A Checklist for Rational Thinking

There exists a Center for Applied Rationality (as opposed to unapplied rationality?) and they have set out to make the world more rational. Their approach is questionable, as it’s unclear as to what form of rationality they are openly proselytizing. Regardless, they do have a neat checklist to help people work through problems and see debates in a more thoughtful way.

Here’s the first item on their rationality checklist:

Reacting to evidence / surprises / arguments you haven’t heard before; flagging beliefs for examination.

  • When I see something odd – something that doesn’t fit with what I’d ordinarily expect, given my other beliefs – I successfully notice, promote it to conscious attention and think “I notice that I am confused” or some equivalent thereof.
  • When somebody says something that isn’t quite clear enough for me to visualize, I notice this and ask for examples.
  • I notice when my mind is arguing for a side (instead of evaluating which side to choose), and flag this as an error mode.
  • I notice my mind flinching away from a thought; and when I notice, I flag that area as requiring more deliberate exploration.
  • I consciously attempt to welcome bad news, or at least not push it away.

Read more.

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