Eliezer Yudkowsky, (Yudkowsky n.d.)


Fallacy of gray


The Sophisticate: “The world isn’t black and white. No one does pure good or pure bad. It’s all gray. Therefore, no one is better than anyone else.”

The Zetet: “Knowing only gray, you conclude that all grays are the same shade. You mock the simplicity of the two-color view, yet you replace it with a one-color view”

—Marc Stiegler, David’s Sling

I don’t know if the Sophisticate’s mistake has an official name, but I call it the Fallacy of gray. We saw it manifested in the previous essay (a)—the one who believed that odds of two to the power of seven hundred and fifty million to one, against, meant “there was still a chance.” All probabilities, to him, were simply “uncertain” and that meant he was licensed to ignore them if he pleased.


That which I cannot eliminate may be well worth reducing [].


Yudkowsky, Eliezer. n.d. “The Fallacy of Gray.” Accessed February 17, 2022. https://www.lesswrong.com/posts/dLJv2CoRCgeC2mPgj/the-fallacy-of-gray.