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Philos­o­phy of Language

TagLast edit: 4 Aug 2020 14:02 UTC by brook

Language is an important part of the way we frame problems, think about the world, and discuss things with others. The study of language is particularly relevant to LessWrong because many very smart people confuse themselves and others by misusing words.

The comprehensive introduction to the LessWrong approach to Philosophy of Language is A Human’s Guide To Words

37 Ways That Words Can Be Wrong

Eliezer Yudkowsky6 Mar 2008 5:09 UTC
190 points
82 comments9 min readLW link

A rev­olu­tion in philos­o­phy: the rise of con­cep­tual engineering

Suspended Reason2 Jun 2020 18:30 UTC
127 points
50 comments21 min readLW link

Un­nat­u­ral Cat­e­gories Are Op­ti­mized for Deception

Zack_M_Davis8 Jan 2021 20:54 UTC
73 points
21 comments33 min readLW link

Fuzzy Boundaries, Real Concepts

orthonormal7 May 2018 3:39 UTC
26 points
8 comments7 min readLW link

Where to Draw the Boundaries?

Zack_M_Davis13 Apr 2019 21:34 UTC
106 points
106 comments13 min readLW link3 reviews

Schel­ling Cat­e­gories, and Sim­ple Mem­ber­ship Tests

Zack_M_Davis26 Aug 2019 2:43 UTC
51 points
10 comments7 min readLW link

Philos­o­phy in the Dark­est Timeline: Ba­sics of the Evolu­tion of Meaning

Zack_M_Davis7 Jun 2020 7:52 UTC
116 points
17 comments14 min readLW link

Ta­boo Your Words

Eliezer Yudkowsky15 Feb 2008 22:53 UTC
186 points
131 comments3 min readLW link

The Cat­e­gories Were Made For Man, Not Man For The Categories

Scott Alexander21 Nov 2014 14:34 UTC
74 points
9 comments18 min readLW link

Pon­der­ing the paucity of vol­canic pro­fan­ity post Pom­peii perusal

CraigMichael1 Sep 2022 9:29 UTC
21 points
2 comments15 min readLW link

Dis­guised Queries

Eliezer Yudkowsky9 Feb 2008 0:05 UTC
152 points
107 comments5 min readLW link

Sneak­ing in Connotations

Eliezer Yudkowsky19 Feb 2008 19:41 UTC
72 points
23 comments3 min readLW link

Blue is Arbitrary

lsusr14 Mar 2021 9:04 UTC
59 points
8 comments1 min readLW link

Re­ply to Nate Soares on Dolphins

Zack_M_Davis10 Jun 2021 4:53 UTC
46 points
49 comments5 min readLW link

The Parable of the Dagger

Eliezer Yudkowsky1 Feb 2008 20:53 UTC
159 points
104 comments1 min readLW link

Words as Hid­den Inferences

Eliezer Yudkowsky3 Feb 2008 23:36 UTC
78 points
23 comments3 min readLW link

The Cluster Struc­ture of Thingspace

Eliezer Yudkowsky8 Feb 2008 0:07 UTC
121 points
27 comments4 min readLW link

How An Al­gorithm Feels From Inside

Eliezer Yudkowsky11 Feb 2008 2:35 UTC
226 points
83 comments4 min readLW link

The Dark Mir­a­cle of Optics

Suspended Reason24 Jun 2020 3:09 UTC
26 points
5 comments8 min readLW link

Disput­ing Definitions

Eliezer Yudkowsky12 Feb 2008 0:15 UTC
104 points
46 comments5 min readLW link

Mean­ing is Quasi-Idempotent

Chris_Leong24 Jul 2020 4:08 UTC
5 points
10 comments2 min readLW link

Dis­solv­ing the Question

Eliezer Yudkowsky8 Mar 2008 3:17 UTC
115 points
123 comments5 min readLW link

Ter­mi­nal Values and In­stru­men­tal Values

Eliezer Yudkowsky15 Nov 2007 7:56 UTC
92 points
42 comments10 min readLW link

Only say ‘ra­tio­nal’ when you can’t elimi­nate the word

Eliezer Yudkowsky31 May 2012 6:56 UTC
88 points
49 comments1 min readLW link

Con­cepts Don’t Work That Way

lukeprog28 Sep 2011 2:01 UTC
82 points
92 comments8 min readLW link

Words and Implications

johnswentworth1 Oct 2020 17:37 UTC
60 points
25 comments8 min readLW link

The Parable of Hemlock

Eliezer Yudkowsky3 Feb 2008 2:01 UTC
73 points
19 comments4 min readLW link

Ex­ten­sions and Intensions

Eliezer Yudkowsky4 Feb 2008 21:34 UTC
78 points
28 comments4 min readLW link

Similar­ity Clusters

Eliezer Yudkowsky6 Feb 2008 3:34 UTC
50 points
5 comments2 min readLW link

Typ­i­cal­ity and Asym­met­ri­cal Similarity

Eliezer Yudkowsky6 Feb 2008 21:20 UTC
44 points
69 comments3 min readLW link

Neu­ral Categories

Eliezer Yudkowsky10 Feb 2008 0:33 UTC
52 points
12 comments4 min readLW link

Feel the Meaning

Eliezer Yudkowsky13 Feb 2008 1:01 UTC
47 points
11 comments3 min readLW link

The Ar­gu­ment from Com­mon Usage

Eliezer Yudkowsky13 Feb 2008 16:24 UTC
52 points
23 comments4 min readLW link

2-Place and 1-Place Words

Eliezer Yudkowsky27 Jun 2008 7:39 UTC
101 points
38 comments5 min readLW link

En­forc­ing Type Distinction

lionhearted31 Jul 2020 11:39 UTC
25 points
1 comment2 min readLW link

Wrong Questions

Eliezer Yudkowsky8 Mar 2008 17:11 UTC
65 points
133 comments2 min readLW link

Fal­la­cies of Compression

Eliezer Yudkowsky17 Feb 2008 18:51 UTC
76 points
26 comments4 min readLW link

Hedge drift and ad­vanced motte-and-bailey

Stefan_Schubert1 May 2016 14:45 UTC
49 points
8 comments2 min readLW link

How webs of mean­ing grow and change

Hazard14 Aug 2020 13:58 UTC
13 points
0 comments10 min readLW link

Words as Men­tal Paint­brush Handles

Eliezer Yudkowsky1 Mar 2008 23:58 UTC
42 points
74 comments3 min readLW link

Su­per­ex­po­nen­tial Con­ceptspace, and Sim­ple Words

Eliezer Yudkowsky24 Feb 2008 23:59 UTC
47 points
16 comments6 min readLW link

Blegg Mode

Zack_M_Davis11 Mar 2019 15:04 UTC
18 points
68 comments1 min readLW link
(unremediatedgender.space)

Maybe Ly­ing Can’t Ex­ist?!

Zack_M_Davis23 Aug 2020 0:36 UTC
45 points
16 comments5 min readLW link

Re­la­bel­ings vs. Ex­ter­nal References

Chris_Leong20 Sep 2019 2:20 UTC
12 points
5 comments3 min readLW link

Referenc­ing the Unreferencable

Chris_Leong4 Apr 2020 10:42 UTC
16 points
5 comments3 min readLW link

Lan­guage, the Key to Everything

chris8217912 Feb 2019 5:06 UTC
−2 points
2 comments4 min readLW link

Lin­guis­tic Freedom

Chris_Leong6 Jan 2021 7:23 UTC
10 points
4 comments2 min readLW link

Ex­tended Pic­ture The­ory or Models in­side Models in­side Models

Chris_Leong10 Mar 2021 13:24 UTC
13 points
3 comments2 min readLW link

Com­mu­ni­ca­tion Re­quires Com­mon In­ter­ests or Differ­en­tial Sig­nal Costs

Zack_M_Davis26 Mar 2021 6:41 UTC
31 points
9 comments3 min readLW link

There’s no such thing as a tree (phy­lo­ge­net­i­cally)

eukaryote3 May 2021 3:47 UTC
302 points
52 comments7 min readLW link2 reviews
(eukaryotewritesblog.com)

De­liber­ately Vague Lan­guage is Bullshit

lsusr14 May 2021 9:17 UTC
35 points
21 comments1 min readLW link

Ques­tions are tools to help an­swer­ers op­ti­mize utility

ozziegooen24 May 2021 19:30 UTC
31 points
6 comments4 min readLW link

Blood Is Thicker Than Water 🐬

Zack_M_Davis28 Sep 2021 3:21 UTC
37 points
26 comments13 min readLW link

Book Re­view: Philo­soph­i­cal In­ves­ti­ga­tions by Wittgenstein

Chris_Leong12 Oct 2021 20:14 UTC
30 points
12 comments32 min readLW link

Com­ment on “De­cep­tion as Co­op­er­a­tion”

Zack_M_Davis27 Nov 2021 4:04 UTC
23 points
3 comments7 min readLW link

Challenges to Yud­kowsky’s Pro­noun Re­form Proposal

Zack_M_Davis13 Mar 2022 20:38 UTC
56 points
55 comments39 min readLW link
(unremediatedgender.space)

The Cage of the Language

Martin Sustrik13 Apr 2022 5:20 UTC
51 points
19 comments2 min readLW link

Fun­da­men­tal Uncer­tainty: Chap­ter 2 - Why do words have mean­ing?

G Gordon Worley III18 Apr 2022 20:54 UTC
11 points
5 comments11 min readLW link

Gen­ders Discrimination

Jacob Falkovich7 Jul 2022 15:20 UTC
10 points
16 comments4 min readLW link

Notes on Sincer­ity and such

David Gross1 Dec 2020 5:09 UTC
8 points
2 comments12 min readLW link

Please (re)ex­plain your per­sonal jargon

Nathan Helm-Burger22 Aug 2022 14:30 UTC
19 points
4 comments4 min readLW link

Si­tu­at­ing LessWrong in con­tem­po­rary philos­o­phy: An in­ter­view with Jon Livengood

Suspended Reason1 Jul 2020 0:37 UTC
117 points
21 comments19 min readLW link

How Speci­fic­ity Works

Liron3 Sep 2019 12:11 UTC
86 points
48 comments7 min readLW link

The Re­la­tion Pro­jec­tion Fal­lacy and the pur­pose of life

Academian28 Dec 2012 4:14 UTC
119 points
42 comments3 min readLW link

The First Step is to Ad­mit That You Have a Problem

Alicorn6 Oct 2009 20:59 UTC
74 points
87 comments3 min readLW link

The Fu­til­ity of Emergence

Eliezer Yudkowsky26 Aug 2007 22:10 UTC
83 points
141 comments3 min readLW link

En­tropy, and Short Codes

Eliezer Yudkowsky23 Feb 2008 3:16 UTC
67 points
27 comments4 min readLW link

Re­place the Sym­bol with the Substance

Eliezer Yudkowsky16 Feb 2008 18:12 UTC
70 points
17 comments5 min readLW link

Ra­tion­al­ity and the English Language

Eliezer Yudkowsky12 Sep 2007 22:55 UTC
92 points
33 comments4 min readLW link

Ar­gu­ing “By Defi­ni­tion”

Eliezer Yudkowsky20 Feb 2008 23:37 UTC
73 points
41 comments4 min readLW link

Words, Lo­cally Defined

abramdemski3 May 2018 23:26 UTC
19 points
28 comments3 min readLW link

Defend­ing points you don’t care about

Hazard19 Jun 2019 20:40 UTC
41 points
6 comments4 min readLW link

Sim­pli­cio and Sophisticus

Zvi22 Jul 2018 13:30 UTC
42 points
1 comment4 min readLW link
(thezvi.wordpress.com)

Plu­ral­is­tic Mo­ral Reductionism

lukeprog1 Jun 2011 0:59 UTC
62 points
327 comments15 min readLW link

Sta­tus 451 on Di­ag­no­sis: Rus­sell Aphasia

Zack_M_Davis6 Aug 2019 4:43 UTC
48 points
1 comment1 min readLW link
(status451.com)

Con­cep­tual Anal­y­sis and Mo­ral Theory

lukeprog16 May 2011 6:28 UTC
92 points
481 comments8 min readLW link

Empty Labels

Eliezer Yudkowsky14 Feb 2008 23:50 UTC
42 points
7 comments2 min readLW link

Cat­e­go­riz­ing Has Consequences

Eliezer Yudkowsky19 Feb 2008 1:40 UTC
57 points
13 comments3 min readLW link

Where to Draw the Boundary?

Eliezer Yudkowsky21 Feb 2008 19:14 UTC
65 points
51 comments3 min readLW link

Diseased think­ing: dis­solv­ing ques­tions about disease

Scott Alexander30 May 2010 21:16 UTC
448 points
355 comments9 min readLW link

The sen­tence struc­ture of mathematics

countedblessings7 Oct 2019 18:58 UTC
40 points
15 comments2 min readLW link

SotW: Be Specific

Eliezer Yudkowsky3 Apr 2012 6:11 UTC
76 points
306 comments12 min readLW link

Surely, rhetor­i­cal ques­tion?

Gust11 Jan 2018 20:56 UTC
15 points
0 comments1 min readLW link
(gusbicalho.com.br)

Leaky Generalizations

Eliezer Yudkowsky22 Nov 2007 21:16 UTC
46 points
29 comments3 min readLW link

[Question] What are ques­tions?

DonyChristie9 Jan 2019 7:37 UTC
34 points
17 comments2 min readLW link

The Pink Sparkly Ball Thing (Use unique, non-ob­vi­ous terms for nu­anced con­cepts)

MalcolmOcean20 Feb 2016 23:25 UTC
36 points
14 comments5 min readLW link

Vari­able Ques­tion Fallacies

Eliezer Yudkowsky5 Mar 2008 6:22 UTC
39 points
36 comments3 min readLW link

The Na­ture of Logic

Eliezer Yudkowsky15 Nov 2008 6:20 UTC
37 points
12 comments10 min readLW link

Un­nat­u­ral Categories

Eliezer Yudkowsky24 Aug 2008 1:00 UTC
35 points
10 comments8 min readLW link

The Fabric of Real Things

Eliezer Yudkowsky12 Oct 2012 2:11 UTC
38 points
309 comments4 min readLW link

Se­quence Ex­er­cise: first 3 posts from “A Hu­man’s Guide to Words”

Normal_Anomaly16 Apr 2011 17:21 UTC
43 points
18 comments1 min readLW link

Liv­ing Metaphorically

lukeprog28 Nov 2011 15:01 UTC
33 points
79 comments7 min readLW link

Cal­ibrate words, not just probabilities

MikkW18 Jul 2020 5:56 UTC
11 points
3 comments2 min readLW link

Schematic Think­ing: heuris­tic gen­er­al­iza­tion us­ing Korzyb­ski’s method

romeostevensit14 Oct 2019 19:29 UTC
27 points
7 comments3 min readLW link

Ac­tors and scribes, words and deeds

Benquo26 Apr 2017 5:12 UTC
31 points
5 comments9 min readLW link

Claiming Connotations

Error9 Dec 2012 23:40 UTC
37 points
23 comments2 min readLW link

Fake Norms, or “Truth” vs. Truth

Eliezer Yudkowsky22 Jul 2008 10:23 UTC
25 points
16 comments3 min readLW link

Words Aren’t Type Safe

Hazard19 Jun 2019 20:34 UTC
21 points
12 comments3 min readLW link

“Ar­bi­trary”

Eliezer Yudkowsky12 Aug 2008 17:55 UTC
18 points
14 comments4 min readLW link

Is Fair­ness Ar­bi­trary?

Eliezer Yudkowsky14 Aug 2008 1:54 UTC
5 points
37 comments6 min readLW link

Cat­e­gory Qual­ifi­ca­tions (w/​ ex­er­cises)

Logan Riggs15 Sep 2019 16:28 UTC
23 points
22 comments5 min readLW link

The Power & Tragedy of Names

SocratesDissatisfied6 Nov 2020 22:50 UTC
12 points
4 comments5 min readLW link

I be­lieve it’s doublethink

kerspoon21 Feb 2012 22:30 UTC
32 points
32 comments3 min readLW link

Fun­da­men­tal Philo­soph­i­cal Prob­lems In­her­ent in AI discourse

AlexSadler16 Sep 2018 21:03 UTC
23 points
1 comment17 min readLW link

E-Prime

CannibalSmith8 Apr 2009 13:01 UTC
16 points
20 comments1 min readLW link

Per­sua­sive­ness vs Soundness

Patrick13 Apr 2009 8:43 UTC
0 points
19 comments2 min readLW link

Un­gen­dered Spanish

jefftk7 Dec 2019 16:20 UTC
20 points
9 comments2 min readLW link
(www.jefftk.com)

Where is the Mean­ing?

Hazard22 Jul 2019 20:18 UTC
21 points
3 comments4 min readLW link

ESR’s com­ments on some EY:OB/​LW posts

Eliezer Yudkowsky20 Jun 2009 0:16 UTC
7 points
16 comments1 min readLW link

No, Newspeak Won’t Make You Stupid

MikkW18 Dec 2020 0:56 UTC
21 points
39 comments7 min readLW link

On the na­ture of pur­pose

Nora_Ammann22 Jan 2021 8:30 UTC
28 points
15 comments9 min readLW link

Ab­strac­tions and translation

Amir Bolous20 May 2021 2:45 UTC
5 points
1 comment2 min readLW link

[Question] What words should be shorter in the ra­tio­nal dic­tio­nary?

brook2 Apr 2022 16:46 UTC
9 points
5 comments1 min readLW link

Vague con­cepts, fam­ily re­sem­blance and cluster prop­er­ties

Q Home20 Aug 2022 10:21 UTC
18 points
8 comments7 min readLW link

Solv­ing Align­ment by “solv­ing” semantics

Q Home27 Aug 2022 4:17 UTC
15 points
10 comments26 min readLW link

Simulators

janus2 Sep 2022 12:45 UTC
452 points
102 comments44 min readLW link
(generative.ink)

Con­tem­po­rary Lin­guis­tics: A Per­spec­tive on Re­search and In­for­ma­tion Sharing

Miniman12 Sep 2022 19:02 UTC
1 point
5 comments3 min readLW link

Wis­dom Can­not Be Unzipped

Sable22 Oct 2022 0:28 UTC
52 points
13 comments7 min readLW link
(affablyevil.substack.com)

Writ­ing Rus­sian and Ukrainian words in Latin script

Viliam23 Oct 2022 15:25 UTC
19 points
20 comments6 min readLW link

Word-Dis­tance vs Idea-Dis­tance: The Case for Lanoitaring

Sable6 Nov 2022 5:25 UTC
5 points
7 comments7 min readLW link
(affablyevil.substack.com)