# A technical note: Bayesianism is not logic, statistics is not rationality

Per­haps I am beat­ing a dead horse for this com­mu­nity, but this is a very lu­cid ex­pla­na­tion of what prob­a­bil­is­tic/​statis­ti­cal rea­son­ing can­not do. Namely: first or­der logic. There’s re­ally no way of en­cod­ing re­la­tions or quan­tifiers into purely Bayesian in­fer­ence, which ac­tu­ally makes it quite weak in terms of model build­ing.

Fur­ther, in­te­grat­ing prob­a­bil­ity and logic is a huge un­solved prob­lem! We ac­tu­ally have very lit­tle idea how to com­bine our two great­est suc­cesses in for­mal­iz­ing ra­tio­nal­ity.

I found this tremen­dously clar­ify­ing, though not im­me­di­ately use­ful. But it has definitely broad­ened my think­ing.

https://​​mean­ing­ness.com/​​prob­a­bil­ity-and-logic

• Fur­ther, in­te­grat­ing prob­a­bil­ity and logic is a huge un­solved prob­lem! We ac­tu­ally have very lit­tle idea how to com­bine our two great­est suc­cesses in for­mal­iz­ing ra­tio­nal­ity.

• I don’t think this sort of post is par­tic­u­larly rele­vant to the EA fo­rum. It’s about prob­a­bil­ity and logic, not al­tru­ism.

• It feels to me like in­clu­sion should be based on plau­si­ble im­pact, whether di­rect or in­di­rect, rather than im­me­di­ate ap­par­ent rele­vance to effec­tive al­tru­ism. If this es­say im­proves our think­ing, and makes the effec­tive al­tru­ist move­ment bet­ter at a rate that’s com­pa­rable to the other stuff posted here, then it’s a valuable post.

* I might be a lit­tle bi­ased be­cause I think EA should be pri­ori­tiz­ing epistemic ra­tio­nal­ity much more highly.

• I agree with this pretty strongly. But also I think au­thors have to make an effort to bridge the gap with in­ter­me­di­ate steps in their rea­son­ing, rather than pour­ing un­ex­plained in­sights—how­ever ge­nius they may be—onto a be­wil­dered reader.

• Ex­am­in­ing the foun­da­tions of the prac­ti­cal rea­son­ing used (and seem­ingly taken for granted) by many EAs seems highly rele­vant. Wish we saw more of this kind of thing.

• It’s a lit­tle in­di­rect, but it’s a link to a nice es­say on a topic which is rele­vant when we get to the “work­ing stuff out” side of effec­tive al­tru­ism.