From: Eliezer S. Yudkowsky (firstname.lastname@example.org)
Date: Sat Aug 24 2002 - 20:56:21 MDT
Everything that works is a form of rationality; works because it is
rational; and is rational because it works.
To be precise, everything that works noncoincidentally, with a probability
greater than sheer random chance would predict, is a form of rationality;
works because it is rational; and is rational because it works.
That's what the Bayesian Probability Theorem *is* - a *universal*
description of the way in which things can be evidence about other things.
It is not limited to any one domain. It is not limited to deliberative or
Intuitions are a form of rationality.
The visual cortex is a form of rationality.
Logic - real logic, the kind that works - is a form of rationality.
Verbally clever rationalization, e.g. Plato, is not a form of rationality
because it is not bound (does not correlate under the BPT) to the external
variables about which it purports to provide information.
Evolution, and everything created by evolution, is a form of rationality
(DNA carrying on a limited kind of induction on past observations).
A flower is a frozen truth - the expression of DNA's induction on a
history of past successes. So is a smallpox virus. So is a human baby.
Evolution's induction is an imperfect form of rationality - but to
whatever degree it works, it works because it is a form of rationality.
One of the oldest human stories is the universal, omnipresent force that
confers power on those who wield it, serve it, and move with its flow; the
Tao, the Force, the breath of God. The closest thing to that archetype
that actually exists in our universe is rationality. Every nonaccidental
correlation that exists is grist for the Bayesian Probability Theorem; it
works because it is rational, and is rational because it works.
Rationality is the universal of which evolution and brains are partial
implementations, and the truth that confers upon them their powers. It
underlies the inductive reasoning that gave birth to flowers, and the
deliberative reasoning that put footprints on the moon. If you look past
surface similarities and differences you can see the rationality burning
underneath like blood flowing under skin.
-- Eliezer S. Yudkowsky http://intelligence.org/ Research Fellow, Singularity Institute for Artificial Intelligence
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