Understanding the Basics

To understand is to know what to do.

— Wittgenstein

Reasoning by first principles removes the impurity of assumptions and conventions. What remains is the essentials. It’s one of the best mental models you can use to improve your thinking because the essentials allow you to see where reasoning by analogy might lead you astray.

Socratic Questioning: Questioning process, establish truths, reveal underlying assumptions, separate knowlege from ignorance.

Clarify thinking and explain origins: why do you think this? What exactly do I think?

Challenge assumptions: How do I know this to be true? What if I thought the opposite?

Everything is possible as long as it’s not against the rules.

“The person who says he knows what he thinks but cannot express it usually does not know what he thinks.” -Mortimer Adler