RE: Metarationality (was: JOIN: Alden Streeter)

From: Rafal Smigrodzki (
Date: Mon Aug 26 2002 - 15:28:25 MDT

Ben Goertzel wrote:

Well, my subjective impression is that Dick's hallucinations of a
super-rational AI feeding information into his brain, were pretty damn
irrational. I feel the same way about his conviction that we actually live
in the time of 100AD or so, but are deluded into thinking we live around
2000 AD instead. I think the guy was half-nuts, to use a technical term...

Personally, I will call this stuff irrational, not just non-rational ;)

### I agree with you. He was nuts but it didn't prevent him from writing
entertaining prose. The delusions were irrational, since, as far as I can
tell, they would lead him to make decisions which would not allow him to
achieve his goals (e.g. might induce him to start a special diet, needed to
maintain communion with his imaginary friend, and this might be in conflict
with his goal of staying alive). In fact, if you consider a larger number of
persons with similar beliefs, their ability to achieve their goals is
severely limited. He was just likely there was enough rationality left in
his mind to prevent a bad outcome. The reliable goal-failure of the patterns
of thought that Dick exhibited is why we call them irrational (an occasional
mad genius notwithstanding).

It is the preponderance of cases (psychiatric ones included) that shapes our
perception of rationality.


I suppose that, as part of our ability to learn regularities in reality, we
have emerged a strong capability to create complex hypothetical concepts --
which may then be tested to see if they reflect regularities in reality.

### You expressed one of the ideas which is applied to explain
schizophrenia - a failure of reality testing (implemented in the damaged
prefrontal cortex) with intact generative functions of other parts of the


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