Monthly Archives: August 2014


[Content note: Suicide. May be guilt-inducing for people who feel like burdens. All patient characteristics have been heavily obfuscated to protect confidentiality.] The DSM lists nine criteria for major depressive disorder, of which the seventh is “feelings of worthlessness or … Continue reading

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Fifty Swifties

[see: Wikipedia: Tom Swifties and Tom Swifties Written By An Author Willing To Go To Any Lengths To Make A Tom Swifty Thus Resulting In Constructions That Often Require More Work For Readers Than For The Author. All of the … Continue reading

Beware Isolated Demands For Rigor

I. From Identity, Personal Identity, and the Self by John Perry: “There is something about practical things that knocks us off our philosophical high horses. Perhaps Heraclitus really thought he couldn’t step in the same river twice. Perhaps he even … Continue reading

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Does Race Exist? Does Culture?

The other day I brought up Eulering, the use of extremely complicated math to debunk a common sense concept. It’s a tough situation, because lots of our common sense concepts are genuinely false, and when they are it sometimes takes … Continue reading

Does the Glasgow Coma Scale exist? Do comas?

[Epistemic status: I am quite confident I am not making a *small* mistake here. Either I am right, or I have completely misunderstood the entire premise of the debate.] I. One of the more interesting responses I got to yesterday’s … Continue reading

Getting Eulered

There is an apocryphal story about the visit of the great atheist philosopher Diderot to the Russian court. Diderot was quite the clever debater, and soon this scandalous new atheism thing was the talk of St. Petersburg. This offended reigning … Continue reading

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Friendship Is (Still) Countersignaling

Related: Friendship Is Countersignaling When I was in high school, I was terrified of people asking me to do things with them. Usually they were things I didn’t like, and I’d want to say no, but I’d be worried I … Continue reading

Random Noise Is Our Most Valuable Resource

Yesterday I suggested that it will be surprisingly easy to build “creative” computers, because what we think of as “creativity” is just a temporary suppression of our mind’s inbuilt tendency to avoid unusual thoughts that violate its accustomed pattern. A … Continue reading

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Negative Creativity

[Epistemic status: it is late and I am tired and I wanted to get a blog post out. No guarantees of quality.] It is said that one of the highest-level and most awe-inspiring of rationalist skills is Sitting And Thinking … Continue reading

Unspoken Ground Assumptions Of Discussion

To say a thing is implicitly to claim to believe it. This has chilling effects on one’s exercise of free speech. — @fakeysaysthings 1. Are you trying to present the correct balance between positions (“judge mode”) or present one side … Continue reading

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