Conversation Culture

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We all aspire to conduct ourselves as level-headed individuals as we walk forth in our lives - but are we actually succeeding?

What does it mean to be a rational person?

Is this an ideal we can only ever approach but never reach?

I believe that there is a widespread misunderstanding of the term.

There is a difference between what it actually means to be rational, and the way most of us use the term - Rationality™

"That belief is irrational"

Well, actually... rationality isn't about *what* a person believes, but rather the process by which they form those beliefs. It's not about *what you think* but rather *how you think*.

Often when many of us say "that is irrational" what they really mean is "that is incorrect" or even "that is bad".

This was an insight that I first encountered from the brilliant Eliezer Yudkowsky, he writes about this a lot - particularly though in his novel fanfiction: Harry Potter and the Methods of Rationality.

I wrote a little about it here:

"One of the major reasons that Eliezer wrote what is essentially a novel is simple. People don't understand what rationality is. It is not about what you think, a matter of believing or not believing certain things. But rather how you think.

Even if the world as we knew it was not as it seemed and magical societies were hidden in its every corner, the methods of science and rationality would still hold."


This discussion will be all about *how* we believe people should think, not *what* they think.

What are better and worse ways to come to a conclusion?

What makes those ways better or worse?

How can we justify our beliefs?

What are the mistakes most people in today's society make when thinking about the world?

Who do you feel are the clearest thinkers in modern discourse and what is it that makes them so?

What is it that prevents us from thinking clearly and reasoning honestly in today's society? What has stopped this from happening throughout history?

These are the questions we will be discussing, if this sounds fun to you (or even if you are keen to just listen to what others have to say) please come along to this event!

Resources (It would be wonderful if you looked at some of these)

* My above article (A short sum-up to these ideas)
* Harry Potter and the Methods of Rationality (It's a long book, but its worth going through a chapter or two):
* What is truth by David Deutsch? (Was a resource last time also, but it's so good, only ten and a half minutes):
* The Useful Idea of Truth by Eliezer Yudkowsky:

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