Re: Metarationality (was: JOIN: Alden Streeter)

From: Gordon Worley (
Date: Sat Aug 24 2002 - 18:47:50 MDT

On Saturday, August 24, 2002, at 09:37 AM, Ben Goertzel wrote:

> Firstly, Gordon, I would like to invite you to define or describe what
> you
> mean by "rationality" as clearly as you can.

Okay, I'm going to try to do this. This is a bit like asking a Buddha
to define enlightenment, though. :-P

Rationality is a qualitative change in thinking. It is characterized by
the consistent use of logical thought and Bayesian reasoning and the
disuse of evolved thinking (in all it's forms: intuition as it is
commonly understood, rationalization, pseudo logic, etc.). You
eliminate all irrational thought, and what is left is pure rationality.

Maybe now you see why any use of irrational thinking bothers me. Sure,
you can keep using irrational thought processes, but you will only ever
gain so much rationality, and it will be tenuous since you are
maintaining a tie to irrational thoughts when you know that you should
be trying to eliminate them.

> Secondly, I think everyone understands that rationality is a way of
> thinking.

Well, I sometimes see comments that suggest otherwise, so I want to be
sure that it's clear. Even if you're clear on it, someone else on the
list might not be (I think that we're probably talking above the heads
of most of the list, but I could be wrong).

> What Samantha and I seem to both be arguing, is that there are large and
> useful portions of the brain which this particular way of thinking does
> not
> engage. And there are other, complementary, nonrational ways of
> thinking
> that are also highly worthwhile.

They produce usable results sometimes. This does not mean this is the
most efficient use of your brain.

Gordon Worley                     `When I use a word,' Humpty Dumpty            said, `it means just what I choose                it to mean--neither more nor less.'
PGP:  0xBBD3B003                                  --Lewis Carroll

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