RE: Metarationality (was: JOIN: Alden Streeter)

From: Rafal Smigrodzki (
Date: Mon Aug 26 2002 - 14:24:21 MDT

Eliezer S. Yudkowsky wrote:

Everything that works is a form of rationality; works because it is
rational; and is rational because it works.

<snipped an excellent and somewhat poetic exposition of a very broad
definition of rationality>

### I like Eliezer's post, not surprisingly, since a few months before I
posted the following:

> How about the following set of definitions:
> 1. Information - undefined, to be treated as a primitive concept here.
> 2. Knowledge - information describing a true, predictive mapping between
> actions and their results.
> 3. Intelligence - the ability to process information to produce knowledge.
> 4. Rationality - the intelligent ability to use knowledge about self and
> non-self and other relevant information to choose actions leading to the
> achievement of goals.

While Eliezer's approach is broader than the suggestion I made, it does
capture the essential similarity - the understanding of rationality as a way
of binding a goal, a set of data, and an action leading non-randomly to the
achievement of the goal. Be it conscious deliberation, or the use of
hardwired instincts, we do call it rational if it works in a reliable


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