All of Erfeyah's Comments + Replies

Bridging syntax and semantics, empirically

Interesting but I don't see at all how this is solving the grounding problem.

The use of variables themselves as a basic unit is a give away that the bridging of the gap is assumed. For example, a human starts understanding the concept of a cup by using it way before it has a word for it. The border between the embodied knowledge and the abstract syntactic one is when a word is attached to the 'meaning' of the cup that is already there. As Henri Bergson puts it, you can try to find the meaning of the poem in the words and the letters, but you will fail. You

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Mythic Mode

I have to admit that your comment makes a lot of sense from within the rationalist perspective. I just think that the rationalist perspective is quite myopic when it comes to the value of stories. You say:

While this may be a perfectly useful definition in some contexts, it is useless for the kind of debiasing move which moridinamael was talking about. In the context of that conversation, it seems better to interpret "narrative" as a description which is specifically warped by optimizing it to fit the biases of the brain particularly well, as a

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Mythic Mode

The claim is deeper than that. Your mind is structured in a way that mirrors narrative structure. You are always in a state (A) and in order to do anything you need to decide on a goal state(B). That is a simplified narrative structure and is not just a way to explain the actions of someone else. It is the way you decide how to act. Check Jordan Peterson's Maps of Meaning lectures where he goes in depth on the full pattern and then shows how it is found in stories, myth, religion etc. and also, quite astonishingly, in the biological structure of the brain.

6abramdemski4yThere are many different definitions of "narrative" which you can give, and there are many different patterns which the brain is biased toward. The particular element which you point at (out of Peterson's more elaborate definition) can also be called intentional stance [], and it makes sense to suppose that the brain is evolved to deal with it, along with a number of other structures. But, if we just define "narrative structure" as the sort of pattern which the brain is adapted to understand, then you can always say that you are turning your reality into a narrative structure, because you are understanding it with your brain. While this may be a perfectly useful definition in some contexts, it is useless for the kind of debiasing move which moridinamael was talking about. In the context of that conversation, it seems better to interpret "narrative" as a description which is specifically warped by optimizing it to fit the biases of the brain particularly well, as a kind of superstimulus. Then, "narrative" is a matter of degree (we can still say that everything is warped by the fact that we have to use our brains to understand it), but we can distinguish between narrative and non-narrative. This also seems more likely to me to be a useful definition in general, and in the context of Val's post, but I could be wrong. To me, it seems to better fit the central cases of what I want to call narrative, such as political speeches, or fiction.
The Jordan Peterson Mask

I can offer a couple of points on why I consider it a subject of great significance.

[1] On a personal level, which you are of course free to disregard as anecdotal, I had such an experience myself. Twice to be precise. So I know that the source is indeed experiential ("mystical experiences exist") though I would not yet claim that they necessarily point to an underlying reality. What I would claim is that they certainly need to be explored and not disregarded as a 'misinterpretation of sensory input'. My personal observation is that (w... (read more)

On Defense Mechanisms

I do think it is very useful being able to identify these strategies as they occur in our mind. On the related subject of dealing with thoughts themselves (which are in many cases the cause of the emotion) in a healthy manner I have found the book White Bears and Other Unwanted Thoughts by Daniel Wegner to be extremely useful.

The Jordan Peterson Mask

I would like to focus on a minor point in your comment. You say:

So does Peterson sincerely pursue what he sees as the truth? I don't pretend to know, but one must still consider that other mystics, religious seekers, and pseudoscientists presumably genuinely pursue the truth too, and end up misled. Merely pursuing the truth does not a rationalist make.

The structuring of your sentence implies a world view in which mystics and religious seekers are the same as pseudoscientists and are obviously 'misled'. Before that you are putting the word &#... (read more)

1TurnTrout4ythat’s a pretty strong claim. Why would your priors favor "the laws of physics allow for mystical experiences" over "I misinterpreted sensory input / that’s what my algorithm feels like from the inside, I guess"?
Mythic Mode

It seems to me that what we are 'actually in' is indeed better described as a narrative. Sure you have chosen what you describe as unsuccessful narratives in your life but in order to exist you have to choose a narrative. You say "As I’ve gotten older I’ve learned to become alarmed and cautious when I detect myself reasoning by proximity to Protagonist Feelings". Why have you become alarmed and cautious? Cautious towards what? What danger are you trying to avoid? It seems to me that you have changed your narrative structure to take into account whatever you have chosen to define as that which you do not want to identify with. But you are still in what can be seen as a narrative structure.

A narrative is not _any possible chain of explanations_ -- I'm concerned that you can just always describe someone's description of a chain of events as a narrative, making it meaningless. To me, a narrative in the context of Val's post means a description which is specifically optimised for social/psychological incentives (especially emotional appeal, which is to say, engagness) rather than for accuracy.


Thank you for yet another interesting post!

There is something I find problematic about the Derive method. It seems to require lying convincingly to yourself which I think is a bad idea.

Find a striking piece of advice that you have an aversion to, because you are attached by vanity to your current identity.

Wouldn't this be labeled in my head as bad advice? If there is a part of myself that identifies it as good advice, and I realise that it is based on vanity, isn't that enough to accept the advice?

Modify it in a wacky and idiosyncratic way. This
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4alkjash4yI think this is a very serious issue and part of the reason I wrote that Derive and Reverse is a short-term strategy. I consider the Derive method as a mental game of make-believe which allows you to recognize unproductive vanity at work. Originally I intended the exercise of rebranding primarily as a mechanism to notice self-inflationary behavior as you described, and secondarily as a mechanism to hack vanity for motivation. On reflection I think the second purpose is not worth the cost of serious self-deception. In this light, I would weaken Derive to something like this: when a perfectly good piece of advice like "keep a Gratitude journal" falls into your lap but you have an instinctive immunoreaction to it, one way to notice and dispel the part of that aversion that comes from vanity is to walk through Derive in your head and notice changes in your gut reaction to a trivial rebranding. It is important to be remain honest about the quality of your contribution - the point of the exercise is to notice pieces of your System 1 rejecting other people's ideas. Does this help?

Thank you for your very interesting post Valentine.

I am coming to this topic from a quite different viewpoint than most of the comments I read (did not read them all). That is because I believe I know exactly what you are talking about due to having this experience myself. Nevertheless, I think you are mistaken to call it enlightenment.

The base of what you are describing as 'Looking' is that there is a different way of perceiving the world. Something like a separate perceptual channel or mode. This concept and its various distortions can be indee... (read more)

1Richard_Kennaway4yI second the recommendation of Idries Shah. with the caveat that while I believe he Had Something, I have always been unsure just how much of a charlatan he also was.
5Valentine4yMmm, thank you. I will take a look. Gut reaction is confusion. I’m watching myself able to do things I couldn’t do before, and I understand both why I can do them now and why I couldn’t before. That seems… incoherent to “let go of”. …but I’ve learned enough to know that clinging to that kind of thought usually just gets in the way. So, I am sincerely listening. I will look where you’re pointing. Thank you.
Are these arguments valid?

These are great points. I think the strategy is particularly useful against one sided arguments. In the case of my example it was someone suggesting that high IQ is the sole measure of value and I can thus use the strategy with confidence to point to the existence of other parameters.

But you are making another point that I am very interested in and have touched upon in the past:

For those of us who are heliocentrists and atheists, does this mean that there's something wrong with rationality, since it would have led to wrong answers in those cases? No
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Are these arguments valid?

Yes, I think your example has a related structure. I think people freaked out cause in my example I applied the logic to the complex subject of the 'meaning of life' without clarifying my terms :)


You are using interesting symbols that also happen to be the same symbols used by humanity in mythological structures as found in cultures all around the world. There are some great points but I would like to bring up the possibility that you are exhibiting some biases stemming from your current perception of the world. In your words:

Imagine that your river of Babble at its source, the subconscious: a foaming, ugly-colored river littered with half-formed concepts, too wild to navigate, too dirty to drink from. A quarter mile across, the bellow of the rapid
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5alkjash4yI'm very much interested in these mythological structures - thank you for adding some depth to the metaphors. One of the big projects the rationalist community is already working on (it seems to me) is the rebuilding from scratch of mythology for the modern era, and hopefully these posts can be a small part of that. It seems that this kind of rebirth and refreshing is necessary as our environment shifts and our understanding grows crisper, but perhaps it would benefit from more dialogue with classical ideas.
Demon Threads

If the people that are discussing do not follow the convention of returning to the comment thread with a summary, or in order to continue the discussion, we will end up with comment threads ending abruptly. On the other hand, this could be seen as addresed by your "if you are not willing to do this work etc." comment.

Could be funny though. Maybe, in these cases, the system can add an automated comment stating that "unfortunately the two parties never returned from their private chat..." :P

Demon Threads

Maybe depending on a threshold number of back and forth comments between two users a check can be made to detect if they are currently logged in. If they are then a chat option can appear next to the reply that directs to a chat window like the one you are using for feedback. Alternatively, the check could even happen automatically when the preson attempts yet another reply, informing them of the etiquette to follow. That is if we get convinced that it is a worthwhile methodology.

I have no idea if this would be succesful in practice but it is such a novel idea that it might be worth a test during the beta. Not sure about the implementation complexity though...

Demon Threads

This is such a great suggestion. I have even noticed this dynamic in verbal conversations where I will have a perfectly civil and productive conversation with a person until we are part of a larger group. Another interesting thing is that the reverse can happen. A person that disagrees with me in private will support the same point when I defend it to another person in a group setting! Such a clear indication that the person's goal was not learning but getting high on the emotion of winning!

Meta: It is not possible to 'move to private' in LW is it?

2Raemon4yCurrently, the PM and notification system isn't working, but getting them working is an upcoming priority, and I think it'd probably be valuable if it was designed in such as way as to make the above suggestion work seamlessly.
LW Update 1/5/2018 – Comment Styling

Thanks for adding clear outlines and alternate colors to the comments. This is so much better! A couple of other things that need to change in my opinion:

  • When composing a comment the background is the same color as the parent text making it difficult to know where the post we are replying to ends and our comment starts. Once it is posted it is all good.

  • When clicking on a notification the comment it displayed at the top of the page which is very convenient but its background color is the same as the rest of the page. This makes it look wrong as it conflic
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Are these arguments valid?

You seem to be misunderstanding the argument structure. It is not an analogy. I am using an equivalent example from the past.

Are these arguments valid?

No worries at all! Also thanks for the additional comments. I think the approach of using core LW content as a starting point, though not always possible, is a great suggestion.

Are these arguments valid?

Yes I think you and AndHisHorse are right on your criticism of [2].

I also really loved the past-directed future-directed distinction you are making! It kind of corners me towards making a teleological argument as a response, which I have to support against the evolutionary evidence of a past-directed purpose! There is another answer I can attempt that is based on the pragmatic view of truth but phew… I don't think I am ready for that at the moment :)


Are these arguments valid?

With all due respect, active engagement and feedback is a great way to learn in addition to reading the sequences.

Hazard above has pointed me to specific articles that I can apply directly to the analysis of arguments that I relate to, accelerating my learning. If Hazard and others are willing to help and I display the correct attitude towards learning I can only think of two problems this may cause:

  • You feel that posts such as this one are claiming your attention and you would prefer to avoid them completely.
  • You feel that they are cluttering the site it
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2habryka4yStrongly agree that engagement and feedback is a great way to learn! Though it's not trivial for users on the page to distinguish someone who is using the questions to further their understanding and come from a perspective of scholarship, from someone who feels entitled to the community answering questions for them (which is a common occurence on the page). For example, I would have been strongly supportive of a post that directly referrenced one or two things on LessWrong that you read that you felt were kind of trying to answer your questions, but not really making sense to you, or that relied on the assumptions of your questions but seemed unjustified. In the current form of your post, it's not clear whether you were someone who had any interest in trying to engage with the material on the page in a serious way, and I do apologize for making you feel less welcome if you are. I care strongly about people having a good scholarship experience on LessWrong, and also wrote the above comment on my phone while waking up, so I was probably a bit less nice than I should have been. Sorry for that. I do indeed think that the problem is mostly addressed on the level of site design, by you paying a small tax in karma for writing the post (as Zvi said above), and then people answering the questions for you. And if the questions are shared by others and seem insightful to others, then you get a bunch of karma instead. That seems to create a pretty sensible incentive for the site.
Are these arguments valid?

The validity of a logical argument can be judged independantly of whether it is sound. I think for [2] this seems quite difficult as per AndHisHorse's comment. Could you elaborate on why this is the case for [1] as well? It seems to me that the logic can be abstracted quite easily.

Are these arguments valid?

Thank you for your comment.

I too think that the logic of [1] is valid. I am going to ask Dagon on the other comment why he thinks that it is not even near a logical structure. As for [2] I was interested in finding out whether, in the case where we agree on the terms, the conclusion follows from the premise. But I think you are right; it is probably impossible to judge this on the abstract.

In terms of the argument itself It is kind of like Pascals Wager with the difference of framing it as a moral duty towards 'meaning' itself (since if meaning ... (read more)

From Rationality to Power in 3 Steps

I believe your logic is sound. A bare bones example of using people instrumentally could be needing to move a stone for building something. Or maybe, if the goal is to kill the people in question, they can be manipulated into dying under the rock that they are themselves carrying...

To me the idea of knowledge has a moral element as it does not only tell you how to do something but also what to do. Or maybe knowledge tells you 'how' and wisdom tells you 'what'. It depends on how we are defining our terms. I like to use knowledge as conta... (read more)

Art: A Rationalist's Take?

Haha, ok. I might have over romanticise my last sentence ;) let me be more specific (though even with these additions not really making justice to the depth of our subject):

It is in the same manner, that when unknown musicians really perform on the street (taking into account time, place and audience), people (that are not distracted and have an accordingly developed aesthetic sense) are drawn towards the sound. [Example]

It would also be interesting to check what role reputation (of the musician) instead of quality of performance played in your choice of example.

Art: A Rationalist's Take?

I will give you my perspective. You say:

The reality in which we live is one wherein a painting can be authentic all the while being deemed nothing more than a "clumsy pastiche", or worse yet, one where that "clumsy pastiche" can be deemed inauthentic on faulty logic or as a result of ulterior motives. This is something I've not gripped entirely but rather am still working on grasping better.

I believe that the reason you are having trouble to grasp this is that you are talking about two different things. The one thing is art an... (read more)

2Said Achmiz4yNo, they’re not. []
How I accidentally discovered the pill to enlightenment but I wouldn’t recommend it.

That was quite fun to read actually :) And reminded me that I have to sort out my non-existent exercise routine.

As to its connection to enlightenment if enlightenment really exists.... I would personally recommend reading books from Idries Shah. Maybe his psychologically framed works first 'Knowing how to Know' and 'Learning how to Learn'. If you are overly intellectual you are going to attempt rejecting them quickly. This is by design. The books play with over-intellectualisation and over-emotionality in an instrumental manner. The co... (read more)

From Rationality to Power in 3 Steps

I am wondering about a trend I see in at least a couple of your posts. Of course I might be completely off the mark here but I will tell you and maybe something interesting will come of it.

It seems to me that a significant part of the posts are devoted to a kind of self affirming "I know something that other people don't". Now, it so happens that I have found myself in that kind of mentality many years ago and I needed a bit of a shock to start getting out of it. It seems to be that when a person really acquires knowledge they get on with a... (read more)

2Viliam4yI am also less impressed with this article than with the previous ones, however... What if the acquired knowledge contains things like "you can't do this (efficiently) alone; and whether other people join you depends more on how impressed they are with your image, rather than the actual quality of your plan"? In such case "applying the knowledge in the world" and "trying to inflate one's image though peer appraisal" would happen to be the same thing.
5Benquo4yI think what you're seeing is to some extent a response to a massive campaign by the "normies" as described in prior Bound_Up posts to deny that an individual can know things the normies don't, or really that knowing things at all is a thing.
7habryka4yI am also worried that the last few posts have been making a lot of confident claims while sending a lot of ingroup signals, but not actually teaching me that much. I.e. I don't actually know what I was supposed to learn from reading this post.

After reading twice I am still unclear on what you mean by 'mana' but I want to keep an open mind.

You write:

I once tried to apply mana to get a rental car company to hold to a thing they said earlier over the phone which my plans were counting on. And accidentally got the low-level employee I was applying mana to to offer me a 6-hour car ride in her own car.

Could you explain in detail exactly what is happening in your mind (to the best of your introspective abilities) when you 'apply mana'. Is this 'application' mediated by language? If yes is the language in your head or verbalised to the other person? Is it just attention? intention? etc.

1Ziz4yI just added a link to the OP, apparently the original wasn't working even though it was a public post. Have not reviewed the utility of giving a how-to-mind-control guide here. But light on technique, heavy on direct consequences of having much higher mana than someone and not giving up.
The list

Ok, I will tell you my thought process so that maybe it can be of help in understanding why people have been downvoting you. Obviously, this is just my perspective and I am direcly sharing my thoughts without the usual niceties filter in the hope that I can be of help.

So, firstly this is the only post I have read of yours. I expressed in my first comment why I think is not developed. During our brief exchange we kind of changed the subject of discussion to the idea of conscious will. I suggested a book. You jumped on the book (and Maslows hierarchy) as i... (read more)

2Zane Scheepers4yFar from it. I appreciate your honesty. I know I my mind is untrained. I don't explain myself properly. I can't get the concepts i have in my head accross to other people. I will try harder. Thanks.
The list

Are you talking about Wegner's book when you say that someone else had the same idea?

1Zane Scheepers4yThat, combined with maslows hierarchy of needs as the operating procedure of the subconscious.
The list

Sure, but I am not sure how that relates to the 'list' idea. In any case, I believe it is quite evident that conscious and subconscious levels are constantly interacting with each other so it is not a case of all or nothing. If you are interested in the (not yet resolved) question of their interaction and the source of action in general the book "The Illusion of Conscious Will" by Daniel Wegner examines whta you refered to as the 'post facto' perspective in depth (providing experimental data). A fascinating book!

1Zane Scheepers4y analogy
1Zane Scheepers4yWow! That's exactually what i was thinking. The list is just my idea of how our actions are determined, without the involvement of the conscious mind.
1Zane Scheepers4yThanks.
The list

I think you are confusing high and low level processes. The brain is comprised of many subsystems developed through the evolutionary proccess. The circuits that allow us, for instance, to avoid sudden motions are much lower (brain stem, amygdala etc.) than the neocortex which is the sit of higher level proccesses such as rational assesment. These circuits are activated before the signal is proccessed by the higher levels but not because they have a list. They are just optimised for certain very general situations.

1Zane Scheepers4yNo, I'm not confusing the two. Certain actions are performed by the reptilian brain and others by higher functions. Observing professional sportsmen and women it's obvious that even these reflex actions can altered. My point is, if muscle memory can allow us to operate on autopilot, how far does the ability of the subconscious extend? Is it possible the subconscious controls all actions and the conscious only becomes aware post facto.
The list

Some, hopefully, constructive criticism. I don't feel you have developed your idea to the point where it can be argued for or against. You are talking about the nature of the human mind and not of an implementation for A.I so even your assumption that the brain uses data structures akin to the ones found in computers is unfounded. If you are using it more as a metaphor then I am not sure it is a useful one. Why is there a static list and not an action generated anew at the moment of decision? It is more likely (and more in line with current neuroscientific evidence) that the mind is akin to an always online system that can generate internal and external responses on the fly.

1Zane Scheepers4yBasically because processing information is slow. Generating a list when a situation arrises means the ball hits your head before you can figure out you'd rather not experience the pain. Most of our actions are subconscious, like walking and don't rely on conscious effort.
Open thread, October 2 - October 8, 2017

As per the electron thing, there's a level where there is symbolic manipulation and a level where there isn't. I don't understand why it's symbolic manipulation for electronics but not for neurons. At the right abstraction level, neurons too manipulate symbols.

It is not the symbols that are the problem. It is that the semantic content of the symbol used in a digital computer is observer relative. The circuits depend on someone understanding their meaning. The meaning provided by the human engineer that, since he possesses the semantic content, understan... (read more)

Open thread, October 2 - October 8, 2017

I think people get too hung up on computers as being mechanistic. People usually think of symbol manipulation in terms of easy-to-imagine language-like models, but then try to generalize their intuitions to computation in general, which can be unimaginably complicated.

The working of a computer is not unimaginably complicated. Its basis is quite straightforward really. As I said in my answer to MrMind below “As Searle points out the meaning of zeros, ones, logic gates etc. is observer relative in the same way money (not the paper, the meaning) is observ... (read more)

Open thread, October 2 - October 8, 2017

Well, that would run counter to the Church-Turing thesis. Either the brain is capable of doing things that would require infinite resources for a computer to perform, or the power of the brain and the computer is the same.

Am I right to think that this statement is based on the assumption that the brain (and all computation machines) have been proven to have Turing machine equivalents based on the Church-Turing thesis? If that is the case I would refer you to this article’s section Misunderstandings of the Thesis. If I have understood wrong I would be ... (read more)

0MrMind4yNo, otherwise we would have the certainty that the brain is Turing-equivalent and I wouldn't have prefaced with "Either the brain is capable of doing things that would require infinite resources for a computer to perform". We do not have proof that everything not calculable by a Turing machine requires infinite resources, otherwise Church-Turing will be a theorem and not a thesis, but we have strong hints: every hypercomputation model is based on accessing some infinite resource (whether it's infinite time or infinite energy or infinite precision). Plus recently we had this theorem: any function on the naturals is computable by some machine in some non-standard time []. So either the brain can compute things that a computer would take infinite resources to do, or the brain is at most as powerful as a Turing machine. As per the electron thing, there's a level where there is symbolic manipulation and a level where there isn't. I don't understand why it's symbolic manipulation for electronics but not for neurons. At the right abstraction level, neurons too manipulate symbols.
Open thread, October 2 - October 8, 2017

Hmm.. I do not think that is what I mean, no. I lean towards agreeing with Searle's conclusion but I am examining my thought process for errors.

Searle's argument is not that consciousness is not created in the brain. It is that it is not based on syntactic symbol manipulation in the way a computer is and for that reason it is not going to be simulated by a computer with our current architecture (binary, logic gates etc.) as the AI community thought (and thinks). He does not deny that we might discover the architecture of the brain in the future. All he d... (read more)

0MrMind4yWell, that would run counter to the Church-Turing thesis. Either the brain is capable of doing things that would require infinite resources for a computer to perform, or the power of the brain and the computer is the same. Indeed, not even computers are based on symbolic manipulation: at the deepest level, it's all electrons flowing back and forth.
1Manfred4yI think people get too hung up on computers as being mechanistic. People usually think of symbol manipulation in terms of easy-to-imagine language-like models, but then try to generalize their intuitions to computation in general, which can be unimaginably complicated. It's perfectly possible to simulate a human on an ordinary classical computer (to arbitrary precision). Would that simulation of a human be conscious, if they matched the behavior of a flesh and blood human almost perfectly, and could output to you via text channel and output things like "well, I sure feel conscious"? The reason LWers are so confident that this simulation is conscious is because we think of concepts like "consciousness," to the extent that they exist, as having something to do with the cause of us talking and thinking about consciousness. It's just like how the concept of "apples" exists because apples exist, and when I correctly think I see an apple, it's because there's an apple. Talking about "consciousness" is presumed to be a consequence of our experience with consciousness. And the things we have experience with that we can label "consciousness" are introspective phenomena, physically realized as patterns of neurons firing, that have exact analogies in the simulation. Demanding that one has to be made of flesh to be conscious is not merely chauvinism, it's a misunderstanding of what we have access to when we encounter consciousness.
Open thread, October 2 - October 8, 2017

A few days ago I asked for LW articles regarding the Chinese Room argument and got into a conversation with the user hairyfigment. As I am certainly not convinced of the validity of the Chinese room argument myself I tried to understand the Chinese gym extension of the argument and if/why it matters to the original point. In particular I pointed to the relevance of the brain not evidently being a digital computer. I went back to the 2014 book The Future of the Brain: Essays by the World's Leading Neuroscientists which is a recent exposition of our current ... (read more)

2Manfred4yAh, you mean to ask if the brain is special in a way that evades our ability to construct an analogy of the chinese room argument for it? E.g. "our neurons don't indiviually understand English, and my behavior is just the product of a bunch of neurons following the simple laws of chemistry, therefore there is nothing in my body that understands English." I think such an argument is totally valid imitation. It doesn't necessarily bear on the Chinese room itself, which is a more artificial case, but it certainly applies to AI in general.
Stupid Questions September 2017

(I am not sure at all about all this so please correct me if you recognise any inconsistencies)

First of all, I honestly don't understand your claim that neurons have consciousness separate from our own. I don't know but I surely don't have any indication of that...

Why on Earth would you think Searle's argument shows anything, when you can't establish that you aren't a Chinese Gym?

The point is that the brain is not a Touring machine since it does not seem to be digital. A Chinese Gym would still be a syntactic system that uses 'instructions' between people.This is related to the way Giulio Tononi is attempting to solve the problem of consciousness with his Phi theory.

Intrinsic properties and Eliezer's metaethics

If "their" refers to moral values, that seems like a category error. If it refers to stories etc, that still seems like a tough sell.

Could you explain in a bit more detail please?

Rather than looking for value you can salvage from his work, or an 'interpretation consistent with modern science,' please imagine that you never liked his approach and ask why you should look at this viewpoint on morality in particular rather than any of the other viewpoints you could examine. Assume you don't have time for all of them.

No I do see where you are c... (read more)

Intrinsic properties and Eliezer's metaethics

Good idea, let me try that.

I am pointing to his argument on our [communication] of moral values as cultural transmission through imitation, rituals, myth, stories etc. and the [indication of their correspondence with actual characteristics of reality] due to their development through the evolutionary process as the best rational explanation of morality I have come across.

And you should care because... you care about truth and also because, if true, you can put some attention to the wisdom traditions and their systems of knowledge.

0hairyfigment4yThe second set of brackets may be the disconnect. If "their" refers to moral values, that seems like a category error. If it refers to stories etc, that still seems like a tough sell. Nothing I see about Peterson or his work looks encouraging. Rather than looking for value you can salvage from his work, or an 'interpretation consistent with modern science,' please imagine that you never liked his approach and ask why you should look at this viewpoint on morality in particular rather than any of the other viewpoints you could examine. Assume you don't have time for all of them. If that still doesn't help you see where I'm coming from, consider that reality is constantly changing and "the evolutionary process" usually happened in environments which no longer exist.
Stupid Questions September 2017

Thanks for the pointer to the zombie sequence. I 've read part of it in the past and did not think it addressed the issue but I will revisit.

What about it seems worth refuting?

Well, the way it shows that you can not get consciousness from syntactic symbol manipulation. And Bayesian update is also a type of syntactic symbol manipulation so I am not clear why you are treating it differently. Are you sure you are not making the assumption that consciousness arises algorithmically to justify your conclusion and thus introduce circularity in your logic?

I do... (read more)

0hairyfigment4yI repeat: show that none of your neurons have consciousness separate from your own. Why on Earth would you think Searle's argument shows anything, when you can't establish that you aren't a Chinese Gym? In order to even cast doubt on the idea that neurons are people, don't you need to rely on functionalism or a similar premise?
Stupid Questions September 2017

I was wondering if someone can point me to good LW's article(s)/refutation(s) of Searle's Chinese room argument and consciousness in general. A search comes up with a lot of articles mentioning it but I assume it is addressed in some form in the sequences?

0hairyfigment4yWhat about it seems worth refuting? The Zombie sequence [\]) may be related. (We'll see if I can actually link it here.) As far as the Chinese Room goes: * I think a necessary condition for consciousness is approximating a Bayesian update. So in the (ridiculous) version where the rules for speaking Chinese have no ability to learn, they also can't be conscious. * Searle talks about "understanding" Chinese. Now, the way I would interpret this word depends on context - that's how language works - but normally I'd incline towards a Bayesian interpretation of "understanding" as well. So this again might depend on something Searle left out of his scenario, though the question might not have a fixed meaning. * Some versions of the "Chinese Gym" have many people working together to implement the algorithm. Now, your neurons are all technically alive in one sense. I genuinely feel unsure how much consciousness a single neuron can have. If I decide to claim it's comparable to a man blindly following rules in a room, I don't think Searle could refute this. (I also don't think it makes sense to say one neuron alone can understand Chinese; neurologists, feel free to correct me.) So what is his argument supposed to be?
1fortyeridania4yI don't remember if the Sequences cover it. But if you haven't already, you might check out SEP's section on Replies to the Chinese Room Argument [].
Intrinsic properties and Eliezer's metaethics

Cool. Peterson is much clearer than Jung (for which I don't have a clear opinion). I am not claiming that everything that Peterson says is correct and I agree with. I am pointing to his argument for the basis of morality in cultural transmission through imitation, rituals, myth, stories etc. and the grounding of these structures in the evolutionary process as the best rational explanation of morality I have come across. I have studied it in depth and I believe it to be correct. I am inviting engagement with the argument instead of biased rejection.

0hairyfigment4yWithout using terms [] such as "grounding" or "basis," what are you saying and why should I care?
Intrinsic properties and Eliezer's metaethics

Your comment seems to me an indication that you don't understand what I am talking about. It is a complex subject and in order to formulate a coherent rational argument you will need to study it in some depth.

0TheAncientGeek4yI am not familiar with Peterson specifically, but I recognise the underpinning in terms of Jung, monomyth theory, and so on.
Intrinsic properties and Eliezer's metaethics

[3] Some mixture. Morality doesn't have to be one thing, or achieved in one way.

Sure this is a valid hypothesis. But my assessment and the individual points I offered above can be applied to this possibility as well uncovering the same issues with it.

In particular, novel technologies and social situations provoke novel moral quandaries that intuition is not well equipped to handle , and where people debate such things, they tend to use a broadly rationalist style, trying to find common principles, noting undesirable consequences.

Novel situations ca... (read more)

0TheAncientGeek4yThat amounts to "I can make my theory work if I keep on adding epicycles".
Too Much Effort | Too Little Evidence

Hehe, I didn't mean it that literal just trying to get the idea across :)

Nevertheless, your analysis is correct for the case where alternative ways of confirmation are available. There is of course the possibility that at the current stage of technological development the knowledge is only accessible through experience like in my lucid dreaming example in the original post.

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