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Tag Archives: rationality

Caution On Bias Arguments

“You say it’s important to overcome biases. So isn’t it hypocritical that you’re not trying to overcome whichever bias prevents you from realizing you’re wrong and I’m right?” — everybody Correcting for bias is important. Learning about specific biases, like … Continue reading

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Against Lie Inflation

[Related to: The Whole City Is Center] I. I got into an argument recently with somebody who used the word “lie” to refer to a person honestly reporting their unconsciously biased beliefs – her example was a tech entrepreneur so … Continue reading

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Asymmetric Weapons Gone Bad

[Previously in sequence: Epistemic Learned Helplessness, Book Review: The Secret Of Our Success, List Of Passages I Highlighted In My Copy Of The Secret Of Our Success. Deleted a controversial section which I still think was probably correct, but which … Continue reading

[REPOST] Epistemic Learned Helplessness

[This is a slightly edited repost of an essay from my old LiveJournal] A friend recently complained about how many people lack the basic skill of believing arguments. That is, if you have a valid argument for something, then you … Continue reading

Rule Thinkers In, Not Out

Imagine a black box which, when you pressed a button, would generate a scientific hypothesis. 50% of its hypotheses are false; 50% are true hypotheses as game-changing and elegant as relativity. Even despite the error rate, it’s easy to see … Continue reading

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Fallacies Of Reversed Moderation

A recent discussion: somebody asked why people in Silicon Valley thought that only high-tech solutions to climate change (like carbon capture or geoengineering) mattered, and why they dismissed more typical solutions like international cooperation and political activism. Another person cited … Continue reading

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The Tails Coming Apart As Metaphor For Life

[Epistemic status: Pretty good, but I make no claim this is original] A neglected gem from Less Wrong: Why The Tails Come Apart, by commenter Thrasymachus. It explains why even when two variables are strongly correlated, the most extreme value … Continue reading

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Book Review: The Black Swan

I. Writing a review of The Black Swan is a nerve-wracking experience. First, because it forces me to reveal I am about ten years behind the times in my reading habits. But second, because its author Nassim Nicholas Taleb is … Continue reading

Varieties Of Argumentative Experience

In 2008, Paul Graham wrote How To Disagree Better, ranking arguments on a scale from name-calling to explicitly refuting the other person’s central point. And that’s why, ever since 2008, Internet arguments have generally been civil and productive. Graham’s hierarchy … Continue reading

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God Help Us, Let’s Try To Understand Friston On Free Energy

I’ve been trying to delve deeper into predictive processing theories of the brain, and I keep coming across Karl Friston’s work on “free energy”. At first I felt bad for not understanding this. Then I realized I wasn’t alone. There’s … Continue reading