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Interesting Concepts

This is a list of interesting concepts I come across that I'd like to take a note of, but don't have any further thoughts on.

Hanlon's Razor

never attribute to malice that which is adequately explained by stupidity

Fringe Theories

Fringe theories are ideas which depart significantly from a prevailing or mainstream theory. A fringe theory is neither a majority opinion nor that of a respected minority.

Fringe theories include models and proposals of Fringe Science which relies heavily on speculation or premises that have already been refuted.

Precise definitions that distinguish between widely held viewpoints, fringe theories, and pseudo-scholarship are difficult to construct because of the Demarcation Problem


a term used to describe work (e.g., publication, lecture) or body of work that is presented as, but is not, the product of rigorous and objective study or research

Social Power

Social power is the potential for social influence. Social power is specifically the potential whereas social influence is an effect.

First read about this in Dune when Paul is speaking about constitutions.

Inside View

Once you've gotten a feel for the more general situation surrounding a question, dive into the nitty gritty details. But don't just begin tirelessly researching middle eastern conflict or politics surrounding a question.

A good exploration of the inside view does not involve wandering around, soaking up any and all information and hoping that insight somehow emerges. It is targeted and purposeful: it is an investigation, not an amble.

Tetlock, Philip E.. Superforecasting (p. 120). Crown. Kindle Edition.

Say we want to dive into the Arafat-polonium question as to whether or not Israel poisoned a Palestinian leader.

Instead of diving into the politics aimlessley, attack it as an investigation. What has to be true for the answer to this question be yes?

  1. Isreal had or could obtain polonium
  2. Israel wanted Arafat dead badly enough to take a big risk
  3. Israel had the ability to poison Arafat with the polonium

And begin to attack from these angles