Re: Philosophy vs. rigor

From: Mikko Särelä (
Date: Mon Oct 25 2004 - 07:09:10 MDT

On Sun, 24 Oct 2004, Eliezer Yudkowsky wrote:
> I want conclusions that are strongly probable given previous observations, and
> which, in fact, turn out not to send me shrieking off a cliff to my doom.
> This latter property I call "correctness" and you can substitute "not too
> grossly wrong" if you like.
> This matter of certainty given assumptions seems to me no commendation of a
> theory, if its conclusion fails against fact.

The matter of certainty given assumptions comes from different direction,
it is a matter of communication, not a matter of being right/wrong.

When you want to convince others that what you do/understand is important,
it is useful to present arguments in the form that overtly describes the
assumptions. This lets them assess the probabilities of those assumptions
themselves and thus gives them better chance to form an opinion (in other
words, the uncertainty of their opinion on the matter becomes smaller).

Mikko Särelä
     "I too don't really find Monty Python all that exciting, but don't
      tell anyone I said that." Anonymous

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