Subject: Re: Oversimplifications in HtN -- Philosophy and biology
From: "Eric S. Raymond" <esr@thyrsus.com>
Date: Mon, 27 Sep 1999 20:13:40 -0400

Ian Lance Taylor <ian@airs.com>:
>    Date: Mon, 27 Sep 1999 17:19:24 -0400
>    From: "Eric S. Raymond" <esr@thyrsus.com>
> 
>    Richard Stallman <rms@gnu.org>:
>    > I was unable to find the earlier part of the discussion, but I recall
>    > that when Ian stated his motivations, you said that they were beside
>    > the point, because (you believed) his behavior could be predicted from
>    > reputation-seeking anyway.
> 
>    Richard, you're unable to find that because I didn't say it ;-).  Which
>    rather puts paid to the rest of your argument.
> 
> What you said was this:
> 
>     Date: Mon, 30 Aug 1999 15:51:47 -0400
>     From: "Eric S. Raymond" <esr@thyrsus.com>
>     Subject: Oversimplifications in HtN
>     Message-ID: <19990830155147.A16082@thyrsus.com>
> 
>     Did you miss the point about reputation incentives unconsciously shaping
>     behavior, even when they are not part of the player's conscious agenda?
>     The fact is, you use and obey conventions that are designed to maintain 
>     the reputation game -- I've seen you do it.  You're *in* that game.
>     You play by its rules.
> 
>     The fact that you don't consciously experience the reputation-game 
>     incentive is interesting, but not surprising to me.  I don't normally
>     experience it consciously myself.  Nevertheless, I play the game because
>     that's what I've *learned to do* in order to function in the culture.
> 
>     The real clincher here is that the customs we observe have features for
>     which there doesn't seem to be a sufficient explanation other than the
>     reputation game.  To falsify my model, you'd have to at least propose
>     an alternative that explains the three taboos described in the paper.
> 
> I think that Richard's quote above is a reasonable summary of these
> words.

That's only half-right.  The above does constitute a claim that your behavior
can be "predicted from reputation-seeking".  It certainly does not constitute
a claim that your account of your motivations is "beside the point"; such
a claim would be idiotic unless I thought you were a robot lacking any
will or capacity to introspect. 
-- 
		<a href="Eric">http://www.tuxedo.org/~esr">Eric S. Raymond</a>

An armed society is a polite society.  Manners are good when one 
may have to back up his acts with his life.
        -- Robert A. Heinlein, "Beyond This Horizon", 1942