Difference between revisions of "Nonapples"

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(Created page with 'Any object, tool, technique, or theory which is defined only as being "not this specific one". : The set "apples" is much narrower than the set "not apples". Apples form a [htt...')
 
 
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Any object, tool, technique, or theory which is defined only as being "not this specific one".
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A '''nonapple''' is a proposed object, tool, technique, or theory which is defined only as being not like a specific, existent example of said categories. It is a type of overly-general prescription which, while of little utility, can ''seem'' useful. It involves disguising a shallow criticism as a solution, often in such a way as to make it look profound. For instance, suppose someone says, "We don't need war, we need non-violent conflict resolution." In this way a shallow criticism (war is bad) is disguised as a solution (non-violent conflict resolution, i.e, nonwar). This person is selling nonapples because "non-violent conflict resolution" isn't a method of resolving conflict nonviolently.  Rather, it is a description of all conceivable methods of non-violent conflict resolution, the vast majority of which are incoherent and/or ineffective.
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{{Quote|
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The set "apples" is much narrower than the set "not apples".  Apples form a [http://lesswrong.com/lw/nl/the_cluster_structure_of_thingspace/ compact cluster in thingspace], but nonapples vary much more widely in price, and size, and use.  When you say to build a wagon using "wood", you're giving much more concrete advice than when you say "not wood".  There are different kinds of wood, of course - but even so, when you say "wood", you've narrowed down the range of possible building materials a whole lot more than when you say "not wood".
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|[http://lesswrong.com/lw/vs/selling_nonapples/ Selling Nonapples]}}
  
: The set "apples" is much narrower than the set "not apples".  Apples form a [http://lesswrong.com/lw/nl/the_cluster_structure_of_thingspace/ compact cluster in thingspace], but nonapples vary much more widely in price, and size, and use.  When you say to build a wagon using "wood", you're giving much more concrete advice than when you say "not wood".  There are different kinds of wood, of course - but even so, when you say "wood", you've narrowed down the range of possible building materials a whole lot more than when you say "not wood".
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==Main article==
  
== Main article ==
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*[http://lesswrong.com/lw/vs/selling_nonapples/ Selling Nonapples]
* [http://lesswrong.com/lw/vs/selling_nonapples/ Selling Nonapples], Eliezer Yudkowsky, 13 November 2008 08:10PM.
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==See also==
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*[[A Human's Guide to Words]] (sequence)
  
 
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[[Category:Concepts]]

Latest revision as of 07:20, 13 July 2013

A nonapple is a proposed object, tool, technique, or theory which is defined only as being not like a specific, existent example of said categories. It is a type of overly-general prescription which, while of little utility, can seem useful. It involves disguising a shallow criticism as a solution, often in such a way as to make it look profound. For instance, suppose someone says, "We don't need war, we need non-violent conflict resolution." In this way a shallow criticism (war is bad) is disguised as a solution (non-violent conflict resolution, i.e, nonwar). This person is selling nonapples because "non-violent conflict resolution" isn't a method of resolving conflict nonviolently. Rather, it is a description of all conceivable methods of non-violent conflict resolution, the vast majority of which are incoherent and/or ineffective.

The set "apples" is much narrower than the set "not apples". Apples form a compact cluster in thingspace, but nonapples vary much more widely in price, and size, and use. When you say to build a wagon using "wood", you're giving much more concrete advice than when you say "not wood". There are different kinds of wood, of course - but even so, when you say "wood", you've narrowed down the range of possible building materials a whole lot more than when you say "not wood".

Main article

See also