talked to about this report that they like (meeting) other people by default. I, on the other hand, dislike people by default and can't seem to do anything to improve my "social skills deficit".

Let me throw another axis into the analysis. My go-to definition of introverts and extroverts goes like this: Extroverts gain energy from being with other people. Being with others is a relaxing thing which recharges their batteries. Introverts pay energy to be with other people. Being with others tires them out. Note that it's not about like/dislike and also not about fun/not-fun. Introverts might like being with someone and have much fun in process, but it still drains them, they need solo time to recuperate afterwards.

I still don't see why this is supposed to be moral reasoning. It's just about the importance of things to you. To me it looks like just as much of a moral decision as your decision to have toast for breakfast or not.

I cinsider the importance to me of a truth or a bond then I make my choice.

How does this count as a moral decision?

The moral choice is indicated by a question mark in the sentence prior to the one you quote. The sentence you quote is my resolution process. The final sentence is the outcome.

I'm not sure this is so easy - people's self-simulations aren't that reliable, are they? Running a sandboxed version of yourself on a brain isn't so trivial.

I think the general rule is that we (or at least I) tend to have a default assumption that others think like us at least on a fundamental level, and that they have fundamentally similar personalities. If we meet up with someone who has a different sort of mind / personality, we tend not to notice it unless it's really staring us in the face.

I may be unusual, but I'm exactly the reverse of this. My default assumption is that other people are very different from me. When someone thinks and feels like me, I'm always surprised, and it takes some time to con... (read more)

Even if we ignore for a moment the fact that Kantian ethics doesn't say anything because it's not well-defined, it's not at all clear to me that this is true. As it stands, your statement sounds like it's based more on popular impressions of what Kantian ethics is supposedly like than an actual attempt at Kantian reasoning.

Can you give us some citations? I would love to read academic papers in this domain, but somehow I've been very bad at finding stuff that relates to the thing we call "status".

Usually dominance is related to a power that is maintained by agression, stress or fear. The usual search route will lead you to some papers: [] What I would do would be find some 2015 2014 papers and check their bibliography, or ask the principal investigator about which papers are more interesting on it. I have a standing interest in other primates and cetaceans as well, so I'd look for attempts to show that others have or don't have prestige.
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