RE: Metarationality (was: JOIN: Alden Streeter)

From: Ben Goertzel (
Date: Mon Aug 26 2002 - 08:51:25 MDT

> My working assumption has been that, to pursue rationality, I must
> sacrifice my individual right to have wrong opinions and regard
> my beliefs
> as being either "correct" or "incorrect" according to how well they
> correspond to reality. The mere fact that a belief is "mine", apart from
> its causal history, is not evidence about its truth or falsity; therefore
> this naked fact is not relevant to rational reasoning. Although
> of course
> it plays a large role in various arational/irrational social cognitive
> mechanisms.
> And to anticipate your obvious response to this, you are free to assume,
> if you like, that I have not succeeded in counteracting these social
> mechanisms. But it is nonetheless what someone pursuing the truth would
> try to do. No?

Probably 90% of us on this list consistently make the same effort to seek
the "truth" and overcome this biological and cultural predispositions that
hamper us in our higher goals

In order to do this, one does not have to agree with YOU on the handiest
definitions of all terms, nor on anything else ;)

> > For instance, as I've argued, there needs to be, in any finite system
> > within the universe, some non-prob-inference process for adapting the
> > universal set U used in the system's prob-inference processes.
> Does it work nonaccidentally? Or is it entirely random? If it works
> nonaccidentally, some form of rationality is behind it

As I clarified in another e-mail, the crux of the matter seems to be that,
in order to be effective overall (what you'd call Rational overall), a
system may need to have some subcomponent that does not, viewed in
isolation, appear to be operating rationally at all...

> you like it or not.

In this little phraselet, you are suggesting that the reason I don't agree
with you about the nature of the mind is that I emotionally don't "like"

It feels to me, rather, like YOU are the one who is emotionally
(irrationally?) attached to your idea of rationality.

But I suggest that it's better to stick to the issues rather than to attempt
to probe into each others' minds. At this primitive moment in history, we
lack the instrumentation to do such a thing properly!!!

-- Ben G

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