[SEQ RERUN] Making Beliefs Pay Rent (in Anticipated Experiences)

post by Tyrrell_McAllister · 2011-06-20T00:34:27.940Z · score: 9 (10 votes) · LW · GW · Legacy · 4 comments

Today's post, Making Beliefs Pay Rent (in Anticipated Experiences), was originally published on 28 July 2007. A summary (taken from the LW wiki):

Not every belief that we have is directly about sensory experience, but beliefs should pay rent in anticipations of experience. For example, if I believe that "Gravity is 9.8 m/s^2" then I should be able to predict where I'll see the second hand on my watch at the time I hear the crash of a bowling ball dropped off a building. On the other hand, if your postmodern English professor says that the famous writer Wulky is a "post-utopian", this may not actually mean anything. The moral is to ask "What experiences do I anticipate?" not "What statements do I believe?"

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4 comments

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comment by XiXiDu · 2011-06-20T11:18:58.467Z · score: 2 (4 votes) · LW · GW

...should continue to pay rent in future anticipations

With an exception for the implied invisible, which does not pay rent in future anticipations. And infinite sets as an exception of the exception, which might be implied but not required.

Someone who isn't well-read in LWish could suspect that it is convenient not to ask how an interpretation of quantum mechanics might pay rent in future anticipations, even though one could reason correctly about the physical world without it, yet in the case of infinite sets it is convenient to ignore their implications because that would lead to very strange things happening.

comment by SilasBarta · 2011-06-20T15:49:10.937Z · score: 1 (1 votes) · LW · GW

With an exception for the implied invisible, which does not pay rent in future anticipations.

It seems to pay rent in not having to store a more complex theory that says things behave differently when a human doesn't see them. My previous elaboration on this theme.

Edit: I'm a bit hesitant in defending it this way because I'm not sure if this standard for what pays rent is overbroad.

comment by Nisan · 2011-06-20T19:00:07.323Z · score: 0 (0 votes) · LW · GW

Belief in the implied invisible also pays a little rent in anticipated experience conditional on improbable observations.

comment by falenas108 · 2011-07-07T13:32:32.039Z · score: 1 (1 votes) · LW · GW

Right now I'm learning Macroeconomics, and I keep thinking about this post and how bad it is that they are able to plausibly explain multiple outputs from a single input.