So here’s my Wiki!
I was right, it is a good format for me. Instead of producing an endless supply of blog post drafts that people can’t see, I create a steady supply of new wiki content that people can go and see! I love it.
The fundamental options (means to an end) to consider in every human conflict:
Obviously, where reasonable, the first two options should be used instead of the latter two. And I’d include a wide range of things (perhaps even verbal abuse, certainly verbal harassment) in the category of “use of force” even if it is intended to change minds. Some people even physically strike someone over the head and shout “think”, and that could be an attempt to change minds too, but certainly involves physical force. See also: Conflict Escalation, and De-Escalation.
On the topic of changing minds, it would be nice if we could spread values that made people tend towards correction. Such as:
(and I think these could be used for conflict prevention, too)
Though that doesn’t mean we should cheer for the villain. Using False Flag Operations is still villainy that we should despise. And, as the main character does, we should strive for some kind of harmony (something like Meta-Utopia is one way to do that) even if there were extreme biological differences, and even if there are a few dangerous people in a group.
It’s a bit of a mixed bag. Some of those issues are only troubling because of the real world context we find ourselves in.
A few personal notes:
Other points to maybe consider:
*It almost seems like this facet of the story is crafted precisely as a thought experiment. It’s like the writers are using the method that the main character from “The Illusionist” uses when getting the authority guy to try to lift the sword. They hold it just long enough to get people watching the movie uncomfortable, then let it go. I don’t think I have fully grasped the meaning produced by this in relation to everything else yet.
This is a bit speculative, and maybe not as precise as I’d like it to be, but I think there’s really something here to be aware of. For example, what I’m going to say here might help people avoid needless conflict.
There seem to be these two major styles of thinking and conceptualizing and such. Different ways of looking at things?
I think a lot of difficulty arises when there is a dispute between parties that use a different one of these styles. First, I think, because the two sides have difficulty understanding the other. Second, I think, because they believe only their own thinking is correct, so surely the other must be wrong.
Yet I suspect that both can be used to describe reality with equal accuracy. And it might be advantageous to use both, rather than just one. Obviously I’m sold on the utility of the more analytic approach. But I’m also writing a blog post which (on retrospect?) looks strikingly like advocacy for the holistic way of thinking. If I had to guess right now, I’d say each is more efficient at different tasks, even though theoretically both will end up with equally accurate descriptions of reality.
Other possibly related things to check out:
Sometimes it seems like I follow the opposite of Thumper’s Rule. Even when I mostly like stuff, I’m prone to being silent until I spot a flaw to point out!
Recently I’ve been less like that, but here I wanted to share two comments I made that admittedly followed that trend.
In her video, she explained how two different theories of decision making (“State of the World” Causal decision theory VS Evidential decision theory) seem to come to opposite conclusions in this paradox.
Now that I’m revisiting this, I think the “state of the world” thing (as stated in the video) is a failure to actually be what it’s claimed to be: Causal decision theory. It’s stated as if the person’s choice will not cause the contents of the box. Yet that’s precisely the line of causation that the thought experiment tells you will take place. So any true Causal Decision Theory should accept that.
Because of that mixup, my comment below might look like it isn’t totally addressing the position as stated in the video, I addressed causality, which is what really matters. By definition, causality determines what outcome (such as the contents of the box) will be caused.
The two decision theories don’t predict different actions if done correctly. The state of the world isn’t just the contents of the box. It is also the decision maker, and the mind reading, the fact that the future is physically pre-determined, etc.. Given THAT state of the world, which to pick? You get the same answer as the evidential approach. Your idea of “the state of the world” has to depend on evidence anyways, and so does the “which action causes the best expected outcome” part.
It only seems that they give different answers because you are, essentially, approximating the answers, rather than computing them exactly. Or because you disagree on the state of the world. Maybe you disagree that the “state of the world” includes the fact that the future is pre-determined in some way (or at least functionally identical to determinism). But then you are simply rejecting the thought experiment, which dictates that this is indeed the state of the world.
Also, the correct answer can change (and both decision theories will agree) once the situation is not idealized. Once there is uncertainty. Then you need to use Bayesian decision making based on the values and probabilities. But also note that the values in this calculation don’t merely depend on the absolute value of the dollars, but also how important each outcome is in your life. For some people, it might be more important to guarantee that they get more than zero dollars (maybe they are starving poor) so taking the $1000 might be the only rational choice. For others, $1000 might not be enough (maybe they need ransom money immediately), so increasing the probability of the million might be the only rational choice.
(I also replied to several other commenters)
Check out her channel! One of her videos even had advice for solving “paradoxes”, and when I watched that one I got the feeling maybe she’d even agree with my above comment.
Anyways, at the time, I said:
I have to disagree that more people is good since you said “all things being equal”. I take that to mean that a lesser number of people have nothing to gain by choosing one option over the other. That means more people would be entirely neutral, not good, but not bad either. You say intelligent life is more valuable than inanimate asteroids and dead planets. Of course that is true in at least two ways: first, the good that they can bring to other people. But eventually, if you have enough, I think more people will make no difference to anyone (except for those people who want to have children, but plenty of advanced nations have very low birth rates, so who knows). Second, intrinsic value. We are intrinsically valuable because we value ourselves. But that is different from valuing a state of the world where there are more people. Moral arguments, such as the trolley problem, work because people already value their own futures and such. In the trolley solution, it’s not because more people will exist, it’s because there is statistically less disaster. And we want to live in a world where there is statistically less disaster. People want us to make that world, and we want other people to make that world.
There’s different ways to say what something “is”. For example a hammer. You can talk about:
For hammers, like for many things, an intensional definition can be developed. In the case of hammers I think it would mostly have to do with its function, what we use it to do, and how it works.
Though usually, a ton of these ways of looking at the thing come together into a concept or “construct”. Even degree or probability might go into the concept. An ice cream sandwich might be “a sandwich” in some sense, but when someone says they are bringing you “a sandwich” you’d be rather confused if it turned out to be an ice cream sandwich. And yet clearly the two have enough similarity in form and purpose that it makes sense to use the name “ice cream sandwich” rather than “ice cream mystery object”, as if it were a wholly unfamiliar shape.
Ok. I think I have some ideas for this year. What to do, how to do things differently and better, etc.:
There’s other things too, like getting an APEGA mentor, investing some money, doing stuff for the Humanist groups I’m part of, and lots of learning about stuff, and (of course) blogging more often.
But the above three points seem like the main three to me right now. In fact, the website idea has stuck with me since I was first putting it together in the early months of this recent fall. Then I realized, really, it is related to many other ideas I’ve been enthused by over the years, and I guess it’s all evolved over time into this. Many different ideas came together into a comprehensive whole, and it might actually be something people would be interested in.
Hopefully this will all be as fun as it sounds. At the very least, I’ll be building skills and experience.