A rationalism discussion with some useful lessons on culture

post by Nathan Young (nathan) · 2019-11-05T09:29:30.150Z · score: 9 (5 votes) · EA · GW · None comments

https://letter.wiki/conversation/116

I think this discussion is worth reading. It highlights a cultural facet of some people who like rationalism vs some people who don't. Note the laser focus from Conor (who is pro rationalism) in finding where they disagree or what the good counter arguments are. Note Peter (pro post-rationalism) and his disinterest in this. I suggest he is slowly being turned off by the nature of the discussion.

I think it's worth considering if any discussions relating to EA feel like this. Am I ever browbeating someone who wants to have a less rigorous discussion? Clear discussions happen much better in a place of safety. In my experience people are much less likely to change their minds if they feel attacked or exasperated.

In other settings someone might actually be attempting openness. Perhaps the first author here is trying to correct his beliefs. I'm not sure that comes across. It might be easier if rather than asking for issues to be explained on his terms, he merely listened to the other person.

I suggest in many areas those who like EA will have to convince those of different cultural mindsets, whether in companies, government or donors. This interaction may be a useful thing to read and consider.

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