@EpistemicHope @HiFromMichaelV @ben_r_hoffman @TheZvi @zackmdavis To be clear, they do distinguish between intentional and unintentional harm!

They think (like the law) that if it’s sufficiently feasible to find out you’re causing harm and stop, you’re negligent if you avoid finding out and stopping.
@EpistemicHope @HiFromMichaelV @ben_r_hoffman @TheZvi @zackmdavis Also they believe (and so do I) that there’s such a thing as motivatedly looking away from the harm you cause, which is a very different behavior from genuine ignorance where you couldn’t have known better.
@EpistemicHope @HiFromMichaelV @ben_r_hoffman @TheZvi @zackmdavis Ben, Michael, and I all agree that PG is most likely flinching from, or in denial about, the ways in which he’s shaped YC in directions that harmed/wronged people. (Like “Fred” in Alyssa’s post.)
@EpistemicHope @HiFromMichaelV @ben_r_hoffman @TheZvi @zackmdavis Ben & Michael think (& they can correct me if I’m wrong) that you shouldn’t be any less “harsh” in judgment of people who flinch away from awareness of harms they cause vs. people who sadistically enjoy causing harm.
@EpistemicHope @HiFromMichaelV @ben_r_hoffman @TheZvi @zackmdavis Hannah Arendt’s portrait of Eichmann google.com/amp/s/www.newy… shows him as the kind of guy who wanted to think of himself as nice, and avoided thinking about the fact that he was a mass murderer, although of course he knew it, because running concentration camps was his job.
@EpistemicHope @HiFromMichaelV @ben_r_hoffman @TheZvi @zackmdavis Ben and Michael (I think) believe that Eichmann is not even more likable or sympathetic, let alone less guilty, than a more conventionally “bloodthirsty” or “sadistic” killer, and will use the exact same language to describe both.
@EpistemicHope @HiFromMichaelV @ben_r_hoffman @TheZvi @zackmdavis I think an Eichmann is morally responsible and legally guilty in a functioning legal system such as the Israeli court he was tried in. But I do have the sense that he’s somehow a “nicer guy” or that I want to be more charitable in language to him, than to a sadist.
@EpistemicHope @HiFromMichaelV @ben_r_hoffman @TheZvi @zackmdavis It’s not okay to be Eichmann, but I still *like him more* somehow than I like bloodthirsty sadists, even though it has nothing to do with the magnitude of his crime or his agency/responsibility in committing it. Not sure why or if I endorse this in myself, but that’s how it is.
@EpistemicHope @HiFromMichaelV @ben_r_hoffman @TheZvi @zackmdavis Ben and Michael seem (I’m less confident about this) to either not have this intuition/feeling, or to be *quite* confident that they shouldn’t let it govern their behavior.
@EpistemicHope @HiFromMichaelV @ben_r_hoffman @TheZvi @zackmdavis Eli seems to be prone to elide the difference between “actually unintentional/accidental” vs “making a bunch of deliberate choices, being demonstrably able to know they have bad consequences, but flinching from the thought that you’re causing bad consequences.”
@EpistemicHope @HiFromMichaelV @ben_r_hoffman @TheZvi @zackmdavis The law doesn’t treat these as the same, and neither should we. There’s a big difference between “he had no way of knowing” and “he was told explicitly, he knew it in other contexts, but he avoided thinking about it here.”
@EpistemicHope @HiFromMichaelV @ben_r_hoffman @TheZvi @zackmdavis If being “in denial” or “avoiding thinking about it” was morally the same as actually not having any reasonable way of knowing, then Eichmann would be innocent.

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More from @s_r_constantin

7 Apr
overcomingbias.com/2021/04/prefer… I think I agree with this: I also prefer law to governance.

Not sure I agree with Hanson that law vs. governance is independent of the "size" or "amount" of government.
A governance system (regulation) and a law system (torts) can be exactly the same in their "strictness/laxity". In his example of pollution, they can define the same actions as "pollution" and require equally costly penalties to polluters.
OTOH, in general I think you need more people to staff a regulatory agency than to staff a civil court system, so the government will literally be larger (more employees, more spending) when rules are enforced via governance.
Read 4 tweets
5 Apr
en.wikipedia.org/wiki/Golden_Ru… Variations on the Golden Rule from many ancient sources, including ones I wasn't aware had one (Thales! the Mahabharata!)
Interesting differences: some versions say not to do to others what would hurt/harm/be bad for you if it were done to you.

Others say not to do to others what you would "blame" them for doing to you.
Hillel's "what is hateful to yourself do not do to another" seems to be in the second category -- the word for "hate" seems to be used in other contexts for hating *people*. sefaria.org/Shabbat.31a.6?…
Read 12 tweets
10 Mar
One thing I didn't investigate, but might check next, is how turnover effects play into all this. 🧵
So, let's say the conclusion of my post is correct, and most professional investors "under-research" (in the sense that they'd get better returns if they did more research.)

Is this a *societal* problem?

To answer that, we have to understand turnover.
You could tell a story where "too many investors making dumb investment decisions" is a societal problem because it causes malinvestment.

Perhaps there are opportunities to do productive things with money, that languish unfunded because all the money goes to dumb stuff.
Read 5 tweets
9 Mar
@jd_pressman @QiaochuYuan I mean, to the extent that you care about changing anything, it’s in some sense a “personal problem”, because you can only control your own actions.

I don’t usually see much “purchase” or usable value to be gained from the “cosmic horror frame.
@jd_pressman @QiaochuYuan Whether you call it “broken” or not, we live in a world where perpetually going with the flow can land us in trouble. (Eg we can go broke, get sick, make mistakes that hurt people, etc).
@jd_pressman @QiaochuYuan A world in which all thought is unnecessary — I don’t know if it’s possible *at all*, but it’s a long way off. As COVID19 teaches!
Read 16 tweets
24 Feb
Starting to research this, and OMG the quality of research is bad.

“Do CEOs who do X get better company outcomes?” papers are always tiny studies, with all measures *including company performance* self-reported.
I think I still believe one of these papers more than I’d believe a “take” in the news or on Twitter, but less than I’d believe the opinion of a 60-year-old who has a lot of management experience.
We’ll see if the data on investors or investment analysts is better.

I did find one bizarre paper that said the rank of an investment analysis firm was *negatively* correlated with how frequently they reported using the company’s library. (Back before the Internet.)
Read 5 tweets
22 Feb
@oscredwin makes the point that this poll conflates testing the two questions “do most people spend more time deliberating over larger amounts of money than smaller amounts?” and “do people who ever allocate >$1M spend less time deliberating over $100k than those who don’t?”
It’s arguably rational to spend more time deliberating over more money, all else equal, and it’s also arguably rational for your research-time per dollar to decline as your hourly wage increases or as the amount of money you have to allocate increases.
What I’d really like to know is if my subjective impression is correct that as people gain in wealth/authority/seniority, they have a higher “activation energy” to go check object-level facts themselves. More than you’d expect just from their time being valuable.
Read 13 tweets

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