The Endurance of Research Programs

The Endurance of Research Programs

Part 5 of the essay series Research and Knowledge Accumulation Euclid vs. Galileo vs. Freud Some thinkers’ ideas are refined and built on for decades, centuries, or millennia. Other thinkers’ ideas are explored but then abandoned. Euclid and Galileo are examples of the former. Euclid’s Elements in 300 BC presented a framework for what came to be known [...]

Intellectual Schelling Points

Intellectual Schelling Points

Part 4 of the essay series Research and Knowledge Accumulation Towards accumulation Left to itself, knowledge naturally decays. Yet we see many cases around us where researchers make discoveries and knowledge accumulates. What allows knowledge to accumulate in these cases? In this essay, we will introduce the idea of an intellectual Schelling point. This will help us to [...]

Knowledge Preservation and Decay

Knowledge Preservation and Decay

Part 3 of the essay series Research and Knowledge Accumulation Preserving knowledge It is easy to believe that knowledge accumulates automatically. We see many instances of knowledge accumulation — in math and physics, on Wikipedia and the internet, in our own lives as we learn things and teach things to others. However, knowledge accumulation is not [...]

A Problem With Research?

A Problem With Research?

Part 1 of the essay series Research and Knowledge Accumulation. Mountains of research Our society is spending an enormous amount of money and effort on research. Here is a graph of PhDs granted, money spent, and papers published over the last hundred years: The sheer number of papers is staggering. According to one estimate, there [...]

History of Leverage 1.0

History of Leverage 1.0

Initial note — I’m writing this essay in stages and plan to revise it in response to feedback. If you have feedback or questions or comments, please send them to my personal or organizational email. Leverage Research: History of Leverage 1.0 Table of Contents Introduction — 2019/11/22Initial design — 2019/11/22Getting started — 2020/1/8Research pathsArgument MappingBelief MappingGoal MappingHard [...]