Re: Metarationality (was: JOIN: Alden Streeter)

From: Gordon Worley (
Date: Sun Aug 25 2002 - 01:43:40 MDT

On Saturday, August 24, 2002, at 08:50 PM, Ben Goertzel wrote:

> Consider heuristics like
> "To predict how long a software project will take, take your first
> estimate,
> double it, then double it again."
> "When you're hiking in the desert, things are a lot further than they
> appear."
> These are conscious, rational heuristics for postprocessing the results
> of
> unconscious processing. We can employ these heuristics in order to
> improve
> the rationality of our judgments. We can do this WITHOUT being able to
> improve the rationality of the unconscious processes that create the
> first
> estimates of project duration, or the first impression of the distance
> to an
> oasis.
> Are you saying that in a higher state of "truly rational"
> consciousness, one
> doesn't see the oasis as being closer than it really is? One's
> perceptual
> cortex is rewired to avoid this kind of incorrect, "irrational"
> judgment?

I don't know, since wearing glasses I know that any judgments I make on
distance are generally wrong. ;-)

Seriously, though, essentially, yes. Rather than thinking the wrong
thing first, you just think the right thing to begin with. Wow, what a
simple idea. ;-)

>> I am not drawing the distinction along traditional psychological lines,
>> so that's probable the problem. Maybe I shouldn't use the words
>> `conscious' and `unconscious' and just stick with something like
>> `feedback-able thought' and `feedback-less though'. To be fair I don't
>> know a lot about psychology, but from what I know about neuropsychology
>> I get the impression that all thought is the same qualitatively and the
>> only difference is that some thought is feedback-able and some thought
>> is not.
> That is just not the case. At least, it's not believed to be the case
> by
> the vast majority of cognitive psychologists.

Okay, it's looking like I'm wrong about this one (or if I'm right it's
not because I'm an amazing cognitive scientist). Time to hit the books.

Sorry this one ended up so short; Eliezer addressed many of the points
we've been discussing.

Gordon Worley                     `When I use a word,' Humpty Dumpty            said, `it means just what I choose                it to mean--neither more nor less.'
PGP:  0xBBD3B003                                  --Lewis Carroll

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