Using false but instrumentally rational beliefs for your career?

I certainly believe its possible. I have lots of objective measures of progress and ability I can compare to produce an outside estimate. The post doesn't discuss this because I've already built mechanisms to prevent self-deception on the former question.

Using false but instrumentally rational beliefs for your career?

That's true. I believe in solving this by writing clear conditions for withdrawing from the cult beforehand. Pull parachute rope if

  • No publications of note by fourth year
  • Can't find editing-commenting exchanges in 3rd year
  • Have not picked a topic by end of third year
  • Have not finished thesis 6th year

I also picked a university in a high-employment city in my field to avoid being murder-pilled by the academic cult. I didn't include these adaptations in the post to keep the focus on dark-side rationality.

Using false but instrumentally rational beliefs for your career?

The post does not mention choosing research topics strategically, just the number and quality of contributions. I wouldn't read too much into it.

Comparing Covid and Tobacco

I'm surprised none of us mentioned this important explanation. I should have thought of it.

  1. Most people believe in the action/inaction dichotomy. Causing someone to die by not doing something is less morally bad than causing someone to die by doing something (different from intent-based ethics). So not donating 3000 dollars to save a life through nutrition is an inaction, and therefore not morally required. But going to the supermarket where you infect an old person and cause them to die is an action, and so protecting lives is morally required then. Peter Singer's comment on this

One objection to the position I have taken might be simply that it is too drastic a revision of our moral scheme. People do not ordinarily judge in the way I have suggested they should. Most people reserve their moral condemnation for those who violate some moral norm, such as the norm against taking another person's property. They do not condemn those who indulge in luxury instead of giving to famine relief. But given that I did not set out to present a morally neutral description of the way people make moral judgments, the way people do in fact judge has nothing to do with the validity of my conclusion. My conclusion follows from the principle which I advanced earlier, and unless that principle is rejected, or the arguments are shown to be unsound, I think the conclusion must stand, however strange it appears. It might, nevertheless, be interesting to consider why our society, and most other societies, do judge differently from the way I have suggested they should. In a wellknown article, J. O. Urmson suggests that the imperatives of duty, which tell us what we must do, as distinct from what it would be good to do but not wrong not to do, function so as to prohibit behavior that is intolerable if men are to live together in society. [3] This may explain the origin and continued existence of the present division between acts of duty and acts of charity. Moral attitudes are shaped by the needs of society, and no doubt society needs people who will observe the rules that make social existence tolerable. From the point of view of a particular society, it is essential to prevent violations of norms against killing, stealing, and so on. It is quite inessential, however, to help people outside one's own society.

Comparing Covid and Tobacco

So reason 2. Americans care more about deaths in America than elsewhere. I agree that is much of the explanation.

Comparing Covid and Tobacco

That's fairly compelling in the US.

But globally it is definitely false. For a trillion dollars, a fraction of he Covid economic loss so far, we could double the government budgets of the highest tobbacoo consuming countries (Egypt, Tanzania, Lebanon). The GoE would happily burn every tobacco farm in the country for a few billion dollars. The cost per life of paying Egypt to enact anti-smoking policy would inevitably be lower than Covid (not that its the most efficient cost per life).

So if we model Americans as rationally pursing QALY's for other Americans, the difference is much less surprising. But that hides why we value the lives of our countrymen so much more than the lives of Egyptians.

Your comment also brings up the perspective of policy entrepreneurs. They can get policies amd behavior changes implemented much faster by talking about Covid than Tobacco in 2020. So a rational public health PE might say "I'd love to say a million people from Tobacco, but no one will listen to that policy. But I can save a smaller number by advocacy on Covid".

Comparing Covid and Tobacco

I think you are correct empirically, people are willing to make large changes in their lives in response to Covid. They do so regardless of government policies, and that does change the cost-benefit calculus about restrictions as a policy. Whatever effect the government restrictions have is very small relative to the voluntary restrictions, I agree.

But my question is "What process precisely makes people so willing to sacrifice for Covid, but not for other ways to save the lives of others." What do you think explains the difference?

Comparing Covid and Tobacco

It makes me sad but I think 1 and 2 are enough as well.

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