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NancyLebovitz comments on Recommended reading for new rationalists - Less Wrong

27 Post author: XFrequentist 09 July 2009 07:47PM

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Comment author: NancyLebovitz 11 July 2009 12:19:02PM *  1 point [-]

The Tyranny of Words by Stuart Chase--I haven't reread it since I was a teenager, so this is a little tentative, but it's an introduction to General Semantics, and having it hammered that the word is not the thing, and it's not just that there are exceptions, but the thing behind the word changes over time, were both very worthwhile for me to learn.

By the way, if your idea of General Semantics comes from van Vogt, that's a case of the word really not being the thing.

And why isn't my html working?

Comment author: Vladimir_Nesov 11 July 2009 03:10:31PM 2 points [-]
Comment author: SilasBarta 11 July 2009 04:21:49PM 0 points [-]

I still can't find how to do the spoiler tags (i.e. make text invisible unless you highlight it).

Comment author: jscn 12 July 2009 10:15:33PM *  1 point [-]

I found Drive Yourself Sane useful for similar reasons.

I've been meaning to take a stab at Korzybski's Science and Sanity (available on the interwebs, I believe) for a while, but I've heard it's fairly impenetrable.

Comment author: RichardKennaway 12 July 2009 11:44:24PM *  0 points [-]

I've been meaning to take a stab at Korzybski's Science and Sanity (available on the interwebs, I believe) for a while, but I've heard it's fairly impenetrable.

Available here.

I had the experience, which I heard others have also had, that it was impenetrably turgid on a first reading, but perfectly clear on coming back to it a few years later. Still just as turgid, but clear. The science is also very dated. I have mixed thoughts about recommending it. It's a bit like recommending E.E. "Doc" Smith as an introduction to science fiction. Necessary to read at some point, but not at the outset.

I'd be interested to see what anyone else who has read it thinks.

ETA: Just flicking through the online copy I found one place where the science is, I think, wrong even with respect to the knowledge of the time. "A molecule of water is broken up [by an electric current] into a positively charged hydrogen ion consisting of two hydrogen atoms, and a negatively charged oxygen ion consisting of one oxygen atom." (chap. XL, p.686)

Comment author: RobinZ 11 July 2009 12:42:20PM 0 points [-]

It's not HTML. Click the "Edit" button and then click the "Help" link under the text box - links are formatted left-square-bracket link text right-square-bracket open-parenthesis link URL close-parenthesis, and italics is indicated by asterisk text asterisk.

Comment author: NancyLebovitz 24 May 2011 12:04:49AM 1 point [-]

Thanks. Formatting finally corrected.

Comment author: RobinZ 24 May 2011 02:59:42AM 0 points [-]

Cool! Although the link seems to be broken (the final 7 was deleted from the number)... :P

Comment author: NancyLebovitz 24 May 2011 03:53:08AM 0 points [-]

Now it's actually fixed. Thanks again.