[extropy-chat] Rational thinking

Colin Geoffrey Hales c.hales at pgrad.unimelb.edu.au
Mon Dec 4 05:04:02 UTC 2006

> Colin Geoffrey Hales wrote:
>> Consider this:
>> "... that neither beliefs nor acts of belief, nor decisions,
>> nor even preferences, are reasonable or rational except in
>> the sense that they are reached by procedures methods that
>> are reasonable or rational. (The phrase rational belief is
>> rather like the phrase 'fast food'.)..."
> Turtles all the way down, eh?  Isn't that the same kind of thinking that
> killed Buridan's Ass?
> I understand the point, and avoid the word "belief" for that very
> reason, but isn't it interesting that absolutely effective decisions are
> made and actions taken all the while lacking any valid means of support?
> Every system functions within a context.  Despite all the uncertainties,
> the spider was just as dead after being swatted by the master.

>> "Induction: A Problem Solved" in David Miller 2005, "Out of
>> Error" p111.
> I've had this book on my Amazon wish list for a while now but it's a bit
> pricey and I don't know when I'll get to it.  Checked UCSB library but
> they don't have it either. Do you have a used copy to sell?
> - Jef

No copies to sell, unfortunately. Keep trying. It's a good book.

I think Miller has nailed it. It aligns with scientific behaviour
perfectly. You have to 'behave'... even inaction is a form of action
(there's your ass!), so your behaviour automatically reflects an 'as-if'
causal reflection of belief - even if it can't be articulated. In science,
the process is simply more rigorous. Technology results from behaving
'as-if' a natural law (held as a belief) was a truth about the natural
world. The facts of the matter are forever contingent and your technology
will reflect its accuracy. Very very simple. Beliefs have to inhabit a
human to acquire any causal efficacy as the ancestry to novel technology.



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