[Previous] The Pro-Authority Pledge | Home | [Next] Anthony O'Hear on Popper

Product Release: Yes or No Philosophy

My new philosophy education product is ready!

Yes or No Philosophy

The link explains everything, has screenshots, etc. In short, it's about how to judge ideas, in particular by using yes or no judgements. It has a criticism of Critical Rationalism and a big improvement. (The same criticism also applies to standard philosophies of knowledge.) This is an epistemology breakthrough.

I put a short argument from the product online. It gives an idea of what I'm saying. The overall product is more focused on explaining things and helping people learn, rather than arguing, but I do include quotes from Karl Popper, David Deutsch and others along with criticism.

I put a lot of work into this and I'm really happy with it. It's going to help people learn more about philosophy! Especially if you've been interested in philosophy but find it difficult to get into, then this could help get you unstuck. I put a lot of effort into making it accessible.

Mac software used in this project:

  • Screenflow
  • Keynote
  • Final Cut Pro X
  • Compressor
  • Ulysses
  • Lightpaper
  • Textmate
  • Affinity Designer
  • Numbers
  • Adobe Acrobat
  • KindleGen

Feel free to ask questions about Yes or No Philosophy in the comments below.

Elliot Temple on July 28, 2017

Messages (19)

patio11 on yes or no answers


> That is called "asking for the sale" and, while that [example] is a very unconventional way to ask for the sale, a *ridiculous* portion of all energy expended in the art of sales is to get conversations to the point where someone has to actually say yes or no.

> Relatedly: in the highly likely event that you get an answer which is not a yes or no, effective salespeople follow up until the sun goes nova waiting for either a yes or no.

curi at 6:42 PM on October 18, 2018 | #11299 | reply | quote

I have noticed at least some salespeople have two additional tactics:

(1) Assume the close: Instead of getting you to say yes or no, they slowly and carefully move from the pitch into finalizing the transaction as if you said yes. They only stop if you stop them by saying no. If you don't stop them, by the time you actually have to say yes by handing over money or signing or whatever, they act like you were the one being deceitful and changing your mind if you try to say no.

(2) Don't take no for an answer: They take even a clear no as just another request for more information before you say yes. To get them to stop you have to say something like no and please go away immediately.

PAS at 6:55 AM on October 19, 2018 | #11300 | reply | quote

Don Arabian's Yes or No Philosophy

Catherine Bly Cox & Charles Murray, Apollo (emphasis mine):

> [Don] Arabian’s passionate allegiance to physics was invaluable for his role at the MER [a.k.a. the Apollo Mission Evaluation Room, of which Arabian was the leader]. When an ambiguous problem came in, *he wouldn’t settle for an explanation unless it fit all the conditions. He was always aware of the brain’s propensity to jump to convenient conclusions*. “If something goes wrong, let’s say, and there are ten conditions that must be satisfied, and this one thesis satisfies them all precisely, see, except one, okay? Then that ain’t it. *It’s not ‘almost.’ You’re either there, or you ain’t there.*” Time and again during Apollo, Arabian’s cheerful intransigence turned out to be crucial. Often the situation that the MER had to deal with was indeed a problem for which there seemed to be an excellent explanation that fit all of the facts, all of them but one, and Arabian would refuse to accept it until that last small, unimportant anomalous fact was understood—when, frequently, it became clear that the problem and its solution were quite different than had been previously thought.

Alisa at 7:48 PM on June 20, 2019 | #12812 | reply | quote

CORRECTION: I didn't intend to emphasize this sentence:

> He was always aware of the brain’s propensity to jump to convenient conclusions.

Alisa at 7:49 PM on June 20, 2019 | #12813 | reply | quote

https://historycollection.jsc.nasa.gov/JSCHistoryPortal/history/oral_histories/ArabianDD/DDA_2-3-00-amended.pdf :

> ARABIAN: … George Low [NASA’s Chief of Manned Space Flight for Projects Mercury, Gemini, and Apollo], by the way, of all the people that I have known in the program, I admired him more than anybody else, for several reasons. One is, [he’s an] excellent technical guy. He knew; he didn't do things on emotions. He did it on, and I'll use the term, "engineering evidence," or physics, the evidence of physics...

Alisa at 8:59 PM on June 20, 2019 | #12815 | reply | quote

Two notes on video 2

Here are two notes I took (in my own words) while watching the first 30 minutes of video 2 of Yes or No Philosophy. I think they're both true.

- For any idea, you either have a judgment of it or you do not.

- For the ideas of which you have a judgment, *any* judgment other than refuted/non-refuted is refuted.

Alisa at 10:06 PM on December 8, 2019 | #14758 | reply | quote

> - For the ideas of which you have a judgment, *any* judgment other than refuted/non-refuted is refuted.

What is refuted in that case, the idea or the judgment?

Anonymous at 10:10 PM on December 8, 2019 | #14759 | reply | quote

#14759 Suppose you have a judgment of some idea. And suppose that judgment is something other than refuted/non-refuted. Then that judgment is refuted.

Alisa at 1:43 PM on December 9, 2019 | #14768 | reply | quote

yes/no and moods

It's common to evaluate one's "mood" in terms of an amount of goodness or badness, e.g. "I'm in a great/good/OK/bad mood." But moods are *ideas*, so those evaluations are refuted due to being non-yes/no evaluations. Any idea -- including a mood -- either solves some problem or it doesn't. Yes or no.

Alisa at 9:06 PM on December 14, 2019 | #14860 | reply | quote

yes/no and moods

What's an example of a problem that a mood would solve?

I thought of an example of someone who's in a happy mood when they're at work. This mood solves the problem of them not knowing whether to stick with that job or look for another one.

Anne B at 7:04 AM on December 15, 2019 | #14864 | reply | quote

#14860 The claim "I'm in a good mood" can be given a binary evaluation of correct or incorrect.

You seem to dislike it because it mentions a matter of degrees (quantity of goodness). However, it's the same issue as saying "I'm 5.38 feet tall." which also mentions a matter of degrees (height) and can be evaluated as correct or incorrect.

curi at 2:37 PM on December 15, 2019 | #14869 | reply | quote

non-yes/no evaluations of ideas

#14869 When I wrote #14860 and #14768, I was thinking that *all* non-yes/no judgments of ideas were refuted. So, for example, I thought that even statements such as "That's a great idea" were refuted.

After reading #14869 and thinking it over, I now think that it's non-yes/no evaluations of an idea's *"truth-value"* that are refuted. Non-yes/no evaluations of other aspects of ideas can be OK.

Alisa at 5:14 PM on December 15, 2019 | #14873 | reply | quote

YESNO & decision theory

In "Decision Theory Remains Neglected" (2020-02-01), Robin Hanson writes:

> ... execs and their allies gain more by using other more flexible decision making frameworks for key decisions, frameworks with more wiggle room to help them justify whatever decision happens to favor them politically. Decision theory, in contrast, threatens to more strongly recommend a particular hard-to-predict decision in each case.

It's the same with YESNO vs justificationism. YESNO decision processes produce unpredictable [1] outcomes with *no* relevant wiggle room [2]. In contrast, justificationism gives decision-makers plenty of wiggle room, which they use to make predictable decisions that are compatible with their existing preferences.

[1] YESNO is consistent with the only known way to create knowledge (evolution), so predicting the outcome of a YESNO decision process would entail predicting the creation of knowledge, which, as BoI argues, is impossible.

[2] Any relevant "wiggle room" known to the decision-maker would be reflected in the YESNO decision chart (or its equivalent) as additional options. Thus accounted for, those options would no longer constitute "wiggle room" in the relevant sense.

Alisa at 6:14 PM on February 4, 2020 | #15385 | reply | quote

#15385 I think YesNo reduces wiggle room and makes no *known* wiggle room something like a goal you aim at. And this reduces bias. It helps but bias can and will still happen. People can find wiggle room about what to emphasize, include, exclude, etc. in a YesNo process. One is always making choices about where to focus attention, how much detail to go into for each issue (including which to treat as basically non-issues not to worry about, which we always do for many little/easy/simple/uncontroversial things, and we always sneak some errors in there too, whether intentionally, unintentionally, or due to bias).

curi at 2:55 PM on February 6, 2020 | #15399 | reply | quote

#15399 I wrote that a YESNO decision process produces a solution with no *relevant* "wiggle room" that is *known* to the decision maker, but I didn't say what I meant by *relevant*. What I meant is this: "wiggle room" that affects the refuted/unrefuted status of the chosen solution.

Suppose that any "wiggle room" in the solution (i.e., any variation in action that falls within the parameters of the chosen solution) is not refuted by anything you knew at the time you made the decision. Then that "wiggle room" is *irrelevant* in the sense I had in mind. It doesn't affect whether you made the right choice or not.

I also didn't say that bias, etc. wouldn't sneak in. Just that there won't be any bias which was (a) known to you and (b) which would refute the solution you chose.

Alisa at 8:28 PM on February 6, 2020 | #15408 | reply | quote

Anonymous at 1:41 PM on February 18, 2020 | #15508 | reply | quote

The first 90min of this video is me explaining Yes or No Philosophy (incomplete but covered lots).


curi at 9:15 PM on July 7, 2020 | #16857 | reply | quote

curi at 9:38 PM on July 9, 2020 | #16863 | reply | quote

This is linked in the YesNo Educational product. It's a relevant article about the difficulty of converting many degree factors into a final ranking.


curi at 11:27 AM on July 10, 2020 | #16867 | reply | quote

Want to discuss this? Join my forum.

(Due to multi-year, sustained harassment from David Deutsch and his fans, commenting here requires an account. Accounts are not publicly available. Discussion info.)