[ExI] The subjectivity of entropy, the role of the observer...==> Rational metaethics

Lee Corbin lcorbin at rawbw.com
Fri Feb 29 07:26:22 UTC 2008

Jef wrote

> This one I found particularly gratifying, expanding on the inherent
> subjectivity of entropy and the ineluctable role of the observer in
> any description of "reality."  Setting the stage for a rational
> metaethics of increasingly rational choice.
> <http://www.overcomingbias.com/2008/02/second-law.html>

Well, after examining the comments to Eliezer's post, it's easy to
see that he created a lot of confusion with 

   "Is the water colder, because we know more about it?
   Ignoring quantumness for the moment, the answer is:
   Yes!  Yes it is!"

But aside from what was evidently an overstatement, why do
you believe that the role of the observer is "ineluctable" in any
description of reality?  Jaynes was a philosophical realist, and
I think that Eliezer is too (he was the last time I talked to him
in person).

To use the language of Jaynes:  Suppose we have two robots
A and B.  Each of them has different information concerning
some system S. Indeed their Bayesian probabilities of S having
certain characteristics will differ. (It was ingenious of Jaynes to
introduce his robot, *because* it banished a certain kind of
subjectivity.)  But don't you believe that the system ITSELF
has certain properties and characteristics? Surely you haven't
abandoned realism entirely.


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