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I like thinking and talking about rationality, epistemology, social epistemology, moral philosophy, and wild-animal welfare. I have a high-risk scout mindset, so I tend to produce interesting-but-probably-mistaken thoughts. At least I hope so.

Wiki Contributions


Perceptual dexterity: a case study

"I can move my mind so it is as though I've never seen a water bottle before"

I liken this to one of my favourite concepts, shoshin—"a beginner's mind". Entering a state of shoshin requires perceptual dexterity.

One of the problems it tries to overcome, and which you describe in different words, is the Einstellung effect—when your perception of a problem is stuck in some way. And that's one of the reasons perceptual dexterity is so important in original research (and especially math & philosophy).

Conflict, the Rules of Engagement, and Professionalism

This was surprisingly enlightening. I've previously had mostly a negative attitude towards professionalism and its inflexibility, and I've been scared of it excessively infiltrating EA. But the idea of professionalism as "presenting consistent APIs" is really compelling.

The Paradox of Expert Opinion

Right, good point. Edited to point out that same priors (or the same complexity measure for assigning priors) is indeed a prerequisite. Thanks!

The Paradox of Expert Opinion

A central question related to this post is "which reference class should you use to answer your question?" A key point is that it depends on how much selection pressure there is on your reference class with respect to your query.

The Paradox of Expert Opinion

I'm not sold yet on why any of the examples are bad?

I know very little of string theory, so maybe that's the one I think is most likely to be a bad example. I assume string theorists are selected for belief in the field's premises, whether that be "this math is true about our world" or "this math shows us something meaninfwl". Physicists who buy into either of those statements are more likely to study string theory than those who don't buy them. And this means that a survey of string theorists will be biased in favour of belief in those premises.

I'm not talking inside view. It doesn't matter to the argument in the post whether it is unreasonable to disagree with string theory premises. But it does matter whether a survey of string theorists will be biased or not. If not, then that's a bad example.

The Paradox of Expert Opinion

This is a good point in the sense that communication between the researchers could in theory make all of them converge to the same beliefs, but it assumes that they all communicate absolutely every belief to everyone else faster than any of them can form new beliefs from empirical evidence.

But either way it's not a crux to the main ideas in the post. My point with assuming they're perfectly rational is to show that there are systemic biases independent of the personal biases human researchers usually have.

(Edit: It was not I who downvoted your comment.)

Norm Innovation and Theory of Mind

I'm loving this Sequence so far. I'd really like to see a list of all the concrete norm innovations you can think of that you'd like to see tried in the community. I realise some norms aren't very concrete and easy to put down on paper, but I'd like an as-comprehensive-as-possible list anyway.

One for the list: Impact certificates.

Where do your eyes go?

Reading the prelude, I was already thinking about my experiments with deliberately moving my eyes to attend to different things while playing Osu!. Much to my delight, I discover a few paragraphs later that YOU ACTUALLY PLAY OSU!

Anyway, here's my profile. Feel free to play with me!

Profile: https://osu.ppy.sh/users/18771571

The Best Software For Every Need

Seeking: A program/framework to build models that can test social-epistemological hypotheses. Basically, I want to be able to run a visual simulation of little circles in a web where I code in the rules that determine how the circles interact with each other. I imagine something similar has been used in evolutionary simulations, but I don't know where to find it.