"The Sequences" is a series of essays by Eliezer Yudkowsky. They describe how to avoid the typical failure modes of human reason and instead think in ways that more reliably lead to true and accurate beliefs. These essays are the foundational texts of LessWrong.
To provide a quick and accessible introduction to The Sequences, we have selected 50 of the best essays that capture some of the seminal ideas.
Estimated read time of 8 hours.
Art by Dall-E 2
Part 1 of 6 from the Sequence Highlights.
Humans can not only think, but think about our own thinking. This makes it possible for us to recognize the shortcomings of our default reasoning and work to improve it – the project of human rationality.
Part 2 of 6 from the Sequence Highlights.
A major theme of the Sequences is the ways in which human reasoning goes astray. This sample of essays describes a number of failure modes and invokes us to do better.
Part 3 of 6 from the Sequence Highlights.
While beliefs are subjective, that doesn't mean that one gets to choose their beliefs willy-nilly. There are laws that theoretically determine the correct belief given the evidence, and it's towards such beliefs that we should aspire.
Part 4 of 6 from the Sequence Highlights.
While far better than what came before, "science" and the "scientific method" are still crude, inefficient, and inadequate to prevent you from wasting years of effort on doomed research directions.
Part 5 of 6 from the Sequence Highlights.
To understand reality, especially on confusing topics, it's important to understand the mental processes involved in forming concepts and using words to speak about them.
Part 6 of 6 from the Sequence Highlights.
The pursuit of rationality and that of doing better on purpose, can in fact be rather hard. You have to get the motivation for that from somewhere.