Hacker News new | past | comments | ask | show | jobs | submit login

You have to retain a certain amount of ability to suspend judgement, or other people can force you to participate in their quarrels on their schedule. They can basically throw an interrupt in you. You have to be able to ignore people who use lines like "if you're not with us, you're against us" or "if you're not part of the solution, you're part of the problem" or even, more subtly, "do you condone x?"

(Regarding the quote, we should remember that Dante lived in a time of extreme factionalism in Italy. In fact he spent many years in exile because his faction lost.)

I agree; but there's a whole world of difference between:

(a) Passing neutral judgment;

(b) Refusing an interrupt / declining to invest marginal resources;

(c) Pretending that either of the above is a mark of deep wisdom, maturity, and a superior vantage point; and correspondingly that the original sides occupy lower vantage points that are not importantly different and not worth judging between.

That is clarifying. Is it possible that the impression of deep wisdom, maturity and superior vantage point in these cases is an artifact of perceived social status? The article is pointing out situations where effects of social status interfere with the potential responsibilities of providing arbitration.

As humans most of us rely on judgment of social status as one of the most fundamental ways to allocate resources and interact with one another. It creates an inherent bias when we grant the right of arbitration to a fellow human, because the privilege alone can elevate perceived social status, and possibly interfere with the granted responsibility.

The independence of social status from the right to arbitrate may be a measure of justness and liberty in a social group.

Why do you group two points into (c)?

The difference between (b) and the second half of (c) seems unclear: what's the difference between

(b) (the decider) declining to invest marginal resources


(c.ii) deciding that the sides-in-question are not importantly different (presumably "not importantly different to the decider"; if not, please clarify) and not worth judging between (again, presumably, "not worth judging between to the decider"; if not, please clarify)


What's a scenario which is (b) but not (c.ii) and vice-versa?

It's possible to state (b) so that it sounds somewhat like (c): "I will never have time to think about your issue because it's quite unimportant and I'm an important person."

The quote appears to be fake: http://www.encyclopedia.com/doc/1P2-7846393.html http://www.jfklibrary.org/Historical+Resources/Archives/Refe... — looks like in Dante's Hell, the neutral weren't even let into hell at all:

The heavens, that their beauty not be lessened,

have cast them out, nor will deep Hell receive them -

even the wicked cannot glory in them.

That's suspending judgment because you don't have the time or care enough to make a rational decision. That's different from suspending judgment in an attempt to appear wise and better than the participants.

In other words, what you're talking about is "I don't have the time to learn about this, so I can't judge." What Eliezer is talking about is "The circumstances don't matter, so I won't judge." There's a difference between a non-decision and deciding not to decide.

Applications are open for YC Summer 2021

Guidelines | FAQ | Lists | API | Security | Legal | Apply to YC | Contact