Book II

How to Actually Change Your Mind

This truth thing seems pretty handy. Why, then, do we keep jumping to conclusions, digging our heels in, and recapitulating the same mistakes? Why are we so bad at acquiring accurate beliefs, and how can we do better? These seven sequences discuss motivated reasoning and confirmation bias, with a special focus on hard-to-spot species of self-deception and the trap of “using arguments as soldiers.”

Rationality: An Introduction

Overly Convenient Excuses

  1. The Proper Use of Humility
  2. The Third Alternative
  3. Lotteries: A Waste of Hope
  4. New Improved Lottery
  5. But There’s Still a Chance, Right?
  6. The Fallacy of Gray
  7. Absolute Authority
  8. How to Convince Me That 2 + 2 = 3
  9. Infinite Certainty
  10. 0 And 1 Are Not Probabilities
  11. Your Rationality Is My Business

Politics and Rationality

  1. Politics is the Mind-Killer
  2. Policy Debates Should Not Appear One-Sided
  3. The Scales of Justice, the Notebook of Rationality
  4. Correspondence Bias
  5. Are Your Enemies Innately Evil?
  6. Reversed Stupidity Is Not Intelligence
  7. Argument Screens Off Authority
  8. Hug the Query
  9. Rationality and the English Language
  10. Human Evil and Muddled Thinking

Against Rationalization

  1. Knowing About Biases Can Hurt People
  2. Update Yourself Incrementally
  3. One Argument Against An Army
  4. The Bottom Line
  5. What Evidence Filtered Evidence?
  6. Rationalization
  7. A Rational Argument
  8. Avoiding Your Belief’s Real Weak Points
  9. Motivated Stopping and Motivating Continuation
  10. Fake Justification
  11. Is That Your True Rejection?
  12. Entangled Truths, Contagious Lies
  13. Of Lies and Black Swan Blowups
  14. Dark Side Epistemology

Against Doublethink

  1. Singlethink
  2. Doublethink (Choosing to be Biased)
  3. No, Really, I’ve Deceived Myself
  4. Belief in Self-Deception
  5. Moore’s Paradox
  6. Don’t Believe You’ll Self-Deceive

Seeing with Fresh Eyes

  1. Anchoring and Adjustment
  2. Priming and Contamination
  3. Do We Believe Everything We’re Told?
  4. Cached Thoughts
  5. The “Outside the Box” Box
  6. Original Seeing
  7. Stranger than History
  8. The Logical Fallacy of Generalization from Fictional Evidence
  9. The Virtue of Narrowness
  10. How to Seem (and Be) Deep
  11. We Change Our Minds Less Often Than We Think
  12. Hold Off On Proposing Solutions
  13. The Genetic Fallacy

Death Spirals

  1. The Affect Heuristic
  2. Evaluability (and Cheap Holiday Shopping)
  3. Unbounded Scales, Huge Jury Awards, and Futurism
  4. The Halo Effect
  5. Superhero Bias
  6. Mere Messiahs
  7. Affective Death Spirals
  8. Resist the Happy Death Spiral
  9. Uncritical Supercriticality
  10. Evaporative Cooling of Group Beliefs
  11. When None Dare Urge Restraint
  12. The Robbers Cave Experiment
  13. Every Cause Wants to Be a Cult
  14. Guardians of the Truth
  15. Guardians of the Gene Pool
  16. Guardians of Ayn Rand
  17. Two Cult Koans
  18. Asch’s Conformity Experiment
  19. On Expressing Your Concerns
  20. Lonely Dissent
  21. Cultish Countercultishness

Letting Go

  1. The Importance of Saying “Oops”
  2. The Crackpot Offer
  3. Just Lose Hope Already
  4. The Proper Use of Doubt
  5. You Can Face Reality
  6. The Meditation on Curiosity
  7. No One Can Exempt You From Rationality’s Laws
  8. Leave a Line of Retreat
  9. Crisis of Faith
  10. The Ritual

Interlude: The Simple Truth


Rationality: An Introduction