Street Epistemology v2

No upcoming meetings

The name “Guild of the ROSE” has a number of meanings. One of them stems from the idea of a compass rose; the symbol on a map that tells you how to orient it. We are dedicated to the art of seeing the world more clearly, and making more effective decisions as to where we should go next. We want to be able to question and re-orient our beliefs, our maps of the world, in order to be more impressive versions of ourselves. Some people call this “rationality”. Regardless of what you call this art, the fundamental question at its heart is “What do you think you know, and how do you think you know it?”

This is a remastered version of our previous Street Epistemology workshop. Street Epistemology (aka “SE”) is a conversational technique that makes the fundamental question front-and-center. Once you master it, you can turn it inwards and investigate yourself more thoroughly using techniques like Internal Double Crux. You’ll be better equipped to question the mental shortcuts you adopt in day-to-day life. For a complimentary workshop, check out Acing the Intellectual Turing Test.

It is a common misconception that SE disregards the emotional component in our beliefs. Quite the contrary. If confronted with a belief that is based primarily in emotion, SE will reveal that, allowing us to decide what to do about it.

Instructional Material

These articles and videos are meant to be read before the workshop meeting.

Cohort Activity

Introduction [15 minutes]

This part is done in the general channel before any relevant cohort breakouts.

For those of you who are familiar with SE: provide your own explanation, experiences, or insight into SE for the others. Answer clarifying questions about the method.

Practice Street Epistemology [30 minutes]

Go through the entire Street Epistemology process for one person in your cohort. Choose a belief you hold that influences your life in some way (it doesn’t have to be controversial). Allow everyone to ask questions from the SE Cheat Sheet.pdf. This might feel a little awkward, but if we lean into it and are respectful it can be really fun!

If you finish the entire Street Epistemology process and still have time, you can have a second person choose a belief.

If you find yourself changing your mind, or adjusting your confidence in your belief, then congratulations! You can request the Light as a Leaf I Empiricist Skill from the Skill Tree.

Here are some example beliefs:

  • Supernatural beliefs (ghosts, deities, karma, etc)
  • Speculative science (AI safety, existence of aliens, quantum mechanical interpretations, etc)
  • Human nature (Subjectivity of morality, are people fundamentally good/bad, can people change, etc)
  • Lifestyle beliefs (Food/drink choice being good or bad, other social or communication practices having good or bad effects, etc)
  • Political beliefs (Policy X will lead to Y outcome)

Note to questioners. Make sure you move sequentially from “What” questions, to “Why” questions, then to “How” questions.

Break [5 minutes]

Take a five minute break

Discussion Applications [20 minutes]

Take turns discussing situations in your life where you have had unproductive arguments with people (strangers, friends, coworkers, family members, etc). Think about how you could approach your next conversation using the principles of SE.

Post-Workshop [10 minutes]

Regroup in the general voice channel.

Share any remaining questions or concerns about the method of Street Epistemology. How would you improve it? What are some possible pitfalls you see?

You should now have a basic understanding of how to use SE, which should both improve your argument skills, and also equip you with the tools to challenge your own beliefs.

This week, find an opportunity to ask one person some variation of “why do you believe that?” or “What makes you think that?”, and follow it up with something like “How did you determine that this is a reliable method?”

Community Notes

This section contains links and information that Guildmembers found helpful.

Write a Note

You must be signed in to write a note.