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Comment by danb on Extended Quote on the Institution of Academia · 2018-03-02T22:51:34.820Z · score: 2 (4 votes) · LW · GW

Holden is a smart guy, but he's also operating under a severe set of political constraints, since his organization depends so strongly on its ability to raise funds. So we shouldn't make too much of the fact that he thinks academia is pretty good - obviously he's going to say that.

Comment by danb on The New Riddle of Induction: Neutral and Relative Perspectives on Color · 2017-12-02T17:52:42.010Z · score: 5 (2 votes) · LW · GW

Interesting analysis. I hadn't heard of Goodman before so I appreciate the reference.

In my view the problem of induction has been almost entirely solved by the ideas from the literature on statistical learning, such as VC theory, MDL, Solomonoff induction, and PAC learning. You might disagree, but you should probably talk about why those ideas prove insufficient in your view if you want to convince people (especially if your audience is up-to-date on ML).

One particularly glaring limitation with Goodman's argument is that it depends on natural language predicates ("green", "grue", etc). Natural language is terribly ambiguous and imprecise, which makes it hard to evaluate philosophical statements about natural language predicates. You'd be better off casting the discussion in terms of computer programs, that take a given set of input observations and produce an output prediction.

Of course you could write "green" and "grue" as computer functions, but it would be immediately obvious how much more contrived the program using "grue" is than the program using "green".