Note about category choice (Friendly/Other/Unbounded): I initially wanted to post this in the Friendly category, but I saw this post: Close Reading of "Yes or No Philosophy Summary" - #2 by Elliot
I am scared of having a longer term discussion in a place like unbounded because I think of posting there as holding myself to a very high standard, so I shouldn’t be overreaching as much as I do in Friendly, and I should be ready to face any kind of criticism. That being said, I think it’s a good general idea for me to at least have one ongoing thread in unbounded, even if the rest of my threads are in Friendly, because then I think the variety is good and I can slowly get practice handling unbounded threads.
One problem though is that I might not be able to close unbounded threads since I have no real practice discussing to a conclusion or actually setting a proper finish line for a project or step and then sticking to it. So I’m likely to have a few unbounded threads open eventually, and if a bunch of them receive criticism within a short period of time, I might get overwhelmed with criticism. That being said, I don’t think I need to respond to all the criticism immediately, it’s more like I should have a system to track and get to the criticism in a timely manner, so that I’m not indefinitely avoiding it. I don’t have such a system yet and I’m already working on building the habit of managing some other systems (time tracking, CF promises tracking), but I think I can build and manage that system more easily once I’ve gotten better with the existing systems I’m learning to use regularly.
I think the earlier I can be comfortable discussing things in unbounded without feeling even a little bad, the better off I’ll be, so whatever I can do to get to that point seems worth doing, as long as it’s not too expensive initially/isn’t so emotionally painful to begin with that I give up prematurely or something. I should track my own criticisms of things and be honest with myself so that I can either bring them up to discuss publically or just say that I’m not OK with something as it stands and take steps to address the problem, even if that means taking a break from unbounded and being open about that with CF.
Overall Long-Term Goal: I’m engaging in a CF learning project because I want to learn to think better, especially in some practical areas such as marketing, business, and also personal development/productivity (e.g. addressing problems like procrastination, poor prioritization, and non-existent or low quality personal project management).
So this isn’t just about learning CF, but also learning about myself and my own blockers when it comes to structured learning/goal-oriented learning, because I’m bad at that kind of learning even in other non-CF areas, and I want to be better at it because if I have no success/failure criteria when learning stuff, I’m rolling the dice on whether or not I make progress. If I decide in advance what success looks like, I can actually work towards it and achieve it with purpose, and even if I fail then, I can learn from it and make the next project better. I haven’t done any of that consciously in my life and I’d like to start earlier rather than later so that I don’t end up waking up with a mid-life crisis thinking that I didn’t spend my life meaningfully enough.
Goal of this Thread: The long term stuff is a lot to try to achieve in one go, so this thread is just for the first step Elliot suggested (and I think has been suggesting to me for some time even before that), which is start reading/watching some CF learning material (specifically Max Tutoring videos and Yes or No Philosophy Summary in this case) and write about any problems I run into, or any comments I have. The idea is not just to read this stuff passively like I did the last time I took CF/FI seriously, since I used to read a bunch but did not write a lot about it as I went, which meant there wasn’t much structured learning value. What I read also didn’t have much to do with conscious, pre-decided goals, and was more arbitrary or based on automatized preferences.
Starting with reading Yes or No Philosophy Summary and noting any problems I come across.
On this reading I’ve gotten to this part so far with no problems or comments as far as I can tell:
CR says: Form a critical preference for the idea that survives criticism and seems best when taking into account our critical arguments. In other words, consider negative arguments and refute what you can (e.g. ideas that are contradicted by evidence or which contain internal logical contradictions). Then, taking into account the (negative) arguments, make a judgment about which non-refuted idea is best. How much do we like an idea, and think it’s good, compared to other ideas, when considering the (critical) arguments?
I’m wondering if my previous understanding of CR before reading this was correct. I understood it roughly as like: we criticize our theories with everything we’ve got, and the ones that stand up to all our criticism stay tentatively unrefuted, while the other ones get tentatively discarded (since we may later learn our criticisms were flawed). By this point of trying to write this out, I think my thinking gets fragmented and it’s a lot harder, so it might be a sign I’m overreaching past here. The example that came to mind was Einstein’s Theory of Relativity as it explains gravity vs. Newton’s theory of gravity. Einstein’s Theory didn’t just make more accurate predictions than Newton’s and have better math, it was fundamentally a different explanation (like something about the curvature of spacetime causing gravity rather than gravity being a force exerted by bodies with mass). So Newton’s theory could no longer be a valid explanation for how gravity works.
This where it got a bit confusing for me in the past, with the idea of context and problem-solving relating to when we refute and discard or don’t refute and don’t discard theories. Is Newton’s theory still useful for solving some problems, even though we know the fundamental explanation is refuted? It’s the theory that I was taught in high school and I never considered that gravity might not be a force, it was just intuitive and made sense and I accepted that planets and stuff just pulled things to them, pulling things harder if the pulling planet/body had more mass or was closer to the stuff it was pulling.
I think the Newton vs. Einstein’s theory of gravity example is too complex for me to be using so I should find a simpler example.
CR and SV both accept partially-effective arguments (which I call “degree arguments”, because their effectiveness is a matter of degree, rather than all-or-nothing). They view arguments as having degrees of strength. They look at a weighted sum of the number and strength of arguments for or against an idea (or in the CR view, only against it).
I’ve used terminology in day to day life like “strong argument” and “weak argument” without even considering that there might just be no such difference.
Is it possible for an argument to be a “degree argument” in one context while being an absolute argument (idk a better term for it) in another context?
Going to stop there for now because I’ve started work and should pay attention to that. I spent about an hour writing this and doing some related reading, like other CF threads a bit (like deroj’s one). I think one issue that’s shown itself to me so far is that I’m easily distracting myself, and it’s like I’m throwing up obstacles in my own way by trying to think about more complex topics than necessary. I think if I just keep reading and find a way to keep my thoughts and comments fairly simple and on topic, most of my questions will be answered in either the rest of the article or in future reading (like that IGC – idea/goal/context idea which might answer the questions I raised in this thread).
So I think if I can learn to undo some of my habits with overreaching, that might be a good use of the skill I’m building to use conscious effort to identify and change automatized habits. That’s a ways off though, so I’ll focus on small habits first and I’ll keep writing in this thread as I read the rest of this because I’m sure more problems will come up as I read and write more. I’m wondering what a good way to track and prioritize issues would be.