Meetup : Vienna 2014-08-17T03:49:07.242Z · score: 1 (2 votes)


Comment by creutzer on The Semiotic Fallacy · 2017-02-22T11:42:15.306Z · score: 1 (1 votes) · LW · GW

Interesting. Clearly your prison and Macholand examples have a game theoretic structure, where the value of your actions is partly influences by what they signal to the other players about your dispositions. It looks a bit like there is a heuristic that helps people choose the option with advantageous signalling value, but they apply it also in cases that don't have the iterated game structure that is required for this to make sense, such as, in particular, 2. This is essentially a different way of phrasing what I take you to be saying.

Comment by creutzer on Anxiety and Rationality · 2016-01-23T13:12:55.866Z · score: 1 (1 votes) · LW · GW

Seconding this. It seems like a super-important topic, so if you have something to say about it, please do.

Comment by creutzer on Stupid Questions November 2015 · 2015-11-21T11:31:52.575Z · score: 4 (4 votes) · LW · GW

The term you will want to use in your Google search is "Bayesian cognitive science". It's a huge field. But the short answer is, yes, the people in that field do assume that the brain does something that can be modelled as keeping and updating a probability distribution according to Bayes' rule. Much of it is computational-level modelling, i.e. rather removed from questions of implementation in the brain. A quick Google search did, however, find some papers on how to implement Bayesian inference in neural networks - though not necessarily linked to the brain. I'm sure some people do the latter sort of thing as well, though.

Comment by creutzer on Sidekick Matchmaking - How to tackle the problem? · 2015-10-27T19:10:36.086Z · score: 0 (0 votes) · LW · GW

If by implicit you mean implied by me, that wasn't intended. But I think other cultures do, to varying degrees, people more towards thinking that a problem is either unsolvable or that trying to solve it isn't worth the bother. I always feel like "Sometimes, when you're screwed enough, you're screwed" counts as a radical realisation in contemporary America.

Comment by creutzer on Sidekick Matchmaking - How to tackle the problem? · 2015-10-27T13:33:43.601Z · score: 1 (1 votes) · LW · GW

Here's my theory: American culture has a presupposition that every problem has a solution - that you can win. Any American rationalist will be able to tell you that their use of "winning" can, strictly speaking, just mean "not failing too hard", but... there's a reason why it's still called "winning". On a gut level, people from a culture that doesn't have this presupposition might find the whole thing much less relatable.

Comment by creutzer on The mystery of Brahms · 2015-10-23T12:16:33.287Z · score: 0 (0 votes) · LW · GW

That's true, and these technical developments were crucial for 19th century piano music, but keep in mind that harmonic language and musical form are quite independent from this and are highly relevant domains of innovation and creativity.

In any case, I'm not quite sure what the point is that you're trying to make.

Comment by creutzer on The mystery of Brahms · 2015-10-22T16:03:41.742Z · score: 1 (1 votes) · LW · GW

In my experience, many people hold that when trying to derive the KI in the groundwork, he just managed to confuse himself, and that the examples of its application as motivated reasoning of a rigid Prussian scholar with an empathy deficit.

The crucial failure is not that it is nonsensical to think about such abstract equilibria - it is very much not, as TDT shows. But in TDT terms, Kant's mistake was this: He thought he could compel you to pretend that everybody else in the world was running TDT. But there is nothing that compels you to assume that, and so you can't pull a substantial binding ethics out of thin air (or pure rationality), as Kant absurdly believed he could.

Comment by creutzer on The mystery of Brahms · 2015-10-22T13:07:54.525Z · score: 1 (1 votes) · LW · GW

Indeed. Kant is a poor example for offensive continental philosophy because while he was a very bad writer, but you can reconstruct sensible ideas he was trying to express, at least when it's not about ethics. The really offensive philosophy is the one where the obscurity of the writing is not accidental in this way, but essential, and where the whole thing falls apart once you try to remove it.

Analytical philosophers also do not routinely scoff at Kant except for 1) his lack of skill as a writer and 2) his ethics.

Comment by creutzer on The mystery of Brahms · 2015-10-22T12:56:22.986Z · score: 1 (1 votes) · LW · GW

To be fair, if there is a mystery at all, then this only pushes it one step further: Schumann wasn't any more radically innovative than Brahms and yet was extremely influential and is still regarded as a composer of the first rank.

Comment by creutzer on People being controlled by what they can't perceive consciously · 2015-09-21T17:18:05.350Z · score: 3 (3 votes) · LW · GW

The people just adhere to the rhythmical structure that the piece began with; the pianist is, to them, just doing lots of syncopes. This isn't meaningfully described in terms of a priming effect, and so it's not clear that this should affect our view of priming research. (If you ask me, it's also not really meaningfully described by "people being controlled by what they can't perceive consciously". It's like saying you're being "controlled by what you can't perceive consciously" when you listen to somebody speak just because your language parser works subconsciously.) People are not parsing the second part of the piece "primed" by the first part. It's one piece and they're just assuming that the pianist isn't playing a metrically inconsistent structure, so he must be playing syncopes.

Nor is this interesting from a music cognition perspective, although there are interesting questions in its vicinity. Some pieces make you switch to a new metrical parsemetrical parse and if you're not a musician, you don't notice it - now that is interesting.

EDIT: To make it perfectly clear, priming would be: You parse piece 1 in a certain way. Piece 1 ends. Then you hear piece 2 and parse it like piece 1 even though a different parse if possible. The example here doesn't fit into this pattern at all, so I'm not very worried about people confusing things like it for priming.

Comment by creutzer on Open Thread - Aug 24 - Aug 30 · 2015-08-27T09:57:16.349Z · score: 1 (1 votes) · LW · GW

Uhm, what? Why? Bla bla bla indeed. (Sorry, I couldn't resist.) It's not actually very relevant.

If you don't believe that logical (or, for that matter, any other sort of) impossibility implies non-existence, then you are understanding either "logical impossibility" or "non-existence" in a way different from just about everybody else. So if there is any point to this discussion, it should be to elucide how you understand them.

Comment by creutzer on Open Thread - Aug 24 - Aug 30 · 2015-08-27T05:38:33.776Z · score: 0 (0 votes) · LW · GW

Well, the conclusion should read not "more things" but "at least as many". Things might accidentally not exist.

I feel the fact that you reject premise 1 just means that you don't really grasp the concept of impossibility, logical or otherwise... Or you have a different concept of existence.

The reason why I used a semi-formal notation was to suggest that if you formalise it all, you can actually prove "P(x doesn't exist) ≥ P(x is impossible)" as a tautology. (Ignoring the issue that with specifically logical impossibility, you get into a bit of trouble with probability assignments to tautologies.)

Comment by creutzer on Open Thread - Aug 24 - Aug 30 · 2015-08-25T18:07:26.394Z · score: 1 (1 votes) · LW · GW

How can P(x doesn't exist) < P(x is logically impossible)? That's... well, logically impossible.

Comment by creutzer on Self-confidence and status · 2015-08-25T06:18:33.581Z · score: 0 (0 votes) · LW · GW

When someone tells you to be more confident, it's probably because they believe your perception of yourself is worse than reality.

The cynical alternative hypothesis is that "be more confident" actually means "be higher status".

Comment by creutzer on Open Thread - Aug 24 - Aug 30 · 2015-08-24T15:14:25.273Z · score: 1 (3 votes) · LW · GW

The practical problem is, of course, enforcing this prohibition on procreation. Forced sterilisation is difficult to sell and problematic because the subjects might wish to have children with other people. RISUG might be a solution, once it becomes available.

I'm not sure what I think of the fact that everyone is concerned with the genetics of possible offspring in the case of incest, but nobody minds two chronically depressed, highly neurotic people, one of whom has a hereditary autoimmune condition, procreating... (The domain of quantification for the slightly hyperbolic "everyone" and "nobody" here is the general public rather than LW. I suspect that many in this community would, in fact, mind the latter case as well.)

Comment by creutzer on Instrumental Rationality Questions Thread · 2015-08-24T08:51:02.255Z · score: 2 (2 votes) · LW · GW

Obligatory cynicism: But then you don't get social status for being right, so there's not incentive to do it.

Comment by creutzer on Instrumental Rationality Questions Thread · 2015-08-24T07:06:36.729Z · score: 2 (2 votes) · LW · GW

That is very true. Many people also seem to interpret the politeness rule of not talking too much about oneself in such a way that no hint about interesting topics ever gets picked up because giving your opinion on something, or relating experiences, is "talking too much about yourself" unless you were explicitly asked. The only solution I've is to simply avoid people who are frustrating like that.

Comment by creutzer on Stupid Questions August 2015 · 2015-08-02T07:18:21.670Z · score: 5 (5 votes) · LW · GW

This was my first thought, too. The Singaporean psychology grad student is a member of the same culture as you; the local fashion designer is not.

Comment by creutzer on Philosophy professors fail on basic philosophy problems · 2015-07-18T07:41:17.345Z · score: 1 (1 votes) · LW · GW

Moral theories predict feelings

No. This is what theories of moral psychology do. Philosophical ethicists do not consider themselves to be in the same business.

Comment by creutzer on Stupid Questions July 2015 · 2015-07-04T06:58:48.891Z · score: 0 (4 votes) · LW · GW

Do you need to date to have regular sex?

Unless you're in the top 30% or so of attractiveness, I think the answer to that question is "yes".

Comment by creutzer on Welcome to Less Wrong! (7th thread, December 2014) · 2015-07-02T09:10:43.183Z · score: 0 (0 votes) · LW · GW

Very good point! It's a ubiquitous stereotype, but it's not a priori clear to me that workplace romance leads to a net decrease in productivity, and I haven't seen real evidence for it. Google Scholar yielded nothing, it either ignores the search word "productivity" or just yields papers that report the cliché.

Comment by creutzer on Stupid Questions July 2015 · 2015-07-02T08:46:52.191Z · score: 8 (8 votes) · LW · GW

Off the top of my head, some reasons why people would to marry despite intending not to have children:

  1. residence permits
  2. taxes (a pretty big deal in some countries)
  3. warm fuzzy feeling about cementing a very-long-term relationship in the culturally approved way, signalling commitment
  4. doing the culturally expected thing in a very-long-term relationship and not wanting to advertise their child-free status
Comment by creutzer on Beyond Statistics 101 · 2015-07-02T08:40:26.254Z · score: 0 (0 votes) · LW · GW

To be honest, I don't see that at all.

Comment by creutzer on Stupid Questions July 2015 · 2015-07-02T05:17:33.591Z · score: 3 (5 votes) · LW · GW

Sure. There are other people who have no interest in eventually procreating!

If you are far enough from the time in life when potential partners will eventually want to procreate and can deal emotionally with the certainty that you will have to break up at least at that point (although realistically you may well break up earlier), there is also a point in dating people outside that group.

EDIT: As an addendum, keep in mind that especially at a young age, people who say they will or might want to have children might do so only as a cultural default. Once exposed to the relevant mindset, they may figure out that they don't actually need to (and shouldn't) have children unless they really, really want to. I therefore suspect that the set of potential partners for child-free people is actually larger than one might think.

Comment by creutzer on Beyond Statistics 101 · 2015-07-02T05:11:09.664Z · score: 0 (0 votes) · LW · GW

You could charitably understand everything that such people (who assert that metaphysics is BS) say with a silent "up to empirical equivalence". Doesn't the problem disappear then?

Comment by creutzer on Solving sleep: just a toe-dipping · 2015-07-01T07:20:17.086Z · score: 1 (1 votes) · LW · GW

Lunch could still be an important factor, postprandial somnolence is a well-known phenomenon. There might be a phenomenological difference between that and sleepiness, though. We often do not properly distinguish between sleepiness and fatigue.

Comment by creutzer on Two-boxing, smoking and chewing gum in Medical Newcomb problems · 2015-06-30T10:45:02.666Z · score: -1 (1 votes) · LW · GW

Of course, when I examined the thing's source code, I knew it would reason this way, and so I did not put the million.

Then you're talking about an evil decision problem. But neither in the original nor in the genetic Newcombe's problem is your source code investigated.

Comment by creutzer on Autism, or early isolation? · 2015-06-30T10:19:10.158Z · score: 1 (1 votes) · LW · GW

Sorry about that, then. I've just heard too many philosophers say such things non-humorously.

Comment by creutzer on Autism, or early isolation? · 2015-06-29T15:19:37.775Z · score: 1 (1 votes) · LW · GW

Languages are implemented in individual brains and so private languages are perfectly conceptually possible, Wittgenstein notwithstanding.

Comment by creutzer on Are consequentialism and deontology not even wrong? · 2015-06-07T16:14:53.707Z · score: 1 (1 votes) · LW · GW

No, it doesn't, because your guess is wrong.

Comment by creutzer on Are consequentialism and deontology not even wrong? · 2015-06-06T07:36:14.425Z · score: 5 (5 votes) · LW · GW

This is basically the issue of whether categorical imperatives are a coherent concept. I have the same feeling as you: that they are not, and that I don't even understand what it would mean for them to be. I'm continually baffled by the fact that so many human minds are apparently able to believe that categorical imperatives are a thing. This strikes me as a difficult problem somewhere at the intersection between philosophy, linguistics, and cognitive psychology.

Comment by creutzer on Are consequentialism and deontology not even wrong? · 2015-06-06T07:31:45.827Z · score: 0 (0 votes) · LW · GW

I wonder if what this really means isn't that it is possible for a culture not to have a concept of amorality. What I mean by this is the following: they have a concept of what things ought to be like, and it encompasses both moral and non-moral imperatives. What they did not realise is that you can just ignore a subclass of these oughts (namely, the moral ones) without rationality compelling you to do otherwise and thereby be an amoralist.

Comment by creutzer on Confession Thread: Mistakes as an aspiring rationalist · 2015-06-04T19:02:53.444Z · score: 0 (0 votes) · LW · GW

On the other hand, you would not and quite possibly could not have spent all that time on learning valuable things. At least some of it would have been used up by some other sort of relaxation.

Comment by creutzer on The most important meta-skill · 2015-06-02T07:35:37.403Z · score: 1 (1 votes) · LW · GW

Note, though, that you basically need to achieve native-like levels of proficiency in order to use one Slavic language to understand another. So you may well never be able to collect this return on the investment at all. My Russian isn't anywhere near this level and, living in Central Europe, the only use I ever make of it is talking to Russians. Signage in Slavic-speaking countries becomes somewhat comprehensible, but that's about it otherwise. Russian does, of course, allow you to communicate in Central Asia, the Caucasus, and the Baltic countries, which is nice if you want that, but also likely to be irrelevant for most people.

Comment by creutzer on The most important meta-skill · 2015-05-28T10:57:01.094Z · score: 0 (0 votes) · LW · GW

Do we even know that TV killed local accents and dialects in any country? Because I'm not sure that Slavic languages ever had such radical dialectal variety as English and German.

Comment by creutzer on Dissolving philosophy · 2015-05-26T15:15:07.723Z · score: 7 (7 votes) · LW · GW

Are you aware of the movement of Experimental Philosophy? They say exactly the same thing: that what we should really do is investigate the cognitive algorithms that give rise to philosophical intuitions. Which requires doing cognitive psychology rather than pointless arguing. There have been very interesting investigations into, for example, what factors people's attributions of blame or causation are sensitive to.

Comment by creutzer on How has lesswrong changed your life? · 2015-05-26T14:04:04.867Z · score: 0 (0 votes) · LW · GW

(And the only thing that saved my ass was completely unrelated to my skills or work, it was a random office-politics advice from internet that I decided to test experimentally at work a few days ago, and luckily it worked.)

Asides like this should be forbidden as cruelty to animals... I mean readers. I think the kind and compassionate thing to do is to either say what it is, link to it, or never, ever mention it.

Comment by creutzer on How my social skills went from horrible to mediocre · 2015-05-24T18:05:25.408Z · score: 0 (0 votes) · LW · GW

Of course it sounds more palatable to other people, but actually it's a completely different attitude from the one you're actually taking! You're just viewing other people's success as a means to what is eventually your own success after all. This is not at all the bizarre universal love and self-abnegation that the initial post suggested to me.

I also suspect you might be in a relatively atypical life situation if you manage to leverage this business-like perspective into universal social skills because you can just apply it to practically everyone you meet. But then it might be my own situation that's more atypical. (It's also not clear how "spending time helping you" translates into felicitous interaction - most people I meet don't need and couldn't use my help; but I'm not asking you to explain because I don't think I can use your approach anyway.)

Comment by creutzer on How my social skills went from horrible to mediocre · 2015-05-24T15:39:05.518Z · score: 0 (0 votes) · LW · GW

The egoistic perspective on people as a resource-to-be-developed doesn't help at all, because it's not what I understand by "genuinely caring about other people's success". It also breaks the analogy with the case of children, because the potential that parents and educators see in children is (hopefully) not the potential to be a useful resource for them later on.

I think we're looking at a huge inferential distance between us due to a difference in life situation and probably personality...

Comment by creutzer on How my social skills went from horrible to mediocre · 2015-05-24T11:45:30.169Z · score: 0 (0 votes) · LW · GW

I'm not sure that something that requires a fundamental way in my values (I'm sorry, but I do not care about most people's success more than myself and I don't see why I should and don't want to; in fact, I think I owe it to my friends to care about them and myself more than about a random stranger) and the acquisition of a delusion (most people are not potential singular geniuses; neither am I, of course) is really the optimal strategy here... But fortunately, there must be other strategies, because lots of people are good at social interaction without having either those values or that delusion.

Comment by creutzer on How my social skills went from horrible to mediocre · 2015-05-23T06:17:29.373Z · score: 2 (2 votes) · LW · GW

That's right, but it's not clear to me that this would give rise to the effect that DeVliegendeHollander and me are talking about. I'll grant that it's conspicuous that all the "socially skilled" people I mentioned are all extraverts. It would also seem natural that an introvert has a less positive attitude towards meeting people because his expected utility from the encounter is naturally lower. But it's not clear that introverts would necessarily have to have a negative response that I have to meeting people. For one thing, I've seen people who are definitely more introverted than me and are doing way better.

As a matter of fact, I'm also completely confused about my own degree of extraversion/introversion because there are people who I can stand only for a short time, but there are also people who I can't get enough of, with no recuperation time needed. This seems to be better explained by a relational trait like "liking" than one that is inherent to me like extraversion/intraversion.

Comment by creutzer on What Would You Do If You Only Had Six Months To Live? · 2015-05-22T17:48:02.610Z · score: 0 (0 votes) · LW · GW

Also, you might enjoy reading [Veronica Decides to Die].

You might also experience intense annoyance, though, as I did.

Comment by creutzer on How my social skills went from horrible to mediocre · 2015-05-22T17:43:29.116Z · score: 1 (1 votes) · LW · GW

I suspect you're right. All the "socially skilled" people I've talked to about this report that they like (meeting) other people by default. I, on the other hand, dislike people by default and can't seem to do anything to improve my "social skills deficit".

Comment by creutzer on Wild Moral Dilemmas · 2015-05-18T19:12:34.392Z · score: 0 (0 votes) · LW · GW

I still don't see why this is supposed to be moral reasoning. It's just about the importance of things to you. To me it looks like just as much of a moral decision as your decision to have toast for breakfast or not.

Comment by creutzer on Wild Moral Dilemmas · 2015-05-13T08:01:07.892Z · score: 0 (0 votes) · LW · GW
I cinsider the importance to me of a truth or a bond then I make my choice.

How does this count as a moral decision?

Comment by creutzer on Experience of typical mind fallacy. · 2015-04-29T05:46:23.803Z · score: 2 (2 votes) · LW · GW

I'm not sure this is so easy - people's self-simulations aren't that reliable, are they? Running a sandboxed version of yourself on a brain isn't so trivial.

Comment by creutzer on Experience of typical mind fallacy. · 2015-04-28T05:16:18.560Z · score: 2 (2 votes) · LW · GW

I think the general rule is that we (or at least I) tend to have a default assumption that others think like us at least on a fundamental level, and that they have fundamentally similar personalities. If we meet up with someone who has a different sort of mind / personality, we tend not to notice it unless it's really staring us in the face.

I may be unusual, but I'm exactly the reverse of this. My default assumption is that other people are very different from me. When someone thinks and feels like me, I'm always surprised, and it takes some time to convince me that this is stable. I suspect I may be kind of hyper-aware to individual differences, since I've paid a lot of attention to this in recent time

Comment by creutzer on Stupid Questions April 2015 · 2015-04-06T19:52:19.789Z · score: 0 (0 votes) · LW · GW

Even if we ignore for a moment the fact that Kantian ethics doesn't say anything because it's not well-defined, it's not at all clear to me that this is true. As it stands, your statement sounds like it's based more on popular impressions of what Kantian ethics is supposedly like than an actual attempt at Kantian reasoning.

Comment by creutzer on Status - is it what we think it is? · 2015-03-31T06:42:39.797Z · score: 4 (4 votes) · LW · GW

Can you give us some citations? I would love to read academic papers in this domain, but somehow I've been very bad at finding stuff that relates to the thing we call "status".

Comment by creutzer on Imagining Scarcity · 2015-03-03T06:37:03.231Z · score: 0 (0 votes) · LW · GW

That's quite true. It's just that the pronoun "everyone" is a different kind of animal from collective nouns.