There is a PDF of this post here.Take a quantity whose value you wish to estimate---the basic reproduction number for a virus; the number of jelly beans in a jar at the school fête; the global temperature rise caused by doubling the concentration of CO2 in the atmosphere; the number of years before humanity goes extinct. Ask a group of people to provide...

1w

There is a PDF version of this post here.Pick a question to which the answer is a number. What is the population of Weston-super-Mare? How many ants are there in the world? Then go out into the street and ask the first ten people you meet for their answers. Look how far those answers lie from the truth. Now take the average of the answers---their mean....

2w

I'm cross-posting this from the Effective Altruism Forum. It's the latest version of my critique of longtermism that uses Lara Buchak's risk-weighted expected utility theory.Here's the abstract: Longtermism is the view that the most urgent global priorities, and those to which we should devote the largest portion of our current resources, are those...

Aug 2022

A PDF version of this post is available here.The question of this blogpost is this: Take the various decision theories that have been proposed for individuals with imprecise probabilities---do they recommend themselves? It is the final post in a trilogy on the topic of self-recommending decision theories (the others are here and here). One precise kitten...

Jul 2022

A PDF of this blogpost can be found here.Last week, I wrote about how we might judge a decision theory by its own lights. I suggested that we might ask the decision theory whether it would choose to adopt itself as a decision procedure if it were uncertain about which decisions it would face. And I noted that many instances of Lara Buchak's risk-weighted...

Jul 2022

A PDF of this blogpost is available here.Once again, I find myself stumbling upon a philosophical thought that seems so natural that I feel reasonably confident it must have been explored before, but I can't find where. So, in this blogpost, I'll set it out in the hope that a kind reader will know where to find a proper version already written up fully.*...

Jul 2022

A PDF of this blogpost is available here. I don't have an estimate for how long it will be before the Greenland ice sheet collapses, and I don't have an estimate for how long it will be before the average temperature at Earth's surface rises more than 3C above pre-industrial levels. But I know a bunch of people who do have such estimates, and I might...

Jun 2022

In the previous two posts in this series (here and here), I described two arguments for the conclusion that the members of a group should agree. One was an epistemic argument and one a pragmatic argument. Suppose you have a group of individuals. Given an individual, we call the set of propositions to which they assign a credence their agenda. The group's...

May 2022

There is a PDF version of this blogpost available here.In the previous post, I introduced the norm of Consensus. This is a claim about the rationality of groups. Suppose you've got a group of individuals. For each individual, call the set of propositions to which they assign a credence their agenda. They might all have quite different agendas, some...

May 2022

You can find a PDF of this blogpost here.Should everyone agree with everyone else? Whenever two members of a group have an opinion about the same claim, should they both be equally confident in it? If this is sometimes required of groups, of which ones is it required and when? Whole societies at any time in their existence? Smaller collectives when...

May 2022

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