The Scout Mindset: Why Some People See Things Clearly and Others Don't
But if we want to get things right more often, ar ...more
Here's a way to tell scientific intelligence from legal intelligence. Both may start from the idea that something cannot be done and think up arguments to explain why. However, the scientist may discover a flaw in the argument that leads him change his mind and to discover a way to do it...
The legal thinker will merely try to patch the flaw in the argument, because, once he has chosen a side, all his intelligence is devoted to finding arguments for that side.
― John McCarthy
I was a bit of a ...more
Also, see this related LessWrong post, which provides an excellent summary. This is much better than my notes. https://www.lesswrong.com/posts/yFJ7v...
The Scout Mindset is the sort of book I'm both happy with and frustrated by. I'm frustrated because this is a relatively casual overview of what I wish were a thorough Academic specialty. I felt similarly with The Life You Can ...more
However (there's always that however), what I did not like was the same-old-same-old tradition among modern-day non-fiction writers who think it's the best strategy to make it to that 200+ pages by adding as many evidences as they can to validate their precious insights. It's annoying. I don't want to get used to this stupid tradition just because Julia ...more
People tend to overestimate the value of self-deception excessively. When I talk about rationality, some will immediately jump to "but self-deception can be useful." I agree. Self-deception can indeed be helpful but to a limited extent. Self-deception is not going to, for example, magically make all existential risks vanish.
When talking about rationality, the most important thing is defining what we m ...more
Galef argues that adopting this mindset or attitude is key to bec ...more
The first half was very interesting, author provides very good examples of our judgment flaws and proofs her point that we tend to jump into conclusions without investigating all available data.
Now, her main motivator for a reader is "finding the truth". As noble and idealistic as it sounds, probably more "down to earth" benefits would be more convincing to average Joe.
Book is very well edited and readers can follow thought process in a smooth way. It is written ...more
Julia Galef's The Scout Mindset is not for me, in ways both big and small. To start with, it should be called just Scout Mindset, not The Scout Mindset. No, I will not be justifying that statement with an argument. Beyond that injustice, it's an engaging precis on some important topics by a thoughtful author, and a book that was clearly a labor of love. And at times I couldn't stand reading it.
Galef’s book, her first, is part of a burgeoning ...more
Critical thinking is the muscle we lack training. We pay the costs, while the burden gets bigger only because we are not true to ourselves. We keep lying ourselves instead of scrutinising arguments, researching, checking if ...more
Therefore, in The Scout Mindset, Julia Galef urges readers to think like scouts rather than soldiers. Scouts seek the truth, whereas soldiers indulge in motivated reasoning to defend their intuited or identity bound positions.
I found that the value of The Scout Mindset was Galef’s constant warnings to readers—often but not always imagined as rationality bros—that they are more irrational than they think. In fact, I wonder if, in seeking ratio ...more
The discussion near the end of the book on identity really resonated with me.
Holding an identity (athlete, Democrat, feminist, etc.) is neither bad nor good. Identity can make hard things rewarding (e.g ...more
(a note: I'm afraid that it's mostly people who already have a big part of the "scout mindset" will read the book. Those are people who probably are already not in need of more reasons to doubt; they doubt *too much*. ) ...more
The basic premise o ...more
This book is informative and mind-opening. A kind of “how to” not a “why” book trying to redeem your “scout mindset” (curious and researching) from your “soldier mindset” (defensive and biased).
I have three main issues with the book: bias, shallowness, and avoiding variance. The irony is that these three are some of the main traps which you are hopefully supposed to overcome by mastering the provided guidelines in the book.
1- Bias: Counting the exact number of real life soldier and scout mindset...more
The ways in which cognitive biases lead us to self-deceive at the expense of truth is well documented and covered in several other works. Learning about them, and avoiding barriers to clear thinking, is worthwhile and importa ...more
It’s one of the few ‘rationality’ books where the focus is heavily on the ‘how-to’ rather than one the ‘here’s how bias x y z is leading you astray'. I imagine books are, on balance, not that effective at teaching critical thinking, but as far as I know, critical thinking is exceptionally difficult to teach and generalizing from the examples we're given or trained on is rare. Edu ...more
One of the things that really infuriated me at the time was to be confronted with two intelligent and educated adults who were constantly using what I considered to be profoundly intellectually dishonest arguments. Their key strategy consisted in focusing on the slightest weak point in my arguments, while completely ignoring the ...more