# Law-Thinking

TagLast edit: 29 Jul 2020 12:13 UTC by

Law-thinking is an approach in which action and reasoning are thought to have theoretical criteria (laws) specifying the optimal actions and belief adjustments in any given situation. These criteria may be impossible to apply to a situation directly, and one may be forced to use only rough approximations. But one can still evaluate the approximations based on how well they match the optimal criteria.

The relationship between laws and approximations resembles that of between physics and engineering. Physics specify the laws by which the world works, while engineering tries to find practical solutions as constrained by those laws.

Some concepts which have been used as theoretical criteria in law-thinking:

• Bayes Theorem is a law of probability that describes the proper way to incorporate new evidence into prior probabilities to form an updated probability estimate.

• Decision Theory studies the general laws for choosing between actions in any given situation.

• Solomonoff Induction is a theoretically optimal way of arriving at true beliefs, though impossible to use directly. AIXI is an AI design based on Solomonoff Induction; it is also impossible to build directly, but some approximations exist.

Note that one can make use of e.g. Bayes Theorem or decision theory without being a law-thinker. Thus, articles covering the above topics do not automatically fall under this tag. A “toolbox-thinker” may use such tools if that seems warranted, without considering them normative standards to compare things against. This difference is discussed in Toolbox-thinking and Law-thinking.

# Toolbox-think­ing and Law-thinking

31 May 2018 21:28 UTC
160 points

# The Se­cond Law of Ther­mo­dy­nam­ics, and Eng­ines of Cognition

27 Feb 2008 0:48 UTC
167 points

# Search­ing for Bayes-Structure

28 Feb 2008 22:01 UTC
60 points

# Univer­sal Fire

27 Apr 2007 21:15 UTC
188 points

# Out­side the Laboratory

21 Jan 2007 3:46 UTC
138 points

# Per­pet­ual Mo­tion Beliefs

27 Feb 2008 20:22 UTC
69 points

# What does it mean to ap­ply de­ci­sion the­ory?

8 Jul 2020 20:31 UTC
53 points

# An In­tu­itive Ex­pla­na­tion of Solomonoff Induction

11 Jul 2012 8:05 UTC
157 points

# Where to Draw the Boundaries?

13 Apr 2019 21:34 UTC
120 points

# What is Bayesi­anism?

26 Feb 2010 7:43 UTC
115 points

16 Sep 2018 10:46 UTC
184 points
(thinkingcomplete.blogspot.com)

# Un­nat­u­ral Cat­e­gories Are Op­ti­mized for Deception

8 Jan 2021 20:54 UTC
89 points

# My Bayesian Enlightenment

5 Oct 2008 16:45 UTC
67 points

# [Question] How would we check if “Math­e­mat­i­ci­ans are gen­er­ally more Law Abid­ing?”

12 Jan 2020 20:23 UTC
26 points

# Univer­sal Law

29 Apr 2007 6:41 UTC
98 points

# Is Real­ity Ugly?

12 Jan 2008 22:26 UTC
69 points