We publish these terms and their definitions so that we can know exactly what we’re discussing and what we mean. The following terms will come up often in our Society. Many of these terms are borrowed from various scientific fields and may tend to be intimidating to some, so we have taken great care to define them in such a way as to be readily understood by the non-scientist. We use them because it’s worth the effort to define exactly what we mean!
bias — noun — see cognitive bias
care — verb — the primary motivation needed for Reality-Based Thinking. The thinker must care enough about having the right answer that he or she will invest enough cognitive energy into the process required to determine that answer. Such care may come from sustained values, such as from a moral sense of responsibility, or from temporary motivations, such as solving a problem for pay or to win a contest.
circumrealitan — (SIR-cum-ree-AL-uh-tun)
1. noun — a person who vacillates between being responsible and irresponsible to reality. One who “lives” on the outskirts of reality, sometimes engaging it responsibly, but neglecting or refusing to commit to it as a sincere and deliberate way of life. A dabbler in Reality-Based Thinking.
2. adjective — pertaining to or consistent with a person who vacillates between being responsible and irresponsible to reality.
(Example: Her circumrealitan philosophy was obvious when she refused to acknowledge and correct her obvious error. )
NOTE: Most humans are circumrealitans. They lack the realitan attitude of full responsibility for their thoughts and actions. Thus do they often (but not always) fail to correct themselves when their errors become obvious. Compare to: contrarealitan, omnirealitan, pseudorealitan, realitan
From: Latin "circumago"---to change opinions, to sway---and English "realitan" (see above).
cognitive — adjective — related to thinking or “cognition”
cognitive bias — noun — a systematic error in the thought process that leads to erroneous conclusions. Example: The gambler’s bias was obvious when he said he was sure he’d win the next game because he just won the last game; he wasn’t taking the probability of losing into account.
cognitive miser — noun — a person who spends too little energy on thinking and who, as a result, frequently arrives at faulty conclusions or understandings. Since this term may be a little intimidating to the newcomer, SRBT uses the word “lazy minded” to describe the cognitive miser.
contrarealitan — (KAHN-truh-ree-AL-uh-tun)
1. noun — a person who deliberately rejects the very existence of reality with notions such as “nothing is real”.
2. adjective — pertaining to or consistent with the rejection of reality.
(Example: His contrarealitan position made it clear that he not only rejected the evidence at hand, but would reject any evidence that might ever be presented in the future. )
NOTE: It is doubtful if any true contrarealitan exists because most people demonstrate that they do indeed believe in reality in at least some ways, even if they are saying they do not. In fact, the contrarealitan position is by its very nature self-contradictory because the very act of asserting anything (such as, that reality does not exist) is a demonstration that the one making the assertion does indeed believe that there is a real state of things. To take this position, therefore, is to argue against it by example.
Compare to: circumarealitan, omnirealitan, pseudorealitan, realitan
From: Latin "contra"---against---and English "realitan" (see above).
dysrationalia — noun — the inability to think and behave rationally despite having adequate intelligence to do so.
FaTCAKE — noun — SRBT’s acronym for the Failure To Consider All the Knowable Evidence. Every cognitive bias is an exercise in FaTCAKE. Whether caused by lack of care/effort or by lack of knowledge of the necessity of such consideration.
intelligence — noun — the level of efficiency (speed) with which the mind works. (Intelligence is to be distinguished from rationality and Reality-Based Thinking, which name the facility for operating in reality.)
intelligence quotient (IQ) — noun — a score resulting from any of a number of standardized tests measuring intelligence. Read more at Wikipedia.
mindware — noun — the information used by the mind to make decisions. Mindware may be complete or incomplete, sound or corrupt. Corrupt mindware generally consists of one or more biases. Sound mindware is what is necessary for the mind to engage in Reality-Based Thinking. When complete, it consists of information about:
- identifying and avoiding the traps of cognitive bias and cognitive miserliness.
omnirealitan — (AHM-nee-ree-AL-uh-tun)
1. noun — a person who states that all propositions or beliefs are equally true and valid—or in other words, that “everything is real”.
2. adjective — pertaining to or consistent with the belief that all propositions or beliefs are equally true and valid.
(Example: Even though he took an omnirealitan position, it was clear that he believed his own view to be better than the view held by his opponent. )
NOTE: The omnirealitan position is an exercise in self contradiction. The moment one proclaims that all positions are equally true and valid, he or she gives up any claim to know better than anyone else. This would naturally include the claim that all propositions or beliefs are equally true and valid. Thus could no authentic omnirealitan ever contradict a realitan without violating his or her own omnirealitan paradigm.
Compare to: circumrealitan, contrarealitan, pseudorealitan, realitan
From: Latin "omni"---all---and English "realitan" (see above).
pseudorealitan — (SOO-do-ree-AL-uh-tun)
1. noun — a person who falsely believes or states that he or she is a realitan.
2. adjective — pertaining to or consistent with a false belief or statement that one is a Realitan.
(Example: Even though he claimed to be a realitan, his repeated dismissal of overwhelming evidence made it clear that he is a pseudorealitan. )
NOTE: Overestimation of our abilities/performance is a common cognitive error. So is lying. Many circumrealitans will make the erroneous claim to be realitans simply because they do not fully understand Reality-Based Thinking, and assume they are good at it. Others who know better will simply lie when it suits them.
Compare to: circumrealitan, contrarealitan, omnirealitan, realitan
From: Latin "pseudo"---false---and English "realitan" (see above).
rationality — noun — this term has various definitions, and is therefore difficult to use regularly. Here are three example definitions that point out the variance of meanings currently in use.
- the quality or state of being agreeable to reason. (Wikipedia)
- the state in which one’s thinking helps one get what he or she wants. (Also called “instrumental rationality”.)
- the state in which one’s beliefs match with the actual structure of the world. (Also called “epistemic rationality”.
Note: Because this term has such a wide range of meanings, SRBT doesn’t use it much. Instead, we chose the term “Reality-Based Thinking” so as to be less likely to be misunderstood. Further, RBT takes on a moral element where typical definitions of rationality have none.
rationality quotient (RQ) — noun — a score resulting from the RQ test (now under development), assessing the individual’s abilities in rationality (which is closely related to Reality-Based Thinking).
RBT — noun — (acronym for Reality-Based Thinking) thinking that deliberately seeks to conform to reality by: 1) taking into account all known reality that is relevant to the cognitive task at hand; 2) exerting oneself to discover as much relevant, unknown reality as possible; 3) keeping the possibility of unknowable reality ever in mind, and; 4) being ever on guard against one’s own tendencies toward cognitive bias and cognitive miserliness.
realitan — (ree-AL-uh-tun)
1. noun — a person who deliberately “lives in” reality as a sustained way of life; more specifically, a devoted and authentic practitioner of Reality-Based Thinking.
2. adjective — pertaining to or consistent with Reality-Based Thinking or a lifestyle thereof. (Example: He eventually abandoned his irrational position and took a realitan view of the problem. )
NOTE: Realitans are rare on the Earth. They are not perfect; they still make mistakes. They maintain a consistent attitude of full responsibility for their thoughts, however, and correct themselves when their errors become obvious. These differentiates them from circumrealitans (see below).
From: English "reality" and "-an", the suffix denoting a resident.
reality — noun — 1 the state of things as they actually exist, as opposed to an idealistic or notional idea of them. (Compact Oxford English Dictionary of Current English, Oxford University Press, 2005.) This is how SRBT uses the word, reality. We don’t muddy the waters with popular notions such as “perception is reality”, or “what is real for you isn’t necessarily real for me”.
Reality-Based Thinking — noun — (also called RBT) thinking that deliberately seeks to conform to reality by: 1)taking into account all known reality that is relevant; 2)exerting oneself to discover as much relevant, unknown reality as possible; 3)keeping the possibility of unknowable reality ever in mind, and; 4)being ever on guard against one’s own tendencies toward cognitive bias and cognitive miserliness.
self correction — noun — the practice of reforming oneself with regard to facts, logic, understanding, beliefs, pronouncements, and the like.
Self Correction Ethic — noun — a position of morality that holds that “self correction is the natural duty of all people”. (Detailed here by SRBT Founder, Jack Pelham. See #6.)