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Slight variant: Humour is a form of teaching, in which interesting errors are pointed out. It doesn't need to involve an outsider, and there's no particular class of error, other than that the participants should find the error important.
If the guy sitting behind you starts moaning and grunting, if it's a mistake (e.g. he's watching porn on his screen and has forgotten he's not alone) then it's funny, whereas if it's not a mistake, and there's something wrong with him, then it isn't.
Humour as teaching may explain why a joke isn't funny twice - you can only learn a thing once. Evolutionarily, it may have started as some kind of warning, that a person was making a dangerous mistake, and then getting generalised.


Why would anyone choose the map rather than the territory as their foundation?

I couldn't agree more, which is why I was attempting to discourage people from doing so.

Why engage in science if you are not willing to accept the inferences that it makes about reality? Am I not going to believe in atoms because it doesn't match what I see with my eyes?

But the justification for any physical theory is precisely that it predicts what you see with your own eyes. Indeed, that's what a physical theory is - a means of predicting what you will experience. Atoms, as a feature of such a theory, seem quite useful and worth "believing" in.

Do you have any explanations of illusions?

Illusions are when your theory of what you should experience breaks down, and produces wrong answers.

when science makes steady progress it usually ends up with an explanation in materialistic terms.

But as I pointed out above, physics is not materialist, so your claim is untrue.


Evidence implies observation. Observation implies conscious experience. So your evidence for a world independent of conscious experience turns out to be ... conscious experience. I expect you can see why that isn't going to work.

The only proposed explanation of consciousness I've seen on Less Wrong is "maybe if we arrange stuff in the right way, consciousness will happen". Even if true, it's not enough of an explanation to enable argument about it.


Dennett presents a resolutely functionalist description of experience, then tells us that nothing resembling qualia can be found within it, to the great surprise of no-one at all.

think that qualia are real things

To believe that the phenomenal world, the world you actually live in, is a fiction, while an invented "physical" world, for which no evidence exists, is the real world, is not merely wrong, it's an irrationality which makes a complete mockery of the goals of this website.


When alleged rationalists experience an "irk", because someone has reminded them that their theories describe a world utterly unlike the one that actually exists, we call this "cognitive dissonance". When they vote it down we call it "denial".


Since we can presumably generate the appropriate signals in the optic nerve from scratch if we choose, light and its wavelength have nothing whatsoever to do with color.


This site is full of people interested in implementing intelligence (and even themselves) on a new substrate .... but they're not going to be interested in the relationship between physics and thought ?

Indeed. (I thought it would be a bit of a spoiler to be more specific)

I found this interesting pdf of a discussion involving Jaynes (and Dennett) and it makes clear what he believed, which was that the change was mostly cultural, and that uncontacted tribes might be bicameral, but there were none left. ( I'm not sure this is true - anyone reading this have an anthropologist handy ? )
Also contains a very odd fact (?) about children.

EDIT: Oops, didn't notice it was on Jaynes' own website. So presumably quite a lot more stuff there.

How does Jaynes explain the lack of this kind of thinking among peoples who have culture and genes unchanged in the last 3000 years ?

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