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Rationality Quotes December 2012

Amateurs talk strategy, professionals talk logistics.

  • David Mitchell, Cloud Atlas

Edit: Yup, apparently that's a famous quote by Bradley which I read for the first time in that book. Good catch.

Rationality Quotes December 2012

But although no ideal obliterates the ugly drudgery and detail of any calling, that ideal does, in the case of the soldier or the doctor, exist definitely in the background and makes that drudgery worthwhile as a whole. It is a serious calamity that no such ideal exists in the case of the vast number of trades and crafts on which the existence of the modern city depends.

  • G. K. Chesterton
Rationality Quotes December 2012

Politics, after all, is the art of persuasion; the political is that dimension of social life in which things really do become true if enough people believe them. The problem is that in order to play the game effectively, one can never acknowledge this: it may be true that, if I could convince everyone in the world that I was the King of France, I would in fact become the King of France; but it would never work if I were to admit that this was the only basis of my claim.

  • David Graeber, Debt: The First 5,000 Years
Open Thread, December 1-15, 2012

A couple of days ago, GiveWell updated their top charity picks. AMF is still on top, but GiveDirectly bumped SCI from #2 to #3.

They also (very) tentatively recommend splitting your donation among the three: 70% to AMF, 20% to GiveDirectly, and 10% to SCI. The arguments about this in the blog post and comments are pretty interesting. (But I wouldn't stress too much about it: harder choices matter less).

Open Thread, September 15-30, 2012

Now that I have read your answer, it seems obvious in retrospect. Very nice, thanks!

Open Thread, September 15-30, 2012

Kind of a stupid question:

It's a truism in the efficient charity community that when giving to charity, we should find the most efficient group and give it our entire charity budget; the common practice of spreading donations among groups is suboptimal. However, in investing it's considered a good idea to diversify. But it seems that giving to charity and investing are essentially the same activity: we are trying to get the highest return possible, the only difference is who gets it. So why is diversification a good idea for one and not the other?

The raw-experience dogma: Dissolving the “qualia” problem

A philosophers’ version is the “inverted spectrum”: how do I know you see “red” rather than “blue” when you see this red print?

That's a typo, right? It's blue print.

The noncentral fallacy - the worst argument in the world?

Operant conditioning through guilt is a supremely effective conversion tactic.

It's worth an NB that conversion is not the only valuable outcome of guilt. Even if an oppressor is not converted outright, guilt-tripping can still make him uncertain, less confident, and less effective at achieving his goals, and since he is an oppressor, this outcome is valuable in and of itself.

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