Comment by primintelekt on The True Prisoner's Dilemma · 2010-02-05T04:16:53.398Z · LW · GW

Thank you!

Comment by primintelekt on The True Prisoner's Dilemma · 2010-02-04T20:17:43.627Z · LW · GW

Important point.

Let's assume that your utility function (which is identical to theirs) simply weights and adds your payoff and theirs; that is, if you get X and they get Y, your function is U(X,Y) = aX+bY. In that case, working backwards from the utilities in the table, and subject to the constraint that a+b=1, here are the payoffs:

a/b=2: (you care twice as much about yourself)
(3,3) (-5,10)
(10,-5) (1,1)

(3,3) (-2.5,7.5)
(7.5,-2.5) (1,1)

Impossible. With both people being unselfish utilitarians, the utilities can never differ based on the same outcome.

b=0: (selfish)
The table as given in the post

I think the most important result is the case a=b: the dilemma makes no sense at all if the players weight both payoffs equally, because you can never produce asymmetrical utilities.

EDIT: My newbishness is showing. How do I format this better? Is it HTML?

Comment by primintelekt on Debunking komponisto on Amanda Knox (long) · 2010-02-04T04:24:44.042Z · LW · GW

It's worth considering who's at fault when nobody "gets" a joke.

The purpose of humor is to entertain or communicate in some form; if a joke flops with every member of its target audience, I don't think you can blame said audience without lowering yourself to the standards of smug postmodernist writers.

Tangential: Nietzsche could conceivably be accused of this attitude, but he was really aiming to discourage lightweight thinkers from reading and misunderstanding his work. Obviously, it didn't work.

Comment by primintelekt on Logical Rudeness · 2010-01-31T22:24:25.064Z · LW · GW

I've done this occasionally, actually.

One time, I found a very opinionated guy with a high opinion of himself -- I think he might have been Objectivist, but he scoffed at literally every philosophy he mentioned so it's hard to tell. I figured that trying to debate him would just end the conversation early; he's the type to quickly classify those who disagree as sheeple. So, I copied his conversational style a bit, agreed with him on most points but disagreed enough to keep the conversation interesting and get some insight into his views. I don't think I was directly dishonest about my opinions; I just positioned myself as an ally (in an "Us vs. Them" sense) and worked from there.

I recommend this to anyone who wants to understand the reasoning of, say, creationists, but can't talk to them without reaching an impasse of rationality vs. dogma.

Comment by primintelekt on Archimedes's Chronophone · 2009-10-10T17:22:32.607Z · LW · GW

Perhaps "Get off of Earth before Nemesis sends some more comets our way"


Reasoning: The Roman invasion could have been predicted, but wouldn't have been well supported by evidence -- although foreign invasions were certainly a repeated (even cyclic) phenomenon. Of course, the Nemesis hypothesis rests on an unproven root cause of all major extinction events, whereas invasions came from various, known causes...