Chicago Rationality

Welcome to the homepage for the Chicago Rationality meet-up group! 

Our group includes people interested in Rationality, Effective Altruism, and more. Many people find us through weird corners of the internet like LessWrong, Slate Star Codex/Astral Codex Ten, Overcoming Bias, Marginal Revolution, and other Rationalist-adjacent sites.

If you’re interested in hanging out in real life with other people interested in these kinds of ideas, attend our next meet-up! We typically do one “discussion” meet-up per month focused on a specific reading suggested by a group member and one “social” meet-up per month with no particular agenda.

You can learn more about our meetups here.

It’s ok to come if you’re not sure if you’ll fit in, if you’re not the “typical” kind of person who would attend a meet-up like this, or if you’re just kind of intimidated by coming to a new social event. 

Feel free to reach out to us with any questions as well: info@chicagorationality.com

If you’d like to be notified of upcoming meet-ups and social events, please fill out the form below and you’ll be added to our mailing list. We usually send out emails a few times per month.

CALENDAR

Click through on the event description for more details including address, suggested reading, etc.

You can also add this calendar to your calendar of choice

MEETUP TOPICS

August 2019 Meetup: Field Trip: Depolarizing the Politics Within

1. A Human’s Guide to Words: What are words, how are they useful, how can they be wrong, how can we avoid being wrong? Drawn from this sequence: https://www.lesswrong.com/s/SGB7Y5WERh4skwtnb 2. Inside/outside views : People are oftentimes bad at estimation. This can oftentimes be improved by reference class forecasting (“Outside view”).

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July 2019 Meetup: The Repugnant Conclusion

1) What is an optimal course of action when you encounter a situation in which you have a good amount of epistemic uncertainty? We exist and act in the world, so we have to do something before we have all the information, right?  No Half-Speed https://www.lesswrong.com/posts/FMkQtPvzsriQAow5q/the-correct-response-to-uncertainty-is-not-half-speed In this reading, how

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June 2019 Meetup: Causation and Explanation: Monocausal vs. Polycausal Accounts

1. Pragmatism versus principles (i.e. prioritizing the practical effects of choices/policies versus prioritizing fundamental principles, for example because of the negative long-term effects at the individual or societal level of violating said principles) 2. Mono-causal versus poly-causal accounts of a given phenomena: The Omnigenic Model As Metaphor For Life (https://slatestarcodex.com/2018/09/13/the-omnigenic-model-as-metaphor-for-life/)

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May 2019 Meetup: Tradition vs. Modernity

When is it worth sacrificing “traditional” ways of doing things in the name of modernity, progress, clarity or efficiency? Possible readings — SSC’s review of Seeing Like A State discussing (often argued to be failed) modernist attempts at improving “legibility” by scrapping traditional ways of life. Chesterton’s Fence principle https://wiki.lesswrong.com/wiki/Chesterton%27s_Fence

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HOW DO MEETUPS WORK?

If you’re considering coming to a meetup but would like some more info on how things work, you’re in the right place!

Our monthly discussion meetups typically have some suggested readings, videos, etc. — these could be blog articles, academic journals, lectures, or podcasts. We typically meet for about 2.5 hours and discuss the topics from the readings. You can check out past meetup topics here.

Meetup attendance is typically in the range of 10-20 people. Depending on how many people we have, we usually start with a brief group discussion laying out the main ideas from the readings, then we split into smaller groups to facilitate better conversations.

You are by no means required to do all (or honestly even any) of the reading ahead of time. Typically about 1/3 of people do all of the reading, 1/3 do some of the reading, and 1/3 do barely any of the reading. You are also not required to actually participate in the discussion! We love to hear what everyone thinks, but you’re welcome to attend and just listen.

Our social meetups are much more ad hoc. We’ve hosted social meetups at apartments, parks, and restaurants — people typically just hang out and chat.

We also poast in our Discord. Feel free to join even if you’re not local to Chicago. If you’re not familiar with Discord, it’s a social instant messaging app similar to Slack or, for the old heads, IRC. Here’s a Beginner’s Guide to Discord. We share articles and memes, organize game nights and hiking trips, and share other rationality-adjacent events on the Discord.

Links and REsources

Looking for more internet to read? Curious about what Rationality groups talk about? Want to go go to other meetups in Chicago? Here are some helpful links: