On calling inconceivable what you've already conceived.

When humans try to process undefined statements we don't crash. Instead we conceive something that seems like it could be meaningful, even if it's inconceivable.

Physics is consistent. Humans are physics. "What a human would predict from this inconsistent set of statements" is often consistent and unambiguous as most communication. I think this is a necessary tool for thinking about law.

On calling inconceivable what you've already conceived.

Logically inconsistent implies inconceivable, right? Falsely attributing a paradox is a way of issuing a false positive for inconceivability. The rest of the post is an example of falsely attributing a paradox and concluding inconceivability, when someone already has the concept.

The correct response to uncertainty is *not* half-speed

I agree, for a certain sense of the word "clearly". The procedure is to make you clearly understand the implications of the situation, which can be harder for some instantiations of the situation.

The correct response to uncertainty is *not* half-speed

Anyone have a better procedure for fixing this than the following?

  1. Notice the feeling.
  2. Treat it as a signal that your S1 wants you to search for cheaper ways to figure out which option is right than continuing to drive. Search for cheaper ways and execute them. Make it a thorough search and show your S1 the thoroughness of your search. Acknowledge the awfulness of "drive back and forth in an expensive search pattern" and only choose that as a last resort.
  3. If you don't immediately become much more certain of which way the hotel is in, and the "go 30mph" feeling does not go away, treat it as a signal that your S1 thinks the thought process by which you chose (under evidence-starvation) is wrong, which does not necessarily mean that the conclusion is wrong.
  4. List the ways your S1 thinks you're biased which are screwing up your evidenced-starved reasoning.
  5. Perform sanity-inducing rituals to counter those biases. (Think about your actual goal of getting to the hotel as soon as possible, forgive yourself for maybe driving past it, imagine all 4 outcomes (60mph forward, 60mph backward) x (get to hotel on next try after this, don't get to hotel on next try after this) and how you would feel about them)
  6. If the feeling is still there, this procedure has failed.
Request for Steelman: Non-correspondence concepts of truth

"There is nothing for the correspondence theory of truth to correspond to" is a feature, not a bug. Because this is one of those philosophical debates which is really just a choice of definition. "Something is true if it corresponds to reality" is just a definition, and definitions don't have truth* value.

*truth defined in a way that I think is pretty useful to define it, which is what we're usually looking for when we pick definitions.

Harry Potter and the Methods of Rationality discussion thread, February 2015, chapter 113

Casting a true Patronus is not about the absence of fear of death. It's about "The will to defeat death, not just for yourself but for everyone, through your own strength".

The Mirror's desire detection is unfoolable. Which means that the Confundus made Voldemort-Dumbledore actually want to see Dumbledore's family in the afterlife. Voldemort's thought-patterns leaked through, which started unraveling things the Confundus made him believe/want, but before that he did actually believe/want them.

If the Confundus can make someone really want that, it can make them really want to defeat death not just for themself but for everyone through their own strength.

Harry Potter and the Methods of Rationality discussion thread, February 2015, chapter 113

If a Confundus can fool the Mirror, it can fool the true Patronus charm. If Hermione can eventually kill any Dementors, she can eventually kill all of them. Finding more people who can cast the true Patronus, and letting them handle an eventual end of the world scenario is a much smaller problem than a prophecy of doom.

Harry Potter and the Methods of Rationality discussion thread, February 2015, chapter 108

Apologies if someone else has suggested this before. I'm not going to read enough comments to find out. But why doesn't Harry just say in Parseltongue, "If you let me conquer the world, you will be more happy, and have more fun." Harry can totally deliver with his transhumanist future by uplifting normal people so they aren't "idiots" that bore Voldemort, and giving him the kind of rivals he wants to fight with. Like, worst case he has to leave a planet or whatever of shitty conditions where Voldemort personally fucks people up, because that's the only thing that will satisfy him. But it's still worth it for the improved chance to get the rest of the universe.

Harry Potter and the Methods of Rationality discussion thread, February 2015, chapter 104

Things I notice I'm confused by: If Quirrel needs Harry's help to get the stone, why didn't he just ask? (Edit: okay, he did ask. But why didn't just ask earlier? And why is he playing all these tricky games?) I mean, it already worked for freeing Bellatrix. If there's a disturbance which Dumbledore suspects is a distraction, why did he send only Snape, rather than several aurors/coming himself?

What could Quirrel need Harry for? In canon, Harry could get the stone because he wanted to find it, not to use it, or something like that? But this Harry definitely wants to use it.

Rationality Quotes January 2015

Most of the time what we see is developers trying to minmax, micro-optimize and balance their designs, but when addressing metrics as a tool to achieve that goal, they acknowledge the relevance of the tool and at the same time their eyes wander, looking for someone else to talk to. I believe it is a human trait: when we don't know exactly how to do something, we will do anything else, procrastinating the blurry task indefinitely.

Nicholas Francis

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