# Here's a dangerous idea!

#### QuickTwist

##### Alive - Born Anew
What if rationality is a hoax? What if objectivity is a mear illusion simply to boost the egos of those who are more capable/put in a better position in life?

Here me out.

First, ask yourself if you know everything. Next, ask yourself if it's even possible to know everything. Do you see where I am going with this yet?

OK, so given we can all agree it's not possible to know EVERYTHING, what exactly is it that is actually informing our decisions? I would posit that if it is rationality, then full information/context is needed in order to draw a conclusion. But we don't actually have all the information, so it MUST be something else that guides our decision-making process.

Without getting too mystical or to eliminate semantics of "woo" we will just say that it is actually bias that guides our decision making and not really rational thought at all.

What would be the implications of this?

#### QuickTwist

##### Alive - Born Anew
You can never rule out that at least some people act rationally mostly even with some bias. It is called bounded rationality where rationality still works but not in complete certainty.
OK, sure, but what exactly does it mean to be "more rational?" As I see it, being rational is rather black and white - either you are rational or you are not. Don't see a whole lot of room for play with this since being rational hinges on being objective and impartial. IMO the whole axiom falls apart once you start giving degrees of rationality since rationality is basically just picking the "correct" answer and I fail to see how someone can be rationally correct when they don't have all the information.

#### Serac

##### A menacing post slithers
Well, we do actually have a cognitive apparatus which is mostly aimed at operating in a world we don't know much about. I've used this example before, but if you for example notice something moving behind a bush, your brain is not very interested in coming up with the most precise objective analysis of what that thing behind the bush actually is. It simply assumes that there is a tiger there, releases a bunch of adrenaline into your system and prepares you to meet a tiger.

That's a generalizable concept, which was the main topic of the book Antifragile by Nassim Taleb. You have 3 main options when it comes to living in a world you don't fully understand:
1) You let yourself be fragile: you optimize yourself for a specific set of assumptions about the world. If it turns out you were wrong, you will be harmed, killed, you'll lose all your money, etc. This is how most people have learned to operate in modern society, and what people associate with using "rationality" to guide their decisions.
2) You aim at being robust. You take measures to limit the effect of adverse events. This is typically done by obtaining redundancies. E.g. the reason you have two kidneys instead of just one is not that you need both to survive, but it's a redundancy aimed at gaining robustness. If something unexpected happens (e.g. you eat a poisonous mushroom or something) and one kidney goes out, you still have one left.
3) Being antifragile: in this case you will gain from things you don't understand. You do this by exposing yourself to a broad range of potential positive outcomes with large upside, while knowing exactly what your downside is. One example would be being an entrepreneur. If you start an LLC company, you know that you risk exactly x amount of money, whereas the upside is practically unlimited.

So in short, the implication of what you described in OP is that instead of trying to gain more knowledge, one should think about one's potential upsides and downsides and then let the chips fall where they may.

#### QuickTwist

##### Alive - Born Anew
You have 3 main options when it comes to living in a world you don't fully understand.
Yes, we do, if we are to assume a rational course of action, but my point is that rationality doesn't even exist. My question would be what would be the implications of this?

#### QuickTwist

##### Alive - Born Anew
Do you really need all the information to know 1 + 1 = 2
Practically speaking, no. Theoretically speaking, yes, you do.

#### Serac

##### A menacing post slithers
You have 3 main options when it comes to living in a world you don't fully understand.
Yes, we do, if we are to assume a rational course of action, but my point is that rationality doesn't even exist. My question would be what would be the implications of this?
I think you're talking about solipsism.

What's the implication of solipsism? I dunno – get depressed and read a lot of Schopenhauer?

#### QuickTwist

##### Alive - Born Anew
Practically speaking, no. Theoretically speaking, yes, you do.
Yes, we need to be practical in our rationality but if we live with complete skepticism you cannot be sure what these words I write even mean. How do you know what I mean by practical without referring to the practicality of using the word practical, Rationally speaking?
That's precisely my point, AK.

You don't really necessarily need to default to skepticism if rationality fails either. Just because you don't know doesn't mean you should hinder yourself by thinking about what is possible. It's a lot of wasted energy IMO.

#### QuickTwist

##### Alive - Born Anew
You have 3 main options when it comes to living in a world you don't fully understand.
Yes, we do, if we are to assume a rational course of action, but my point is that rationality doesn't even exist. My question would be what would be the implications of this?
I think you're talking about solipsism.

What's the implication of solipsism? I dunno – get depressed and read a lot of Schopenhauer?
I am not talking about solipsism.

#### QuickTwist

##### Alive - Born Anew
What if I just acted as though Rationality existed. I just saw a video where Ray Kurzweil said language is Turing complete, meaning it can simulate itself.
If you just acted like rationality existed, it would depend on whether rationality actually existed or not.

#### Ex-User (8886)

##### Well-Known Member
Actually you can't be rational if you d don't have healthy emotions. What's more important, lack of emotions are even worse. Antonio damasio explains it in his book about Cartesian mistake

##### think again losers
So Godel's incompleteness theorem kinda? Logic can't prove that logic works?

I think of it as all perception being inherently biased, but the perceptions that are able to be consistent with each other follow similar rules and these form the foundation for rationality. So it's kind of Darwinian.

Ultimately, everything is uncertain at some level. But we all act like it's certain, and to the extent that we do, it works out. The important thing is that you don't selectively interpret stuff as uncertain because of this.

#### redbaron

##### but why
you say you aren't talking about solipsism but pretty much everything you've said falls under the umbrella of solipsism

you'll have to define how this particular very-solipsist-like viewpoint is any different from actual solipsism because questions like, "what if objectivity isn't even real?" are inherently implying a solipsistic alternative

##### think again losers
I'm not sure that's necessarily true?

QT seems to be emphasising the structure of our perception of rationality. More phenomenological? He's treating rationality as an authority that shouldn't be above question. He hasn't really implied he's questioning existence itself.

Essentially, rationality is a circular argument?

Ofc., QT can probably speak for heself...

#### The Grey Man

##### Active Member
No, I don't know everything. I know, am some of what is and none of what ought to be. Everything else is shrouded in uncertainty. It's not even clear to me that to speak of what "ought to be" does aught but indicate the unsatisfactoriness of one's present mental state in an unnecessarily abstruse manner. It may be that I know nothing of what ought to be because there is nothing to know of it except knowledge of my own longing, my own suffering under a different, superfluous name. Why should I tell stories of the supposed suprasensory reality invoked by such names as "ought" and "should" when want is a perfectly immanent, concrete fact?

Solipsism is not just a fanciful postulate for academic discourse, but a fact. To say, as many have, that knowledge can be found not only in direct experience, but also in secondhand documents of travels abroad, natural experiments, and whatnot is merely to devalue the appellation 'knowledge', to ignore the difference between mere promises of things in words and symbols and the things themselves which are known (objects) and, reciprocally, which alone the knower (subject) is.

Most consider this a dismal epistemology, but the philosopher doesn't dismiss facts merely because they're dismal, absurd, unreasonable, or repugnant. The philosopher must do everything in his power to woo the truth, dammit, if she turns out to be a terrible succubus. Anything less is banal sophistry. If only there was a term for propositions that are neither known nor arbitrarily asserted, something that gives inductive conclusions extrapolated from specific classes of empirical data the dignity they deserve without encroaching upon the realm of knowledge. Hmm...oh, nevermind, this is just called scientific theory

Anyway, Serac suggested reading Schopenhauer as a response to adopting solipsism in jest, but his was the usual incredulous objection to solipsism, though I think good old Ockham's Razor would have sufficed to bypass it. It's more economical and more elegant to describe a universe in which you're not alone than one in which you are, and no more or less assured of being right, as one can just as little prove ontological solipsism ("I am all that is") as refute the epistemological variety hitherto discussed ("I am all that I know to be"). From The World As Will and Representation:

Schopenhauer said:
But whether the objects known to the individual only as ideas are yet, like his own body, manifestations of a will, is, as was said in the First Book, the proper meaning of the question as to the reality of the external world. To deny this is theoretical egoism, which on that account regards all phenomena that are outside its own will as phantoms, just as in a practical reference exactly the same thing is done by practical egoism. For in it a man regards and treats himself alone as a person, and all other persons as mere phantoms. Theoretical egoism can never be demonstrably refuted, yet in philosophy it has never been used otherwise than as a sceptical sophism, i.e., a pretence. As a serious conviction, on the other hand, it could only be found in a madhouse, and as such it stands in need of a cure rather than a refutation. We do not therefore combat it any further in this regard, but treat it as merely the last stronghold of scepticism, which is always polemical. Thus our knowledge, which is always bound to individuality and is limited by this circumstance, brings with it the necessity that each of us can only be one, while, on the other hand, each of us can know all; and it is this limitation that creates the need for philosophy. We therefore who, for this very reason, are striving to extend the limits of our knowledge through philosophy, will treat this sceptical argument of theoretical egoism which meets us, as an army would treat a small frontier fortress. The fortress cannot indeed be taken, but the garrison can never sally forth from it, and therefore we pass it by without danger, and are not afraid to have it in our rear.

##### think again losers
Yeah. But I'm inclined to act as if rationality is real, whether it's rational or not to do so. And you are too.

You might pay lip service to the possibility that it isn't real, but you expect causality from the environment around you. You act in accordance with a rational perception.

It's kinda like pascal's wager. If rationality exists and you act as if it exists, you win. If rationality doesn't exist but you act as if it does, you're not even irrational to do so.
So you're either right, or you come out even.
If you assume rationality doesn't exist and it does, you're being irrational. If you assume it doesn't and you're right, you're still not right because that would imply rationality. So you either come out wrong, or you come out even.

#### Cognisant

##### Condescending Bastard
Lets ask ourselves, fundamentally what is rationality, what is reasoning?

I think it's making decisions based upon reasons and a reason is a hypothesis based upon and tested by experience.

Experience is inherently subjective, if I see a unicorn out in a field I cannot be sure that I'm not hallucinating, I can ask the people around me if they also see a unicorn and if they say they do that gives credibility to my observation. It's not proof, they could be hallucinating too (although everyone hallucinating the same thing would be quite an unlikely coincidence) or there might not be anyone with me, those people might just be part of my hallucination, indeed the entire scenario could be a dream.

The assumption that you cannot trust the validity of your experiences is solipsism, or lucidity if you happen to be dreaming, but if this is a dream what is reality?

At some point you have to start trusting your experiences, now QT I think where you and I diverge is that I cross examine my experiences to check their validity, I assume that consistency equates to validity, that reality is consistent whereas delusions are not. I could be wrong, it could be that what I perceive to be reality is actually the fanciful dreaming of absolute lunatic, maybe reality was so awful I created my own.

Could it be that you are indulging in a degree of solipsism because perceiving the world through the twisted lens of fantasy is helping you cope with your unfortunate reality?

I'm not saying you shouldn't, reality sucks no doubt about it, indeed I don't think any of us a truly sane, if we were we would all be ego dead nihilists, no I think insanity is a fundamental and absolutely essential aspect of human nature.

God is death and it's high time we murdered that fucker.

Lets eat the stars and tear holes in the void, lets reshape our selves and the universe around us to such a degree than any who see us go mad with the realization of their own insignificance.

It'll never be enough, but if you think about it isn't that wonderful?

#### Serac

People can yap as much as they want about solipsism. An easy test of whether they actually adopt such a stance in practice is to see what they do when their skin is in the game. Say, you need to have surgery. Do you pick a professional surgeon with a long track record of successful surgeries, or some bum in the street who offers to cut you open for $5? What? You pick the first one? That's a highly rational choice for a solipsist. #### Cognisant ##### Condescending Bastard Unless your life is worth less than$5 the first choice is the rational choice for everyone, no point saving money if you're not alive to spend it.

Edit: Damn you Cog and your blasted logic! - Serac probably

##### think again losers
No, but he will soon.

#### Serac

##### A menacing post slithers
Unless your life is worth less than \$5 the first choice is the rational choice for everyone, no point saving money if you're not alive to spend it.

Edit: Damn you Cog and your blasted logic! - Serac probably
Well, I agree

#### QuickTwist

##### Alive - Born Anew
The tiger, that is the answer.

The idea I am trying to put forth is not solipsism or the antithesis of rationality necessarily. So what is left if we neither indulge ourselves of the whim of rationality or solipsism? Is there truly no other way? What does bias have to do with this? If bias is the paradigm by which we live, would it not be better to adhere to such a thing, being aware that it exists and is influencing our behavior? What is the answer? Tell me.

#### Cognisant

##### Condescending Bastard
Acting on bias alone would be reverting to an animalistic state, the problem is humans haven't been behaving naturally for thousands of years, we're not fit to survive in the wild anymore.

#### QuickTwist

##### Alive - Born Anew
Acting on bias alone would be reverting to an animalistic state, the problem is humans haven't been behaving naturally for thousands of years, we're not fit to survive in the wild anymore.
You are being too literal in the interpretation of the tiger. Zoom out a bit of the general principle and try and think about how it could work for a modern day society.

#### Serac

##### A menacing post slithers
Well, the raison d'etre of the biases is that historically during our evolution, some things were either 1) impossible to predict, or 2) too costly to predict. So we evolved these various heuristics to deal with our environment in a way where we don't need to have full understanding of it.

But it gets complicated when we try to embrace these heuristics in our current envrionment because it is very different from our past ones. Our current environment evolved much faster than ourselves. Our instincts are often fooled. Rationality is a way of analyzing- and mitigating our limitations as denizens of our current environment.

#### QuickTwist

##### Alive - Born Anew
Well, the raison d'etre of the biases is that historically during our evolution, some things were either 1) impossible to predict, or 2) too costly to predict. So we evolved these various heuristics to deal with our environment in a way where we don't need to have full understanding of it.

But it gets complicated when we try to embrace these heuristics in our current envrionment because it is very different from our past ones. Our current environment evolved much faster than ourselves. Our instincts are often fooled. Rationality is a way of analyzing- and mitigating our limitations as denizens of our current environment.
Yeah, but you're still operating under the assumption that rationality is a legit process and is actually doable.

#### Serac

##### A menacing post slithers
Well, the raison d'etre of the biases is that historically during our evolution, some things were either 1) impossible to predict, or 2) too costly to predict. So we evolved these various heuristics to deal with our environment in a way where we don't need to have full understanding of it.

But it gets complicated when we try to embrace these heuristics in our current envrionment because it is very different from our past ones. Our current environment evolved much faster than ourselves. Our instincts are often fooled. Rationality is a way of analyzing- and mitigating our limitations as denizens of our current environment.
Yeah, but you're still operating under the assumption that rationality is a legit process and is actually doable.
So are you, as you are trying to reason about whether rationality is doable or not.

#### Serac

##### A menacing post slithers
Simple thought experiment: if you want to live to see the next day, should you 1) drink poison, or 2) not drink poison

#### QuickTwist

##### Alive - Born Anew
Well, the raison d'etre of the biases is that historically during our evolution, some things were either 1) impossible to predict, or 2) too costly to predict. So we evolved these various heuristics to deal with our environment in a way where we don't need to have full understanding of it.

But it gets complicated when we try to embrace these heuristics in our current envrionment because it is very different from our past ones. Our current environment evolved much faster than ourselves. Our instincts are often fooled. Rationality is a way of analyzing- and mitigating our limitations as denizens of our current environment.
Yeah, but you're still operating under the assumption that rationality is a legit process and is actually doable.
So are you, as you are trying to reason about whether rationality is doable or not.
No, I'm pointing out a flaw I have observed in the world.

#### QuickTwist

##### Alive - Born Anew
Simple thought experiment: if you want to live to see the next day, should you 1) drink poison, or 2) not drink poison
Why poison?

#### Serac

##### A menacing post slithers
Simple thought experiment: if you want to live to see the next day, should you 1) drink poison, or 2) not drink poison
Why poison?
Because that's the only thing you have available (it's a hypothetical scenario)

#### QuickTwist

##### Alive - Born Anew
Simple thought experiment: if you want to live to see the next day, should you 1) drink poison, or 2) not drink poison
Why poison?
Because that's the only thing you have available (it's a hypothetical scenario)
Why should I agree to participate in this hypothetical? Entertaining hypotheticals is exactly what goes against the point I am trying to make.

#### Serac

##### A menacing post slithers
Simple thought experiment: if you want to live to see the next day, should you 1) drink poison, or 2) not drink poison
Why poison?
Because that's the only thing you have available (it's a hypothetical scenario)
Why should I agree to participate in this hypothetical? Entertaining hypotheticals is exactly what goes against the point I am trying to make.
Why shouldn't you? There cannot be any rational reason not to.

#### QuickTwist

##### Alive - Born Anew
Simple thought experiment: if you want to live to see the next day, should you 1) drink poison, or 2) not drink poison
Why poison?
Because that's the only thing you have available (it's a hypothetical scenario)
Why should I agree to participate in this hypothetical? Entertaining hypotheticals is exactly what goes against the point I am trying to make.
Why shouldn't you? There cannot be any rational reason not to.
So? And LOL.

#### Serac

##### A menacing post slithers
Simple thought experiment: if you want to live to see the next day, should you 1) drink poison, or 2) not drink poison
Why poison?
Because that's the only thing you have available (it's a hypothetical scenario)
Why should I agree to participate in this hypothetical? Entertaining hypotheticals is exactly what goes against the point I am trying to make.
Why shouldn't you? There cannot be any rational reason not to.
So? And LOL.

#### QuickTwist

##### Alive - Born Anew
Truth is whatever helps pass on your genes. - Jordan Peterson
Citation needed.

#### QuickTwist

##### Alive - Born Anew
Citation needed.
Your asking for me to include evidence as a rational agent is supposed to do.

I paraphrased him from what he said in the link in the spoiler.
I don't believe JP holds that position and has never actually talked about passing on genes as a priority. He's not a Darwinian, he's a pragmatist.

I'd appreciate if you didn't try and derail the thread any further, thanks.