This post is a followup report to this.
On Friday's lecture, I was able to briefly cover several topics as an introduction. They centred around rationality (what it is), truth (what it is and why we should pursue it), and Newcomb's Paradox.
The turnout was as expected (6 out of a total 7 group members, with 1 having other obligations that day). Throughout the talk I would ask for some proposed definitions before giving them. It is unfortunate when I asked what "truth" is, mysterious answers such as "truth is the meaning of life", and "truth is the pursuit of truth". When asked what they meant by their answers, they either rephrased what they said with the same vagueness or were unable to give an answer. One member, however, did say that "Truth is what is real", only to have other members ask what he meant by "real". It offered a rather nice opportunity for a map-and-territory tangent before giving some version of "The Simple Truth".
I used the definitions given in 'What Do We Mean By "Rationality"?' to describe epistemic and instrumental rationality, and gave several examples as to what rationality is not (Dr. Spock, logic/reason, etc). As a practice, I introduced Newcomb's Paradox. There was ample debate with an even split between one-box and two-boxers. Due to time constraints, we weren't able to come to a conclusion (although the one-boxing side was making a stronger argument). By the end of lunch period, everyone seemed to have a good grasp that rationality is simply making the best decision to achieve one's goals, whatever they may be.
Overall, I'd say it was successful. My next turn is on October 3rd, and apart from a little review, I'm going to go over the 5-second level, and use of words. Saying what they mean is something we as a group need to work on.