📖A Human's Guide to Words

Eliezer Yudkowsky
guide to the sequence
37 Ways That Words Can Be Wrong - LessWrong
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    Even when it’s theoretically impossible to be wrong, you can still be wrong.

1. The Parable of the Dagger

“One box contains a key,” said the king, “to unlock your chains; and if you find the key you are free. But the other box contains a dagger for your heart, if you fail.”

And the first box was inscribed: “Either both inscriptions are true, or both inscriptions are false.”

And the second box was inscribed: “This box contains the key.”

The dagger was in the second box. The king just wrote those inscriptions and put dagger in the second. He never said that inscriptions are relevant.

My thoughts:

  • Fallacy: assuming inscriptions are related to reality
  • Besides true or false, a statement can make no sense. It can be irrelevant to reality.

    • with the dagger in the second box, the first inscription can neither be true nor false
  • another important notice: the first inscription is self-referential

    • if a statement is not self-referential (no loops), is it always either true or false?