Re: How You Do Not Tell the Truth

From: Lee Corbin (
Date: Fri May 04 2001 - 21:08:59 MDT

At 05:39 PM 5/4/01 -0700, Hal wrote:
>I have come up with a more straightforward plan, which is, if both parties
>are sincere and honest, for each party to estimate the confidence level he
>has in the accuracy of his belief. He would also need to keep statistics
>about how often he has been right in the past on other beliefs where he
>had this same subjective level of confidence. Based on this the parties
>can come up with a probability that each is right, and choose the belief
>with the higher probability. (Or perhaps they should choose the belief
>which maximizes their joint probability, something along those lines.)

I have seen this plan put into action many times. In a conversation
between certain old friends, interruptions are encouraged and enjoyed.
But a moment sometimes comes in which each is rather certain, based
upon intuition honed over many years, that what he has to say will
be the more important. So he raises the ante by raising his voice.

It's exactly like you were playing poker, and you were pretty sure
that you held the higher cards. At some point however, when your
opponent (in that case) stakes enough, your confidence begins to
waver. You begin to suspect, again based on a very great amount
of past performance, that probably your opponent is holding the
higher cards.

And it turns out to be the same in the discussion; one yields the
floor at some point, and, in the happy cases that I've seen, is
rewarded by an especially valuable insight from the other, and
there indeed was a tendency for the final speaker to have the
slightly more important point. (Especially since there is no
bluffing, which you have noted by specifying that the parties
"are sincere and honest".)

So this puts into action precisely the plan that you suggest.

Lee Corbin

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