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

Lee Corbin lcorbin at rawbw.com
Fri Feb 29 17:26:12 UTC 2008

Jef writes

> 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.

Yass, he ought to be up to your level in no time.

> 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."

Or, on the other hand, it's possible that he might be *wrong*
about a detail here or there. I'm sure you don't deny the
possibility.  "A more profound model of reality"?  I don't
know if that's the right way or not to characterize what he's
doing, but I'm very doubful.  Anyway, his essays certainly are
great explication, though, even when just about basic science
and math (e.g. making clear how phase space and configuration
space work, and of course, his classic on Bayes' Theorem).

> Eliezer isn't denying the coldness; he is trying to share a more
> encompassing understanding of the meaning of cold.

"Meaning of cold"?  But Jef, "cold" and "coldness", do not need any
explaining. The common day-to-day understanding meshes almost
perfectly with laboratory (i.e. thermometer) readings. "Heat" and
"hot" likewise. Entropy and information are the mind-benders.

> 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 EVERYONE knows that.  True, I knew folks back in
the sixties and seventies who spoke as if they didn't get it,
and when they opened their mouths about epistemology
total garbage came out. But!  That cleared up remarkably
in the 80s (it seemed to me), and everyone I've encountered
since is what I call a "scientific materialist", even if they don't
like the term. Everybody is a realist, except for a few
philosophers.  I'm pretty sure you are too, but that scare-
quoting of "reality" gives me the shivers.

>> 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.

:-)   And I suppose that I'll have to be satisfied with that Zen-like


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