Big Picture Reasons People Give Up on Learning Philosophy

This is a companion discussion topic for the original entry at

Quotes are from the article.
(one sentence, one clause, one subordinating conjunction, two coordinating conjunctions)[1]

People are very resistant to doing easy/childish/basic stuff.

[EDIT: fixed block quote]
I think this (and the paragraph that it begins) generally applies to me. I think I do a ton of stuff where I’m at least a little confused or uncertain, to the point where it’s so normal that I don’t even recognise it.

I used to do stuff where I was mega uncertain, overall I think I’m improving at avoiding that.

In particular this is accurate for me (clause with a subordinating conjunction and two coordinating conjunctions)[1:1]:

they’re used to being partially confused and calling that success and moving on

I’m finding the grammar exercises I’m doing helpful as a comparison to when I was attempting to analyse grammar with Conjectures & Refutations. I’m less confused doing the grammar exercises, but still sometimes confused.

I don’t know if that means I should try to step back even further and find a way to make things easier though. I think of it as acceptable levels of uncertainty; it’s a new thing I’m learning to do (explicitly, anyway) and I expect to get stuff wrong a lot while I’m learning. I don’t think I’ve experienced learning where I didn’t take that approach. I don’t know if you mean it’s possible to avoid that. It seems desirable to avoid doing things that I am confused about if I can work out how.

I’m reminded of Francisco d’Anconia. I can’t remember the passage well enough to find it, but I recall a scene where there’s some physical activity or sport which he’s never done before. He watches the others doing the activity, and then works out how to do it expertly right away.

He always seemed like an unbelievable Gary Stu trope as he always seemed to be able to work out what to do when faced with a new skill and get it right very quickly. It would be awesome if I could be that smart, but I don’t know how it can be possible.

I guess even if that ideal isn’t reachable, it seems beneficial to try to approach it. Maybe it’s an asymptotic thing like the pursuit of truth, someone can keep improving their thinking and develop their learning skills and perfection is something that is approached (which is worth doing) but never reached. I see the good Atlas Shrugged characters as symbolic of traits to aspire to.

One problem I think a lot of people have is the problem of looking for conflict or fights and getting caught up in emotional meta. I still sometimes have to stop and remind myself to take what you say as only what you say and not look for some sort of hidden meaning or manipulation. With that kind of problem, people have a lot of intuitive problems and conflicts getting in the way of progress. I think this is a common thing that can result in an overwhelming error rate, especially as general knowledge of intuition is really bad.

I have an intuition that your intuition articles are super important and if people could engage with them on a large scale and understand them it would help a lot of stuff.

(one sentence, one clause, one coordinating conjunction and two subordinating conjunctions)[1:2]:

People may have some hangup/bias and be unwilling to question/reconsider some particular idea.

My guess is this is very common, especially when it comes to intuitive conflicts.

I guess part of the reason people give up is their value assessment on learning philosophy. They might think it’s more valuable to do 100 more hours on skills for their job for a possible 0.0001% improvement at that which may improve their income and so help them pursue their life goals like assets/family. They don’t have a way of measuring how spending that 100 hours improving their philosophy will improve their life in a way that affects their goals, especially when it results in a ton of extra problems. I don’t think that’s necessarily a bad way of making decisions about how to improve their life; I think a problem is that they don’t have a measure for how useful pursuing philosophy and solving the problems they have is.

  1. Experimenting with implementing grammar learning in other posts. I’m trying out doing it as I read without a word by word breakdown. ↩︎ ↩︎ ↩︎

I think the concepts are important and the ideas might help people, but people here haven’t talked about the ideas much or tried them much (or they tried stuff without sharing about it, which can mean trying their misunderstandings then blaming me for their failure). The next step should be initial feedback from people trying stuff. Even if the concepts are all correct, it might not be very effective for people who have various other problems. It’s different to have good explanations vs. a good problem solving path. Without feedback, I can keep developing ideas using philosophy and conceptual thinking, but there will be gaps to bridge between the concepts and people’s personal problems.

I think it’d help (yourself, others, and me) if you posted about those things (with exact quotes and clear, explicit labelling/framing of what you’re saying/doing). You’re not getting feedback (or the benefits of putting those thoughts into words), I’m not getting examples about potentially problematic communication or concepts, and others can’t follow along and see what you’re doing then use it themselves.

Other people have had some similar issues and chosen not to share examples, but have sometimes then complained about it later, in vague terms, with no examples.

It’s hard to tell which sentence the grammar comments are meant to apply to.

The block quote after the grammar comments appears to have a formatting mistake.

Subordinating conjunctions join clauses, so if a sentence has one then there should be at least two clauses.

I guess there would need to be categories of problem solving paths for categories of problems to have the most impact and allow it to be scaled. Maybe with a goal of making a shortest path to understanding and implementation for lots of people. Maybe there’s a way of working those out. It seems hard to get people to engage with them and so get the implementation feedback to help inform creation of problem solving paths.

It might be useful to do a kind of A/B testing approach. If there a few problem solving paths written up these could be tried out on people to see which ones show lots of problems when exposed to a lot of readers, which ones get ignored entirely, which ones have a big positive impact, and stuff like that.

I have a vague intuition that you will think that’s dishonest in some way. I have some intuitive doubts of my own about marketing techniques but I don’t know if they’re reasonable doubts.

In my case it’s intrusive paranoid thoughts. I don’t think it’s something problematic you’re doing; I get them with lots of people. They’re not thoughts that I think make sense; I think they surface owing to some fearful/suspicious intuitions.

They are thoughts that I think would be good to change and talking about about them may help. Currently they are unhelpful. When I have that kind of thought I find it really hard to tell if there are good reasons to be suspicious of dishonesty/manipulation or if it’s something where I’m overthinking and making up chains of unreasonable guesses.
Making them more explicit may help counter them, and think about how they could be made more useful. Currently my best way of dealing with that kind of thought is assuming they’re wrong because if they’re right I’d rather assume I’m dealing with people who are being honest and if someone then fools me that just tells me to avoid them in future. If there are big stakes involved in being fooled it’s not good though.

I fixed the quote mistake. It happened because I forgot to include an extra line break after the quoted line with a “>”. Blockquotes continue until there’s a line break even if there’s no “>” after the first one.

Right, I guess that makes “to doing easy/childish/basic stuff” a preposition then. I took the slashes as implying and/or, making them coordinating conjunctions.