Elimination of Waste

each year the government sends $31 million as benefits payments to deceased people. To correct this error would be expensive and cost more than eliminating the waste would end up saving.

  • $31 million makes up 0.004% of total disbursements
  • "What's the right amount of taxpayer money to be wasting?"
  • anal: getting to the airport 5 hours early carries a lower risk than getting to the airport 3 hours early. The thing is, getting to the airport 5 hours early carries a cost.

  • To think independently of other human beings is impossible, and if it were possible it would be undesirable. Thinking is necessarily, thoroughly, and wonderfully social. Everything you think is a response to what someone else has thought and said. And when people commend someone for “thinking for herself” they usually mean “ceasing to sound like people I dislike and starting to sound more like people I approve of.”

Whenever a wide range of variant theories can account equally well for the phenomenon they are trying to explain, there is no reason to prefer one of them over the others, so advocating a particular one in preference to the others is irrational.

  • when people believe a conclusion is true, they are also very likely to believe arguments that appear to support it, even when these arguments are unsound.

If you are struggling to justify doing something, think about how much value +/- there is, and how much compared to the the other party (if there is one)

  • ex. it's not strong logic to not buy Apple because "Apple sucks. they are ruining the world. they are bad for mankind..." etc. What it comes down to is the question of how much value they are adding to your life. Does owning a Mac provide you with signficant value over the alternative? And besides, it's not like your boycotting Apple will make one iota of a difference anyway. There is a large disparity in the value +/-

People say that your first reaction is the most honest, but I disagree. Your first reaction is usually outdated. Either it’s an answer you came up with long ago and now use instead of thinking, or it’s a knee-jerk emotional response to something in your past.

Socratic Method

  1. clarifying your thinking and explaining the origin of your ideas
  2. challenging assumptions
  3. looking for evidence
  4. considering alternative perspectives
  5. examining consequences and applications (what if I am wrong?)
  • The Socratic method searches for general, commonly held truths that shape beliefs and scrutinizes them to determine their consistency with other beliefs

When feeling conflicted, ask yourself a bunch of questions to work through your feelings, looking for the source of the conflict, then ask yourself more questions around the clash in values, and work through other alternate ways you’d like things to be

Humans are notorious at looking too close to the picture in relation to where they stand. Consider how long your impression is of how long humans have dominated the planet Earth. Now, imagine the most recent salient species in the position of Dominator of the Earth: the dinosaur. When we look at these two they both seem like equally impressive dominations of the Earth, with perhaps human seeming more dominant. In fact, it is interesting to note that the dinosaurs have existed on the planet for 3,100 times longer than we have. This shows human inability to look at the big picture and the bias that we must fight everyday

Logical Fallacies

Five Whys

continuously ask "why" on your premises. challenge yourself that you truly understand each assumption that you are taking as a process of decision making.

  • when you have deep rooted feelings about something (something relating to emotion rather than logic), use the 5 whys to get at the root of your feeling.

Pay attention to the logic that other's use to explain their views. For example, ask them why they think racism is a bad thing and see how they respond. If they say, "it's because it's wrong", then you know that they're confirming their opinions based on societal norms. However, if the person responds "because it makes no logical sense because a race doesn't make you actually inferior so the people can do equally good work regardless of ethnicity", then you can see that their thought process came from a place of logic, rather than the knee-jerk system 1.

E Resources

UE Resources

  1. Fallacy
  2. Game Theory
  3. Inversive Thinking
  4. Razor