2017-07-07

Epistemic Laws of Motion

Standard Disclaimer #14074: I speak to those who know how to listen. Sligtly interesting ideas are best transferred under the guise of practicality, boredom, and clear-headedness. But what about very interesting ideas? These might well be best told under the guise of chaos, demonic possession, and madness.

Note: in retrospect, this post is probably too obscure to get useful ideas out of it. Consider it unendorsed.

1st Epistemic Law of Motion

Every person persists in their state of doing nothing or executing always the same strategy S, unless they are compelled to change that state by external epistemic pressure P.

Assuming constant non-zero psychological resistance, the first law can be written as:

P = 0 <=> dS / dt = 0

2nd Epistemic Law of Motion

Every change of epistemic pressure ΔP is equal to the change in a person's strategies ΔS times their psychological resistance R.

ΔS = ΔP / R

3rd Epistemic Law of Motion

For every epistemic pressure, there is an equal and opposite psychological defense mechanism.

Everything clear? Great! Now let's do some calculations and practice on a real-world problem.

Example problem

A 70-year-old Catholic becomes a Jehovah's Witness, actively working in the movement. Estimate how likely they are to change their mind about this decision.

Solution:

We know the change of strategy from the problem statement:

dS = medium

Also from the age of 70 years, we can estimate psychological resistance:

R = high

Then from the 2nd Law we calculate epistemic pressure:

P = R * ΔS = high * medium = high

Finally, we use the 3rd law again to get the answer: high epistemic pressure results in strong psychological defenses. Therefore it is unlikely that this person will change their mind again.

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