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A lot of truths in EY's post. Though I also agree with Hopefully Anon's observations -- as is so often the case, Eliezer reminds me of Descartes -- brilliant, mathematical, uncowed by dogma, has his finger on the most important problems, is aware of how terrifyingly daunting those problems are, thi...(read more)

Eliezer, I don't think your comments would slight sensible philosophers, since many professional philosophers themselves make comparable or more biting criticisms about the discipline (Rorty, Dennett, Unger, now the experimental philosophy movement, et al., going back to the positivists, and, if you...(read more)

<blockquote>but where is the equivalent statement by a (seventeenth-century) Western philosopher? </blockquote>

Descartes, ca. 1628:

<em>Rules for the Direction of the Mind</em>

Rule One The aim of our studies should be to direct the mind with a view to forming true and sound judgments about what...(read more)

Eliezer, I grasp the obvious utility of probability -- I pay for a variety of insurance policies, after all. But there are many claims (many of which you share with us on a daily basis) that you treat as having a probability of 1. About those claims, I find your assertion that you do not "believe"...(read more)

Eliezer said: <blockquote>I'm a Bayesian. I assign probabilities, not "believe". I penalize hypotheses by their unshared complexity and update based on evidence. If probabilities come out even, then I don't "suspend judgment", I judge that the probabilities are even, and plan accordingly.</blockquot...(read more)

Did you just believe that Descartes was modeling "cognitive-process flow" because some psychologist told you so? Or is possible that Descartes was, y'know, prescribing how rationalists should approach belief, rather than how we generally do?

Rather than just "applause lights", sloganeering often is a cue to group-identification. Cf. postmodern text generators.

This post reads rather like a pastiche of Dan Dennett (on consciousness and free will).

Eliezer: "How could anyone not notice this?"

Because the human brain -- like many simpler programs -- generally finds basic beliefs more practical than an infinite regress?