nell

@ EA Denmark
Pursuing a graduate degree (e.g. Master's)
22Joined May 2022

Bio

How others can help me

September 2022: I'm still looking for a thesis project (Master's IT & Cognition) in Alignment theory. I'm interested in ontology, computational cognitive science, game theory, and  moral philosophy. Here's the doc about it (feedback welcome!).

Comments
3

Nice text, I think it's always valuable to question words and their meaning. However, I don't agree in this case. The whole English-not-as-first-language part of the community took time and effort to squeeze the word "neglectedness" into their active memory. Replacing it now with another strange and highly ambiguous term might lead to more confusion than anything else.

All joking aside,  I do think this can cause some misunderstandings. "Contingency" in logic/philosophy (according to the English and German Wikipedia) defines states that are neither always true nor always false or even a non-necessity of existence. The former, IIUC, is kind of what you want to express—the impact can but doesn't have to be big. But the latter one is definitely too far away from what you describe in (1), (2), and (3): is a cause's existence is not necessary if it is contingent? That makes it seem so unimportant in general and overall! What I would rather like to get out of such a definition is 1) something more like "It's important but other people are already working on it" and 2) "It's important but not right now". To me, it seems as if "contingency" doesn't have such a changeable time dimension, a state described as "contingent" to me seems more permanent. "Neglectedness", however, does seem to be evaluated at a specific point in time and therefore is able to be subject to change.

Lastly (and you might just want to disregard this point as not scalable to other languages but maybe other speakers find similarities:), the almost same word "Kontingenz" in German means more something like "subsequent events". It's closer to the Latin "contingere" which stands for "being close" or even "touch" rather than the Latin "contingentia" for "possibility/chance". "Subsequent events" would of course not make any sense but, again, confuse a lot. (This argument's epistemic status is "my best guess" as I don't know Latin very well. Would be glad for anyone who's more familiar here).

However, there is one dimension I do agree on here with you: In terms of being respected by other research fields. Similar to the effect of the word "longtermism", "neglectedness" is very specific to the EA community. "Contingency" on the other hand, is a term used by many other disciplines. Especially for new people, an interdisciplinary term is easier to process, find relations to, and maybe even remember. I think this might still hold if the person doesn't know the term beforehand. Alone the possibility of drawing parallels to other fields might make it more intuitive.