The wisdom of Katja Grace

by on January 20, 2011 at 2:46 pm in Education, Philosophy | Permalink

She puts together some very good points and aphorisms.  It starts with this:

Do what your heart tells you ‘means ‘stop making up excuses and do what my heart tells you’. ‘Clearly’  means ‘so unclearly I don’t want to explain it’. ‘We’ means different things to those with different political leanings, which helps them disagree.

Aphorisms tend to be cynical because only knowledge you don’t want to believe is short and easily verifiable enough to be an aphorism. People are more inclined to praise long, poorly written writing than short well written ones because it is easier for the former to cheat quality heuristics. Thinking is more fun than reading because it is more like ‘chasing’ than ‘searching‘. It’s interesting that reading isn’t better suited to chasing.

There is much more, read the whole thing.

1 Robin Hanson January 20, 2011 at 10:59 am

It is indeed a very good summary of many insight posts by Katja.

2 mgh January 20, 2011 at 11:54 am

Glad you are linking to Katja again. Saying this may mean something different, but wanted to mention Rembrandt self portrait at top centre of Katja's page. The original is in Amsterdam. I have it on my mantelpiece (postcard). Two weeks ago in Edinburgh saw a later self portrait painted in his mid-50s. It was more sombre, troubled, also more engaged. By then he was probably searching rather than chasing. At least he clearly knew that.

3 DK January 20, 2011 at 12:42 pm

1st one is wrong. "Do what your heart tells you" means "make up your mind already, I'm tired of listening to your indecisive complaining and I won't make your decision for you. can't you just flip a coin?"

4 Laserlight January 20, 2011 at 1:09 pm

Rather than "do what your heart tells you", say "if one of your co-workers was in this situation and asked your advice, what would you tell her to do?"

Adding "Okay, since you know the answer, why don't you do it, you bonehead?" is optional.

5 jdm January 20, 2011 at 1:23 pm

"In spite of such commitments, or perhaps because of them, many women would much prefer their husbands to die than be frozen for later medical treatment, which surprises me greatly."

Yeah, a real modern day Montaigne.

6 adam January 20, 2011 at 3:02 pm

I am commenting here, not on her site, because to me she is trying a bit too hard to be eclectic and counterintuitive. On the balance she is coy rather than wise. For example:

"You might also agree that mandatory paternity testing would be a net bad thing." where she argues the following

"if you could sit up on a cloud and choose whether to be born or not, knowing that at some point in your life you would be cuckolded if you lived, would you? If so, it looks like you shouldn’t support mandatory paternity testing at the moment."

This is fallacious logic: if I knew that everyone would be beheaded at my current age, I would still choose to be born. That does not make it (morally) supportable to do the beheadings, and I would try to prevent them. Same with the cuckoldry.

Is she the Penelope Trunk of logic?

7 Careless January 20, 2011 at 7:00 pm

But I've been convinced that around a fifth of Tyler's posts here are nothing but attempts at trolling his blog readers since I read "I also don't have any problem with Mecca limiting the size of Christian churches in that town, or say if an American billionaire wanted to build a really big cross there."

8 Ron Potato January 21, 2011 at 4:29 am

Poor girl. And she's so clever she thinks the adults should treat her equally.

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