Was thinking yesterday about how "bias" is not a significant term in my moral vocabulary, and how it is signified very differently, in mutually antagonistic ways, in the LW/rationalist and (for want of a better word) radlib vocabularies
"Bias", in radlibese, is an ineradicable consequence of differentials in social position: it accumulates as you move up the gradient along any given axis of social differentiation/domination. It is both an epistemological and a moral stumbling-block -
but, crucially, there is no purely epistemological procedure which can remove it. It is only addressible through moral means: "listening", which is radlib cant for deference, especially with respect to narration of life experience.
The more you are affected by bias, the more your narration of your life experience is to be treated as suspect: self-serving, tendentious and morally occluded. You should make space for that narration to be interrupted and contested, by those less positionally prone to bias.
This is, moreover, a permanent onus: your social position determines your dialogic liabilities. The moral centre of this picture is the enlightened subject who takes heed of both, and makes a habit of deference (n the right directions).
Now consider "bias" in the LW/rationalist argot. It is primarily a *cognitive* defect, embedded in the universal structure of human cognition as such. It is a problem affecting our ability to evaluate situations and plan accordingly, hence ultimately a problem of agency.
Because you are biased, you will make mistakes, and this will prevent you from realising your goals as effectively as you would wish. Hence e.g. "effective altruism" as a project: we must move past uninformed conceptions of moral utility, and gain an unbiased view of consequences
Because "bias" in LW/rationalist argot is a primarily a cognitive rather than a moral liability, it is addressible via epistemological means: we can learn practices of reasoning which "catch out" our biases and permit us to correct for them.
There is a dialogical aspect to this, but it is modelled on scientific peer review and replication rather than finding people who do not have the same positional incentives as you do to hold certain biases and listening to what they have to say.
(you *might* opt to do that, but if such people aren't available, don't want to talk to you, or don't seem to be in a constructive mood, you can probably armchair-reason your way towards figuring out what they *should* want to say)
So it's pretty clear why these two communities would be predisposed both to despise each other and to talk past each other. If you hold the radlib account of "bias" as a positional liability, it's the height of hubris to imagine you can "overcome bias" through e.g. Bayesianism.
From the radlib perspective, the LWers are proud where they should be humble, triumphalist where they should be slain in spirit. Their insistence on the universality of bias as a cognitive liability is furthermore a slight upon the authenticity of marginalised people's testimony.
From the LW/rationalist perspective, the radlib conception of "bias" places a tight cordon around rationality, and erects a moral framework to manage an essentially despairing vision of human agency: it plays an analogous role to that of "religion" in "atheist" discourse.
From my point of view, they're both religion-like structures. I like the Prometheanism of LW/rationalism, but find the organon of rationality it offers extremely one-dimensional (as @deontologistics was just saying, "a spherical cow turned into a golden calf").
Among its systematic flaws are addiction to insight porn (those "gleaming nuggets" of truth supposedly contained within the verbal diarrhoea of neoreactionaries) and a profoundly naive picture of its own dialogic situation (which reliably leads to terrible community dynamics)
As for the radlib picture, I guess you can probably tell I don't like it much. It's a clumsy, American, religiose way of dealing with complex problems, the complexity of which it, too, severely underestimates. Its focus on individual dialogic comportment is what makes it "-lib".
To my mind, "bias" is simply too weak a term to bear the weight that is placed upon it: we have to deal with a much wider negotium, the domain of *ideology* and the impersonal (or trans-personal, if you prefer) conditions which produce and sustain it.
In place of standpoint epistemology, I want a theory of what summons people to ideological positions and binds them to them, what weakens or strengthens such bindings, and what happens when the ideological ground shifts, both at an individual and at a collective level.
On "deference", one should read @OlufemiOTaiwo: thephilosopher1923.org/essay-taiwo

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