jmh's Comments

An Empistemically Rational Superbowl

I think to this approach to be beneficial the predictions would need to be much more narrowly defined that described here. Things along the lines or Offence will rush or pass or even more fine grained such as rush to short side of the field with tackle pulling, rush with sweep and back up of a pitchback. For passing some idea about receiver type -- wide or one of the backs -- as well as how deep. For punts and kick-offs perhaps things like what receiver is targeted or take away option to return, or for punts various fake play scenario.

If we just say "succeed" I'm not sure what we're really testing as we don't seem to be saying anything about the play to be executed so seems like the success/fail results will have a lot of noise in them.

I do agree that sports offers a great environment for such efforts for the reasons you've listed. So perhaps just adding clarifying points here.

Moral public goods

You set the stage to call redistribution a moral public good based on a representative agent for each class. I don't think that gets you there so essentially you assume this moral public good conclusion and then draw out some implications.

I question that you argument offered does imply redistribution can behave like a public good in a real world setting. I might but I don't think your approach get you there. If so, then the rest of the post is just musing about a possible implications if one just assumes redistribution dynamics have some similarity with those of public goods.

I think Dagon points out might not even be the case, it may purely be threshold funding that is driving the behavior in which case applying the logic of public goods may lead one astray.

Similarly, I'm not sure that adding "moral" is actually doing any real work. Seems more of a mood setting rhetorical device.

Material Goods as an Abundant Resource

I think you are right to point to the underlying shift in incentives as various constraints are relaxed and others become binding. I also think you could probably increase the Public Choice/Political Economy insights here. What would/are the impacts to policy and politics and government structure/services/role under these types of changes.

Still, I don't think it really leads to as bad an outcome as seems implied here. In the duplicator case, a limit/extreme, it is clear even in most expected scenarios of "fabricated" scarcity in the collective sense we will be at a much higher production frontier and everyone having a much greater real income/consumption standard. I think the scenarios where that is not the case (think most of the dystopian ScFi worlds) are unlikely.

I think the rat races does change a bit here, but clearly the constraints will be on intellectual and innovation/design (and possible the coordination margins you've already identified). I do wonder if there is more scope for the old "tune in, turn on and drop out" with the emphasis on dropping out of the race and economy (autarky is possible).

Coordination as a Scarce Resource

I think one additional area you can plug in here is regulation and federal business/commercial law as well. When that is done well it really should reduce coordination problems and relax constraints.

However, I thin one can says relaxing the coordination constraints is (probably) a necessary condition for increasing rewards at the object/skill level it doesn't seem to be a sufficient condition.

Still, as ALexei says, I do like you posts and make an effort to pay attention when I see one posted.

Moral public goods

I think before accepting the conclusions I would like to see some sensitivity analysis around the assumption of the two representative agents that underlie the model.

Have epistemic conditions always been this bad?

I don't how well these to thought will fit but over the past 12 or 15 years my views on political dynamics, for the USA but perhaps they can apply elsewhere, are:

1) The median voter theorem is not quite right. The parties will tent to force the candidates towards the ends resulting an a barbell form of policies rather then having them move to the middle (and so become largely indistinguishable). The level MVT might work at is with party formation rather than candidates when existing parties are well established. I'm of the mind we are seeing a dynamic that will result in new parties -- be they major shifts under the same label or one or both major parties fracturing, a new party emerge and the old party go the way of the Whigs.

2) While I think Title VII, Civil Rights Act, was probably necessary to break the existing structure its on going existence has created the groundwork for what those arguing against a Bill of Rights feared: only if you are a protected class will you enjoy the protections. Ideally, in my view (hindsight), the Civil Rights Act should have been temporary and expired. The goal would have been to firmly establish the general principle of non-discrimination and establish the standard of irrelevant criteria cannot be the a deciding criteria in employment (or other admission within the public scope of social interactions). That general principle would then be applied over time as various classes found themselves to be discriminated against -- which would be dependent on the larger society agreeing that the factor was in fact irrelevant.


I'm curious about two things related to Julija's comment here -- not about what she said but what those reading it actually did. It is clearly the most highly voted contribution but does that mean anyone up-voting the comment really updated their own view, priors or plans?

If so, in what sense did you update. If not, why?

2018 Review: Voting Results!

Just looking at the distributions on the individual articles is a bit interesting. Wonder if there are common characteristics about the articles with similar distribution patters of the votes.

Summary of "The Straw Vulcan"

First, was Spock rational or just wanted to think himself rational. I am not completely sure that was the underlying character trait of Vulcan's in the show -- though also agree that much can support it. Seems like their history was that of excessive passion, apparently to an uncontrollable and very destructive level. Their solution seems to have been to suppress their emotions, and so the passion, which then left the purely intellectual response to the external world and their own thinking/decisions.

Since I don't see emotion and rationality as either opposites or necessarily antagonistic to one another I wonder if considering rationality through a third lens -- epistemic, instrumental and emotional might help lead to some better decision-making than placing them in opposition. Principle #4 gets at this with the diagrams showing them as opposing but the argument questioning that approach. (I actually missed on this bit in my first comment.)

Summary of "The Straw Vulcan"

That's an interesting take. I think one might view the character traits as managing emotion by deep suppression that leads to a purely analytic mind view, distances and a bit dispassionate about "life values", so have become fully comfortable with the types of calculations that amount to "it is fine to kill 100 people if 1,000 are saved".

As you note, that is not actually rational but might produce the appearance of rationality given the calculated maximizing/optimizing type of decision-making that replaces (suppresses?) the emotional response and any empathy to life in the specific, individual cases.

I do think the theme of rational calculation versus human emotion, how they are often interdependent and other explorations was present throughout most episodes (I'm not sure it was captured in the movies as well).

This makes me think a third from of rationality is perhaps worth noting -- though one could certainly argue if can be subsumed under one of both of others. I think emotional rationality is worth perhaps keeping in mind -- but also can view this more as emotional maturity which then is achieve via epistemic and instrumental rationality.

But then considering the diagram where emotion is interfering with the rational relation between goal and action the pose seems to be taking a bit of the same approach as the Vulcan (and so I think missing something about being rational). While I agree the emotions can induce us to do imprudent things we regret later but am not sure the extreme view of emotions conflict/oppose rationality is right. I think more thought in that area would be fruitful for those seeking to improve the decisions making processes they find have grown in their own head and how to improve those processes. (I know there have been some posts in this area on LW but no time to search an link here.)

This said, I have found this a good post to read and appreciate it having been shared.

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