Difference between revisions of "Lesswrong:Aboutpage"

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(extra words are bad: http://paulgraham.com/writing44.html)
(I still think it sets the tone right. If you want it deleted, escalate to a discussion post with clearly stated voting options. Distinguish urge to remove from urge fox the introductory statement.)
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As you become familiar with the site, you may also want to contribute by expanding and editing the [http://wiki.lesswrong.com/wiki/LessWrong_Wiki Less Wrong Wiki].
 
As you become familiar with the site, you may also want to contribute by expanding and editing the [http://wiki.lesswrong.com/wiki/LessWrong_Wiki Less Wrong Wiki].
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==== Virtues of rationality ====
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Some important aspects of rationality are described in the [http://yudkowsky.net/rational/virtues Twelve Virtues of Rationality]:
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* '''[http://wiki.lesswrong.com/wiki/Curiosity Curiosity]'''<nowiki>: a burning itch to know. See </nowiki>[http://lesswrong.com/lw/jz/the_meditation_on_curiosity/ The Meditation on Curiosity]<nowiki>; </nowiki>[http://lesswrong.com/lw/go/why_truth_and/ Why truth?]<nowiki>; </nowiki>[http://lesswrong.com/lw/4ku/use_curiosity/ Use Curiosity].
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* '''Relinquishment'''<nowiki>: that which can be destroyed by the truth should be. See </nowiki>[http://lesswrong.com/lw/i9/the_importance_of_saying_oops/ The Importance of Saying 'Oops']<nowiki>; </nowiki>[http://lesswrong.com/lw/k5/cached_thoughts/ Cached Thoughts]<nowiki>; </nowiki>[http://lesswrong.com/lw/gx/just_lose_hope_already/ Just Lose Hope Already]<nowiki>; </nowiki>[http://lesswrong.com/lw/ur/crisis_of_faith/ Crisis of Faith].
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* '''Lightness'''<nowiki>: let the winds of evidence blow you about, with no direction of your own. See </nowiki>[http://lesswrong.com/lw/ij/update_yourself_incrementally/ Update Yourself Incrementally]<nowiki>; </nowiki>[http://lesswrong.com/lw/in/scientific_evidence_legal_evidence_rational/ Scientific Evidence, Legal Evidence, Rational Evidence].
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* '''Evenness'''<nowiki>: do not seek to argue for one side or another, for if you knew your destination, you would already be there. See </nowiki>[http://lesswrong.com/lw/ik/one_argument_against_an_army/ One Argument Against an Army]<nowiki>; </nowiki>[http://lesswrong.com/lw/jn/how_much_evidence_does_it_take/ How Much Evidence Does It Take?]<nowiki>; </nowiki>[http://lesswrong.com/lw/jw/a_rational_argument/ A Rational Argument]<nowiki>; </nowiki>[http://lesswrong.com/lw/jy/avoiding_your_beliefs_real_weak_points/ Avoiding Your Belief's Real Weak Points].
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* '''Argument'''<nowiki>: seek a test that lets reality judge between you. See </nowiki>[http://lesswrong.com/lw/lx/argument_screens_off_authority/ Argument Screens Off Authority]<nowiki>; </nowiki>[http://yudkowsky.net/rational/bayes An Intuitive Explanation of Bayes' Theorem].
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* '''Empiricism'''<nowiki>: the roots of knowledge are in observation, and its fruit is prediction. See </nowiki>[http://lesswrong.com/lw/i3/making_beliefs_pay_rent_in_anticipated_experiences/ Making Beliefs Pay Rent]<nowiki>; </nowiki>[http://lesswrong.com/lw/iu/mysterious_answers_to_mysterious_questions/ Mysterious Answers to Mysterious Questions]<nowiki>; </nowiki>[http://lesswrong.com/lw/jl/what_is_evidence/ What is Evidence?]<nowiki>; </nowiki>[http://lesswrong.com/lw/jm/the_lens_that_sees_its_flaws/ The Lens That Sees Its Flaws]<nowiki>; </nowiki>[http://lesswrong.com/lw/k2/a_priori/ A Priori]<nowiki>; </nowiki>[http://lesswrong.com/lw/s0/where_recursive_justification_hits_bottom/ Where Recursive Justification Hits Bottom].
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* '''Simplicity'''<nowiki>: the more steps in your argument, the more likely it is to contain a flaw. See </nowiki>[http://lesswrong.com/lw/jp/occams_razor/ Occam's Razor]<nowiki>; </nowiki>[http://lesswrong.com/lw/ji/conjunction_fallacy/ Conjunction Fallacy].
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* '''[http://wiki.lesswrong.com/wiki/Humility Humility]'''<nowiki>: anticipate your own errors, for you are human. See </nowiki>[http://lesswrong.com/lw/gq/the_proper_use_of_humility/ The Proper Use of Humility]<nowiki>; </nowiki>[http://lesswrong.com/lw/he/knowing_about_biases_can_hurt_people/ Knowing About Biases Can Hurt People]<nowiki>; </nowiki>[http://lesswrong.com/lw/o4/leave_a_line_of_retreat/ Leave a Line of Retreat].
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* '''Perfectionism'''<nowiki>: hold yourself to the highest standard you can imagine. See </nowiki>[http://lesswrong.com/lw/h8/tsuyoku_naritai_i_want_to_become_stronger/ Tsuyoku Naritai]<nowiki>; </nowiki>[http://lesswrong.com/lw/ua/the_level_above_mine/ The Level Above Mine]<nowiki>; </nowiki>[http://lesswrong.com/lw/up/shut_up_and_do_the_impossible/ Shut Up and Do the Impossible].
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* '''Precision'''<nowiki>: quantify and use probability theory. See </nowiki>[http://lesswrong.com/lw/ic/the_virtue_of_narrowness/ The Virtue of Narrowness], [http://lesswrong.com/lw/mm/the_fallacy_of_gray/ The Fallacy of Gray]<nowiki>; </nowiki>[http://lesswrong.com/lw/l7/the_simple_math_of_everything/ The Simple Math of Everything]<nowiki>; </nowiki>[http://yudkowsky.net/rational/technical A Technical Explanation of Technical Explanation]<nowiki>; </nowiki>[http://lesswrong.com/lw/oj/probability_is_in_the_mind/ Probability is in the Mind]<nowiki>; </nowiki>[http://yudkowsky.net/rational/bayes An Intuitive Explanation of Bayes' Theorem].
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* '''[http://wiki.lesswrong.com/wiki/Scholarship Scholarship]'''<nowiki>: study many sciences and absorb their power as your own. See </nowiki>[http://lesswrong.com/lw/3m3/the_neglected_virtue_of_scholarship/ The Neglected Virtue of Scholarship]<nowiki>; </nowiki>[http://lesswrong.com/lw/5me/scholarship_how_to_do_it_efficiently/ Scholarship: How to Do It Efficiently].
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* '''The nameless virtue'''<nowiki>: perhaps you describe incorrectly the nameless virtue. How will you discover your mistake? Not by comparing your description to itself, but by comparing it to that which you did not name. See </nowiki>[http://lesswrong.com/lw/le/lost_purposes/ Lost Purposes]<nowiki>; </nowiki>[http://lesswrong.com/lw/nb/something_to_protect/ Something to Protect]<nowiki>; </nowiki>[http://lesswrong.com/lw/m7/zen_and_the_art_of_rationality/ Zen and the Art of Rationality].
  
 
There are also some principles of using words in discussion that are generally accepted as useful by this community. For example: don't [http://lesswrong.com/lw/ny/sneaking_in_connotations/ sneak in connotations] or [http://lesswrong.com/lw/np/disputing_definitions/ endlessly debate definitions]. See [http://lesswrong.com/lw/od/37_ways_that_words_can_be_wrong/ 37 Ways Words Can Be Wrong].
 
There are also some principles of using words in discussion that are generally accepted as useful by this community. For example: don't [http://lesswrong.com/lw/ny/sneaking_in_connotations/ sneak in connotations] or [http://lesswrong.com/lw/np/disputing_definitions/ endlessly debate definitions]. See [http://lesswrong.com/lw/od/37_ways_that_words_can_be_wrong/ 37 Ways Words Can Be Wrong].

Revision as of 10:50, 18 March 2012

About Less Wrong

Thinking and deciding are central to our daily lives. The Less Wrong community aims to gain expertise in how humans think and decide, so that we can do so more successfully. We use the latest insights from cognitive science, social psychology, probability theory, and decision theory to improve our understanding of how the world works and what we can do to achieve our goals.

Want to know if your doctor's diagnosis is correct? It helps to understand Bayes' Theorem. Want to make a plan for achieving your goals? It helps to know the ways in which we don't know our own desires. Want to make the world a better place? It helps to know about the cognitive bias called 'scope insensitivity', and that some charities are more efficient than others.

We discuss and practice these skills on the main blog, in the discussion area, and in regular meetups around the world.

Where to start

If you want a sampling of the content on the main blog, you could read some posts on beliefswordscognitive biasesevidence, probabilitydecision theory, excuses, task avoidancereductionismevolutionquantum physics, ethicspoliticsdisease, and procrastination.

To read Less Wrong systematically, read the Sequences, especially the Core Sequences. They are somewhat long, but highly recommended.

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To meet other rationality enthusiasts in meat-space, look for a Less Wrong meetup group in your area, or start your own!

As you become familiar with the site, you may also want to contribute by expanding and editing the Less Wrong Wiki.

Virtues of rationality

Some important aspects of rationality are described in the Twelve Virtues of Rationality:

There are also some principles of using words in discussion that are generally accepted as useful by this community. For example: don't sneak in connotations or endlessly debate definitions. See 37 Ways Words Can Be Wrong.

About Less Wrong

In November 2006, Eliezer Yudkowsky began posting about rationality on Robin Hanson's blog Overcoming Bias. In February 2009, Yudkowsky's posts were used as the seed material for a new community website, Less Wrong. Overcoming Bias remains Less Wrong's "sister site."

Less Wrong is associated with the Future of Humanity Institute at Oxford University and the Singularity Institute, where Yudkowsky is a senior researcher. The site is hosted and maintained by Trike Apps.