All of prase's Comments + Replies

This depends partly on the terms of the insurance and partly on the laws. I work as an actuary and at the moment our company's rules are:

  • if the price of the insurance depends on your occupation, you are obliged to report if your occupation has changed and your premiums may be reset to new values (higher or lower)
  • if the price depends on whether you smoke, you aren't obliged to report when you start, but we reserve the right to ask you and then you must truthfully answer (and then the premiums may change)
  • if the price depends on you weight, only your weig
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I suppose the cap limits the pensions provided by the state and you can in principle buy a private life insurance to increase the payoff, right?

Sure. Though I thought life insurance means something you get when you die. We have private enterprises that do retirement plans too. Maybe that is what you call "annuities", or not.

Not life in general, but your life, to you.

By "value of life in general" I meant value of one's own life for oneself (the "in general" qualifier was there to mark the absence of "qua man").

Playing the essentialism card allowed her to smuggle in a boatload of values masquerading as implicit in the choice between life and death. The requirements for your concrete life get subordinated to the standards of Man's life qua Man. And then it's "Man can't live as this, Man can't live as that", no matter how many men have

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Free to be altruistic. Wouldn't that be nice. But freedom is precisely what most everyone would deny you, including Rand. Some say you have a duty to be altruistic, while says you have a duty not to be, but both agree that you're evil unless you submit and do your duty. If you want a philosopher who leaves you free to be an egoist, you want Stirner, the egoist. Egoism isn't the opposite of altruism, it is the opposite of theism, the belief the you were born a slave to a cause not your own. Rand says she doesn't believe in God, but does she believe in Good any less than the most fanatical theist believes in God? Does she condemn those who won't serve her Good any less harshly? Youtube atheists had a big stink over the definition of atheism - is it disbelief in God, or a lack of belief in God? And round and round they went. And both sides were wrong, because they took belief in the sense of "belief in the existence of", which really isn't the point with respect to theism. There have been no end of people worshiped as gods by other people. It wasn't that these "gods" didn't exist for their respective atheists, it's that their atheists did not believe they were born slaves to these gods. In Paradise Lost, Satan certainly knows God exists, but does it make any sense to thereby call him a theist? Isn't he an atheist precisely for his refusal to be a slave, his Non Serviam? Rand actually started off very close to really being an egoist. Anthem and We the Living were just assertions of freedom over people and ideologies who demand your submission. IMO, it wasn't enough for her to be free, she wanted to be right, and for other people to be wrong. A will to power, even in philosophy. And while Nietzsche was all for that, and went about consciously trying to impose his vision on others, I don't think Rand got the joke. She was a true believer in her truth, Stirner would say possessed by it, and wasn't consciously serving her own will, but dutifully served her truth inst

I had always been under impression that the value of life "qua man" is derived from the value of life in general, because human life which is not "qua man" is actually equivalent to death, as living "qua man", whatever it means, makes one human. Am I mistaken?

I think you are right in your second objection, there is some limited role for observation in Objectivist philosophy.

Not life in general, but your life, to you. As Rand would say, value is not a conceptual primary - it presupposes value to whom for what. I believe her transition from life to "life qua man" is untenable. What you describe would have been more consistent in my eye, if your life is what makes the concept of right and wrong possible, it should be the objective standards for your life that matters, not the life of Man, Mammal, Biped, or Bowler. But the requirements of life wouldn't have taken her where she wanted to go. Playing the essentialism card allowed her to smuggle in a boatload of values masquerading as implicit in the choice between life and death. The requirements for your concrete life get subordinated to the standards of Man's life qua Man. And then it's "Man can't live as this, Man can't live as that", no matter how many men have managed to do so. I think she's wrong on the basic question - life isn't what provides a standard of right and wrong, it's preference. Her example of the immortal, indestructible robot undermines her case. The robot would still make choices, and could stlll have preferences, even if immortal and indestructible. '“Value” is that which one acts to gain and/or keep.' The robot can still act to gain or keep things - it can still have values. Indeed, it would be perverse, even from an Objectivist perspective, for values in life to be impossible without the possibility of death. I think she fails, like all do, in demonstrating an objective code of values. But I found the sense of life in the novels liberating and moving, and the criticisms of altruism empowering.

What is the difference between rationality and objectivism?

I have had few discussions with Objectivists and read few other discussions where Objectivists took part and I haven't seen particularly high level of rationality there. Objectivism as actually practiced is a political ideology with all downsides - fallacious arguments of all kinds, tight connection between beliefs and personal identity, regarding any opposition as a threat to morality by default and so on.

Objectivism as philosophy is a mix of beliefs often mutually incompatible, connected by v... (read more)

Not true. Last I heard the debate was between life "qua man" and a flourishing life. I believe that's mistaken as well. She was not a rationalist in that sense. Concept formation came from observational data.
Agreed. I'll also note that several of the Objectivists who I've shown LW have reacted positively, often saying things along the lines of "this is what I wanted out of Objectivism."

3 meters underwater is about 30% of atmospheric pressure added, not mere 10%.

Sorry, I forgot feet != meters. Ha.

Just out of curiosity, what population did you expect Japan to have?

Not OP, but I expected Japan to have about 40-50 million, about on par with California and South Korea. 130 million is huge.

As for the Portugal/Ireland thing, one could easily blame the conically projected maps which conventionally have the 15th (or so) eastern meridian vertical, making Portugal's 5th western meridian slanted and pushing poor Portugal more to the left than the more northern Ireland.

And it is easy to underestimate the east-west dimensions of Italy. We tend to assume that it is hanging freely from below the Alps, right down as a pendulum in equilibrium should, while actually it is tilted almost 45 degrees to the right. The region commonly refered to as "sout... (read more)

Yes, especially because the borders of pretty much any reasonable definition of it (the border of the former Kingdom of the Two Sicilies; the western border of “Neapolitan and related varieties” in this map []; the western borders of present-day Abruzzo, Molise and Campania; the western borders of present-day Molise and Campania, to name the ones I can think of at the moment) run mostly north-to-south. There's no way someone from Termoli will identify as any less of a southerner than someone from Rome, which is geographically further south.

Most Irishmen at least know a little Gaelic as they have to learn it at school. The map has worse inaccuracies. Occitan and Low German aren't even official and are spoken by tiny minorities, contrary to the impression one could easily get from the map. Ingrian is effectively dead with 500 speakers according to Wikipedia. The Czech-German bilingual area in western Bohemia is completely made up (it even doesn't correspond to the pre-WWII German speaking area). The Hungarian speaking area in Romania should be centered a bit more to the north-west. Breton isn'... (read more)

Yeah, and most of them, a few years out of school, can hardly remember enough of it to understand a weather forecast. By that standard, most of northern Europe should be marked as bilingual with English. )Anyway, I was just exemplifying. That map, as most similar maps, is pretty much atrocious. I suggest reaching your wallet to see if it's still there¹ whenever you hear people talking about minority languages.) -------------------------------------------------------------------------------- 1. Well, sometimes I find more money in it than there would have been otherwise, such as when University College Dublin offered me a three-day Irish course in Donegal (including travel, accommodation, breakfasts, the welcome dinner, singing workshops and stuff) for €100, which would have been more or less the market price for travel and accommodation alone.

I know very little about schools in your country

Whose country? Viliam_Bur's country is most probably not the same country as the OP author's.

In that case the survey makes even less sense to me.
I suppose I should have said "reasonably inhabited land".

Although it is not impossible that a topic is such complex and "irreducible" that the understanding of it can only be acquired as a whole and no partial understanding is accessible, I don't find it probable even in case of counterfactual God's existence.

Even if God existed, "read the Bible!" would not convince me about it.

Telling someone to read a thousand page book is a poor advice as answer to a mistake they've just made, even if the book may be well worth reading. Many people react to such advices with a mix of

  • Damn, I have to read all this to understand the point?
  • I'm offendend, he's implying that I'm uneducated when I haven't read that.
  • He's willing to tell me that I'm wrong without being able to tell me where exactly.
Unconvincing but valid advice nonetheless. If (the protestant) God existed, people who hadn't read the Bible would be uneducated for that reason, and would gain a great deal from reading the entire thing. I can't just tell you the one portion relevant because 1) you might need to read the rest to understand and 2) reading the rest would be good for you anyway.

Babylon, Rome, and the Aztecs had a great deal in common.

Apart from being great empires, what else did they have in common?

Later, around the Renaissance, crossbows, pikes, and guns unseated the knight from military dominance; and the system that best supported that sort of force turned out to be the republic.

As late as 1914, most countries in the Old World were still monarchies. The republics that happened to exist during the Renaissance (Genoa, Venice) were mainly maritime powers, so no crossbows and pikes.

Later, the Industrial Revolution kicke

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Does anyone have any significant examples of the Dark Arts being harmful independent of what they're being used to convince people of?

Dark Arts have externalities. Once you become known as a skilled manipulator fewer people are going to trust you and fewer people you can influence in the long run. Using Dart Arks is a Prisoner's dilemma defection with all associated problems - a world full of Dark Artists is worse than a world full of honest truth sayers, ceteris paribus. Heavy use of Dark Arts may be risky for the performer himself and compromise his o... (read more)

But it seems that people who use the Dark Arts profit from it. If the Dark Arts were self-defeating as you suggest, we wouldn't be having this discussion. Continuing to cooperate in a world where most players defect is a poor strategy. I also doubt that it strongly influences the defectors to stop defecting.
This is not what I have observed in practice.
The very long run, perhaps. In the shorter run of, say, 10-100 years, it isn't in the least clear to me that the advantage of being considered (accurately or not) a skilled manipulator, in terms of the willingness of powerful agents to ally with me, is fully offset (let alone overpowered) by the disadvantage of it, in terms of people being less influenceable by me. Add to that the advantages of actually being a skilled manipulator, and that's even less clear. Admittedly, if I anticipate having a significantly longer effective lifespan than that, I may prefer not to risk it.

I'd be interested in the linked Begg's paper but it's behind a paywall. Can someone please tell what exactly they had done and how did they obtain all those various p-values?

"On inferences from Wei's biased coin design for clinical trials" []. You can always request fulltexts here [] .

The incidence of the disease may be different for different populations while the test manufacturer may not know where and on which patients the test is going to be used.

Also, serious diseases are often tested multiple times by different tests. What would a Bayes-ignorant doctor do with positives from tests A and B which are accompanied with information: "when test A is positive, the patient has 90% chance of having the syndrome" and "when test B is positive, the patient has 75% chance of having the syndrome"? I'd guess most statistically illiterate doctors would go with the estimate of the test done last.

By "this version" you mean the 2006 version? Does it really feel less wise than the 2009 version? To me it's definitely the opposite, but perhaps it depends on what kind of wisdom signalling one expects. The older version reads more like something a revered writer or theologian may write, the newer is written in a style that associates more with science.

For the record, I prefer the newer version.

Is it just me, or is non-consensual sex obviously a bad thing?

"Obviously bad" isn't a utilitarian justification.

Banning Dalits from going within 96 feet of Namboothiris has much more harm done to Dalits than Namboothiris' feelings of ritual pollution. This isn't the case with non-consensual sex.

To play the Devil's advocate:

  1. I expect you seriously underestimate the strength of Namboothiris' feelings. To us it seems like pure religious madness, moreover we feel outrage at the extreme inequality existing because of ancient caste prejudices,
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I think that's also culture-related: there might have been cultures where in certain cases being raped is less of a status hit than consenting to sex with the same person, in which case someone might falsely claim to have been raped to avoid the status hit.

my friends were ready to raise $100 so I would carry it out

Are you sure you want to call them "friends"? Willingness to pay to lower someone else's status isn't particularly friendly behaviour, even if the person "doesn't care" about status.

The health hazard would probably be worth less (in absolute value) than the discussed reward of $200. The PR hazard, on the other hand, would justify your bottom line.

I haven't been suggesting using (A or B) as a name for (not ((not A) and (not B))) in constructive logic where they aren't equivalent. Rather, I have been suggesting using classical logic (where the above sentences are equivalent) with a constructivist interpretation, i.e. not making difference between "true" and "theorem". But since it is possible for (A or B) to be a theorem and simultaneously for both A and B to be non-theorems, logical "or" would not have the same interpretation, namely it wouldn't match the common language "or" (for when we say "A or B is true", we mean that indeed one of them must be true).

Wouldn't it be still possible for a constructivist to embrace classical logic and the theoremhood of TND? The constructivist would just have to admit that (A or B) could be true even if neither A nor B is true. (A or B) would still not be meaningless, its truth would imply that there is proof for neither (not A) nor (not B), so this reinterpretation of "or" doesn't seem to be a big deal.

Constructively, (not ((not A) and (not B))) is weaker than (A or B). While you could call the former "A or B", you then have to come up with a new name for the latter.

As I understand the responses most people think the main point of Newcomb's problem is that you rationally should cooperate given the 1000000 / 1000 payoff matrix.

I am no expert on Newomb's problem history, but I think it was specifically constructed as a counter-example to the common-sensical decision-theoretic principle that one should treat past events as independent of the decisions being made now. That's as well how it is most commonly interpreted on LW, although the concept of a near-omniscient predictor "Omega" is employed in wide range... (read more)

OK, I understand now that your point was that one can in principle avoid being predicted. But to put it as an argument proving irrelevance or incoherence of the Newcomb's problem (not entirely sure that I understand correctly what you meant by "dissolve", though) is very confusing and prone to misinterpretation. Newcomb's problem doesn't rely on existence of predictors who can predict any agent in any situation. It relies on existence of rational agents that can be predicted at least in certain situations including the scenario with boxes.

I still... (read more)

This was probably just me (how I read / what I think is interesting about Newcomb's problem). As I understand the responses most people think the main point of Newcomb's problem is that you rationally should cooperate given the 1000000 / 1000 payoff matrix. I emphazised in my post, that I take that as a given. I thought most about the question if you can successfully twobox at all, so this was the "point" of Newcomb's problem for me. To formalize this say I replaced the payoff matrix by 1000/1000 or even device A / device B where device A corresponds to $1000, device B corresponds to $1000 but device A + device B correspond to= $100000 (E.g. they have a combined function). Well, I thought about people actively resisting prediction, so some of them flipping a coin or using at least a mental process with severeal recursion levels (I think, that Omega thinks, that I think...). I am pretty though not absolutely sure that these processes are partly quantum random or at least chaotic enough to be computationally intractable for evrything within our universe. Though Omega would probably do much better than random (except if everyone flipps a coin, I am not sure if that is precictable with computational power levels realizable in our universe).

Tell that to the hypothetical obscurantist.

Edit: I find it mildly annoying when, answering a comment or post, people point out obvious things whose relevance to the comment / post is dubious without further explanation. If you think that the non-equivalence of the mentioned beliefs somehow inplies the impossibility to extrapolate obscurantist values, please elaborate. If you just thought that I might have commited a sloppy inference and it would be cool to correct me on it, please don't do that. It (1) derails the discussion to issues of uninteresting nitpickery and (2) motivates the commenters to clutter their comments with disclaimers in order to avoid being suspected of sloppy reasoning.

(1) Why would Joe intend to use the random process in his decision? I'd assume that he wants million dollars much more than to prove Omega's fallibility (and that only with 50% chance).

(2) Even if Joe for whatever reason prefers proving Omega's fallibility, you can stipulate that Omega gives the quest only to people without semitransparent mirrors at hand.

(3) How is this

First of all I want to point out, that I would still one box after seeing Omega predicting 50 or 100 other people correctly, since 50 to 100 bits of evidence are enough to ovecome (nearly

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ad 1: As I pointed out in my post twice, in this case he percommits to oneboxing and and that's it, since assuming atomic resolution scanning and practically infinite processing power he cannot hide his intention to cheat if he wants to twobox. ad 2: You can, I did not, I suspect - as pointed out - that he could do that with his own brain too, but of course if so Omega woud know and still exclude him. ad 3: This assumed that I could somehow rule out stage magic. Did not say that, my mistake. On terminology: See my response to shiminux. Yes there is probably an aspect of fighting the hypo, but I think not primarily, since I think it is rather interesting to establish, that you can pervent to be perdicted in a newcomblike problem

Couldn't this be said about any inductive method, at least in cases when the method works?

There are obscurantists who wear their obscurantism as attire, proudly claiming that it is impossible to know whether God exists. It can be said, perhaps, that such an obscurantist has a preference for not knowing the answer to the question, for never storing a belief of "the God does (not) exist" in his brain. But still all the obscurantist's decisions are the same as if he believed that there is no God - the obscurantist belief bears no influence on other preferences. In such a case, you may well argue that the extrapolated volition of the obsc... (read more)

Holding that the efficacy of homeopathics can never be established with any reasonable certainty != assigning a success chance of 50%.

First of all, is the existence of such an agent implausible? Not really, considering there are masochists out there and that, to some individuals, ignorance is bliss.

Why argue for plausibility of something when it clearly exists? I have personally met several people who fit your definition of obscurantist and I don't doubt that you have too.

How much, then, will be left of an obscurantist's identity upon coherently extrapolating their desires? The answers is probably not much, if anything at all.

Is there some argument for the probable answer? I don't find it obvious.

Always good to be reminded that different people find different things obvious and, for exactly this reason, a little redundancy doesn't hurt in the first case! To answer your second question: an obscurantist might want to act as if it did not know certain propositions, but CEV extrapolates desires on the basis of knowledge that might include those same propositions, the ignorance of which constitutes a core part of the obscurantist's identity.

Bad posts often get a strong karma hit initially when the most vigilant readers check them and later return towards zero. It is possible (although not likely) that two months from now the post would stand at +2, your vote contributing to the positive score.

I was supposed to check on this a long time ago, but forgot/went inactive on LW, but the post actually ended up at -26, so seemingly slightly lower than it was, which is evidence against your regression to 0 theory.
I feel this is sufficiently improbable that I'm willing to take the risk. That said, you raise a good point, and I'll make a note to check on this two months from now and see how it turned out (if it's -5 or higher, I'll consider my vote to be "wrong", if it's -6 or lower, I'll consider it to have been good).

a way of doing induction without trying to solve the problem of induction

Well, this is the thing I have problems to understand. The problem of induction is a "problem" due to the existence of incompatible philosophical approaches; there is no "problem of deduction" to solve because everybody agrees how to do that (mostly). Doing induction without solving the problem would be possible if people agreed how to do it and the disagreement was confined to inconsequential philosophical interpretations of the process. Then it would indeed be... (read more)

I think Matt's point is that under essentially all seriously proposed versions of induction currently in existence, the technique he described constitutes a valid inductive inference, therefore, in at least the cases where hypothesis testing works, we don't have to worry about resolving the different approaches.
You're right - we have to have some idea of how to do induction in order to do it without fully fleshing out the details, but the unresolved issues don't have to be confined to inconsequential philosophical interpretations. For example, we could just avoid doing induction except for when what seem like plausible approaches agree. (This is probably a better approach to "robust induction" than I proposed in my post).

My understanding of standardised hypothesis tests was that they serve the purposes of

  1. avoiding calculations dependent on details of the alternative hypothesis
  2. providing objective criteria to decide under uncertainty

There are practical reasons for both purposes. (1) is useful because the alternative hypothesis is usually more complex than the null and can have lots of parameters, thus calculating probabilities under the alternative may become impossible, especially with limited computing power. As for (2), science is a social institution - journal editor... (read more)

I don't think it does, in fact I'm not claiming that in my post. I'm trying to set up hypothesis testing as a way of doing induction without trying to solve the problem of induction. I don't think hypothesis testing would resolve disagreements among competing paradigms either - well maybe it could, but I'm not talking about that. (I think you're largely correct about why, in actual fact, hypothesis testing is used. There's also some element of inertia as well)

I think North Korea is no problem for the quoted sentence. I interpret it as saying that the government doesn't care about the wants of non-citizens, rather than asserting that the government cares about a significant number of citizens.

Nevertheless, even assuming this interpretation it is still not self-evident.

The historical Steelman was also a strongman, at least according to Wikipedia.

Wedrifid's interpretation is the intended one. I agree that the chosen formulation wasn't particularly clear.

Bayes was a priest, after all. Now divine quote of gay Turing would be a different feat altogether.

I'm not sure I know how to parse this.
... or polyamorous agnostic Russell, maybe? (Also, Bayes was a Presbyterian minister — not a priest, which (in England) would imply Catholic or Anglican. It was the family trade; his father was also a minister.)

Not sure I want to know that.

Hope that wasn't me. My dislike for emoticons has somehow waned during recent years and sometimes I even use them myself when I want to be really sure that my interlocutor doesn't misinterpret me as being serious when I am not, but I am the sort of person that has commenting policies and it's not that improbable that this was one of them.

I still hate "lol" pretty passionately, however.

I'm ok with LOL, unless it's someone LOLing at their own jokes.

The discussions on e.g. Flickr often consist solely of comments like "Awesome pic! Great colours, looking forward to your next contribution." or "I like your style, please post more!"... To me, this represents the prototype of internet friendliness - not that I would like it to see it here, not that it couldn't be easily faked, but one just cannot deny that it sounds encouraging. There is even no need to talk about ourselves or to say anyting substantial at all, just signal friendliness the most obvious way, it works.

(It's interesting to note how dramatically Flickr differs from Youtube in the commenter culture.)

If I were Omega (feels good to think about the possibility), I would demand a program written in a specified high-level computer language which prints a string in the form SSSS...S0 (or something equivalent). This would exclude all sophistries from "the number my opponent chose plus one" to "the largest number you, Omega, can calculate [under specific conditions]".

uniquely define it even if you can't calculate it

By calculating it you mean writing the decimal expansion? Or is it enough to write a terminating algorithm that does so? Or something else?

Yes, I think that you and I are talking about the same thing. Attempting to rephrase, In essence, my question is how specific do I have to make my number, function, terminating algorithm, or noncomputable algorithm. Clearly 99999999 is valid as a number, And presumably 3^^^^3 as a function, But is a program "Hyper G" that generates a number using a terminating algorithm involving Graham's number being Knuth up arrowed to Graham's number, having the result stored in a variable, and then having the variable Knuth up arrowed to itself iteratively until the process has repeated Graham's number times valid as a terminating algorithm? Is "The result of the Busy Beaver Function of a Turing Machine with Hyper G States and Hyper G symbols" valid? You might be able to say that names a large integer, but since it isn't even a computable function anymore. I don't know if Omega would accept that as an answer.

I think it isn't precise to say that they value different things, since the deontologist doesn't decide in terms of values. Speaking of values is practical from the point of view of a consequentialist, who compares different possible states (or histories) of the world; values are then functions defined over the set of world states which the decider tries to maximise. A pure ideal deontologist doesn't do that; his moral decisions are local (i.e. they take into account only the deontologist's own action and perhaps its immediate context) and binary (i.e. the... (read more)

This is not at all clear to me. The Kantian Categorical Imperative is usually seen as a deontological rule, even though it's really a formulation of 'reflective' concerns (viz., 'you should not act as you would not have everyone act', akin to the Silver and Golden Rule) that could be seen as meta-ethical in their own right.

I have always subconsciously assumed that you are male, probably based on the overall LW gender distribution. Unfortunately I have no intuitions relating gender to Chinese names.

Why are we causing them to think of LW in terms of identity in the first place, instead of, say, a place to learn about and discuss some interesting ideas?

It may be because lot of LW regulars visibly think of it in terms of identity. LW is described by most participants as a community rather than a discussion forum, and there has been a lot of explicit effort to strengthen the communitarian aspect.

Out of curiosity, how did you make the strikethrough line which extends far to the right outside the comment box?

I used the tool on this webpage []. It appears it added underscores between each letter... but the underscores are actually part of the font, I think. e x a m p l e (with spaces)

My female co-worker says that men are always ill and are aggravating minor health problems. She also steadily complains about her own health and has spent more time off-work for health reasons than anybody else in the department last year (no chronic disease, repeated instances of common cold or, at worst, influenza).

Needless to say, I don't trust similar gender-related memes.

If they don't want to. But as an employee, I care about things that influence me directly; if the company is poorly managed to some degree but offers good wages, I still want to work for them, at least until I find something better. Trying to judge the management quality doesn't seem to be a good employee strategy.

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