All of mgin's Comments + Replies

Update: this paper lends some credibility to my philosophical position (neutral monism)

Well my motive is a belief in the impossibility of the contrary.

If some things can be made out of other things, it seems pretty reasonable that the behavior of the one things would also be somehow made out of the behavior of the others.

Sure, but let me give an example based on an analogy: when you have a group of soldiers formed into a fighting platoon, they behave very differently than when you have a group of soldiers formed into a search and rescue party. Both groups have very different behavior despite being constituted by the same units.

For this reaso... (read more)

I'm not really convinced that it's unlikely. Just because we can construct systems that are strongly deterministic at the macro level doesn't mean that the quantum behavior we can't yet explain isn't based in some way on the higher-level organization of the fundamental particles involved.

What are you talking about specifically by "the quantum behavior we can't yet explain"? Also, you haven't yet given any reason to suppose that something like that would be likely in general. If some things can be made out of other things, it seems pretty reasonable that the behavior of the one things would also be somehow made out of the behavior of the others. You seem to be saying that if some things are made out of others, their behavior should NOT be made out of the other behavior. What would be the motive for saying that?

I understand your point, but I'd be interested to see this proven (or dis-proven) bottom-up from first principles... observing that something in particular (chlorophyll, photosynthesis, etc) reduces from the top down like this leaves too many holes for it to really disprove the idea (e.g. maybe this isn't a physical function that changes depending on higher-level organization).

I think the way to check this is that someone would have to come up with a specific theory that explains the currently-poorly-understood low-level behavior of fundamental particles based on the idea that the rules of their behavior depend on their higher-level organization.

So there is no conclusive proof either way.

This is what I suspected. But is there anyone studying quantum physics from this perspective? I'd like to see a theory of quantum physics based on this idea, but it's not my field at all. I'm wondering if anyone has looked into it from this perspective before.

I don't know of anyone studying quantum physics from that perspective, and that is because there is not much reason to adopt that perspective and it is unlikely to be true.

Basically the evidence is the opposite of what you hope it will be.

Can you please substantiate this claim?

The evidence is not quite as detailed as you might guess from Manfred's comment (I am not saying he was wrong, but it might give a certain impression). In other words there is not enough to prove things conclusively one way or another, generally because the mechanisms tend to be too complicated to reduce perfectly to the parts. So for example if someone tells you that "we know absolutely that the behavior of a living cell reduces to the behavior of fundamental particles," they are claiming too much. The behavior of a cell is too complicated for us to reduce to the behavior of fundamental particles. But this cuts both ways: there are too many particles in a cell for anyone to prove that the behavior of the cell does not reduce to the behavior of the particles, if it doesn't. So there is no conclusive proof either way. But the evidence that we have supports the idea that the behavior of the whole is made up of simple behaviors of the parts. The basic evidence for this is the fact that technology works. We can see simple behaviors of simple things. We assume that those behaviors will stay constant when we put them together with other things, and guess at the results. We construct things based on those guesses, and the guesses tend to be extremely accurate. This is very good evidence that those simple behaviors are always retained, even when you put the small things together to form larger wholes.

This is it! Wow. Thank you so much!

It's not a book, it's a short story

Instantaneous action at a distance would be locality.

it seems very philosophically appealing for many reasons, but I can't judge its merit as a theory of physics.

if you need everything to calculate anything, that's terrible


Because we can't actually get infinite information, but we still want to calculate things. And in practice, we can in fact calculate things to some level of precision, using a less-than-infinite amount of information.

having forces with infinite range doesnt imply nonlocality

isn't that what i'm saying? so why did you say no?

Not to my knowledge, but they should have! PM me..

You need to be thoroughly convinced that what you want to do is the right thing to want. Then you just treat your other impulses like an irrational addiction that you must overcome.

If you get your mind right you should be able to go cold turkey.

The site is broken - english keeps redirecting to german.

Definitely. I am one (a wannabe, that is, not actual).
Why for fish?

I expect to need to solve the value-loading problem via indirect normativity rather than direct specification (see Bostrom 2014).

What does this mean?

The value-loading problem is the problem of getting an AI to value certain things, that is, writing it's utility function. In solving this problem, you can either try to hard-code something into the function, like "paperclips good!". This is direct specification; writing a function that values certain things, but when we want to make an AI value things like "doing the right thing" this becomes unfeasible. Instead, you could solve the problem by having the AI figure out what you want by itself. The idea is then that the AI can figure out the aggregate of human morality and act accordingly by simply being told to "do what I mean" or something similar. While this might require more cognitive work by the AI, it is almost certainly safer than trying to formalize morality ourselves. In theory this way of solving the problems avoids an AI that suddenly breaks down on some border case, for example a smilemaximizer filling the galaxy with tiny smileys instead of happy humans having fun. This is all a loose paraphrasing from the last liveblogging event EY had in the FB group where he discusses open problems in FAI.

I find it odd that 66.2% of LWers are "liberal" or "socialist" but only 13.8% of LWers consider themselves affiliated with the Democrat party. Can anybody explain this?

I was wondering about this word "liberal" -- when Will Wilkinson says he's a liberal, that means something entirely different from what you're describing. So, is it possible we have many right liberals here?
As somebody who most definitely identified as liberal, but did not affiliate with the Democrats: Your question reveals a hidden assumption: There is no "Democrat party" in (almost) every other country in the world apart from yours* ;) *(I am assuming you come from the USA based on this underlying assumption)
I'd interpret “affiliated” as ‘card-carrying’. If anything, it surprises me as high, but ISTR that in the US you need to be a registered member of a party to vote for their primaries, which would explain that.
The democrat party is only socialist in the republican party's eyes.

First reason: by European standards, I imagine the Democrat party is still quite conservative. Median voter theorem and all that. Second reason: "affiliated" probably implies more endorsement than "it's not quite as bad as the other party". It could also be both of these together.

I would be very much interested in this!

Was this ever created?