Comment by lochchessmonster on Welcome to Less Wrong! (7th thread, December 2014) · 2015-03-23T17:44:43.926Z · score: 8 (8 votes) · LW · GW


I am a month long lurker who finally decided to make an account.

I'm 24, and am living as a US expat in Beijing right now. I have a BA in Economics from a top 5 university, where the most important thing I learned was just how little that actually meant. I got pretty disillusioned with academia, and I've only been able to start enjoying intellectual pursuits again in the last year or so; hence, it is nice to find a non-university community where I might be able to discuss interesting ideas without all of the self-important swagger.

I would say that the other important thing my econ background influenced is my rational decision making: I do not vote; I was involved in effective altruism (until I became an ethical nihilist); etc. I think I've experience some significant emotional blunting from this, and have mixed feelings about it. Hopefully being in a community of similarly oriented people (and getting more information about typical outcomes) will help me work through whether this is something that I need to address or not.

I lean somewhat classical-liberal (or pro-market left of center, with significant room for government provisioning for market failure) at the moment, but lately I've fallen into a more libertarian heuristi, which I want to become more aware of and counteract as I disagree with that political philosophy on several formal issues. Hopefully I can use the resources at LW to recalibrate on this issue in particular.

My interests are pretty broad:

  • Public finance / policy
  • Game theory / auction theory / voting theory (especially wrt collective decisionmaking / policy)
  • Epistemology (especially regress / Munchausen Trilemma)
  • Dynamics of social identity (especially the ethics of statistical discrimination)
  • Aesthetics (especially w.r.t. visual art)
  • Psychology and personal identity (especially antipsychiatry)
  • Consciousness, continuity of experience, and personhood
  • Literature (especially Latin American)

Additionally, I enjoy learning math, though I am not very talented at it (I was a single Algebra/Galois Theory class away from a math degree though). Recently, I've been going back through some old analysis / algebra / number theory books to give it another shot; I'm still bad at it, but it's nonetheless rewarding.

One of the things about LW that seems really awesome is the deep programming knowledge. I enjoyed the few programming classes I took, and look forward to learning more about its applications to modelling decision making.

Anyways, I look forward to engaging with you, and if anyone has anything they want to point me towarda here, I'd love the tip.