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Tomatoes 2010-10-23T18:50:14.100Z · score: 1 (6 votes)

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Comment by hangedman on Tomatoes · 2010-10-26T22:27:53.694Z · score: 0 (0 votes) · LW · GW

Thanks for the recommendation.

Comment by hangedman on Tomatoes · 2010-10-25T03:28:56.997Z · score: 0 (0 votes) · LW · GW

My point was that "fruit" is the flip-side of Eliezer's bird example. A bird is a feathered flying thing. What about an ostrich? What about a penguin? A fruit is the seed pod of a plant. What about eggplants? What about cucumbers? My intention wasn't to give any advice about how to pick and choose definitions or interpret words generally or in a particular context.

The reason I started the discussion is because I think examples like "fruit" where the common usage of the word deviates from any strict definition can help us to understand language and language acquisition better. But this means that we should be asking people why they don't think cucumbers are fruit, not insisting that cucumbers are fruit by definition of the word fruit.

Comment by hangedman on Is there a "percentage fallacy"? · 2010-10-24T22:31:56.647Z · score: 0 (0 votes) · LW · GW

The question is whether it's worth $3 to you at that moment to avoid a) starting a tab, b) walking to the nearest no-fee ATM, or c) not drinking for the rest of the night.

Sometimes it is and sometimes it isn't, but you're bang on that the amount of cash you get out doesn't make a difference.

Comment by hangedman on Tomatoes · 2010-10-24T22:21:14.424Z · score: 0 (0 votes) · LW · GW

Because in the argument as described, Lemon does have more than his experience to go on--he also has the agricultural definition. That's why we invented definitions. To resolve these arguments.

It seems to me that introducing the definition is what starts this argument, not what resolves it. But playing along, are eggplants fruit? Green peppers? String beans? If my hypothesis is that "fruit" means "fruiting body of a plant" and my experiment is to ask people whether things that fit the definition are fruit, does the hypothesis anticipate the results of the experiment?

When I say "the performance was so bad, they threw rotten fruit," no one will be confused if some of the projectiles were tomatoes.

Do you think anyone would be confused if some of them were turnips?

If you tell someone you're cooking vegetables, and they come over to find you with a bowl of cream of wheat, you've been misleading, and I don't see how that's a productive use of language.

But I wouldn't say "I'm serving fruit and cheese" when I plan to put out tomato slices with mozzarella. It's true, but it creates a false expectation.

These are much more clever ways of making my point. There are exceptions, I think -- I'd prefer if people stopped using "theory" to mean "guess" -- but in many cases, it would only be confusing if people used a particular definition of a word to decide their usage.

Comment by hangedman on Is there a "percentage fallacy"? · 2010-10-23T20:03:22.757Z · score: 2 (2 votes) · LW · GW

There was an article in Scientific American a few years ago about the Traveler's Dilemma and how human beings make more money than the Nash Equilibrium tells them to. Edit: Wikipedia summary

It occurred to me that the percentage fallacy might explain why people give high numbers in this version -- the Nash equilibrium is pocket change compared to the max payoff. The same is true for the reward for undercutting; you might not be so motivated to low-ball if your reward for doing so is 2% of the max payoff.

It would be interesting to see an experiment where the payoff for giving the low estimate varied. If you were playing the game with a $10 bonus for lowballing, would you give the Nash equilibrium of $10? Or would you maybe go for the $40s or $50s hoping the other person would go even higher? My guess would be that as the reward for undercutting as a percentage of the max reward increases people get more and more vicious, and at some percentage people will default to the Nash equilibrium.

Comment by hangedman on Welcome to Less Wrong! · 2010-10-13T21:41:31.195Z · score: 5 (5 votes) · LW · GW

Hi LW,

My name's Dan LaVine. I forget exactly how I got linked here, but I haven't been able to stop following internal links since.

I'm not an expert in anything, but I have a relatively broad/shallow education across mathematics and the sciences and a keen interest in philosophical problems (not quite as much interest in traditional approaches to the problems). My tentative explorations of these problems are broadly commensurate with a lot of the material I've read on this site so far. Maybe that means I'm exposing myself to confirmation bias, but so far I haven't found anywhere else where these ideas or the objections to them are developed to the degree they are here.

My aim in considering philosophical problems is to try to understand the relationship between my phenomenal experience and whatever causes it may have. Of course, it's possible that my phenomenal experience is uncaused, but I'm going to try to exhaust alternative hypotheses before resigning myself to an entirely senseless universe. Which is how I wind up as a rationalist -- I can certainly consider such possibilities as the impossibility of knowledge, that I might be a Boltzmann brain, that I live in the Matrix, etc., but I can't see any way to prove or provide evidence of these things, and if I take the truth of any of them as foundational to my thinking, it's hard to see what I could build on top of them.

Looking forward to reading a whole lot more here. Hopefully, I'll be able to contribute at least a little bit to the discussion as well.