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"His arguments only undermine the conception of free will as ultimate origination, but have nothing to say about (the more defensible) conception of free will as choosing on the basis of one's desires."

That is not "more defensible", that's inane. What's the point of "freely choosing" what you want to do based on your desires...if you are not in control of your desires? It's a pedantic technicality that ignores what laymen generally assume when they say "free will"...that they are in control of their own actions, as well as their own desires that act as motivation for their own actions.

If I develop a mind control device that implants "desires" in the mind of its targets, and the targets act predictably based on said "desires", can you really say that the targets have 'free will'?

EDIT: It's possible that "free will" may somehow be "bounded" or "limited" (desires are selected, but you decide what you do with said desires), and that may be what you're getting at, but if this is the case, I don't think you should really call it "free will" then, lest it get confused with the broader interpretation of "free will" that is more commonly understood to be said definition of "free will".


I don't see that as a net negative. There may be a lot of people who are "rational", and possibly those who are already "winning". Knowing how to communicate with them is indeed a net plus, since this gives you an exclusive network other people won't have (letting you "win" as well).


My main goal at the moment is to utilize "rationality" as a way to map how individuals comes to a decision/belief (what to do, what to say, what to believe, etc.). I am not assuming that these individuals ARE rational, but it's a useful (and quickie) tool for me to retrospectively "map out" the thought process of an individual. Like all tools though, they will be limitations.


Maybe this individual is saying, "I know I'm biased" as a sort of disclosure of where their views are coming from. If they did not say that they are biased, and it is later revealed that they are biased, then people would likely accuse said individual of misrepresenting his positions and claiming "objectivity" when he had no right to possess it. For example, had that person you quoted said, "IPhone was the best!" without me knowing that he had a bias in that belief, I might have sincerely believed him, and this could lead to terrible consequences, like me buying an IPhone instead of a potentially better version.

It's clear that this individual likely does sincerely and rationally believe whatever he believes, with or without his bias, but it's important to admit the existence of this bias to avoid accusations of "falsely portraying yourself as objective" later on. And it's better to disclose your bias rather than not mention it and end up having said bias be unmasked or revealed and you suffering embarrassment.


If it is true that officially, the karma limit is raised to 50, but effectively, the actual programming behind this "blog" allows for anyone to post at 20, then it suggests a real inconsistency between stated policy and actual policy.

Inconsistency is certainly not good if people want to actually follow policy. Either the official karma limit lowers to 20, or the real karma limit goes to 50. I lean towards the latter, because the existence of the Discussion section obsoletes the existence of the main LessWrong section, but the fact that this stated policy was formally established in 2009 suggests that there might have been policy problems detected by the staff that prevented it from becoming actual policy by this time (maybe the inability of most people to reach that high total of 50 that forced the staff to not implement this policy before).


I understand the example. Thanks. Helps me to understand why you object to it.


"But it is an empirical question. With math, plus with some reasonable assumptions, you can prove that you can unambiguously determine the correct mapping even from the outside. In a world where you can tell someone to think of a square, and then use functional magnetic resonance imaging and find a pattern of neurons lit up in a square on his visual cortex, it is difficult to agree with Quine that the word "square" has no meaning."

Of course the word "square" has meaning, but that meaning may be different from our meaning. In a world where society told this individual all the time that an "square" is really a triangle with an X in it, and then you do that experiment, you'll see what that individual thinks a square is...and he'd be right, going off the definitions and meanings that society have told him about a square. Doesn't help the researcher who is trying desperately convince said research subject what a square is "supposed" to be.


While I am more interested in the latter, the former is likely the one more suited for the main goal of this "community blog".


It does explain a lot! Thanks! I knew it was good to be tentative in my judgement on the issue if this is a hoax or not. At least now there is a plausible reason why no other sources of this exist.

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