Mental Models I Find Repeatedly Useful

Gabriel Weinberg, Medium, Jul 07, 2016
Commentary by Stephen Downes

I'm familiar with all of these 'mental models' so I can't simply dismiss them. But they strike me as a contemporary folk-psychological understanding of the world, representing a loose collection of context-free truisms rather than a comprehensive understanding. As with any list of principles it faces what can be known as the 'selection problem' - which principle applies now? How do I know that this principle, rather than that, will apply? Even more, what principles are missing - I can think of a whole list of truisms from carpentry and building that aren't here ('measure twice, cut once', 'use two thin coats, not one thick coat', etc). Yes, it's a useful toolkit, but a carpenter has an understanding that goes beyond the tools. This, not the tools, makes a carpenter. See also Farnham Street, Creating a Latticework of Mental Models. Also Tren Griffen, Charlie Munger and Mental Models.

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