Simfish/InquilineKea's Thoughts

reflections on reasoning
February 9, 2008, 12:39 pm
Filed under: main

It appears that most fundamental disagreements center around…

(a) estimation of relative contributions and

(b) generality

(c) what works for one system does not apply to system2 under different constraints

(d) projection estimates

(e) can people discern what’s best for them in all possible cases, or do they need to be guided by ppl policies

(f) estimate of relative weights of what one VALUES

If I propose this idea anywhere, it will be heavily criticized. People will think that their ideas will be SUPERIOR to this idea just because their ideas have been used for more people (and more teaching styles).  But they cannot PROVE that their ideas will be superior to this idea, ESPECIALLY for a particular person. We really don’t know which idea is superior. What we do know is this – my idea is based on self-study and flexibility so the costs of my idea are very low (and if one ends up learning nothing, one ends up learning nothing without too much time lost).


Do most social policies (and advice) fundamentally lay on discernment” – or the lack of trust in people’s ability to discern? If people were able to discern what’s best for themselves each and every time, then policies would be useless. Policies are by definition, measures to encourage a number of people to achieve a desired aim. Generic advice is based on the assumption that people often can’t discern between alternatives to truly decide what’s best for them (and so it lays on the assumption that it is better for them to take the suggested route – which would work most of the time). this is often right.Artificial vs. natural barriers: It’s important to discern between the two. Artificial barriers prevent people from reaching their potential.  This is sometimes desirable, as you don’t want people to reach their potential of medication toxicity – that’s why you set artificial barriers to medication dosages. Other times they provide a good means of actually motivating people (or setting a guideline for them – as artificially set barriers are WELL-DEFINED, unlike natural barriers). This also has some roots in discernment – artificial barriers would be useless if people had perfect information and perfect ability to discern – but they don’t have such ability. Of course artificial barriers in other cases truly do prevent people from reaching their potential (for example, their potential to, say, learn calculus at age 14).


February 5, 2008, 9:23 am | Edit this
Filed under: insightful
People like to share their scores after tests. I used to do that too, until I started doing badly on some of them. And then I’d still share if I did okay (but I’m now starting to avoid sharing for all cases until my work ethics are stronger). Clearly, test scores carry an aura of objectivity that nothing else can carry (even if tests have their flaws and can’t measure everything, blahblahblah).You can always argue to someone else “if I had done X I would have done better on the test.” Could you actually convince anyone of the legitimacy of such assertion? Is it worth convincing that person?Moreover, in ANY sample, there are a group of people who could improve a lot more too. To say that you could have improved your test scores significantly (to the exclusion of others) is to be unfair to them. Perhaps some can actually improve much more than others (given that they have larger “potential ability” to “realized ability” gaps. But convincing yourself of such counterfactuals is far less difficult than convicning others of the validity of the counterfactual. That said, the end justifies the means. People retake the SATs, and while most people barely improve, there are a small number of people who do have reason to expect significant improvements.


discernment theory

January 25, 2008, 8:49 pm | Edit this
Filed under: dictionaryofimportantterms, insightful
basically in cases where self-control isn’t a major factor, i should trust my ability to discern between when action x is preferable and when action y is preferable. it is rare that action x should always be preferable to action y when one HAS the ability to discern.for example – going to lecture. going to lectures for all classes all the time can result in tremendous frustration with some lectures – but skipping lectures for all classes all the time is extremely dangerous (and can result in you missing out on certain good lectures). meh. this is an interesting case though. taking 4-5 hardcore math classes at a time is an extremely dangerous move and should one be done if one has thoroughly pre-studied at least 2 of them.


January 22, 2008, 11:06 am | Edit this
Filed under: dictionaryofimportantterms, insightful
the question with ANY system is this:can you TRUST people to be able to discern between what’s BEST for them and what isn’t BEST for them PRIMA FACIE?

And which systems work for the greatest possible number of people while allowing opportunities for people who wish to pursue alternative routes?

And which types of people are more likely to be enhanced by exploring multiple systems at a cost of efficiency, and which types of people are likely to suffer efficiency losses at such a rate that they would be well-advised to pursue a single system?

I just added this to my facebook interests:

“the coincidental correlations between certain probability distributions + combinatorial systems (wrt certain alphabets) and the real world, arbitrary lines that are inserted into those combinatorial systems (perhaps facilitated by the observation that patterns in combinatorial systems tend to indirectly enhance the survival of similar patterns in such systems)”

patents are often given to arbitrary systems that somehow are thought by (someone) to have correlation with the POTENTIAL interests of the population at large.

January 25, 2008, 9:02 am | Edit this
Filed under: insightful
If you can change the system, change the systemif you cannot change the system, flee the system

if you cannot flee the system, adapt to the system and wait for opportunities to change it (or for the system to be changed)
if you cannot facilitate or forsee the change of the system, adapt to it and treat it as an effective absolute

if you cannot adapt to it, use any means necessary to get out via legal means

if you absolutely cannot use any means necessary to get out via legal means, get out via illegal means

if you cannot even use illegal means to get out, die.

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i’d switch the first and third bullets in most cases (i.e. unless the system was really trampling on my rights).
changing the system takes time and effort, and usually i want to expend that effort on other thingsComment by averin January 25, 2008 @ 11:08 pm |Edit This
oh yeah, i impulsively added the third bullet.yeah (3) should come before (2). good point about “changing the system takes time and effort”. Maybe I should just put in “change the system at a reasonable price.” In the case that changing it doesn’t take much effort, then it’s the preferred direction. But sometimes SWITCHING to another system is the preferred method. It then depends on the relative differences between the opportunity costs of switching and the opportunity costs of actually changing (and the probability of success for both)

Comment by inquilinekea January 26, 2008 @ 9:39 am |Edit This

quite possibly.
it actually reminds me of some chinese quote
from the art of war or something“if you can fight, fight
if you can’t fight, defend
if you can’t defend, leave
if you can’t leave, surrender
if you can’t surrender, die”

or at least i think that’s how it goes

Comment by averin January 27, 2008 @ 4:05 am |Edit This

I derived the inspiration from that quote. =p It’s attributed to Sima Yi from the Romance of Three Kingdoms (but I think Luo Guanzhong made it up for him).Comment by inquilinekea January 27, 2008 @ 4:10 am |Edit This


textbook logic:


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