You are viewing revision 1.4.0, last edited by Rob Bensinger

The original sequences were a series of essays written by Eliezer Yudkowsky between 2006 and 2009 on the blogs Overcoming Bias and Less Wrong. About half of these essays were organized into a number of thematically linked "sequences" of blog posts--hence the name.

In 2015, these sequences were edited into an ebook, Rationality: From AI to Zombies. The ebook leaves out some of the original posts, as well as adding some essays that were written by Yudkowsky during the same time but never previously collected into a named sequence. This page will serve to collect the older, deprecated sequences.

Bolded essays are more important than other posts in the sequence, while italicized essays are relatively unimportant. Small essays are also unimportant, and are sometimes left out of the post listing altogether. Some essays are also indented to indicate that they are tangents or self-contained elaborations upon a previous essay.




Map and Territory

  1. The Simple Truth
  2. What Do We Mean By "Rationality"?
  3. An Intuitive Explanation of Bayes's Theorem
  4. Why truth? And...
  5. What is Evidence?
  6. How Much Evidence Does It Take?
  7. How to Convince Me That 2 + 2 = 3
  8. Occam's Razor
  9. The Lens That Sees Its Flaws


Mysterious Answers to Mysterious Questions

  1. Making Beliefs Pay Rent (in Anticipated Experiences)
  2. Belief in Belief
  3. Bayesian Judo
  4. Professing and Cheering
  5. Belief as Attire
  6. Focus Your Uncertainty
  7. The Virtue of Narrowness
  8. Your Strength As A Rationalist
  9. Absence of Evidence is Evidence of Absence
  10. Conservation of Expected Evidence
  11. Hindsight Bias
  12. Hindsight Devalues Science
  13. Fake Explanations
  14. Guessing the Teacher's Password
  15. Science as Attire
  16. Fake Causality
  17. Semantic Stopsigns
  18. Mysterious Answers to Mysterious Questions
  19. The Futility of Emergence
  20. Say Not "Complexity"
  21. Positive Bias: Look Into the Dark
  22. My Wild and Reckless Youth
  23. Failing to Learn from History
  24. Making History Available
  25. Explain/Worship/Ignore?
  26. "Science" as Curiosity-Stopper
  27. Applause Lights
  28. Truly Part of You
  29. Chaotic Inversion


How to Actually Change Your Mind

See also: Locating the hypothesis, Privileging the hypothesis, Litany of Gendlin, Litany of Tarski

Politics is the Mind-Killer
  1. A Fable of Science and Politics
  2. Politics is the Mind-Killer
  3. Policy Debates Should Not Appear One-Sided
  4. The Scales of Justice, the Notebook of Rationality
  5. Correspondence Bias
  6. Are Your Enemies Innately Evil?
  7. The Robbers Cave Experiment
  8. Reversed Stupidity is Not Intelligence
  9.       Argument Screens Off Authority
  10.       Hug the Query
  11. Rationality and the English Language
  12. The Litany Against Gurus
  13.       Politics and Awful Art
  14. False Laughter
  15. Human Evil and Muddled Thinking


Death Spirals and the Cult Attractor
  1. The Affect Heuristic
  2.       Evaluability and Cheap Holiday Shopping
  3.       Unbounded Scales, Huge Jury Awards, & Futurism
  4. The Halo Effect
  5.       Superhero Bias
  6.       Mere Messiahs
  7. '''Affective Death Spirals
  8. Resist the Happy Death Spiral
  9. '''Uncritical Supercriticality
  10. Evaporative Cooling of Group Beliefs
  11. When None Dare Urge Restraint
  12. The Robbers Cave Experiment
  13. Every Cause Wants to be a Cult
  14. Guardians of the Truth
  15.       Guardians of the Gene Pool
  16.       Guardians of Ayn Rand
  17. The Litany Against Gurus
  18. Two Cult Koans
  19. Asch's Conformity Experiment
  20. Lonely Dissent
  21. Cultish Countercultishness


Seeing with Fresh Eyes
  1. Anchoring and Adjustment
  2. Priming and Contamination
  3. Do We Believe Everything We're Told?
  4. Cached Thoughts
  5. The 'Outside the Box' Box
  6. Original Seeing
  7. The Logical Fallacy of Generalization from Fictional Evidence
  8. How to Seem (and Be) Deep
  9. We Change Our Minds Less Often Than We Think
  10. Hold Off On Proposing Solutions
  11. Asch's Conformity Experiment
  12. On Expressing Your Concerns
  13. Lonely Dissent
  14. The Genetic Fallacy

Noticing Confusion

  1. Your Strength as a Rationalist
  2. Absence of Evidence Is Evidence of Absence
  3. Hindsight Bias
  4. Hindsight Devalues Science
  5. Positive Bias: Look Into the Dark

Against Rationalization

  1. Knowing About Biases Can Hurt People
  2. Update Yourself Incrementally
  3. One Argument Against An Army
  4. The Bottom Line
  5. What Evidence Filtered Evidence?
  6. Rationalization
  7. A Rational Argument
  8. Avoiding Your Belief's Real Weak Points
  9. Motivated Stopping and Motivated Continuation
  10.       A Case Study of Motivated Continuation
  11. Fake Justification
  12. Fake Optimization Criteria
  13. Is That Your True Rejection?
  14. Entangled Truths, Contagious Lies
  15.       Of Lies and Black Swan Blowups
  16. Anti-Epistemology
  17.       The Sacred Mundane

Against Doublethink

  1. Singlethink
  2. Doublethink: Choosing to be Biased
  3. No, Really, I've Deceived Myself
  4. Belief in Self-Deception
  5. Moore's Paradox
  6. Don't Believe You'll Self-Deceive

Overly Convenient Excuses

  1. The Proper Use of Humility
  2. The Third Alternative
  3. Locating the hypothesis
  4.       Privileging the Hypothesis
  5. But There's Still A Chance, Right?
  6.       The Fallacy of Gray
  7.       Absolute Authority
  8.       How to Convince Me That 2 + 2 = 3
  9.       Infinite Certainty
  10.       0 And 1 Are Not Probabilities

Letting Go

  1. Feeling Rational
  2. The Importance of Saying "Oops"
  3.       The Crackpot Offer
  4.       Just Lose Hope Already
  5. The Proper Use of Doubt
  6. You Can Face Reality
  7. The Meditation on Curiosity
  8. Something to Protect
  9. No One Can Exempt You From Rationality's Laws
  10. Leave a Line of Retreat
  11. Crisis of Faith
  12.       The Ritual


The Simple Math of Evolution

  1. An Alien God
  2. The Wonder of Evolution
  3. Evolutions Are Stupid (But Work Anyway)
  4. Speed limit and complexity bound for evolution
  5. Adaptation-Executers, not Fitness-Maximizers
  6. No Evolutions for Corporations or Nanodevices
  7. Evolving to Extinction
  8. The Tragedy of Group Selectionism
  9. Fake Optimization Criteria


A Human's Guide to Words

  1. The Parable of the Dagger
  2. The Parable of Hemlock
  3. Words as Hidden Inferences
  4. Extensions and Intensions
  5. Similarity Clusters
  6. Typicality and Asymmetrical Similarity
  7. The Cluster Structure of Thingspace
  8. Disguised Queries
  9. Neural Categories
  10. How An Algorithm Feels From Inside
  11. Disputing Definitions
  12. Feel the Meaning
  13. The Argument From Common Usage
  14. Empty Labels
  15. Taboo Your Words
  16. Replace the Symbol with the Substance
  17. Fallacies of Compression
  18. Categorizing Has Consequences
  19. Sneaking in Connotations
  20. Arguing "By Definition"
  21. Where to Draw the Boundary?
  22. Entropy, and Short Codes
  23. Mutual Information, and Density in Thingspace
  24. Superexponential Conceptspace, and Simple Words
  25. Conditional Independence, and Naive Bayes
  26. Words as Mental Paintbrush Handles
  27. Variable Question Fallacies
  28. 37 Ways That Suboptimal Use Of Categories Can Have Negative Side Effects On our Cognition



Reductionism (i)

  1. Universal Fire
  2. Universal Law
  3. Dissolving the Question
  4. Wrong Questions
  5. Righting a Wrong Question
  6. Mind Projection Fallacy
  7. Probability is in the Mind
  8. The Quotation is not the Referent
  9. Qualitatively Confused
  10. Reductionism
  11. Explaining vs. Explaining Away
  12. Fake Reductionism
  13. Savanna Poets


Joy in the Merely Real
  1. Joy in the Merely Real
  2. Joy in Discovery
  3. Bind Yourself to Reality
  4. If You Demand Magic, Magic Won't Help
  5.       Mundane Magic
  6. The Beauty of Settled Science
  7. Amazing Breakthrough Day: April 1st
  8. Is Humanism a Religion-Substitute?
  9. Scarcity
  10. To Spread Science, Keep It Secret
  11. Initiation Ceremony
  12. Awww, a Zebra


Reductionism (ii)

  1. Hand vs. Fingers
  2. Angry Atoms
  3. Heat vs. Motion
  4. Brain Breakthrough! It's Made of Neurons!
  5. Reductive Reference


  1. Zombies! Zombies?
  2. Zombie Responses
  3. The Generalized Anti-Zombie Principle
  4. GAZP vs. GLUT
  5. Belief in the Implied Invisible
  6. Zombies: The Movie
  7. Causal reference


Reductionism (iii)

  1. Excluding the Supernatural
  2. Psychic Powers