I'm delighted to be able to help test your metric.
I'm posting this to the LW group to answer others' curiosity of me (if
any). Critiques on my philosophy or strategy are welcome.
After doing this quiz, I feel that I've been prompted to do some additional
thinking. This was a valuable exercise.
My score is 9/19 yesses. I found that two of the questions would use "No."
as a better indicator of rationality.
Final score: 7/19.
--------------------------------------------------------------------------- --------------------------------------------------------------------------- --------------------
Do you have specific habits for getting curious when you notice you're not
> curious about something important?
-First, evaluate: "If I'm not curious about this, is it really important?"
-Second, find someone who is curious about this, and have them infect me
--This works best in person, but can be accomplished through reading.
-Comment: I did not immediately read this as a yes or no question.
Immediately, I wrote down my thoughts and strategy, instead of answering
> Do you, in every situation, endeavor to have an accurate map of the
-However: I am willing to settle for a sufficiently accurate map, which
will allow me to manipulate reality to accomplish my goals.
--A perfect map is in principle impossible. Good enough is good enough.
> Do you regularly acknowledge/accept the possible worlds that may exist?
> (e.g. if the iron is hot, I desire to believe it it hot; if it is cool, I
> desire to believe it is cool)
-I do find the litany of Tarski a useful framework to think about why I
want to believe.
-I think that I thought similarly even before reading about this idea on LW
--This is not generally the case. LW has modified some of my thinking, and
has introduced new ideas that I might not have encountered otherwise.
-Comment: I don't understand the phrasing of the questions. The example
clued me in to what you were asking.
-Comment: This question seems to be identical to the previous one.
> Do you regularly ask, “What are the causes of my beliefs? Why do I think
> this? What’s the source?”
-Self-evaluation does not happen on any periodic timescale. Mostly, I
continue accumulating new ideas and placing them in my personal worldview. *
Occasionally* I will either realise a contradiction or be otherwise
prompted to evaluate either the causes of my beliefs or whether there is
any cognitive dissonance.
-It is my hope that by learning about learning that I will be able to
perform this sort of updating as a matter of course when encountering new
ideas that are not so different from my worldview as to require more
protracted reflection. (i.e. I want regular epiphanies until my map becomes
much closer to the territory)
> Do you regularly ask, “What would I expect to see differently if x was or
> was not the case?”
> Do you regularly ask, when unexpected things happen, “Why didn’t I expect
> x to happen?”
-I tend to "react and continue" rather than "react and reflect."
> When you sit down to think, or to look something up, do you regularly ask,
> "What am I chasing? Why am I doing this? What is most likely to help me
> learn this and figure it out? Am I asking myself questions about this?"
-Although I frequently discover that my desired end-goal was a
less-interesting end-point, and that I will have to shift "what I am
chasing" when I learn more about the subject I am studying.
-On second thought, it would be useful to maintain a log of when I do shift
my learning goals, so that I also study why I had those end-goals in the
first place, which might help me understand how to teach more effectively.
> Do you frequently stop to consider what information will be most valuable
> to achieving your goals?
-I do this every once in a while. For instance, my goal is to become an
astronaut. Five years ago, I decided that my best next step would be an
undergraduate degree in physics. While pursuing my degree, I did not
seriously reevaluate that this was the best step to be currently taking. At
the end of my degree, I decided on a different next step, which diverges
from the physicist's path.
-Frequency = 3 years << Frequently
> Do you frequently ask, "What do I most want to accomplish? What do I need
> to know, in order to achieve that thing?"
-Same answer as above.
> Do you focus your curiosity on information that will be helpful in
> achieving your goals?
-I tend to become curious about ideas for their own sake, and get diverted
from information that will help achieve my goals.
> Do you tend to be curious about what you need to reach your goals?
-And this makes some other fields of study seem boring by comparison.
> Do you stop reading when a source becomes irrelevant?
-Sometimes. I am currently transitioning from No to Yes.
-Final answer: No.
-I get a sense of satisfaction from completeness, so I like to continue
reading even past usefulness.
-I am currently realising that timeliness is also important.
> Do you then actively seek out more useful information?
> Do you gravitate to inquiries that seem most promising of producing shifts
> in belief?
-I gravitate toward inquiries that help explain away questions. Whether or
not my belief shifts is not actually a measure of whether my map is
becoming more accurate.
> Do you gravitate to inquiries that are least like the ones you've tried
-Generally, I apply methods I have previously learned.
-Generally, I approach questions from ideas that I already have in hand.
> Do you ever call topics or ideas boring, shallow, crazy, beneath you, or
> confusing (or other words that close off thought)?
-Sometimes, I feel that my "level" is not sufficiently high to begin
reading a particular treatment of a topic.
-Recent example: Wald's text on General Relativity was too fast until I got
a grip on tensors using other sources.
-I don't think a "Yes" response on this is an indicator of a rationalist.
--Rationalists should be able to consider all ideas, and should consider
all knowledge when making decisions.
> Do you notice when conflicting emotions cut off your curiosity?
-A lot of times I question my "cause" (Manned Space Exploration) and
whether or not it's a field where I can make significant contributions. I'm
driven to think about my cause because I want to work on it, but I feel
inadequate to the task, and so I don't deal with it in a seriously curious
-Upon reflection, the low-frequency with which I think about "What
information will be most important to my goals" is probably an unconscious
strategy to deal with this cut-off problem.
--By precommitting to taking a class or doing a degree or taking a job, I
constrain myself to working on my cause (or some activity related to my
cause) in spite of my feelings of inadequacy.
-I don't think a "Yes" response on this is an indicator of a rationalist.
--For it is written that Curiosity is a Virtue.
> Do you, in every social interaction, ask what that person can teach you?
-This happens in many social interactions. However, I view some social
interactions as mere politeness.
-This is a good point. I'll think on how to always be learning from others.
> Do you, in every situation where you receive feedback, treat it as
> potentially valuable?
-Either the feedback is legitimate and I should modify myself, or the
feedback is misguided and I have learned something about the way in which
the commenter argues, which I can use to better understand them.