The Last Rationalist

All articles

  1. Necessity and Warrant

    Literary warrant, a concept introduced by Wyndam Hulme in 1911, has the status of a principle. A subprinciple of the principle of representation, it enjoins that the vocabulary of a subject language be empirically derived from the literature it is intended to describe. This means that a literature must be …
  2. On Necessity

    There are two ways to slide easily through life: Namely, to believe everything, or to doubt everything; both ways save us from thinking.

        — Alfred Korzybski, The Manhood of Humanity

    For most of human history, cultures and individuals held to the idea that there was one truth that could be discovered …

  3. "Memento Mori", Said The Confessor

    Ten years ago Eliezer Yudkowsky wrote a post about cryonics where he was baffled by the fact that most young cryonicists heard about the concept and then decided to sign up. There was no extended questioning, no sales pitch, young (future) cryonics patients were simply exposed to the concept of …

  4. Slack Club

    Introduction

    This cynical advice on military leadership dates back to the world wars:

    Those who are clever and industrious I appoint to the General Staff. Use can under certain circumstances be made of those who are stupid and lazy. The man who is clever and lazy qualifies for the highest …
  5. A Brief Note On Epistemic Rationality

    When I go to write a post for this blog I spend a lot of time doing research to establish that the things I'm talking about exist. It can be oddly difficult to preempt a motte and bailey argument by providing proof that people believe the things you say they …

  6. Rationality Is Not Systematized Winning

    Authors Note: I said in my previous post that the next would be about systems to build common knowledge. That post is running very much behind schedule, so I'll be publishing others in the meantime.

    “Do not ask whether it is “the Way” to do this or that. Ask whether …

  7. Facebook, The Rodents, and The Common Knowledge Machine

    The dark magicians at Facebook have cast a hex on the rationalist community.

    Their hex is not the only hex, and it is not necessarily the hex of most consequence. It is however one of the more obvious, legible, and objectively harmful instances of witchcraft. This post is about how …

  8. Eliezer Yudkowsky vs. The Sequences

    There's a certain grand irony to the whole thing. Eliezer writes this sprawling intellectual epic called The Sequences that puts a moral spin on General Semantics, Popperian Science, Behavioral Economics, Evolutionary Psychology, Bayesian Statistics, putting it all together into one cohesive worldview concluding that the world is about to be …