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An abridged introduction to LessWrong

Tip: Open links in new tabs (CTRL+click), so this index stays open ;)

There's a lot of material on LessWrong... just glance over the list of sequences, top scoring posts, or recently promoted posts, and probably a lot of topics will catch your eye. For people who already have a science-y background who want a shorter introduction to the readership's "code base", here is my personal choice and ordering of material to read or glance at:

(Refer to the full Sequences listing if you sense any gaps in explanation, or for sequences I didn't sample from.)

1. Basic concepts: what we mean by stuff.

2. The table of contents of How To Actually Change Your Mind, as a preview of how ideas here actually get applied.

3. Selected posts from Map and Territory (sequence):

4. Selected posts from Mysterious Answers to Mysterious Questions:

5. Selected posts from A Human's Guide to Words (though I strongly recommending looking at the whole sequence):

7. Selected posts from Reductionism (sequence), first half:

8. Selected posts from Joy in the Merely Real:

9. Selected posts from Reductionism (sequence), second half:

10. Selected posts from Zombies and supernaturality:

(This list is always up for revision.)

About me

My rationalist imperative

"I especially want to attract people in academia and positions of intellectual leadership to being actively and morally rational, since their attitudes spread to their students and apprentices. When you have an intelligent mentor who isn't using her intelligence to directly analyze and improve her own life, you're unconsciously less convinced it's a fruitful pursuit. When the opposite happens, it can really start a cascade.
Provided such a cascade preserves peoples' sense of morality, which requires some serious care to ensure, it can be a great thing for them and the people around them."
-- Academian comments on Too busy to think about life

I don't do sarcasm

On the internet, I am never being sarcastic. If you're already worried you're being tricked with meta-sarcasm, then you understand my complaint: there's simply too much sarcasm online.

So I'm inviting you to relax. Please, accept that I'm at least a half-decent person, who's publicly pre-committing to sincerity because

  • I value being understood, and
  • I don't take pride in deceiving others.

In particular, I consider optimism a valuable commodity when it's justified, so I never portray it sarcastically. If I say "Good for you", it's because I actually mean it.