If We Value Democracy, We Should Vote on Cultural Norms

The core thesis of democracy is that values should be decided democratically. Democracy is good, if and only if, people choosing values democratically will result in good values. If the “democracy” thesis is true, if people voting on values really does produce better outcomes than a group of appointed experts, why shouldn’t NPR – “national” […]

Love is a Powerful Game Theoretic Strategy

Love simply means encoding another agent’s utility function as part of your own.  As a strategy, love has some unique properties that are worth considering. Love is effective as a strategy in multi-agent environments because it makes you act as something like a weak proxy for other agents.    When agent A loves agent B, […]

The Epistemic Discount Rate is Too Damn Low

A recent conversation about longtermism raised the question of an “epistemic discount rate.” Yes, the future definitely matters as much as the present. But we can’t reason with as much certainty about the future. To what extent should we discount our conclusions about future outcomes? The first response raised a great retort that I think […]

The Epistemic Rent is Too Damn Low!

We say all beliefs must pay rent. And i say, the rent is too damn low! Anything that makes you feel good reduces your anticipation that you might feel bad – even absurd beliefs detached from reality pay rent by making you feel good. If I believe the spaghetti god will make me feel better […]

Making Moral Realism Pay Rent

We construct ‘value maps‘ of the world using our brains. If predictive processing is true, we effectively live inside these value maps, since we live inside the worlds our brains construct for us based upon our beliefs. A question arises: is there any real territory to which these maps point? Moral realism says ‘yes’. Moral […]

The End of Coastal Limits to Inflation

I spent then years working in Silicon Valley, and recently returned to my ancestral homeland of Ohio. Many people are following similar trends, and this is common knowledge. I think there’s an untold story around “The Great Migration” and inflation. My view is that inflation has been happening for years, but it was mostly constrained […]

Ego Loss Explained Via Predictive Processing

I have long been frustrated with people saying things like “there is no such thing as the self”, “the ego is a delusion”, etc.  I finally have a way of explaining what these people are talking about, using the framework of predictive processing. The reason people speak in this frustrating, confused language is, I think, […]