Two types of thought

A useful model is the goal

My hope is to eventually create a Useful model to describe the way we think. I plan to go through the different aspects that could be involved in this model incrementally over time, and eventually describe a structure for thought that may provide useful in day-to-day life.

The two types

I believe all thought falls into the following two types:

  1. Concept-space: Our mental model that contains everything we think about. This would fall under the traditional idea of A priori thought. These are the mental frameworks we use to communicate with ourselves and others.
  1. Map and Territory: The Map is how we understand the world to be. The Territory is the reality of the world. This would be considered A posteriori thought. This is where ideas like Bayesian updating will be useful.

Feel free to follow the links to my scratch notes on what these ideas are, but I will come back to them in the future with (hopefully) more clarity.

It is interesting that these two ideas fall into the duality of A priori and A posteriori thought. It isn’t a duality I assumed to exist when I started exploring structures of thought. But it makes sense that a first pass attempt at a model for thought would involve this age-old duality.

I will continue to use the terms Concept-space and Map vs Territory rather than the more traditional philosophical terms to allow for expansion from those more commonly discussed concepts.

Before diving into these ideas more, it will also be useful to describe belief, thought, knowledge, and truth, among others.


This is a discussion of what I call Applied Epistemology (a term I’ve adopted from Holden Karnofsky).

A lot of my thoughts on this topic are taken from Eliezer Yudkowsky’s writings. I’ve added my own thoughts and am trying to shape the ideas in a way that makes them easier to wrap my head around, but I would not claim much originality here.

I also have done some but not enough research on different philosophical works on epistemology. That will be part of the ongoing exploration here. Still, while further research goes on, I think it’s useful to provide a current state of my thoughts on epistemology, and how we can apply it in our lives.

I will be gradually be posting more updates on this model.

This also seems to integrate with the Two types of disagreement.