Rationality Freiburg

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Rationality Taboo

Start: Friday, July 5, 2024 6:00 pm
End: Friday, July 5, 2024 8:30 pm
Location: Veranstaltungsraum, Haus des Engagements, Rehlingstraße 9, 79100 Freiburg (Map, Coordinates: 47.98953, 7.83979)
Host(s): Omar
Type of event: exercise
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What will we do?

The skill of Rationality Taboo is in being able to describe a concept without use of that word or any of its short synonyms. It is sometimes used to avoid arguments over definition, where two sides of a dispute are using a word differently. (“If a tree falls in a forest and nobody hears it, does it make a sound?” “What do you mean by ‘sound’ exactly?”) This skill got its name from the game “Taboo” which does exactly that, with a list of common words and their obvious substitutions. The game of Rationality Taboo is played with slight variations and with less common words. How do you explain “Bayesian Update” without saying “Prior” or “Probable” or “Change”?

We will play multiple rounds of the game in subgroups. Don’t worry if you don’t know know all the fancy rationality concepts since you’ll be able to choose which concepts to explain and I’ll include enough common ones.

At the end we’ll have a short group discussion on the purpose and usefulness of the exercise.


You are worried you have nothing to contribute? No worries! Everyone is welcome!

There always is a mix of German and English speakers and we configure the discussion rounds so that everyone feels comfortable participating. The primary language is English.

There will be snacks and drinks.

We will go and get dinner after the meetup. Anyone who has time is welcome to join.

Location (Veranstaltungsraum, Haus des Engagements)

In the above map the location where you should leave your bikes is marked in blue and the entrance with a red cross.


Learn more about us.

A group of elephants playing ‘Taboo’

Image generated with DALL·E.