Rationality in Two Paragraphs

I have friends who range from Trump supporters to Bernie fans, and from Marxists to Libertarians. Each of them thinks that they see things perfectly clearly, and that most of the rest of us are idiots. It seems to be a pretty universal trait. We all feel perfectly comfortable going on Twitter and judging which intellectuals are idiots and which are reasonable. Unfortunately, we all disagree about which ones are which, meaning that most of us are wrong about our abilities, despite our feelings of certainty.

I feel this same confidence. I can tell which of my friends are on the right track and which are way off. To me, an interest in rationality is about saying, “Gee, since everyone has this same feeling of being able to see things clearly, maybe that’s not actually evidence that I am in fact seeing things clearly. Maybe I too have blindspots and flaws in my thinking. My entire worldview is probably wrong in some really important ways.” A pursuit of rationality is about acknowledging that premise as a starting point. Then it’s about trying to figure out methods and systems to work around this problem. How I find the truth if I can’t trust myself to reason my way through it? There’s no silver bullet, but I believe there are strategies that we can learn to help us all be a little less wrong.

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