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The Difference Between Epistemological and Instrumental Rationality

May 19, 2013, 1:00 PM

When I talk about rationality I mean really two things.  One is so-called epistemological rationality, which is caring about truth, caring about being right and following that processes called truth seeking process meaning that you just don’t—you are not curious and engaged in discussions, not just in order to be interesting, but actually find out what is true in this world.

That is epistemological rationality.  And the other thing is instrumental rationality. Instrumental rationality is caring about winning, so it’s like you take actions that will, with high probability, lead you towards you goals and it’s really interesting that there seems to be kind of reverse correlation between people who care about instrumental rationality, basically being successful and people who care about epistemological rationality like knowing things about the world and

I'm really curious.  Why is that so?  And this is something that really could change the world if you would have more people that A, would care about truth, but would not only get stuck in their process of finding truth, but would also apply their knowledge and rationality towards steering the future towards better outcomes.

60 Second Reads is recorded in Big Think's studio.

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