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Rationality: From AI to Zombies
by Eliezer Yudkowsky

What does it actually mean to be rational? Not Hollywood-style “rational,” where one rejects all human feeling to embrace Cold Hard Logic — real rationality, of the sort studied by psychologists, social scientists, and mathematicians. The kind of rationality where you make good decisions, even when it’s hard; where you reason well, even in the face of massive uncertainty; where you recognize and make full use of your fuzzy intuitions and emotions, rather than trying to discard them.

In Rationality: From AI to Zombies, Eliezer Yudkowsky explains the science underlying human irrationality with a mix of fables, argumentative essays, and personal vignettes. These eye-opening accounts of how the mind works (and how, all too often, it doesn’t) are then put to the test through some genuinely difficult puzzles: questions in computer science about the future of artificial intelligence (AI), questions in physics about the relationship between the quantum and classical worlds, questions in philosophy about the metaphysics of zombies and the nature of morality, and many more. In the process, Rationality: From AI to Zombies delves into the human significance of correct reasoning more deeply than you’ll find in a conventional textbook on cognitive science or philosophy of mind.

A decision theorist and researcher at the Machine Intelligence Research Institute, Yudkowsky published earlier drafts of his writings, “the Sequences,” to the websites Overcoming Bias and Less Wrong. Rationality: From AI to Zombies compiles six volumes of Yudkowsky’s essays into a single electronic text. Collectively, these linked essays serve as a rich and lively introduction to the science — and the art — of human rationality.

  1. Biases: An Introduction (39.6Mb)
  2. What Do I Mean By Rationality? (15.2Mb)
  3. Feeling Rational (9.6Mb)
  4. Why Truth? And... (13.8Mb)
  5. ...What's a Bias Again? (13.1Mb)
  6. Availability (9Mb)
  7. Burdensome Details (15.9Mb)
  8. Planning Fallacy (12.2Mb)
  9. Illusion of Transparency: Why No One Understands You (6.5Mb)
  10. Expecting Short Inferential Distances (7.9Mb)
  11. The Lens That Sees Its Own Flaws (10.8Mb)
  12. Making Beliefs Pay Rent (in Anticipated Experiences) (12.9Mb)
  13. A Fable of Science and Politics (21.2Mb)
  14. Belief in Belief (17.2Mb)
  15. Bayesian Judo (4.3Mb)
  16. Pretending to be Wise (10.8Mb)
  17. Religion's Claim to be Non-Disprovable (13.1Mb)
  18. Professing and Cheering (8.8Mb)
  19. Belief as Attire (6Mb)
  20. Applause Lights (9Mb)
  21. Focus Your Uncertainty (10.5Mb)
  22. What Is Evidence? (12.2Mb)
  23. Scientific Evidence, Legal Evidence, Rational Evidence (9.7Mb)
  24. How Much Evidence Does It Take? (17.2Mb)
  25. Einstein's Arrogance (7.8Mb)
  26. Occam's Razor (18.9Mb)
  27. Your Strength as a Rationalist (7.5Mb)
  28. Absence of Evidence is Evidence of Absence (9.2Mb)
  29. Conservation of Expected Evidence (9.4Mb)
  30. Hindsight Devalues Science (7.5Mb)
  31. Fake Explanations (7.9Mb)
  32. Guessing the Teacher's Password (13.2Mb)
  33. Science as Attire (8.3Mb)
  34. Fake Causality (15.7Mb)
  35. Semantic Stopsigns (11.2Mb)
  36. Mysterious Answers to Mysterious Questions (12.8Mb)
  37. The Futility of Emergence (10.2Mb)
  38. Say Not "Complexity" (12Mb)
  39. Positive Bias-Look Into the Dark (11.8Mb)
  40. Lawful Uncertainty (13.1Mb)
  41. My Wild and Reckless Youth (12.1Mb)
  42. Failing to Learn from History (5.6Mb)
  43. Making History Available (11.1Mb)
  44. Explain/Worship/Ignore? (5.7Mb)
  45. "Science" as a Curiosity-Stopper (10.9Mb)
  46. Interlude - The Simple Truth (76.1Mb)
  47. Truly Part of You (14Mb)
  48. The Proper Use Of Humility (17Mb)
  49. Rationality: An Introduction (26.3Mb)
  50. The Third Alternative (12Mb)
  51. Lotteries A Waste of Hope (6.4Mb)
  52. New Improved Lottery (7.9Mb)
  53. But There's Still A Chance Right? (8.5Mb)
  54. The Fallacy Of Gray (16.8Mb)
  55. Absolute Authority (26Mb)
  56. How To Convince Me That 2 + 2 = 3 (10.5Mb)
  57. Infinite Certainty (16.6Mb)
  58. 0 and 1 Are Not Probabilities (18.2Mb)
  59. Your Rationality Is My Business (9.3Mb)
  60. Politics is the Mind-Killer (6.8Mb)
  61. Policy Debates Should not Appear One-Sided (14.2Mb)
  62. The Scales of Justice, the Notebook of Rationality (7.8Mb)
  63. Correspondence Bias (7.8Mb)
  64. Are Your Enemies Innately Evil? (8.9Mb)
  65. Reversed Stupidity Is Not Intelligence (11.6Mb)
  66. Argument Screens Off Authority (22.3Mb)
  67. Hug The Query (5.7Mb)
  68. Rationality and The English Language (13.8Mb)
  69. Human Evil and Muddled Thinking (9.6Mb)
  70. Knowing About Biases Can Hurt People (9.7Mb)
  71. Update Yourself Incrementally (13.2Mb)
  72. One Argument Against an Army (8.5Mb)
  73. The Bottom Line (13.5Mb)
  74. What Evidence Filtered Evidence? (12.1Mb)
  75. Rationalization (9Mb)
  76. A Rational Argument (8Mb)
  77. Avoiding Your Belief's Real Weak Points (16.3Mb)
  78. Motivated Stopping and Motivated Continuation (9.9Mb)
  79. Fake Justification (10.3Mb)
  80. Is That Your True Rejection? (11Mb)
  81. Entangled Truths, Contagious Lies (14Mb)
  82. Of Lies And Black Swan Blow Ups (2.1Mb)
  83. Dark Side Epistemology (19.4Mb)
  84. Singlethink (6.7Mb)
  85. Doublethink (Choosing To Be Biased) (14.2Mb)
  86. No, Really, I've Deceived Myself (5.8Mb)
  87. Belief in Self Deception (15.4Mb)
  88. Moore's Paradox (8.7Mb)
  89. Don't Believe You'll Self Deceive (7.4Mb)
  90. Anchoring and Adjustment (6.9Mb)
  91. Priming and Contamination (8Mb)
  92. Do We Believe Everything We're Told? (8.1Mb)
  93. Cached Thoughts (10.4Mb)
  94. The "Outside the Box" Box (10.6Mb)
  95. Original Seeing (6.5Mb)
  96. Stranger Than History (4.4Mb)
  97. The Logical Fallacy of Generalization from Fictional Evidence (22.8Mb)
  98. The Virtue of Narrowness (14.3Mb)
  99. How To Seem (And Be) Deep (12.9Mb)
  100. We Change Our Minds Less often Than We Think (4.9Mb)
  101. Hold Off On Proposing Solutions (10.4Mb)
  102. The Genetic Fallacy (10.9Mb)
  103. The Affect Heuristic (11.9Mb)
  104. Evaluability (and Cheap Holiday Shopping) (11.9Mb)
  105. Unbounded Scales, Huge Jury Awards, and Futurism (8.9Mb)
  106. The Halo Effect (10.8Mb)
  107. Superhero Bias (9.4Mb)
  108. Mere Messiahs (8.5Mb)
  109. Affective Death Spirals (6.9Mb)
  110. Resist The Happy Death Spiral (20.4Mb)
  111. Uncritical Supercriticality (16Mb)
  112. Evaporative Cooling of Group Beliefs (10Mb)
  113. When None Dare Urge Restraint (7Mb)
  114. The Robbers Cave Experiment (12.1Mb)
  115. Every Cause Wants to be a Cult (11.5Mb)
  116. Guardians of the Truth (12.5Mb)
  117. Guardians of the Gene Pool (2.8Mb)
  118. Guardians of Ayn Rand (15.5Mb)
  119. Two Cult Koans (5.7Mb)
  120. Asch's Conformity Experiment (10.7Mb)
  121. On Expressing Your Concerns (10.7Mb)
  122. Lonely Dissent (11.7Mb)
  123. Cultish Countercultishness (26.8Mb)
  124. The Importance Of Saying "Oops" (9.6Mb)
  125. The Crackpot Offer (8.9Mb)
  126. Just Lose Hope Already (4.7Mb)
  127. The Proper Use Of Doubt (10.8Mb)
  128. You Can Face Reality (1Mb)
  129. The Meditation On Curiosity (13.7Mb)
  130. No One Can Exempt Your From Rationality's Laws (10.7Mb)
  131. Leave a Line of Retreat (10.7Mb)
  132. Crisis Of Faith (30.5Mb)
  133. The Ritual (16.9Mb)
  134. Interlude: The Power of Intelligence (11.7Mb)
  135. An Alien God (33.1Mb)
  136. Minds: An Introduction (19.1Mb)
  137. The Wonder of Evolution (12.6Mb)
  138. Evolutions are Stupid (But Work Anyway) (12.8Mb)
  139. No Evolutions for Corporations or Nanodevices (17.3Mb)
  140. Evolving to Extinction (18.5Mb)
  141. The Tragedy of Group Selectionism (16.9Mb)
  142. Fake Optimization Criteria (10.5Mb)
  143. Adaptation-Executers, Not Fitness-Maximizers (11.8Mb)
  144. Evolutionary Psychology (18.2Mb)
  145. An Especially Elegant Evolutionary Psychology Experiment (10.5Mb)
  146. Superstimuli and the Collapse of Western Civilization (15.1Mb)
  147. Thou Art Godshatter (21.6Mb)
  148. Belief in Intelligence (12.3Mb)
  149. Humans in Funny Suits (15.4Mb)
  150. Optimization and the Intelligence Explosion (19.7Mb)
  151. Ghosts in the Machine (10.7Mb)
  152. Artificial Addition (22.3Mb)
  153. Terminal Values and Instrumental Values (29.3Mb)
  154. Leaky Generalizations (9.2Mb)
  155. The Hidden Complexity of Wishes (18.3Mb)
  156. Anthropomorphic Optimism (12.2Mb)
  157. Lost Purposes (17.5Mb)
  158. The Parable of the Dagger (5.1Mb)
  159. The Parable of Hemlock (14Mb)
  160. Words as Hidden Inferences (11.7Mb)
  161. Extensions and Intensions (15.6Mb)
  162. Similarity Clusters (6.8Mb)
  163. Typicality and Asymmetrical Similarity (8.9Mb)
  164. The Cluster Structure of Thingspace (15.6Mb)
  165. Disguised Queries (16.5Mb)
  166. Neural Categories (21.6Mb)
  167. How an Algorithm Feels From Inside (19.3Mb)
  168. Disputing Definitions (18.3Mb)
  169. Feel The Meaning (14.1Mb)
  170. The Argument from Common Usage (15.9Mb)
  171. Empty Labels (11.2Mb)
  172. Taboo Your Words (11.6Mb)
  173. Replace the Symbol with the Substance (17.6Mb)
  174. Fallacies of Compression (14.4Mb)
  175. Categorizing has Consequences (9Mb)
  176. Sneaking in Connotations (11.4Mb)
  177. Arguing "By Definition" (15.3Mb)
  178. Where to Draw the Boundary? (12.6Mb)
  179. Entropy and Short Codes (17.2Mb)
  180. Mutual Information and Density in Thingspace (30.8Mb)
  181. Superexponential Conceptspace and Simple Words (27.4Mb)
  182. Conditional Independence and Naive Bayes (0.9Mb)
  183. Words as Mental Paintbrush Handles (10.9Mb)
  184. Variable Question Fallacies (5.2Mb)
  185. Interlude: An Intuitive Explanation of Bayes's Theorem (16.2Mb)
  186. 37 Ways That Words Can Be Wrong (28.1Mb)
  187. Universal Fire (12.6Mb)
  188. The World: An Introduction (14.7Mb)
  189. Universal Law (7.1Mb)
  190. Is Reality Ugly? (15.9Mb)
  191. Beautiful Probability (18.2Mb)
  192. Outside the Laboratory (18.9Mb)
  193. The Second Law of Thermodynamics (28.7Mb)
  194. Perpetual Motion Beliefs (9.9Mb)
  195. Searching for Bayes-Structure (12.4Mb)
  196. Dissolving the Question (20.8Mb)
  197. Wrong Questions (8Mb)
  198. Righting a Wrong Question (11.3Mb)
  199. Mind Projection Fallacy (6.1Mb)
  200. Probability is in the Mind (21.1Mb)
  201. The Quotation is Not the Referent (0.5Mb)
  202. Qualitatively Confused (15.1Mb)
  203. Think Like Reality (6.8Mb)
  204. Chaotic Inversion (5.2Mb)
  205. Reductionism (16Mb)
  206. Explaining vs. Explaining Away (13.5Mb)
  207. Fake Reductionism (7.8Mb)
  208. Savannah Poets (17.2Mb)
  209. Joy in the Merely Real (6.4Mb)
  210. Joy in Discovery (15.7Mb)
  211. Bind Yourself to Reality (8.7Mb)
  212. If You Demand Magic, Magic Won't Help (13.1Mb)
  213. Mundane Magic (12.8Mb)
  214. The Beauty of Settled Science (6.6Mb)
  215. Amazing Breakthrough Day: April 1st (6.8Mb)
  216. Is Humanism A Religion-Substitute (11.2Mb)
  217. Scarcity (8.7Mb)
  218. The Sacred Mundane (11.5Mb)
  219. To Spread Science, Keep it Secret (15.6Mb)
  220. Initiation Ceremony (13.1Mb)
  221. Hand vs. Fingers (11.6Mb)
  222. Angry Atoms (16.3Mb)
  223. Heat vs. Motion (20.2Mb)
  224. Brain Breakthrough! It's Made of Neurons! (6.6Mb)
  225. When Anthropomorphism Became Stupid (8.4Mb)
  226. A Priori (12.9Mb)
  227. Reductive References (23.7Mb)
  228. Zombies! Zombies? (82.9Mb)
  229. Zombie Responses (28.9Mb)
  230. The Generalized Anti-Zombie Principle (36.9Mb)
  231. GAZP vs. GLUT (31.4Mb)
  232. Belief in the Implied Invisible (19.8Mb)
  233. Zombies: The Movie (14.8Mb)
  234. Excluding the Supernatural (28.7Mb)
  235. Psychic Powers (11.7Mb)
  236. Quantum Explanations (22.7Mb)
  237. Configurations and Amplitude (0.5Mb)
  238. Joint Configurations (0.5Mb)
  239. Distinct Configurations (0.5Mb)
  240. Collapse Postulates (8.8Mb)
  241. Decoherence is Simple (31.5Mb)
  242. Decoherence is Falsifiable and Testable (20.9Mb)
  243. Privileging the Hypothesis (13.4Mb)
  244. Living In Many Worlds (15.1Mb)
  245. Quantum Non-Realism (24Mb)
  246. If Many Worlds Had Come First (27Mb)
  247. Where Philosophy Meets Science (13Mb)
  248. Thou Art Physics (10.9Mb)
  249. Many Worlds, One Best Guess (37Mb)
  250. The Failures of Eld Science (37.3Mb)
  251. The Dilemma: Science or Bayes? (14.1Mb)
  252. Science Doesn't Trust Your Rationality (10.8Mb)
  253. When Science Can't Help (13.1Mb)
  254. Science Isn't Strict Enough (13Mb)
  255. Do Scientists Already Know This Stuff? (15.5Mb)
  256. No Safe Defense, Not Even Science (16.2Mb)
  257. Changing the Definition of Science (5.3Mb)
  258. Faster Than Science (12.3Mb)
  259. Einstein's Speed (25Mb)
  260. That Alien Message (29.7Mb)
  261. My Childhood Role Model (15.6Mb)
  262. Einstein's Superpowers (15.4Mb)
  263. Interlude - A Technical Explanation of Technical (165Mb)
  264. Class Project (12.3Mb)
  265. Not for the Sake of Happiness (Alone) (12.5Mb)
  266. Ends: An Introduction (12.3Mb)
  267. Fake Selfishness (4.6Mb)
  268. Fake Morality (6Mb)
  269. Fake Utility Functions (10.9Mb)
  270. Detached Lever Fallacy (18Mb)
  271. Dreams of AI Design (13.7Mb)
  272. The Design Space of Minds-in-General (8.6Mb)
  273. Where Recursive Justification Hits Bottom (36.1Mb)
  274. My Kind of Reflection (13Mb)
  275. No Universally Compelling Arguments (19.8Mb)
  276. Created Already In Motion (9.9Mb)
  277. Sorting Pebbles into Correct Heaps (14.1Mb)
  278. 2 Place and 1 Place Words (21Mb)
  279. What Would You Do Without Morality (4.1Mb)
  280. Changing Your Metaethics (11.5Mb)
  281. Could Anything Be Right (20.3Mb)
  282. Morality as Fixed Computation (15Mb)
  283. Magical Categories (27.4Mb)
  284. The True Prisoner's Dilemma (15.8Mb)
  285. Sympathetic Minds (14.4Mb)
  286. High Challenge (11.5Mb)
  287. Serious Stories (26.2Mb)
  288. Value is Fragile (16.8Mb)
  289. The Gift We Give to Tomorrow (21.5Mb)
  290. Scope Insensitivty (7.1Mb)
  291. One Life Against the World (7.2Mb)
  292. The Allais Paradox (9.3Mb)
  293. Zut Allais! (18.1Mb)
  294. Feeling Moral (8.9Mb)
  295. The "Intuitions" Behind "Utilitarianism" (24.3Mb)
  296. Ends Don't Justify Means (Among Humans) (16.2Mb)
  297. Ethical Injunctions (30.2Mb)
  298. Something To Protect (22.9Mb)
  299. When (Not) to Use Probabilities (15.7Mb)
  300. The Twelve Virtues of Rationality (19.6Mb)
  301. Newcomb's Problem and Regret of Rationality (28.1Mb)
  302. My Childhood Death Spiral (15.6Mb)
  303. Beginnings: An Introduction (9.4Mb)
  304. My Best and Worst Mistake (12.3Mb)
  305. Raised in Technophilia (16.1Mb)
  306. A Prodigy of Refutation (9.1Mb)
  307. The Sheer Folly of Callow Youth (19Mb)
  308. That Tiny Note of Discord (18Mb)
  309. Fighting a Rearguard Action Against the Truth (11.1Mb)
  310. My Naturalistic Awakening (14.8Mb)
  311. The Level Above Mine (9.8Mb)
  312. The Magnitude of His Own Folly (16.2Mb)
  313. Beyond the Reach of God (29.9Mb)
  314. My Bayesian Enlightenment (20.3Mb)
  315. Tsuyoki Naritai! (I Want to Become Stronger) (12.1Mb)
  316. Tsuyoku vs. the Egalitarian Instinct (4.9Mb)
  317. Trying to Try (9.7Mb)
  318. Use the Try Harder, Luke (5.9Mb)
  319. On Doing the Impossible (19.7Mb)
  320. Make an Extraordinary Effort (13.3Mb)
  321. Shut Up and Do the Impossible! (30.8Mb)
  322. Final Words (25.2Mb)
  323. Pt Z Raising the Sanity Waterline (11.6Mb)
  324. A Sense That More Is Possible (16.3Mb)
  325. Epistemic Visciousness (8.8Mb)
  326. Schools Proliferating Without Evidence (10.1Mb)
  327. Three Levels of Rationality Verification (11.4Mb)
  328. Why Our Kind Can't Cooperate (25.8Mb)
  329. Tolerate Tolerance (6.3Mb)
  330. Your Price for Joining (12.7Mb)
  331. Can Humanism Match Religions Output? (13.3Mb)
  332. Church vs. Taskforce (13.2Mb)
  333. Rationality: Common Interest of Many Causes (10.9Mb)
  334. Helpless Individuals (9.1Mb)
  335. Money: The Unit of Caring (11.4Mb)
  336. Purchase Fuzzies and Utilons Separately (12Mb)
  337. Incremental Progress and the Valley (15.3Mb)
  338. Bayesians vs. Barbarians (21.4Mb)
  339. Beware of Other-Optimizing (13.7Mb)
  340. Practical Advice Backed by Deep Theories (10.5Mb)
  341. The Sin of Underconfidence (17.6Mb)
  342. Go Forth and Create the Art! (17.7Mb)

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