Welcome

“Citizens of the democratic societies should undertake a course of intellectual self-defense to protect themselves from manipulation and control.” – Noam Chomsky, Necessary Illusions

Here you will find here a growing body of articles helping you to make strong credible decisions in your personal life and in group settings including business, government and law.

Articles will explain the highest quality decision making methods and tools, and help you identify logical fallacies, cognitive biases and high quality information.

We all make decisions every day, sometimes several times a minute: which road to take, what to eat for dinner. Most decisions are made without much thinking, others we ponder carefully conducting research and consulting with trusted friends and family. Not all our decisions are good or wise.

Making good or wise decisions is an entire field of study in Philosophy. There really is a discipline called Decision Making Theory, though it is more limited than what we discuss here.

Good decisions have three qualities. They are Fact Based, and free of Logical Fallacies and Cognitive Bias. Most importantly a good decision provides a solution with better results than most if not all other conceivable and feasible alternative decisions.

The opposite is the universally popular Blunder, defined by Prof Zachary Shore, where the solution makes a problem worse, as in “The cure is worse than the disease.”

Fact Based

Most of us would like to believe we make decisions based on facts. However, distinguishing reliable “Science based” Facts from Science Fiction seems like it should be easy, but though this problem was described more than a thousand years ago, a solution has eluded Science Philosophers for millenia. Karl Popper first named this “The Demarcation Problem” and introduced the idea of Falsifiability.

Rational means Fallacy Free

Rationality means your clearly articulated decision is based on logical conclusions. However, everyone (including me) commits logical fallacies. We’ll be showing how to easily identify logical fallacies, of others and our own, and how to understand whether the fallacies meaningfully harm the decisions. Logical fallacies are separated into formal (disconnected conclusion and premises) and informal.

This website will provide you with all the tools necessary to help you make fact based decisions that are fully rational.

Cognitive Biases include —

1. Belief and behavioral biasesExperimenter Effect, Curse of knowledge,

2. Social biasesBandwagon effect, Illusory Superiority / Dunning–Kruger effect, and

3. Memory errors and biases such as — Cognitive dissonance.

May the Facts be with You,

David Dilworth, Carmel, California 2012

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