Comment author: Ben_West  (EA Profile) 09 January 2018 06:08:49PM 0 points [-]

Is it possible to get the data behind these graphs from somewhere? (i.e. I want the numerical counts instead of trying to eyeball it from the graph.)

Comment author: DavidMoss 10 January 2018 02:50:53AM 1 point [-]
Comment author: kbog  (EA Profile) 21 November 2017 06:50:42AM *  -1 points [-]

I not only explicitly distinguished between criteria for rightness (normative) and other evaluations in the first sentence of first my reply

You did not do so clearly, since not all moral theories see normativity as purely a matter of evaluating the rightness of actions.

I pointed out that I had drawn and repeated that explicit distinction in the first two sentences of my second reply.

Yes, and I pointed out twice that your repetition of this distinction is just missing the point, so I don't know why you think that repeating it for a third time without addressing my counterargument is going to do you any good. You also seem to have overlooked the fact that I was talking about consequentialism the moral theory, not the practices of consequentialists, which is what you are talking about.

Consequentialists obviously analyse acts (e.g. whether they are rape / murder / making a bank withdrawal) in terms other than whether whether they are utility maximising and they can and do engage in other (moral and non-moral) evaluations (e.g. character evaluations, like that a person is dishonest or viscious or badly motivated).

And, for the third fucking time, these evaluations carry no normative relevance for the consequentialist, so to bring them up here is pointless. If this basic point still eludes your grasp, sorry but I just don't know what to tell you.

Comment author: DavidMoss 21 November 2017 06:58:09PM 0 points [-]

Yes, and I pointed out twice that your repetition of this distinction is just missing the point, so I don't know why you think that repeating it for a third time without addressing my counterargument is going to do you any good. And, for the third fucking time, these evaluations carry no normative relevance for the consequentialist, so to bring them up here is pointless.

The claim I make quite clearly (based on this distinction) is that even if intent is not relevant, for the consequentialist, as to the _rightness _of the act, it may still relevant, for the consequentialist, to other questions like what kind of act an act is (e.g. a murder, a rape)

You then keep reiterating that it is not normatively relevant, which actually is ignoring my contention, given that I am saying that even if x is not normatively relevant to the consequentialist, it may still be relevant to questions like whether something is a rape.

I don't know what counter-argument you think I've missed, but you need to establish that whether something is part of the consequentialist's criterion of rightness is relevant here, rather than simply whether something is relevant to whether an act counts as a rape.

Comment author: kbog  (EA Profile) 21 November 2017 06:06:06AM *  0 points [-]

This is definitely false, because consequentialists can and do analyse and evaluate acts in terms other than their rightness. I made this clear in my first sentence

If you mean it is normatively relevant to consequentialists what type of act an act is or what kind of actor is doing it, you are incorrect. Consequentialists are only normatively concerned with consequences, hence the name.

The claim MarcusN is making above is about what does and what does not count as rape. Consequentialists can say anything they like about their criterion for the _rightness of acts and it does not tell us anything about what type of act an act is. Put simply: irrespective of whether intent is relevant to the rightness of an act, consequentialists (the same as anyone) can still say that intent is relevant to whether an act is rape

But whether an act is rape or not is irrelevant to the consequentialist, because the consequentialist cares about the consequences of an act, not whether or not it counts as rape. I literally just addressed this in my prior comment and you are repeating yourself. Imagine if you said, "Utility is irrelevant for Kantian ethics", and then I said "no, it is relevant, because even though Kantians don't make decisions on the basis of utility, the amount of utility caused by a decision affects the Kantian's belief about whether actions are utility-maximizing or not." Yes, in a basic and trivial sense the Kantian's beliefs depend on the question, but in a normative sense it's totally irrelevant and a silly thing to bring up.

Never mind the fact that it is blatantly false that the definition of rape involves intent; Marcus gave no definition or support for this claim, even though I gave a substantive source to the contrary.

Comment author: DavidMoss 21 November 2017 06:37:19AM -1 points [-]

If you mean it is normatively relevant to consequentialists what type of act an act is or what kind of actor is doing it, you are incorrect.

I not only explicitly distinguished between criteria for rightness (normative) and other evaluations in the first sentence of first my reply, but I pointed out that I had drawn and repeated that explicit distinction in the first two sentences of my second reply. Consequentialists obviously analyse acts (e.g. whether they are rape / murder / making a bank withdrawal) in terms other than whether whether they are utility maximising and they can and do engage in other (moral and non-moral) evaluations (e.g. character evaluations, like that a person is dishonest or viscious or badly motivated).

Seriously, the fact that you can look at someone saying "consequentialists should care less about these rapes because the criminals didn't intend to break the law" and not laugh them out of the room for the abject idiocy of the claim they made is worrisome to say the least.

His claim above, that I'm addressing, is about the definition of rape (a question which is totally orthogonal to the normative theory of consequentialists/Kantians), not whether consequentialists should "care less [or more]" depending on intent. I don't have any particular views on the differing definitions of rape, but the claim that intent matters for whether an act is accidentally killing (by giving you a peanut) or murder (by giving you a peanut) or whether or not you are a consequentialist is uncontroversial.

Comment author: kbog  (EA Profile) 20 November 2017 06:58:46AM *  0 points [-]

Consequentialism doesn't care about "what type of act an act is" because it views the rightness of acts purely in terms of their consequences, not in terms of what type of act an act is, or what kind of actor an actor is. Imagine if you said, "Utility is irrelevant for Kantian ethics", and then I said "no, it is relevant, because even though Kantians don't make decisions on the basis of utility, the amount of utility caused by a decision affects the Kantian's belief about the amount of utility caused by an action." So what? It's still irrelevant.

Comment author: DavidMoss 21 November 2017 01:30:27AM *  1 point [-]

Consequentialism doesn't care about "what type of act an act is" because it views the rightness of acts purely in terms of their consequences

This is definitely false, because consequentialists can and do analyse and evaluate acts in terms other than their rightness. I made this clear in my first sentence, whereas in your reply you are sliding from "consequentialism doesn't care..." to consequentialism "views the rightness of acts."

The claim MarcusN is making above is about what does and what does not count as rape. Consequentialists can say anything they like about their criterion for the _rightness of acts and it does not tell us anything about what type of act an act is. Put simply: irrespective of whether intent is relevant to the rightness of an act, consequentialists (the same as anyone) can still say that intent is relevant to whether an act is rape, just as they can say that consent is irrelevant to the rightness of an act, but relevant to whether it counts as rape.

Edit: For example, whether someone is intentionally killed may be irrelevant (to the consequentialist) to whether the act is wrong, but it's not irrelevant to whether it counts as murder.

Comment author: kbog  (EA Profile) 17 November 2017 04:19:58AM 2 points [-]

Your response comes off as very defensive and lacking in substance

Is that because I gave a point by point rebuttal to each of your ideas?

Intent is a critical part of moral and legal philosophy

Actually, in consequentialism intent is irrelevant.

The stigma for rape comes from a time when rape was considered to be an unambiguous or obviously intentional violation, such as a stranger jumping out of the bushes. It is both inaccurate and socially harmful to apply this stigma to a wider range of situations

That doesn't follow. The stigma for rape also comes from a time when the world population was less than 5 billion, but that doesn't mean that rapes that happened when the world population was more than 5 billion aren't equally bad.

I think the statistical approach to rape is barking up the wrong tree

Why?

Lisak's work, whether quantitative or qualitative is especially untrustworthy,

Why? That article doesn't do much to indicate that he is untrustworthy. Right-wing blogs on the Internet are not very trustworthy either, so I'm not sure why I should take anything at face value here.

and sheds doubt on the entire field.

What field? You do realize that "feminism" is not an academic field, right?

Using a more conservative, and less-debatable criteria for rape is essential

What is debatable or controversial about the statements in the surveys used in Lisak's study? Can you name a kind of sexual assault which would count as rape in that study, but which we shouldn't care much about?

because the more aggressive definitions have large externalities in terms of distrust between men and women

Pretty sure that there's just as much distrust whether rape is accidental or not.

People can interpret terms like "want to" differently

And in none of those ways is it okay to have sex with someone who doesn't want to.

Here is a study by feminists

What makes you say they are feminists?

discussing a category of "consensual unwanted sex."

And also discussing a category of "nonconsensual wanted sex," indicating that Lisak's figures may well be underestimates.

Comment author: DavidMoss 17 November 2017 05:29:47PM 2 points [-]

Actually, in consequentialism intent is irrelevant.

It might be relevant to the evaluation of the rightness of acts (in a certain sense), but it's not irrelevant (for consequentialists) to what type of act an act is or the evaluation of the actor. (We have other moral concepts aside from the rightness of acts) Consequentialists don't claim that open heart surgery is a murderous stabbing if it happens to be unsuccessful.

Comment author: DavidMoss 30 October 2017 03:14:14AM 5 points [-]

I don't have much to contribute to the normative social epistemology questions raised here, since this is a huge debate within philosophy. People interested in a general summary might read the Philosophy Compass review or the SEP article.

But I did want to question the claim about the descriptive social epistemology of the EA movement which is made i.e. that:

What occurs instead is agreement approaching fawning obeisance to a small set of people the community anoints as ‘thought leaders’, and so centralizing on one particular eccentric and overconfident view.

I'm not sure this is useful as a general characterisation of the EA community, though certainly at times people are too confident, too deferential etc. What beliefs might be the beneficiaries of this fawning obeisance? There doesn't seem to me to be sufficient uncontroversial agreement about much (even utilitarianism has a number of prominent 'thought leaders' pushing against it saying that we ought to be opening ourselves up to alternatives).

The general characterisation seems in tension with the common idea that EA is highly combative and confrontational (it would be strange though not impossible if we had a constant disagreement and attempted argumentative one-upmanship, combined with excessive deference to certain thought leaders). Instead what I see is occasional excessive deference to people respected within certain cliques, by members of those circles, but not 'centralization' on any one particular view. Perhaps all Greg has in mind is these kinds of cases where people defer too much to people they shouldn't (perhaps due to a lack of actual experts in EA rather than due to their own vice). But then it's not clear to me what the typical EA-rationalist who has not and probably shouldn't make a deep study of many-worlds, free will, or meta-ethics should do to avoid this problem.

Comment author: the_jaded_one 29 October 2017 04:32:59PM 5 points [-]

Came to say this as well.

See, for example:

https://www.reddit.com/r/atheism/comments/2ygiwh/so_why_did_atheism_plus_fail/

The atheists even started to disinvite their intellectual founders, e.g. Richard Dawkins. Will EA eventually go down the same path - will they end up disinviting e.g. Bostrom for not being a sufficiently zealous social justice advocate?

All I'm saying is that there is a precedent here. If SJW-flavored EA ends up going down this path, please don't say you were not warned.

Comment author: DavidMoss 29 October 2017 06:11:17PM *  9 points [-]

People nominally within EA have already called for us to disavow or not affiliate with Peter Singer so this seems less hypothetical than one might think.

'Yvain' gives a good description of a process along along these lines within his comment here (which also contains lots of points which pre-emptively undermine claims within this post).

Comment author: Ben_West  (EA Profile) 26 October 2017 03:39:09PM *  7 points [-]

Thank you for the interesting post Kelly. I was interested in your comment:

people tend to think that women are more intuitively-driven and less analytical than men, which does not seem to be borne out and in fact the opposite may be more likely

And followed the link through to Forbes. I think the part you are citing is this:

But research shows that women are just as data-driven and analytical as men, if not more so. In a sample of 32 studies that looked at how men and women thought about a problem or made a decision, 12 of the studies found that women adopted an analytical approach more often than men, meaning that women systematically turned to the data, while men were more inclined to go with their gut, hunches, or intuitive reactions. The other 20 studies? They found no difference between men and women’s thinking styles.

Unfortunately, the link there is broken. Do you know what the original source is?

Comment author: DavidMoss 27 October 2017 11:53:55PM 4 points [-]

I read the Forbes article which links to a empty page on 'talentlens.co.uk'. It becomes clear the the Forbes article is only referring to results on a test called the 'Cognitive Style Index.' If you read the Talent Lens 'Technical Manual and User Guide' for the Cognitive Style Index, you can find the same reference to there being 32 studies, 13 of which found women to be more analytic than men, and 8 which found women to have lower scores than men (I assume these results were not statistically significant and so weren't counted).

The CSI seems to be used almost exclusively in a business and management/marketing context (which it what it was originally designed for) hence, of the 32 studies reported, almost all are on business students or managers. In Psychology, we tend to use the Rational-Experiential Inventory http://www.sjdm.org/dmidi/Rational-Experiential_Inventory_-_revised_40_item.html which tends to find results in the opposite direction though inconsistently, and the Cognitive Reflection Test finds even larger differences (unlike the others is not based on self-report). Personally I don't put much stock in any of these results, but I don't think that saying that women tending to be more intuitive and men more analytical/deliberative" does not seem to be borne out and in fact the opposite may be more likely" is an appropriate summary of the evidence.

Comment author: Kelly_Witwicki 27 October 2017 01:22:23PM 7 points [-]

The problem is that those thoughts, as I noted, become actions, just actions we can usually only see as systematic trends. Just because someone does not say "women are incompetent" does not mean they aren't underestimating women's competence and e.g. hiring them less than he should. Taking action on this just requires a more systematic approach than explicit discrimination does.

I agree that in terms of what works, just pointing out bias doesn't seem to help and can even backfire, as I mentioned, which is why I provided a list of other possible solutions.

Comment author: DavidMoss 27 October 2017 06:44:18PM *  6 points [-]

The problem is that those thoughts... become actions... we can usually only see as systematic trends. Just because someone does not say "women are incompetent" does not mean they aren't underestimating women's competence and e.g. hiring them less than he should.

The flip side of it being hard to discern whether people have bad thoughts and act biasedly except by drawing inferences from broader patterns is that it's also hard to discern whether people actually do have bad thoughts and acted biasedly from those broader patterns. (c.f. the many fields where women dominate men in terms of prevalence and performance, as well as EAs many other demographic biases which don't receive the same treatment e.g. a 14:1 left-right bias, and a 4:1 20-35:any age over 35 bias).

Comment author: mhpage 26 October 2017 10:51:34PM *  16 points [-]

I strongly agree. Put another way, I suspect we, as a community, are bad at assessing talent. If true, that manifests as both a diversity problem and a suboptimal distribution of talent, but the latter might not be as visible to us.

My guess re the mechanism: Because we don't have formal credentials that reflect relevant ability, we rely heavily on reputation and intuition. Both sources of evidence allow lots of biases to creep in.

My advice would be:

  1. When assessing someone's talent, focus on the content of what they're saying/writing, not the general feeling you get from them.

  2. When discussing how talented someone is, always explain the basis of your view (e.g., I read a paper they wrote; or Bob told me).

Comment author: DavidMoss 27 October 2017 03:51:27AM 5 points [-]

I suspect we, as a community, are bad at assessing talent. If true, that manifests as both a diversity problem...

How we do we know that we are not bad at assessing talent in the opposite direction?

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