Difference between revisions of "Rationality"

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(Epistemic rationality)
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Rationality is the characteristic of thinking and acting optimally. An agent is rational if it wields its intelligence in such a way as to maximize the convergence between its beliefs and reality; and acts on these beliefs in such a manner as to maximize its chances of achieving whatever goals it has. For humans, this means mitigating (as much as possible) the influence of [http://wiki.lesswrong.com/wiki/Bias cognitive biases,] reflecting and acting on one's desires, and combating [[Akrasia]].
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'''Rationality''' is something of fundamental importance to LessWrong that is defined in many ways.  Wikipedia calls rationality "the quality or state of being reasonable, based on facts or reason" and goes on to say the term has "different specialized meanings in philosophy, economics, sociology, psychology, evolutionary biology, and political science". We could also say that it is the quality of thinking well, or that an agent is rational if it wields its intelligence in such a way as to maximize the convergence between its beliefs and reality, and acts on these beliefs in such a manner as to maximize its chances of achieving whatever goals it has.   
  
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Rationality in humans is a delicate thing, threatened by [[Bias | cognitive biases]].
  
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==Instrumental rationality==
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Instrumental rationality is 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==
 
==Epistemic rationality==
  
Epistemic rationality is that part of rationality which involves cognition, e.g., [[updating]] on receiving new [[evidence]] so as to improve the correspondence between one's perception of reality and the [[truth]] about same. See [[The map and the territory]].
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Epistemic rationality is that 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 practising instrumental rationality might even find falsehood useful.
 
 
==Instrumental rationality==
 
 
 
Achieving your values. Not necessarily "your values" in the sense of being selfish values or unshared values: "your values" means anything you care about. The art of choosing actions that steer the future toward outcomes ranked higher in your preferences. [[LW]] sometimes shortens this to "[[winning]]".
 
 
 
For humans, instrumental rationality benefits from ''deliberation'' techniques — for identifying your better courses of action — and ''implementation'' techinques — to help you act the way you've decided upon.
 
  
 
==Blog posts==
 
==Blog posts==

Latest revision as of 23:19, 11 March 2017

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Rationality is something of fundamental importance to LessWrong that is defined in many ways. Wikipedia calls rationality "the quality or state of being reasonable, based on facts or reason" and goes on to say the term has "different specialized meanings in philosophy, economics, sociology, psychology, evolutionary biology, and political science". We could also say that it is the quality of thinking well, or that an agent is rational if it wields its intelligence in such a way as to maximize the convergence between its beliefs and reality, and acts on these beliefs in such a manner as to maximize its chances of achieving whatever goals it has.

Rationality in humans is a delicate thing, threatened by cognitive biases.

Instrumental rationality

Instrumental rationality is 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

Epistemic rationality is that 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 practising instrumental rationality might even find falsehood useful.

Blog posts

External links

See also