Inescapably embedded in an existing dialogue – several actually – this blog plucks terminology from all the domains I’ve dabbled in. CFAR and LessWrong provide the bulk of my terminology, but I’m fond of concepts I picked up in engineering and philosophy too.

Here you’ll find my favoured terms elucidated, to which I’ll link when appropriate.

Do you even Bayes bro?

Typical CFAR Conversation


Agency is the property of agents. An agent has explicit goals which they strive to accomplish by planning and executing appropriate actions. Non-agents unreflectively act out default behaviours, without considering whether these actions achieve their goals. Agency is the opposite of sphexishness.


Coined by Douglas Hofstader in reference to the sphex wasp, sphexishness is the execution of seemingly intelligent behaviour by following a rigid algorithm. Sphexish behaviours, are repeated automatically, on habit, without checking for their effectiveness at achieving desired goals. Opposite of agency.

One thought on “Glossary

  1. Pingback: Cues for Noticing Sphexishness | Bayesian Bootstraps

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