The understanding of knowledge and distinguishing between truth and beliefs.

Knowing how we know what we know is vital to thinking clearly about problems and coming up with the right solution.

  • Trends Are Not Explanations

    Extrapolating from past data points is not an explanation. Building your confidence that something that will happen—like Bayes Theorem—is useful for descrete, observable problems, but fails to reveal the truth. It’s the equivalent of saying “because it’s always been that way” which is a flawed way of reasoning about the world.

  • Objective Knowledge Begins as Conjecture and Then Corrected With Criticism

    Objective knowledge is possible and it comes from within. Communication is lossy so even precise books and teaching can not transfer objective knowledge. It starts with conjecture and then in repeated cycles of criticism it is corrected. Through this process objective knowledge can be found, but also shared.

  • Thinking Better Thoughts

    I remember when I first started working at Stripe I felt like the dumbest person in the room. I was amazed at how smart everyone seemed and the writing…gosh, the writing! If I wanted to be like that too, something needed to change.

  • Strategy Bugs

    Like software bugs, strategy bugs are a failure of understanding of how the real world works and the value your product creates. They also have varying degrees of severity—some which should be solved right away and some which can slowly accumulate without significant harm.

  • The Beginning of Infinity

    Written by David Deutsch.

  • Münchhausen Trilemma Explains Common Tropes of Arguments

    The Münchhausen trilemma occurs when attempting to prove anything to be true. Such attempts fall into three tropes—a circular argument which supports itself (A <-> B), a regressive argument where the proof requires further proof infinitely (“why?” x infinity), and a dogmatic argument which relies on an assertion which is not defended (“because”).

  • Parochial Errors Happen When You Have a Narrow View

    A parochial error happens when you falsely believe that something in your narrow view of the world applies more broadly than it does. For example, thinking the seasons everywhere around the earth in the same way as your home town because that’s what you personally experience.

  • The Easiest Person to Fool Is Yourself

    Richard Feynman said about science that, “The first principle is that you must not fool yourself, and you are the easiest person to fool.”