Part Five: Taking rational work seriously

HIV/SIV phylogenetic tree

HIV/SIV phylogenetic tree courtesy Thomas Splettstoesser

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Part Five puts meta-rationality to work.

Part Four explained meta-rationality in general. We looked at many specific examples, from many different fields, but they were brief, and may have left you wondering “how can I make this useful in my own work of rationality?”

Only you can answer that; meta-rationality bridges elegant abstract theory and the nitty-gritty specifics of real-world problems. You know about those, and I don’t.

However, between the fully general presentation and the details of the mess you personally will deal with today, there’s much to say about ways meta-rationality can help in particular fields. Indeed, a book, or many books, could be written about how to apply meta-rationality in any one domain of rational endeavor. I am unqualified to write any of those, not currently being an expert in any field. Still, I know enough about a few fields to make some suggestions.

Part Five explains ways to approach these meta-rationally:

  • Statistics (with probability theory as a warm-up)
  • Experimental science (with reference to the replication crisis and credibility revolution)
  • Software development
  • Entrepreneurship

I’ll end with a section I promised at the beginning of the book, explaining in detail how “HIV is the cause of AIDS” is true. You may find the answer surprising, and the details involving.


This page is in the section In the Cells of the Eggplant.

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