Hmmmm. While I enjoyed reading this, I do tend to think it’s fairly overtly political and attacks specifically the outgroup we all mostly dislike.
Downvoting as politics is the mind killer + simplifying ideologies you oppose and creating a fictional narrative where they’re taken to ludicrous extremes in not a particularly epistemically good thing to do.
The fact that the the latest release was in 2018 suggests to me that answer is probably no.
That being said, I don’t think there’s much significant difference between the original sequences and the published version aside from some copy editing. You can always find the blog posts the books are comprised of at https://www.lesswrong.com/tag/sequences
I believe there’s also an epub/mobi version of the whole sequences floating around somewhere which you can easily sideload onto your EReader of choice.
I find this super interesting, but as always I worry about selection effects.
There are many famous, successful and influential people in history. My question would be what % of those people had tutoring, cognitive apprenticeships etc...
This post chooses a number of famous people. Presumably the selection process goes something like this:
look at a list of famous people
look which ones have something written about their education
writes about those one
The problem is that those with unusual educations are more likely to have written about them. What if there are many famous/successful people who mostly had normal education
I think the general claim this post makes is
non obvious to many people
I think there’s an objection here that value != consumption of material resources, hence the constraints on growth may be far higher than the author calculates. Still, the article is great
I’m in two minds about this post.
On one hand, I think the core claim is correct Most people are generally too afraid of low negative EV stuff like lawsuits, terrorism, being murdered etc… I think this is also a subset of the general argument that goes something like “most people are too cowardly. Being less cowardly is in most cases better”
That being said, I have a few key problems with this article that make me downvote it.
I feel like it’s writing to persuade, not to explain. It’s all arguments for not caring about lawsuits and no examination of why you maybe should care. (Is the entier medical industry + pretty much every newspaper just randomly irrational in the same direction? Are we really sure we know better than the market what the risk of being sued actually is?)
I also think there’s quite a bit of fairly questionable argumentation as pointed out in the comments. e.g: comparing the current cost of claims against current $ spent on mitigation when the comparison should be with the cost of lawsuits in a no mitigation counterfactual, the fact that legal stats referenced are about cases that go to court, not out of court settlements which is 99% of cases etc...
I think this post does two things well:
helps lower the internal barrier for what is “worth posting” on LW
helps communicate the epistemic/communication norms that define good rationalish writing
I think this post presents a plausible explanation for why Europe colonised the world. I think my problem is that there are numerous other explanations with a great deal of supporting literature and argumentation and I don’t see much if any engagement with the alternative explanations in this post. In other words, I feel this post is trying to convince me of a certain answer without acknowledging the existence of other answers.
A few more specific thoughts:
Your model of why Europe wins:
Europe could choose when to fight by virtue of having long range ships = fights China.India at the most opportune times
Industrialisation ⇒ geographically separated empire ⇒ more industrialisation due to labour shortages and cheap raw resources
Christopher columbus = discovery of the new world = colonisation begins
I think there are a few problems with this model. First, long range ships and being able to devote enough resources to fight and win wars half way around the world are stupendous technological feats other civilizations were not capable of. I think you need an explanation for why Europe was first able to do these things while China/Arab states were not.
Secondly, the idea that a colonial empire speeds up industrialisation may or may not be true but a few things don’t line up:
European states without empires also industrialised rapidly
Britain started industrialising well before it had a substantial empire. in 1740, the “empire” was basically some parts of the US and Canada with negligible economic output compared to the mainland.
Finally, the idea that Columbus was necessary for colonisation to happen is something I’m skeptical of. Yes no discovery of America = no colonization of America but I don’t quite see why European colonization of other parts of the world was contingent on columbus.
Also, a few other popular explanations of why Europe pulled ahead:
Many competing states with a natural geography full of barriers stopping any single empire from forming and dominating = more competition/experimentation = more progress
Property rights and a strong trader/merchant class with a large degree of influence on government vs religious+millitary rule in the arab world. (Note this doesn’t apply to all of europe, more to the UK and netherlands. Doesn’t explain the success of other European nations)
Unique geographic features such as minimal natural disasters, large amounts of arable land, good climate, lots of large animals and good crops ⇒ higher pop density ⇒ more innovation and growth
European christianity being in a better state, somewhat de to the reformation, and that having ripple effects throughout society in terms of norms etc...
I don’t think the conclusion “stateless societies are not in a Hobbesian state of constant war” is warranted here. With stateless societies or those in a weak state, the war isn’t between members of the group/family/clan/tribe. It’s between different groups. Within a group people are still subject to rules, sanctions for bad behaviour etc...
I’m not sure I agree.
Some class of errors/problems are due to taking the wrong approach. Trying harder here is indeed not effective and is bad advice.
Another class of errors are due to giving up too early, not putting in enough effort or not really caring about doing something well/properly. For this class of errors, “try harder” is legitimate feedback because the problem is indeed the amount of effort being put in.
An example from my time at secondary school. Some people would try to study but take the wrong approach and as a consequence not do that well. Telling them to study harder or longer would not have been good advice. Other people didn’t really care, didn’t study or pay attention in class and when they did it was only the bare minimum to avoid punishment. For the second group, telling them to try harder is good advice.
There’s another question here over whether telling someone to try harder is often effective. The implicit assumption of the post is that no, its not. My experience in the real world is that in many situations you can motivate people to exert substantially more effort in an activity with “try harder” advice framed in the right way and with the right relationship with the person you’re talking to.
Are you already committed to a specific person to have children with?
The reason I ask is that who you have children with will have a drastically larger impact on the quality of children you get vs even 100% accurate polygenic screening. If waiting 10 years gets you better polygenic screening but makes finding a good partner (genetics + character/culture etc...) somewhat less likely, then the tradeoff may not be worth it.
(It’s still smart to freeze eggs/sperm anyway)
Agreed but it seems to me that agreeableness/conflict-avoidance makes you far more susceptible to frame-control. Not that it’s the only factor which matters or that a disagreeable person is immune.
This article gives me a strange feeling of looking through a mirror into a very different kind of world. I’m highly disagreeable. Vulnerability to frame control seems to stem from being agreeable/conflict-avoidant/unassertive. I personally find many of the situations where person A tries to frame control person person B and person B just silently takes it and doesn’t say anything (at least in the initial stages) really weird and hard to imagine myself doing. Further, while rationally I know people behave like this, I really can’t put myself in their shoes and see why. The reactions to situations just seem so different from what mine would be.
The burning man example. If I made a point and another person suggested people just listen to me because I’m tall/eloquent/have other trait X, I’d immediately confront them. I can’t imagine letting a shitty argumentative tactic like that slide, much less the insult it implies.
The student who asks the master a question, the master then responds by asking the student what motivates them to seek problems. Again, my response would be to pointedly confront the master and point out that they haven’t answered my question.
Counterpoint: Sometimes you don’t have a clear title because you don’t have a clear understanding of what you want to say. Starting by writing and iterating can help you clarify your thoughts and eventually lead to a clear title & article once you’re clearer on what you’re thinking/want to say.
Hard agree with the potential negative effects. Debating is essentially learning to be good at motivated reasoning. That can be very good if you choose to apply said motivated reasoning skill to deeply understand all positions on a topic, even those you disagree with. It’s usually bad because most people just use their superior motivated reasoning skills to engage in confirmation bias more effectivley.
I think there are two parts to being good at philosophy: argumentative skill and cached knowldge.
Cached knowledge is knowing a given topic, the arguments around it and so on. Without cached knowledge you can’t engage in a real discussion because you have to reinvent the wheel while other people are discussion the best design for a car. Getting cached knowledge is largely a matter of reading existing work and discussion with people who know the field
Argumentation is being able to argue well. This means spotting flaws in arguments, being able to distinguish between an argument being true and being important, finding the cruxe(s) of a discussion and so on. This is hard to learn and is more a skill. The best way to learn it in my experience is lots and lots of practice with short feedback cycles and direct, clear feedback. Competitive debating can help. So can the standard route of writing lots of papers and having someone who is good mark them and rip them apart when/where they’re unpersuasive/unclear/imprecise.
It’s not necessarily clear that disaster relief is better handled by the government. A few things to keep in mind:
It’s not a choice between markets or government. You can have both. (e.g: The army and rescue services organizing huge logistics efforts to resupply effected regions/clear roads. At the same time supermarkets are allowed to sell goods at inflated prices, incentivizing them to store a surplus in future cases where disasters may happen as they can make a profit large enough to offset the cost of keeping excess stock in inventory.)
The same incentive problems that apply to gov’s generally also apply here. A shop owner, assuming price gouging is allowed, is incentivized to keep a small surplus of disaster items in stock even though they won’t sell in normal times because of the small chance of an extraordinary profit if a disaster strikes. The government, even thought it should ideally keep track of and prepare for disasters, often won’t due to it being in no individual’s interests to do so. e.g: Lack of food stockpiling in New Orleans prior to Katrina.
I recently finished reading the book with a small group of friends. One thing we all thought was that the micro half of the book was far better written then the macro half. We all came away from the micro half with a clear, intuitive understanding of most of most of the concepts explained. On the other hand the macro explanations seemed to be both more complex and also less persuasive. There were a number of times we thought up obvious objections to a macro explanation, expected the book to cover it only to find that it moved on.
I think you may be confusing utilitarianism and consequentialism a bit. Your arguments for accepting utilitarianism past a certain scale (e.g: would you kill one person to save the world, no logical basis for act/omission distinction) are more arguments for consequentialism generally than they are for utilitarianism specifically. Your objections on the other hand are specific to utilitarianism.
Have you considered that you may be a consequentialist (you think the best principled course of action/universe is one where we maximise goodness) but not a utilitarian (consequentialism + the only thing we should care about it utility. No weighting for desert, justice, knowledge, etc...)
I think these are all good examples of language reforms. I guess my issue is that I was over-fixating on english.
I agree that there are many metrics on which you can judge a language. My post above was meant to be more about writing systems specifically than languages generally. (Sorry for the lack of clarity). Given a set language with a certain vocabulary, grammar etc.. I don’t why a phonemic system of writing would lead to less communication bandwidth, expressiveness, ambiguity etc… than a non phonemic one. Ditto for logogramatic writing systems.
In essence my mental model is that you can say certain things in certain ways with a given language. Which writing system you use effects how hard or easy it is to change from verbal language to written language, but the writing system itself doesn’t change the expressiveness, signalling, capacity fo intentional ambiguity etc...
Also, even if you think that ease of learning is not the only/most important metric, I still think it’s worth taking into account and giving at least a fair amount of weight to. After all a language which is far harder to learn (e.g: chinese) will result in a far smaller pool of literate people and even the people who are literate will be comparatively less so than in an alternate world where their language use a easier to learn writing system.