A Hazardous Guide To Rationality

The Sequences really are quality, but I can't always get my friends to read them. This sequence is going to be my own take on rationality. I won't be trying to copy the form or pattern of The Sequences, but given how much of my rationality it's the backing of and how good it is, many parts of this will be, "Hazard rehashing a chunk of The Sequences".

Structure + Involvement Guidelines

I will be tossing up posts and outlines as I think of ideas. The plan is "perpetual draft" style. I will make specific "STRUCTURE" posts, which contain current plan for the structure and order of posts to come. I will keep structure posts separate from content posts, that way comments on structure posts can focus on structure, order, and prioritization of ideas, and content post comments can focus on the ideas themselves.

It's conceivable that if there's a lot of structure posts, and lots of good discussion there, and the content of the sequence actually shapes up to something cool, I'll make a separate sequence that stores all of the "construction" of the actual sequence. That way you can see of it got to now, but you engagement isn't cluttered with said history.

Goals of this sequence

  • Help me clarify my own understanding of what I think are some of the core/most useful ideas in rationality sphere.
  • For my friends who I don't think will actually read the Sequences (but they should), have something shorter I can link them to that I think will give a Minimum Effective Dose of rationality (or at least make them interested enough to investigate more on their own).
    • I'll be actively engaging several of them for feedback, and asking them questions about what makes the least sense, so I can have very specific people an inferential gaps in mind when writing this.
  • Let me experiment with writing in perpetual draft mode. I've given the idea lip service, now it's time to try it.
  • If there's much engagement from the LW commentariat, I'd love to actually incorporate other peoples feedback (ideas on what's important, common pitfalls, things that confused you in the past, concrete examples from your life).
  • Be a not super controversial Rationality 101, so please, let me know what you think are the boldest assumption, inferential jumps, or claims I'm making.

Revision History


  • Split into three parts
    • "Here's a bunch of stuff about how you mind works that makes it hard to get to the truth"
    • "Here's a bunch of stuff about how minds work given that they developed alongside dealing with other minds (that makes it hard to get to the truth)"
    • "Here's actual rationality"
  • Thoughts on draft style
    • Yikes, this was done fast.
    • I will definitely want to rethink the structure and order of things.
  • TODO
    • Add a "oh, this is why you would even bother with these ideas (hint, you could become a Bayesian wizard)"


  • Made "structure" vs "content" distinction
    • Made that change more evident on current structure posts
  • added "why rationality?"

V2 (6-30-19)

  • Added a rough draft of the "Hazardous Guide to Words" mini sequence