Mind projection fallacy

From Lesswrongwiki
Revision as of 11:31, 7 September 2009 by Z. M. Davis (talk | contribs)
Jump to: navigation, search

"The map is not the territory, but you can't fold up the territory and put it in your glove compartment".

Confusion is in the mind, not in reality; mysteriousness is in the map, not in the territory. When you look at a rock, you experience not the the rock itself, but your mind's representation of the rock, reconstructed from photons bouncing off its surface. Sugar in and of itself is not inherently sweet; the sugar itself only has the chemical properties that it does, which your brain evaluates as sweet.

Physicist and Bayesian philosopher E.T. Jaynes coined the term mind projection fallacy to refer to this kind of failure to distinguish between epistemological claims (statements about belief, about your map, about what we can say about reality) and ontological claims (statements about reality, about the territory, about how things are). In particular, the concept was applied in the critique of frequentist interpretation of the notion of probability as a property of physical systems rather than an epistemic device concerned with levels of certainty, Bayesian probability.

Related concepts

Blog posts