# Aretae

The virtue of excellence

## Friday, January 27, 2012

### The Grand other-minds error

There is a way of thinking that is roughly universal among human beings...that also happens to be painfully wrong.  I'm sure there are actually lots of these horrid things...but I want to focus on a relatively-smart-people problem today.  The problem:

• I am certain of this
Does not imply either of the following
• It is true
• It is clear to someone else with an even slightly different start point.

Leonard said...

Yes, but are you certain of that?

Aretae said...

I FEEL certain.

Orphan said...

Was it Hansen or Yudkowsky who wrote the argument that the mere fact that somebody has arrived at a particular point in solution-space implies more confidence in a conclusion than we would naively assume to be the case?

Not to argue that rational implicitism isn't a problem, but in a mindspace in which "certain" is as close to "true" as it is possible to get, certainty is for all intents and purposes truth; perhaps a local truth, but truth nonetheless.

drpat said...

Orphan,

I would interpret that to mean that there are effectively infinite points in solution space, so if anyone arrives at a single point, this indicates that this point has a finite ie. greater than 1/infinity chance of being a useful solution.