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13289Re: [FI] Reason is Urgent; Now or Never

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  • Elliot Temple
    Nov 21 11:11 AM
      On Nov 16, 2015, at 6:34 PM, Erin Minter <erinminter@...> wrote:

      > On Nov 15, 2015, at 8:52 PM, anonymousfallibleideas@... wrote:
      >
      >> On 14 Nov 2015, at 18:54, <anonymousfallibleideas@...> wrote:
      >>
      >>> On 14 Aug 2015, at 17:05, Erin Minter erinminter@... [fallible-ideas] wrote:
      >>>
      >>>> http://curi.us/1777-reason-is-urgent-now-or-never
      >>>>
      >>>>> So at the same time this person learned 10% more about reason in 5 years, they also figured out how to rationalize not learning the rest, and be OK with that. They made up stories about how they will learn it one day, later, but not now. They backed off from feeling like reason is truly sacred in order to to reduce the contradictions in their life.
      >>>>
      >>>> Reason is truly sacred. Is there anyone here who doesn’t understand that deeply, like *in their bones*? It’s the *only* tool you have to actually live a good life. The ONLY tool.
      >>>>
      >>>> Trying to do gradual reason is a mistake. don’t even think gradual reason is possible. Gradual reason = irrationality.
      >>>>
      >>>> The only way is FULL reason (which may look like gradual *progress*.) But your methods need to be unbounded and unlimited paths forward / FULL reason.
      >>>
      >>> Don’t lots of people trying to do FULL REASON wind up doing rationalism and suppressing parts of their personality and hating their life? What’s the mistake there? How can this be avoided? Does gradualism have a place in avoiding these mistakes?
      >
      > Seems like so. Gradualism helps one avoid rationalistic mistakes. But can gradualism lead to mistakes of it’s own? Gradualism seems nice and almost cozy. That traditional knowledge you are relying on makes stuff go nice and smoothly. Is there a risk of coasting too much in the name of gradualism? I think so.

      This doesn't make sense. I don't think you know what you're talking about or what "gradualism" is.

      (So, as a second issue, there is overreaching here, overestimating your knowledge, thinking you know things you don't. That's a big deal. I recommend more introspection about that, and more seeking external critical discussion about it. For now I'll just write about gradualism.)

      Do you think gradualism means something like doing things slowly? That's a vague non-technical meaning.

      Gradualism in epistemology does not mean "go slow" and does not imply relying on traditional knowledge more. It is not related to coasting.

      It means using the MOST EFFECTIVE methods of reform and change. So you are able to rely on traditional knowledge the LEAST because you are using the best way to make changes.

      Gradualism is not some kind of tradeoff or option-among-several-reasonable-alternatives.

      Let's look at biological evolution to illustrate.

      What sort of mutation rates per generation work well?

      A) 50%

      B) 0.001%

      C) 0.000000000000000000000000001%

      the answer is something like B. i didn't look up the exact numbers. but if the mutation rate is too high then existing valuable knowledge gets destroyed too much. if the mutation rate is high, then "replication" isn't really replication, it's just making something kinda maybe similar. replication needs to be replication TO HIGH PRECISION for evolution to actually work well. the error rate needs to be quite low.

      and C is bad because then progress is too slow. there is a sweet spot for the frequency (and severity) of mutations that's most effective for evolution to create knowledge.


      these options could be labelled something like:

      A) reckless, destructive overeager rushing

      B) gradualism

      C) basically stasis


      so, in this context, the answer is gradualism. and there's no tradeoffs. it just works better.

      so there is this logic of epistemology (which works by evolution) where you need like 99% preservation and 1% change in order to best make progress. so views which see it this way are called gradualist, because it's nothing like 50/50 preservation/change or 1/99 preservation/change, it's mostly preservation. but this maximizes progress! it's not going slow, it's going as fast as possible.

      trying to rush and making errors at a higher rate doesn't actually work. it doesn't get you where you're going faster. there's no shortcuts. in some ways, the name "gradualism" is misleading since it's the fastest method of knowledge creation.


      gradualism has some other meanings like going step by step instead of trying to do 20 steps at once. (this one is somewhat contextual, there could be some emergencies or situations with very little to lose where you rushing ahead makes more sense. when people think they have such a situation, they are frequently wrong.)

      again that works better. it doesn't result in having traditional knowledge playing a larger role in your life. it results in more effective change so you are less stuck with unaltered cultural traditions.


      > "Oh, I can’t change my social schedule too much cuz I wanna make changes which are gradual". Or "oh I can’t change much about my marriage cuz I don’t want to do rationalism, ya know."

      this sounds like superficially referring to philosophy words like "gradual" and "rationalism" without a substantive connection to, and understanding of, their meanings. it's not making substantive arguments. these sentences are not the kinds of things one should actually be saying. they aren't serious or good thinking.


      > so like with anything, use guesses and criticism to figure out if you are doing this or not.

      this is a generic statement

      > keeping an eye on your mistake level is a good idea (i.e. mistakes due to changes and attempts to improve). also potential coercion can help you adjust this stuff.

      i read this as you don't know what to do. it's generic.


      >>> Gradualism is seen as broadly good by FI yes? So is reason the one exception to that? Or is gradual reason not the best way of thinking of the idea you are rejecting (which I think is like “trying to do reason with arbitrary exceptions”. So it’s not gradual reason, it’s not reason at all)
      >
      > I agree that the idea I’m criticizing is “trying to do reason with arbitrary exceptions”. It’s thinking that you can use reason in 40% of your choices, then gradually increase that to 50%, then 60%. This is what I meant by “gradual reason”. A gradual improvement of ***methods***.
      >
      > I think that gradualism itself is compatible with FULL reason. If reason is about methods and gradualism is about the rate of change, then I think you can have fully rational methods resulting in gradual change and progress.
      >
      > for example, you can make some sort of choice to spend a month doing X (in a fully rational way) with the guess that you may very well reverse the choice at the end of the month, but you want to make it in order to learn some stuff. cuz right now you just don’t have enough knowledge yet for what the big picture next step should be. You need more. you are not striving for utopia. you are just setting up opportunities for small bits of progress here and there. And as long as you are making these choices in a rational way that seems like FULL reason done using gradualism.
      >
      > but the methods used the whole time were full reason. not like reason some of the time and anti-reason other times / not a plan to gradually improve your methods by increasing the amount of reason you use in your life’s choices.

      what do you think partial (as opposed to full) reason or rationality is?

      reminds me of the idea of partial freedom, partial autonomy, partially not being superstitious, or partial TCS parenting. those ideas are confused. if you think only a few houses in the whole world are haunted, you are just plain superstitious.


      Elliot Temple
      www.fallibleideas.com
      www.curi.us
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