Rationality

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Epistemic vs Instrumental Rationality

Classically, on LessWrong, a distinction has been made between epistemic rationalityand instrumental rationality, however, these terms may be misleading – it's not as though epistemic rationality can be traded off for gains in instrumental rationality. Only apparently, and to think one should do this is a trap.

Instrumental rationality is defined as being concerned with achieving goals. More specifically, instrumental rationality is the art of choosing and implementing actions that steer the future toward outcomes ranked higher in one's preferences. Said preferences are not limited to 'selfish' preferences or unshared values; they include anything one cares about.

Epistemic rationality is defined as the part of rationality which involves achieving accurate beliefs about the world. It involves updating on receiving new evidence, mitigating cognitive biases, and examining why you believe what you believe. It can be seen as a form of instrumental rationality in which knowledge and truth are goals in themselves, whereas in other forms of instrumental rationality, knowledge and truth are only potential aids to achieving goals. Someone practicing instrumental rationality might even find falsehood useful.

FormalTheory / TheoreticalConcepts

Techniques & Skills

Failure Modes

Anticipated Experiences
Aumann's Agreement Theorem
Bayes Theorem
Bounded Rationality
Conservation of Expected Evidence
Contrarianism
Decision Theory
Epistemology
Game Theory
Gears-Level
Hansonian Pre-Rationality
Law-Thinking
Map and Territory
Newcomb's Problem
Occam's razor
Robust Agents
Solomonoff Induction
Truth, Semantics, & Meaning
Utility Functions
Value of Information
Robust Agents

 

 

Techniques
Focusing
Trigger Action Planning/Patterns
Goal Factoring

Applied Topics

Hamming QuestionsAlief
IdentityBetting
BettingCached Thoughts
Calibration
Dark Arts
Empiricism
Epistemic Modesty
Forecasting & Prediction
Concrete ForecastsGroup Rationality
Identity
Inside/Outside View
Introspection
Intuition
Practice & Philosophy of Science
Scholarship & Learning
ReplicabilityTaking Ideas Seriously
Dark ArtsValue of Information
 

Failure Modes

Affect Heuristic
Bucket Errors
Compartmentalization
Confirmation Bias
Fallacies
Goodhart’s Law
Groupthink
Heuristics and Biases
Mind Projection Fallacy
Rationalization
Motivated Reasoning
Confirmation Bias
Sunk-Cost Fallacy
Fallacies
Pica
Pitfalls of Rationality

CommunicationModels of the Mind

Other
Rationalization 
Self-Deception
Sunk-Cost Fallacy

Communication

Common Knowledge
Conversation
Decoupling vs Contextualizing
Disagreement
Distillation & Pedagogy
Double-Crux
Good Explanations (Advice)
Ideological Turing Tests
Inferential Distance
Information Cascades
Steelmanning
DisagreementMemetic Immune System
Philosophy of Language
Steelmanning

Techniques

Decoupling vs ContextualizingDouble-Crux
Focusing
Goal Factoring
Internal Double Crux
Hamming Questions
Noticing
Techniques
Trigger Action Planning/Patterns

Models of the Mind

Consciousness
Dual Process Theory (System 1 & 2)
General Intelligence
Subagents
Predictive Processing
Perceptual Control Theory


Practice & Philosophy of ScienceZombies
Rationality Quotes
Gears-Level
 

Other

Center for Applied Rationality
Curiosity
Rationality Quotes
Updated Beliefs (examples of)

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