Difference between revisions of "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 discovering and (if possible) mitigating cognitive biases, reflecting on one's desires,  and combating Akrasia.
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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 known cognitive biases, reflecting on one's desires,  and combating Akrasia.
  
 
For the canonical article, see [http://lesswrong.com/lw/31/what_do_we_mean_by_rationality/ What Do We Mean By "Rationality"?].
 
For the canonical article, see [http://lesswrong.com/lw/31/what_do_we_mean_by_rationality/ What Do We Mean By "Rationality"?].

Revision as of 12:23, 24 June 2013

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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 known cognitive biases, reflecting on one's desires, and combating Akrasia.

For the canonical article, see What Do We Mean By "Rationality"?.

Epistemic rationality

Believing, and updating on evidence, so as to systematically improve the correspondence between your map and the territory. The art of obtaining beliefs that correspond to reality as closely as possible. This correspondence is commonly termed "truth" or "accuracy", and we're happy to call it that.

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

External links

See also