Comment by tag on If physics is many-worlds, does ethics matter? · 2019-07-14T11:24:24.178Z · score: 1 (1 votes) · LW · GW

It's not an explanation unless we know how it's true.

Comment by tag on If physics is many-worlds, does ethics matter? · 2019-07-13T07:09:27.742Z · score: 1 (1 votes) · LW · GW

Yeah, subjective experiences are real.

It's rather question begging to equate the real and the objective.

Point is, there’s no term for them or any of our other mentalistic concepts in physics

There's no term for shopping centres in physics. You need to look at whether there is a way of reducing something, not whether there is a term for it.

You can redefine them to fit but it seemed to me that TAG was trying to apply the intuitive notion of meaning in the context of physical determinism.

I was trying to apply the intuitive meanings of choice and making a difference to determinism.

Hence, leaning further into the frame in order to propagate the update.

I have no idea what that means.

Once you get the mind as a physical thing, it adds up to normality again.

We don't know how the mind is physical, so you are advising people to adopt a sort of faith.

Is physicalism a falsifiable claim? What would evidence against it look like?

Comment by tag on If physics is many-worlds, does ethics matter? · 2019-07-13T07:08:17.418Z · score: 1 (1 votes) · LW · GW

Subjective experiences are objects in an objective frame yes?

We don't know.

Comment by tag on If physics is many-worlds, does ethics matter? · 2019-07-13T07:05:12.640Z · score: 1 (1 votes) · LW · GW

Since we dont know that the universe is deterministic, I don't see the point in thinking in purely deterministic terms.

If someone somewhere claims that the there is still "choice" and "making a difference" in a deterministic universe, then the meanings of "choice" and "making a difference" are relevant. Maybe you are not that person.

Comment by tag on If physics is many-worlds, does ethics matter? · 2019-07-12T10:16:07.998Z · score: 3 (2 votes) · LW · GW

Worlds can differ in measure, although no one is quite sure what that means.

Comment by tag on If physics is many-worlds, does ethics matter? · 2019-07-12T09:09:08.994Z · score: 1 (1 votes) · LW · GW

It's clear that choices and efforts can be part of a causal chain that brings about an outcome, even in a deterministic universe. It's also clear that you cannot choose one outcome over another, or to strive more than you were determined to, in a deterministic universe. Because of the latter, it is hard to cash out the meaning of "you should strive to be good". What does it mean to say that you should strive to be good if you have no choice?

Comment by tag on If physics is many-worlds, does ethics matter? · 2019-07-12T09:04:17.273Z · score: 1 (1 votes) · LW · GW

What about one path with indeterminism? Copenhagen, IOW.

Comment by tag on If physics is many-worlds, does ethics matter? · 2019-07-11T14:35:04.117Z · score: 2 (2 votes) · LW · GW

As someone who is not a great friend of MWI,I found that poorly argued. She doesnt believe in other branches because they are unobservable. She does believe in the interior of black holes, though no one has come back with a report on them.. because theory says they are observable. But what are MWIers basing things on except theory?

So she is picking and choosing between theories.. although she claims not to be, elsewhere!

Comment by tag on If physics is many-worlds, does ethics matter? · 2019-07-11T14:28:39.163Z · score: 1 (1 votes) · LW · GW

If free will can be illusion, so can ethics.

Comment by tag on If physics is many-worlds, does ethics matter? · 2019-07-11T14:27:09.341Z · score: 1 (1 votes) · LW · GW

If A is the more ethical choice, you should still try to strive towards A, so that more of you in all the possible worlds also strive towards A.

MWI is deterministic, so how much striving you do or do not do is determined.

Comment by tag on If physics is many-worlds, does ethics matter? · 2019-07-11T14:25:13.165Z · score: 1 (1 votes) · LW · GW

The hypothesis that when a human makes a choice, the universe splits and every possible choice is made with equal measure is coherent, falsifiable and clearly wrong

Maybe, but MWI doesn't imply equal measure.

They would still have the feeling of making a choice

We don't know that because we don't know anything about qualia.

To the extent that you are optimizing, not outputting random noise, you aren’t creating multiple universes. It all adds up to normality

There is not always a single optimal solution to a problem even for a perfect rationalist, and humans aren't perfect rationalists.

A complete quantum ethics will be better than any classical ethics (almost identical in everyday circumstances) , but one little mistake and you get nonsense.

What do you think quantum ethics would look like?

Comment by tag on If physics is many-worlds, does ethics matter? · 2019-07-11T13:36:02.335Z · score: 3 (3 votes) · LW · GW

If you have altruistic motivation, then the Everett branches starting from here are in fact better (in expectation) than the branches starting from a similar universe with a version of you that has no altruistic motivation.

Yes.

By working to do good, you are in a meaningful sense causing the multiverse to contain a higher proportion of good worlds than it otherwise would.

No.

You are conflating two different kinds of counterfactual. In the first sentence, counterfactual multiverses that contain a less well intentioned version of you have worse outcomes. But that is an extra-physical kind of counterfactual, it's like imagining differentt laws of physics.

So it is not something you can choose or affect within a multiverse. Within a multiverse, counterfactuals are Everett branches that you are not in, and there is nothing the "you" that is embedded in a multiverse can do to affect them. Everything proceeds deterministically, including how well intentioned you are, including how much work you do, including how you change and evolve. So there is no "than it otherwise would" in a real sense, only in a conceptual sense

Comment by tag on What's the most "stuck" you've been with an argument, that eventually got resolved? · 2019-07-09T12:02:18.378Z · score: 3 (2 votes) · LW · GW

It seems to me that the crux of that argument is the assumption that there is only one direction or axis in which something can be considered more fundamental than something else.

Rationality can be epistemologically basic, in that you need to be rational to arrive at physics, and physics can be ontologically basic in that rational agents are made of matter.

Sometimes the solution is to drop the framing that the two alternatives are actually rivalrous.

Comment by tag on Is "physical nondeterminism" a meaningful concept? · 2019-07-08T21:08:26.907Z · score: 1 (1 votes) · LW · GW

I’m happy to reply that the message of my comment as a whole applies to this part

I found parts of your comment as a whole to be unclear or underargued,which is why I asked the questions l.

—my claim about “what things do at a basic level of description” is a meta-model claim about what you can say about things at different levels of description.

I don't see how you can know what the most basic level of description looks like. (I previously phrased that as a question, which did me no good).

A claim to the effect that no theoretical term applies atheoretically might prove too much - - it might be more of a general point than the OP was getting at.

We might imagine someone saying “I know there are some deterministic models of atoms and some nondeterministic models, but are the atoms really deterministic or not?”

Well, there a kind of fake indeterminism based on an observers lack of information. Someone could asking a question about that rather than what is true atheoretically.

Because they’re part of a detailed model of the world that helps tell a “functional and causal story” about the phenomenon. If I was going to badmouth one set of essences just to prop up another, I would have said so

You seem to be happy enough with functional and causal.

My point is that this residue is never going to be the “Real Properties,” they’re just going to be the same theory-laden properties as always

Are you arguing it or stating it?

What makes a theory of everything a theory of everything is not that it provides a final answer for which properties are the real properties that atoms have in some atheoretic direct way. It’s that it provides a useful framework in which we can understand all (literally all) sorts of stuff

Maybe. Physicalism asserts the opposite, so an argument would be helpful.

Comment by tag on The Competence Myth · 2019-07-02T12:39:50.245Z · score: 2 (2 votes) · LW · GW

It's easy to be competent at easy things.

Comment by tag on The Competence Myth · 2019-07-02T12:38:56.519Z · score: 2 (2 votes) · LW · GW

Incompetent compared to what? Let's say that a lot of people are incompetent at their jobs. You can solve that by making jobs easier, so that anyone can do them but that isn't a nett benefit because now the difficult jobs aren't being done at all. Even though some people could do them. Meaning their talents would be wasted.

So maybe the system compromises between doing difficult things and doing things competently. Maybe that's an overall optimisation.

Comment by tag on Is "physical nondeterminism" a meaningful concept? · 2019-06-19T16:04:59.180Z · score: 1 (1 votes) · LW · GW

I thought you were referring to collapse in that way.

Comment by tag on Does the Higgs-boson exist? · 2019-06-19T11:55:47.451Z · score: 1 (1 votes) · LW · GW

That seems like a really tortured definition/interpretation/understanding of ‘belief

If there is an ambiguity in natural language, then an attempt unpick it will look unnatural. Consider a situation where two theories are equally supported by evidence. If a physicist backs theory A over theory B that would be the kind of belief that Sabine is rejecting.. I think.

I agree with respect to classification but not for demarcation – if it’s unclear how to demarcate two entities isn’t it unclear whether two entities exist (versus one or none)?

In this and your other examples, one can adopt an arbitrary classification scheme, and then the question of whether the posits of the scheme exist can be settled straightforwardly. So problems of existence are not problems of existence per se but problems of classification.

Comment by tag on Is "physical nondeterminism" a meaningful concept? · 2019-06-19T11:04:53.956Z · score: 1 (3 votes) · LW · GW

At the most basic level of description, things—the quantum fields or branes or whatever—just do what they do. They don’t do it nondeterministically, but they also don’t do it deterministically

How do you know? If that claim isn't based on a model, what is it based on?

much better explanation of wetness would be in terms of surface tension and intermolecular forces and so on

Why? Because they are real properties? Are you saying that only some properties are real, or no properties are real?

Long story short, any good explanation for why we should or shoudn’t have nondeterminism in a model is either going to be about how to choose good models, or it’s going to be a causal and functional story that doesn’t preserve nondeterminism (or determinism) as an essence

Why not? You can explain away some properties in terms of others, but there is, going to be some residue. How do you know that (in)determinism is doomed to be explained away, in advance of a final TOE? What's wrong with waiting to see what happens?

Comment by tag on Is "physical nondeterminism" a meaningful concept? · 2019-06-19T10:43:51.016Z · score: 1 (1 votes) · LW · GW

In Copenhagen, the future state of the universe isn’t uniquely determined by those things, but is uniquely determined by those things plus a lot of additional bits that represent how each measurement goes.

That's rather misleading. If the extra bits pop into existence at time T, then the outcome at time T+1 isn't determined by the conditions at time T-1 as standardly envisaged by determinism. Your kind of redefining determinism.

Comment by tag on Is "physical nondeterminism" a meaningful concept? · 2019-06-19T10:38:05.937Z · score: 1 (1 votes) · LW · GW

You haven't said what you mean by meaningful. It seems that we can test aspects (pun intended) of the issue... the Bell inequalities, Penroses proposed test for collapse, and so on.

Comment by tag on Does the Higgs-boson exist? · 2019-06-16T11:50:24.775Z · score: 2 (2 votes) · LW · GW

Note that I am not defending Sabine's usage, just trying to understand it.

Comment by tag on Does the Higgs-boson exist? · 2019-06-15T08:00:57.501Z · score: 2 (2 votes) · LW · GW

They, apparently, would claim that the some physics theories are accurate. In what sense do those claims not correspond to beliefs, e.g. that the theories actually are accurate?

These claims-to-accuracy are not beliefs in the sense that they are based on evidence and are subject to revision, and are therefore not certain.

It seems pretty obvious to me that the ‘reality’ of a species is a very different thing than the reality of an individual,

There may be some issues about the classification or demarcation of complex entities , but they are not necessarily the same as issues about the existence of entities.

For instance, there was confusion about whether the platypus was a mammal or marsupial, but no dou t that they exist.

Comment by tag on What kind of thing is logic in an ontological sense? · 2019-06-14T16:13:01.656Z · score: 4 (3 votes) · LW · GW

Is there some issue about the status of logic that doesn't apply to maths, or language, or games?

Comment by tag on What kind of thing is logic in an ontological sense? · 2019-06-14T16:10:15.374Z · score: 3 (2 votes) · LW · GW

It might be the case that "existence" always means the same thing, but comes in degrees. Or it might be the case that "existence" has literal and metaphorical senses. Or something else.

Comment by tag on Does the Higgs-boson exist? · 2019-06-14T15:57:08.222Z · score: 1 (1 votes) · LW · GW

Look, I am a scientist. Scientists don’t deal with beliefs

That's absurdly wrong under some interpretations of "belief". I would assume that what Sabine means by belief is some combination of certainty and not being based on evidence.

obviously those are not ontologically primitive and so the degree to which they are ‘real’ and ‘exist’ is nebulous

It's not obvious that being complex or a compound makes something less real.

Comment by tag on Dissolving the zombie argument · 2019-06-12T08:33:03.341Z · score: 1 (1 votes) · LW · GW

Anyway, if both parties agree on the definition of p-zombies, then they won’t fall into the issue that this post is trying to help people avoid, of using the same word “zombie” in different ways and mistaking a linguistic dispute for something more substantial

Noting that there is a certain level of verbal confusion does not imply that there is nothing going on except verbal confusion.

this moves the question away from zombies to consciousness itself

As far as Chalmers is concerned, the point was always to argue about consciousness.

Comment by tag on The map of p-zombies · 2019-06-12T08:17:44.041Z · score: 1 (1 votes) · LW · GW

Seconded. Physics and physicalism allow qualitively identical things to be numerically distinct.

Comment by tag on Dissolving the zombie argument · 2019-06-12T08:00:21.429Z · score: 1 (1 votes) · LW · GW

"Dissolving" here is in fact creating a list of all subtypes.

I don't think that is a sufficient criterion for dissolution. The subtypes of a problem can still be problems. If there are N subtypes, there could be N problems.

Comment by tag on Logic, Buddhism, and the Dialetheia · 2019-06-12T07:46:42.207Z · score: 1 (1 votes) · LW · GW

The idea of Buddhist logic has always puzzled me, because I don’t recognise anything that could be called logic in those writings, i.e. methods of reasoning,. There are only recitations of various formulas like “true, not-true, neither true not not-true, both true and not-true.”

The motivation is probably metaphysical. Indeed, some aspects of classical logic also have metaphysical motivations. It doesn't cause paradoxes to drop bivalence, so the motivation for including it is probably an intuition that things either exist or don't.

Comment by tag on Logic, Buddhism, and the Dialetheia · 2019-06-12T07:34:04.875Z · score: 1 (1 votes) · LW · GW

Quantum logic differs from classical logic in dropping distributivity, not the principle of non contradiction.

Comment by tag on Dissolving the zombie argument · 2019-06-11T10:36:00.389Z · score: 1 (1 votes) · LW · GW

. I think the root of the problem is that both sides have a different notion of what counts as a zombie.

The Materialist Conception of consciousness involves certain processes taking place, so a Materialist Conception of a zombie would involve certain processes taking place, but also not taking place, which would be a contradiction.

It's quite possible for a materialist to agree with a dualist that p zombies definitionally lack qualia, and to conclude that, since qualia don't exist, in their view, then all humans are zombies. Dennett says that explicitly. I don't know of any examples of materialists who have the views you are attributing to them.

I also don't see any dissolution going on here.

Comment by tag on Dissolving the zombie argument · 2019-06-11T10:29:49.168Z · score: 3 (2 votes) · LW · GW

There is not only an issue of what the universe is like, but of how well we have explained it. Thought experiments can weigh against claims that something has been adequately explained.

Comment by tag on Egoism In Disguise · 2019-06-09T18:54:48.594Z · score: 1 (1 votes) · LW · GW

I'm glad enough that murderers are punished and dissuaded. Since a lot of people share my preference for not being murdered, throwing negative utility at murderers generates nett positive utility.

The same trick doesn't work for preferences that aren't shared. I am not going to create utility by enforcing my fondness for the colour pink and the number nine on people.

But that's widely understood. (Lesswrongians are about the only people who treat any kind of value as moral relevant ). So what's the problem?

I suppose the problem is that there isn't a clean break between widely shared values and idiosyncratic personal values. You can have an uncanny valley situation where about half the population share a value and are trying to impose it on the rest

Comment by tag on Asymmetric Weapons Aren't Always on Your Side · 2019-06-09T14:29:31.429Z · score: 1 (1 votes) · LW · GW

The good can resort to violence if it comes to that, and good can come out of violence.

Comment by tag on All knowledge is circularly justified · 2019-06-05T09:56:00.977Z · score: 1 (1 votes) · LW · GW

If circular justification has some non zero level of validity, then you might as well use it. But it's not clear that it has non zero validity.

Comment by tag on Egoism In Disguise · 2019-06-02T15:34:09.547Z · score: 1 (1 votes) · LW · GW

Egoism, in general, is very easy to pull apart from utilitarianism: where performing an act will decrease utility for others, the egoist will perform it, but the utilitarian will refrain. In general, egoists are selfish.

If it happens to be the case that the egoist has a preference for altruism, then that egoist...the altruistic egoist.. will refrain. But altruistic egoism is pretty non-central... in fact, somewhat paradoxical.

I think you have an answer to this objection, along the lines that if someone who is basically altruistic becomes an egoist, then it is a better outcome. Whilst I don't deny the role of intuitions, I don't think they are the whole story either. Rational persuasion plays a role, as is tacitly admitted by using rational persuasion...

Someone could be persuaded that utilitarianism is some kind of mathematic truth, thereby nudging them towards altruism, or be persuaded that egoism is a logical truth, thereby nudging them away.

Comment by tag on Feedback Requested! Draft of a New About/Welcome Page for LessWrong · 2019-06-02T14:37:27.123Z · score: -19 (5 votes) · LW · GW

What are you going to do with all this wonderful rationality that's more important than saving lives? If saving lives is your most important value, shouldn't you sacrifice other values to it.?

Comment by tag on Does the Higgs-boson exist? · 2019-05-27T13:17:53.701Z · score: -1 (2 votes) · LW · GW

I think part of the idea is that the downsides of “too high” manifest if you need belief in order for something to function.

The function of science is to output knowledge about the world, so just giving up on that to simplify things isn't really an option.

Comment by tag on Does the Higgs-boson exist? · 2019-05-27T13:14:09.188Z · score: 1 (1 votes) · LW · GW

What these thought experiments are useful for is emphasising the lack identity between prediction and correspondence.

Comment by tag on Does the Higgs-boson exist? · 2019-05-27T13:10:11.925Z · score: -1 (2 votes) · LW · GW

That model seems quite useful to me, as it avoids the pitfalls of logical counterfactuals vs environmental counterfactuals, and a bunch of otherwise confusing dilemmas.

You are "solving" the problem by dogmatically siding with clockwork determinism against free will. That isn't a real solution because someone else could be dogmatic in the other direction, and it is also inconsistent with your anti realism.

Comment by tag on Does the Higgs-boson exist? · 2019-05-27T12:53:23.580Z · score: 3 (2 votes) · LW · GW

Her philosophy (or non-philosophy) certainly works for her and for most physicists,

Success and failure have to be gauged against what someone or something is intended to do. Science is intended to output knowledge about the world, so ceasing to even attempt that is failure.

Comment by tag on Newcomb's Problem: A Solution · 2019-05-27T12:48:12.110Z · score: 2 (4 votes) · LW · GW

You're not bringing in anything new. Everyone argues on the basis if theoretical probability, and people don't agree because they use different assumption about determinism, free will and omniscience.

Comment by tag on Yudkowsky's brain is the pinnacle of evolution · 2019-05-27T12:34:38.787Z · score: 1 (1 votes) · LW · GW

I can recall physicists being told they are wrong because they disagree with Yudkowsky...whats that if not hero worship?

Comment by tag on Does the Higgs-boson exist? · 2019-05-27T12:25:43.888Z · score: 1 (3 votes) · LW · GW

It's certainly not what I mean by "exist". Sabine is offering a new definition, and the problem with new definitions is that they don't solve old problems.

Comment by tag on Does the Higgs-boson exist? · 2019-05-26T14:55:47.467Z · score: 1 (1 votes) · LW · GW

Realism is more than one thing, because everything is more than one thing. There is a general argument for a reality as the source of objectivity and possibility of error, and there are specific arguments about the posits of successful theories. Set the bar too low, and you end up believing in oxygen and phlogiston, set it too high and you have to defer belief in anything until the final theory. Points in the middle are hard to guess, which is why it's reasonable to ask physicists what they believe in.

Comment by tag on Does the Higgs-boson exist? · 2019-05-25T20:17:43.036Z · score: 1 (1 votes) · LW · GW

... truth of a belief is measured by its correspondence with reality...

I'm not sure if he literally said that, but in any case it's problematical because we have no way of measuring correspondence as such.. we measure predictive ability, and assume it has something to do with correspondence.

Comment by tag on Free will as an appearance to others · 2019-05-24T14:36:00.115Z · score: 1 (1 votes) · LW · GW

Unpredictability is subjective, because what an observer can't predict depends on their specific limitations. Perfect predictability is usually cashed out in terms of a perfect predictor, with no limitations.

Comment by tag on Free will as an appearance to others · 2019-05-24T14:27:02.039Z · score: 1 (1 votes) · LW · GW

Libertarian free will is standardly defined as being able to make decisions that are not determined by the preceding state of the universe (and also rational and on line with your desires to a one extent). Its not defined as not being mechanical in anyway and defining it that way kind of makes it supernatural.

Comment by tag on Free will as an appearance to others · 2019-05-23T21:50:22.607Z · score: 0 (2 votes) · LW · GW

Also, if you actually have free will, you may well seem to have free will to yourself. This is a hand...