comment by [deleted] ·
2017-11-07T09:04:23.835Z · LW(p) · GW(p)
You asked a lot of good questions. Indeed, this is only an introductory post. This comment might be long (I actually managed to make it short). I might use it for a follow-up post. I assume you are interested in the answers.
Is abstract reasoning not a fundamental part of the human experience?
I don't think so anymore. I think me believing so was a case of typical mind fallacy.
I just can't understand what it would be like, what it would feel like from the inside.
I really like that part. Because this dichotomy actually enables me to understand how it feels from the side. Until now, I used personal models similar to this, that worked in some situations, but were obviously not representatitve of the inner thoughts of people.
Now, I model it as "How would you understand this / react to this if you had this set of experiences, worked your 'inconscious pattern matching' so that you can do the required things, and can only use limited reasoning ?". And this works. And this is highly similar to what people describe.
Have you broached this idea with your test subjects (who are presumably non-reasoning, under this framework)?
Talk with any non-nerd and ask them questions about their interiority. About why they have some particular beliefs. About how they make life choices.
How do they react to being told they cannot reason?
This is not how it's framed. It's more like "This isn't abstract reasoning that led you to most of your core beliefs, and this isn't through abstract reasoning that you make most of your choices.". And they are like "Eh.". They see it as symbolic logic. They react the same that you would react to someone telling you that you don't formal-proof all your life-choices.
They are right in reacting this way, most nerds don't win at life more than other people. People with good pattern-matching skills in social situations do.
Are these people really incapable fo reasoning, or do they just not know how to do it / that they can do it?
I think you can train. I have a friend who's bad at abstract reasoning. But he was interested in understanding things. He trained a lot. He still doesn't "look" smart, but he has the right attitude and got much better since I knew him.
However, if you aren't interested in Truth, and aren't already gifted with it (not as an innate thing, like, your environment and education play a part too), I think this isn't really interesting to most adults.
Like, you don't need abstract reasoning to live a cozy life.
Think of more everyday examples.
These everyday examples are really good questions. My answer is simple, and horrible:
- Symbolism wouldn't suffice. Even if it would, they wouldn't trust it (this is not a bad thing).
- Pattern matching doesn't suffice.
That's why most people don't react in an intelligent way, this is why people make particularly bad choices about the future. If planning the day/making the grocery list requires more than checking-up a mental list because of a particular occasion, they'll more likely fail.