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

Jef Allbright jef at jefallbright.net
Fri Feb 29 14:49:26 UTC 2008

On Thu, Feb 28, 2008 at 11:26 PM, Lee Corbin <lcorbin at rawbw.com> wrote:

> 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!"

It's evident to me that Eliezer has recently (in the last several
weeks) reached a new (to him) threshold in his epistemology.  I was
hopeful of this; now I'm glad.

A perceived downside is that for a while, by many, he may appear to be
speaking craziness as he adapts in his attempts to share a more
profound model of that  "reality."

Eliezer isn't denying the coldness; he is trying to share a more
encompassing understanding of the meaning of cold.  Just as my
frequent scare-quoting of the term "reality" is not to deny it, but to
make clear that the map is never the territory, and further, that the
actual territory can never be known.

> 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).

I deeply respect Jaynes and his thinking.  Eliezer's conceptual
integration of the fundamentally *epistemological* basis of entropy is
fully supportive of what Jaynes worked so hard to convey.

> But don't you believe that the system ITSELF
> has certain properties and characteristics? Surely you haven't
> abandoned realism entirely.

Lee, the answers you get are subject to the questions you (are
prepared to) ask.

- Jef

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