Previews on Works by O.G. Rose

Short Pieces on Thinking About Thinking II

https://www.frozen-glory.com/

This is a preview list of short pieces I wrote focused on “thinking about thinking,” mental models, epistemology, and stuff like that. I hope you see something in here that you find interesting!

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Everyone Is Rational

Nobody does anything they think is irrational. If they touch fire, which is arguably stupid, they must be doing it because they want to impress someone, feel pain, or see what fire feels like. In light of this desire and want, touching the fire becomes rational to them, even if it’s not actually rational. But unfortunately, only God can ultimately know what is actually rational, and none of us are God. Maybe touching fire gets someone a promotion to being chief of a village somewhere? Can we really say that it’s never rational to touch fire? Seems extremely situation-dependent…

Audio Summary

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Metatalks

A metatalk is when we talk about the mechanisms of talking, thinking, relationships, and the like. It’s not just any talking, but a particular kind of talking in which we try to figure how and why all parties interpret things the way they do, why they feel a certain way, and what they think we’re saying when they say this or that (countless more examples could be made).

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I Think, Therefore There Is Reason To Think

Descartes does not prove we exist, only that we are a closed system that must assume our existence in order to proceed. Descartes only suggests we cannot not exist, for to think we don’t exist, something must exist to think we’re not around.

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On Justification and Consequences to Others

The amount of justification an argument needs to be accepted should be considered as relative to the degree that the consequences of the argument are contained and individuated versus uncontained and nonindividuated. There are “nonindividuated consequences” — consequences that I suffer because of the choices of others — and “individuated consequences” — consequences that I suffer because of my own choices (we could also say “contained consequences” versus “uncontained consequences”).

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Rationality Is Mostly About Making Good Bets

People talk as if there are two camps — irrational people and rational people — and act like problems in life have solutions, and that if we can’t figure those solutions out, it’s because we’re not thinking hard enough. But often problems in life are trade-offs and bets for one outcome versus another: we don’t live in a world of syllogisms but probabilities.

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Art Is a Source for Mental Models

What does this have to do with art and literature? Well, I believe there are a lot of people who recognize how data science, computer science, and fields like that can be sources of useful “mental models,” but I believe literature is also an important source. Art in general provides ways for us to understand how people act, how politics needs to operate, how we can engage in mechanisms of self-deception, and so on.

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Systems Think Before Systematically Thinking

The way we think about something can be just as important as how hard we think about it. If I try to hammer in a nail with a wrench, it might work, but it might also mess up the job. Nails need hammers, and there are jobs that if I try to use a hammer when a screwdriver is needed, I might break whatever it is I’m working on.

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None of Us Are Very Smart

What does it mean to call someone “smart” if at best all we ever know is maybe 1% of all there is to know? Okay, let’s be generous: let’s say we can know 10%. What was failing in High School? 69%? Yea, I don’t think any of us are very smart.

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Explanations Are Not Evidence

An explanation is not evidence. If there is a cup on a table, I could probably come up with a thousand (possible) explanations for how it got there (maybe more). At the end of the day though, only one explanation would be true. If I convinced you that you were obligated to investigate every plausible explanation, then in the name of truth, I would have convinced you to waste a lot of time.

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Reality Handicaps Preventative Measures

There are situations that, once we’re in, a tragic trade-off is inevitable. It’s best to avoid these situations in the first place, but until we’re in them, we only have the idea of how difficult the situations will be, not the experiences. “Ideas are not experiences” — as the paper by that name argues — and ideas are much weaker at compelling human action than experiences.

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If We’re Post-Truth, That Can’t Be True

If we live in a post-truth world, that can’t be true, but what is possible is that everyone who disagrees with us lives in a post-truth world.

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Conclusive Arguments Are Rare

How many arguments force us to change our views? In other words, how many arguments are out there that aren’t merely “persuasive” but “undeniable?” Spoiler alert: a lot less than we think.

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Information Does Not Tell Us What It Means

Information does not tell us what it means. Words do not give us their definitions. Facts do not force us to view them as evidence for a certain case. We decide the meaning of information, words, and facts, and yet information seems like the meaning is self-evident, that anyone would draw the same conclusions as us if they were trying to really think. If they draw different conclusions, it must mean they’re not thinking, that they’re ideologically driven, or worse, that they’re intentionally misunderstanding the facts.

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The Ubiquity of Categorization

If we know x is good, this knowledge will only be useful if we are able to accurately discern when something is x. If we are incapable of making this judgment, then knowing “x is good” will not be useful, and in fact could be harmful if we wrongly define something as x that is bad but we try to use that bad thing anyway because we believe it is good. If we cannot categorize well, knowledge often proves useless.

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Evaluating Evaluation

If we have all the information in the world, it will be useless to us if we do not have the ability to evaluate it. This is becoming undeniable with the internet: it’s an amazing research tool, but if we don’t come to the internet with some level of “prior knowledge,” as David Rieff pointed out, or if we don’t gain from the internet a framework through which to understand the internet, the information it presents us with will prove difficult to organize, overwhelming, and probably useless. We won’t have the ability to interpret it, to determine the true from the false, the probable from the improbable, and/or the conspiratorial from the real. We’ll feel like Dante in a dark wood but without Virgil.

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On the Problem of Saying “That’s Abstract”

Why does this matter? Because when we associate “thinking” with “being abstract,” it’s then a small step to associate “thinking” with being “out of touch,” and after this step, it doesn’t take us long to moralize not thinking.

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For more, please visit O.G. Rose.com. Also, please subscribe to our YouTube channel and follow us on Instagram and Facebook.

Write Launch. Iowa. Broken Pencil. Allegory. Streetlight. Ponder. Pidgeonholes. W&M. Poydras. Toho. ellipsis. Open. UNO Finalist. Pushcart Nominee. ogrose.com

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