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Franklin Shogie 11-27-2007 10:55 AM

Analysis Paralysis
Here is an interesting article from Newsweek (WFS link) regarding different ways of of arriving at a decision.

basically, one can evaluate all the variables and try to make a decision or one can make a decision based on "gut feelings".

for my fellow crossfitters,

which method do you prefer?

Barry Cooper 11-27-2007 01:10 PM

Re: Analysis Paralysis
I would argue it's psychologically impossible to make a decision without a heuristic of some sort. The heuristic might be "do what feels good", and it might be "analyze until you have nightmares about it, then do whatever the first thing is that pops in your head." I've used the so-called Ben Franklin, but personally almost always go with my gut anyway.

Ultimately, you are trying optimize relevant information flow, and ignore irrelevant information flow, which will quite often include your personal feelings.

Rarely, I will add, is "rationality" rational, since its use includes presuppositions whose inclusion is by definition not rational. This is not a problem, provided one recognizes this. It's inescapable.

For example, is the heuristic "what would a caveman have done" necessarily rational? Is there any reason to suppose, necessarily, that what made sense then makes the most sense now? For that matter, is there any compelling reason to suppose we actually DO understand how they lived?

Rationality kicks in once you accept the premise, and becomes, then, a heuristic. Logically, if one didn't have success in the hunt, then one would have to be accustomed to occasional extended fasts. THEREFORE, I should too. This is rational. Where the error comes is in ignoring the contingent nature of the supposition upon which it was based, and claiming absolute truth, based on an unbreakable chain of logic.

I am going to put out there a broad supposition that most people who think they are rational are less rational than they think they are, and most people who think they are "intuitive" are actually just using applied logic, and thus more rational than they think they are.

You have to have a principle, a benchmark, a base standard against which to compare anything. That is, in my view, at the root of all decision making, and I would include the act of perception within decision making, since you have to choose what to pay attention to.

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