Re: Rationality, Miracles and ETI

Dan Fabulich (
Tue, 2 Nov 1999 20:42:53 -0500 (EST)

'What is your name?' 'Eliezer S. Yudkowsky.' 'IT DOESN'T MATTER WHAT YOUR...'

> The internalist theory of proof is false. Given time and money, it
> would actually be fairly easy to set up a situation where the most
> rational explanation is the false one, a situation where Occam's Razor
> doesn't work.

This seems dubious...

> For example, I found my copy of "True Names and Other
> Dangers", which I'd been looking for for three years, when I went back
> to the bookstore to return nine dollars they undercharged me. Now,
> while Occam's Razor says this was a coincidence and not a causal effect
> of my charity, I hope, it would be easy to target someone else looking
> for a book, pay the store owner to undercharge ver, and then have the
> book there when ve returned. Occam's Razor says it's a coincidence, but
> in reality, it's not.

... and this example in no way makes your case. Indeed, I almost wonder if there hasn't been a communications error if you think this justifies your position. Putnam's internalism in NO way requires me to believe that your paying the store owner was a coincidence.

I mean, for crying out loud: you think that it is RATIONAL to believe that your returning the nine dollars was an act of charity, yes? Thus, the rationally acceptable belief here is that your act was an act of charity, not that it was a coincidence!

(Indeed, it makes me wonder what notion of rationality you adhere to if you believe that it's rational to believe that coincidence is the explanation here, and not charity.)

Putnam's internalism merely GOES ON to say that the very fact that it is rationally acceptable to believe that P is what makes P true.

What's the problem?


-unless you love someone-
-nothing else makes any sense-

e.e. cummings