Re: virus: The Prisoner's Dilemma

Sun, 21 Feb 1999 18:51:32 -0800

David McFadzean wrote:

> > Deron Stewart:
> >At the end of the day, the best strategy is "rational" almost by
> >definition, right? This circularity of definition makes discussion
> >difficult
> This isn't just a minor problem, this is a showstopper because you
> are correct: the best strategy is indeed rational by definition.

While it would be rational to adopt the most adaptive strategy, it doesn't follow that the most adaptive strategy is rationality.

> But I think it points in a direction where the question can be
> recast in a useful way. Instead of asking which strategy is the
> best/rational one, assume that all strategies are best given
> *some* set of criteria. This is similar to a mailing list
> communication strategy I proposed quite awhile ago: instead of
> fighting over who's right and wrong, ask what would have to be true
> in order for your "opponent's" statement to be right, that is,
> assume they are right and work backwards. In the same way, assume
> a strategy is rational and work backwards from there, seeing what
> criteria are necessary for it to be true. This is sort like
> working out the implications of a strategy, but in the opposite
> direction. Maybe we could call it working out predicates?

Are you proposing that we explore the effectiveness of various life strategies in a manner something like the following?

Q: "What conditions would have to obtain to make consultation of an oracle the best means making decissions?"

  1. "The oracle consistently yields better decissions than the person asking the questions would have made without guidance."

> (...)I agree entirely that [critical thinking] isn't the right
> tool for every job. Critical thinking is good for analysis (and maybe
> only analysis). It is not good for creating new ideas (it only provides
> the latter half of the variation/selection process), and it isn't
> good for motivating people to action (in general).

Amen to that, brother.