SiebeRozendal comments on The Values-to-Actions Decision Chain: a rough model - Effective Altruism Forum

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Comment author: SiebeRozendal 02 March 2018 03:53:54PM *  2 points [-]

Could you be a little more specific about the levels/traits you name? I'm interpreting them roughly as follows:

  • Values: "how close are they to the moral truth or our current understanding of it" (replace moral truth with whatever you want values to approximate).
  • Epistemology: how well do people respond to new and relevant information?
  • Causes: how effective are the causes in comparison to other causes?
  • Strategies: how well are strategies chosen withing those causes?
  • Systems: how well are the actors embedded in a supportive and complementary system?
  • Actions: how well are the strategies executed?

I think a rough categorisation of these 6 traits would be Prioritisation (Values, Epistemology, Causes) & Execution (Strategies, Systems, Actions), and I suppose you'd expect a stronger correlation within these two branches than between?

Comment author: remmelt  (EA Profile) 02 March 2018 06:18:36PM *  0 points [-]

Yeah, I more or less agree with your interpretations.

The number (as well as scope) of decision levels are arbitrary because they can be split. For example:

  • Values: meta-ethics, normative ethics
  • Epistemology: defining knowledge, approaches to acquiring it (Bayes, Occam's razor...), applications (scientific method, crucial considerations...)
  • Causes: the domains can be made as narrow or wide as seems useful for prioritising
  • Strategies: career path, business plan, theory of change...
  • Systems: organisational structure, workflow, to-do list...
  • Actions: execute intention ("talk with Jane"), actuate ("twitch vocal chords")

(Also, there are weird interdependencies here. E.g. if you change the cause area you work on, the career skills acquired before might not be as effective there. Therefore, the multiplier changes. I'm assuming that they tend to be fungible enough for the model still to be useful.)

Your two categories of Prioritisation and Execution seem fitting. Perhaps some people lean more towards wanting to see concrete results, and others more towards wanting to know what results they want to get?

Does anyone disagree with the hypothesis that individuals – especially newcomers – in the international EA community tend to lean one way or the other in terms of attention spent and the rigour with which they make decisions?