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Mental Models, Frameworks, and Terminology for Thinkers

A work in progress.
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Term
Definition
Topic
Image
Related





























80/20 rule
Also known as a power law, or the Pareto Principle
Economics













absolute value
the value of a function irrespective of its sign (positive or negative)
Math














accessibility
How easy something is to call to mind
Psychology














activation energy
A chemistry term that describes the minimum energy required for a chemical system to react
Science













adverse selection
















akrasia
A state of mind where someone acts against their own better judgment due to weakness of will.















alea iacta est
















Amara's Law
"We tend to overestimate the effect of a technology in the short run and underestimate the effect in the long run"
Science & Technology














annuity
a series of regular payments
Economics

see also: interest rates












antifragility

Economics














antimatter

Science & Technology













arbitrage

Economics














archetypes
An ideal type; a model after which others are fashioned.
Philosophy














arrow of time

Science & Technology













ASCII
American Standard Code for Information Interchange: a standard character translation table used by computers to convert numerical representations into printable characters
Science & Technology













asking a fish about water
















asymmetric encryption
















asymptotes
A line is approaching a limit, but never quite reaches it.
Math













availability bias

Psychology














averages
a measure of central tendency of a set of data, whether the mean, media, or mode
Math














balancing loop

Systems theory














Baldwin Effect
As organisms learn to shape their environment, they can alter the path of evolution. For example, with the advent of dairy farming, selection pressures began favoring lactose absorption genes in humans.
Science & Technology














base conversion
















Base Rate Fallacy

Psychology














base weighting
















Bayes' Theorem
an algebraic method of determining the updated probability of a certain event or case, given new information
Math













bend the knee

Social psychology














beta
In finance, a term that refers to investments tracking the broad market performance of an exchange or industry sector
Economics














The Big Bang
The massive explosion which spawned our entire universe, back at the beginning of time.
Science & Technology














The Big Crunch
















binary numbers

Math














Binomial Theorem

Math














Black-Scholes model

Economics

https://www.investopedia.com/terms/b/blackscholes.asp












Black Swan

Economics













blockchain
















Boyle's Law
















boundary object
















bounded rationality
A central challenge to the c. 1776 ideas of Adam Smith regarding the Invisible Hand of markets, this 20th c. psychological theory posits that rather than making optimized rational decisions, at most times the average person is "satisficing" or making the most expedient choice under considerable constraints and lack of available information
Psychology

see also: Kahneman and Tversky












bricolage
Combination of many types and forms into one piece; a pastiche or mashup of style and cultural referents
Arts














broken windows theory
















Butterfly Effect

Science













bystander effect
















cadence

Arts














capital gains
Money that is earned as a result of a stock investment appreciating in value — the capital "gains in value"
Economics














carbon-14
















carbon dating
















catalyst

Science













categorical data

Statistics














causa-sui project
















central limit theorem

Statistics














central tendency
a measure of the midpoint of a data set; includes mean, median, and mode
Statistics













ceteris paribus
"all other things being equal"; holding the effects of other variables constant to determine the effects on a single variable of interest
Economics

see also: scientific method












charge preservation

Science & Technology














charlatan
one who aspires to wealth &/or fame through trickery and deception
Psychology

Social psychology












chilling effect

History














cognitive bias

Psychology

see also: Common psychological biases, logical fallacies, and cognitive distortions 












collapse

Systems theory














comparative advantage
















composite events
in probability















compound interest

Economics













conditionals

Math














Condorcet Jury Theorem
















confidence interval
the range of values over which a predicted outcome may lie; the amount of certainty one has about the predicted value falling within the estimated range
Statistics

see also: margin of error












confirmation bias

Psychology













conflation

Psychology














consequentialism

Philosophy














constraints

Math














Consumer Sentiment Index

Economics














continuous vs. discrete variables
















Copernican theory of the solar system

Science

replaced the geocentric Ptolemaic system












correlation

Statistics

see also: causation












correlation coefficient
















counterfactual
















creative destruction
Economist Joseph Shumpeter's idea for how the business cycle works: by innovation disrupting established processes and industries and forcing change into markets, often destructively and swiftly
Economics














credo quia absurdum
"I believe because it is absurd" — Tertullian's defense of belief in the miracles attributed to Christ















critical mass

Science

see also: activation energy












crossing the Rubicon
making a decision from which there is no turning back; a reference to Julius Caesar's overthrow of the Roman republic to found the Roman Empire in 49 BCE
History













cross-sectional data

Math














crowdfunding

Economics














crowdsourcing

Systems theory














cryptocurrency

Economics














dead hand of the past
Problem inherent in constitutional political philosophy, where eventually a people becomes ruled by "masters" no longer alive, who rule by "fiat" via a document, from beyond the grave (Thomas Jefferson's concept)
History

https://concurringopinions.com/archives/2014/08/on-jeffersons-proposed-solution-to-the-dead-hand-problem-and-the-futility-thereof.html












decision theory

Systems theory














decision tree

Systems theory













depreciation

Economics














derivatives

Math














diminshing marginal utility (DMU)

Economics














directory structure
















dispersion
the amount of variation within a set of data; how spread out the data points are from each other
Statistics

see also: variation, spread, standard deviation, range, central tendency












distributions

Statistics














divergent thinking

Psychology














Diversity Prediction Theorem
















dividend payments
Periodic, usually quarterly, payouts to stockholders of the company when posting profits. Along with capital gains, one of the 2 primary reasons to invest in stocks.
Economics














Dodd-Frank Act of 2010
definitive financial regulation of the financial industry following the 2007-8 financial crisis
Economics














doxa
common belief or opinion
Social psychology

see: Pierre Bourdieu












Drake Equation
1961 estimation of the number of technological civilizations that might exist in the universe, conceived by Dr. Frank Drake
Science













Dunbar number

Psychology

Social psychology












Dunning-Kruger Effect

Psychology













Duverger's Law

Math














economies of scale

Economics














elasticity; price elasticity
the ability of pricing mechanisms to respond quickly or less quickly to changes in prevailing conditions
Economics














electromagnetic spectrum

Science













elephants and flies
sales concept to quickly segment leads into size buckets, from elephants > deers > rabbits > mice > flies
Economics














elephant and rider
psychological idea about how our unconscious and semi-conscious desires dominate us, but can be directed by reason (Jonathan Haidt et al)
Psychology
see also: id, ego, Superego












encryption

Math














ensemble learning

Science & Technology














epistemology

Philosophy














e pluribus unum
Latin: "one out of many" — one of several phrases on the American dollar bill, it refers to the unity of the nation as made up of its many peoples and as such, signifies the republic.
Politics














equity

Economics














equity crowdfunding

Economics














error-embracing

Psychology














event horizon

Physics













exchange rates
The value of one country's currency as measured against another
Economics














exit strategy

Economics













externalities

Economics

see also: unintended consequences












extrapolation

Statistics














factorial

Math













factum tacendo, crimen facias acrius
He who does not stop a crime is an accomplice.















fact /value problem
















fake news

Media

see also: Fake news / role of social media in politics tracker , Fake news outlets list , Fake news lexicon | Propaganda terminology 












false positives

Science













false consensus effect

Social psychology














falsifiability
ability to be proven untrue; a requirement for a theory to be called scientific
Science & Technology














Feynman Technique
A method of learning and remembering difficult concepts by simplifying them until you can explain it to a new student or layperson who knows nothing about that concept.
Science & Technology

https://mattyford.com/blog/2014/1/23/the-feynman-technique-model












fiduciary duty

Economics














fifth column
a group who unites in secret to undermine a larger group from within
Politics













filter bubble

Social psychology














first principles

Philosophy














fitness function
in AI, refers to a set of selection criteria applied to a set of potential solutions to a problem to allow only the better candidates to survive to the next generation















flâneur
















force multiplier

Science














fractals

Math













fractions
















fragility

Philosophy














framing

Psychology

see also: anchoring












freshwater vs. saltwater economists

Economics














Friend of the Court filing

Law














FUD (Fear, Uncertainty, and Doubt)

Social psychology

see also: propaganda












fundamental attribution error

Psychology














future value

Economics

see also: present value, net present value












game theory

Math













Gates' Law
the idea that software development speed halves every 18 months, negating the acceleratory effects of Moore's Law and preventing computing from leaping greatly forward
Philosophy

see also: Moore's Law












Gaussian distribution
the Normal distribution
Statistics














GDP (Gross Domestic Product)
the sum of all public and private goods produced within a given period; a measure of a country's economic health
Economics














generalists and specialists

Philosophy

see also: foxes and hedgehogs












genetic algorithms
an approach to AI based on evolutionary models, in which multiple candidate solutions to a problem are generated randomly by mutation and recombination, then iterated over thousands of generations through fitness functions to weed out the best of each generation
Science & Technology













GOFAI
"Good Old-Fashioned Artificial Intelligence" — reference to the style and general algorithmic approach of early artificial intelligence work, which fell out of popularity over the decades in favor of more organic neural net and evolutionary approaches
Science & Technology














Golden Mean
Aristotelian theory of an ideal balance point between the many extremes we face in life; he advocated harmony between the various spheres of life for an experience of happiness
Philosophy













gravity waves

Physics

gravitons, in particle form












habeas corpus

Law














habitus

Social psychology














Hanlon's Razor
never attribute to malice what is adequately described by carelessness
Philosophy














hearts and minds

Politics














hedge funds

Economics














Heisenberg Uncertainty Principle

Science & Technology














hexadecimal numbers
base 6
Math














heuristics
Mental shortcuts that we do as a matter of routine, especially when we're stressed or under other types of cognitive constraints.
Psychology
see also: Common psychological biases, logical fallacies, and cognitive distortions 












iatrogenics
harm done by the healer
Health














ice core dating

Science & Technology














id, ego, Superego

Psychology














Imposter Syndrome

Psychology














index number; indexing

Statistics














inflation

Economics














inflection point

Science













internal rate of return (IRR)

Economics














intersection

Math

see also: union












interventionism

Social psychology














IP addresses

Science & Technology














iron law of oligarchy

Politics














Keynesian economics

Economics














Keynesian Put

Economics














Kronos Effect
the tendency of a successful corporation to seek to acquire and/or drive its upstart competitors out of business
Economics














Laffer Curve

Economics














law of excluded middle
















Law of Large Numbers
As the number of coin tosses approaches infinity, the number of heads encountered will converge on 0.5; helpful in calculations of probability.
Math














least-barricaded gate
Trotsky's metaphor of how social revolutions can take hold more easily in already weakened societies















lecturing birds how to fly
















length contraction

Physics














leverage

Economics














lifeboat ethics
















limit of a function
if the graph of an equation seems to approach a numerical value but never quite reaches it, we say that number is the limit of the function (approaching from the negative or positive direction; sometimes directionality is important)
Math













limiting factor

Systems theory














linear regression

Math














local min
idea that to grow out of a stasis or plateau, you likely have to endure a period of "setback" that is a lower dip or minimum value from where you are now, but is what's required to get over the activation energy to reach the next level
Systems theory














logarithm

Math














logical fallacies

Philosophy

https://yourlogicalfallacyis.com/












long tail
In a power law distribution (of population, ages, items, etc.), the region of the graph that tapers off quickly after the initial segment of high data points
Statistics













loss aversion

Psychology














loyalists and mercenaries

Systems theory














maker's time and manager's time

Systems theory














Manichaean
a narrowly-defined dualistic worldview of good against evil
Philosophy














map is not the territory
















marginal returns

Economics














Markov chain

Math













Maslow's Hierarchy of needs

Psychology













mean
the average value of the numbers in a data set; take the sum of all values and divide by the total number of values in the set
Statistics













median

Statistics













Median Voter Theorem

Politics














mens rea
"guilty mind" — establishing the intent of a perp can help to establish criminal liability















mode

Statistics













Moore's Law
Named after Gordon Moore, the model predicts the doubling of transistors on a circuit of equivalent size every 18 months to 2 years. This has many consequences for both technology and economics, including the predictable drop in price of generating the same amount of computing power each period.
Science














moral hazard
when one party takes on additional risk, knowing that other parties will bear the brunt of the risk in event of a loss
Economics














Moravec's Paradox
















MVP (minimum viable product)



see also: perfect is the enemy of good



























































































































































































































































































































































































































































































































































































































































































































































































































































































































































































































































































































































































































































































































































































































































































































































































































































































































































































































































































































































































































































































































































































































































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Definition
Topic
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naive cynicism
State of mind in which people believe others to have more egocentric bias than is warranted or is actually the case.
Psychology













Nash Equilibrium

Math













natural laws

Science














natural selection

Science













negative externalities

Economics














neomania
love of the modern for its own sake
Social psychology

implies disinterest in history &/or ancient wisdom












neural net
















net present value (NPV)

Economics

see also: future value, present value












Newton's first law
an object in motion will stay in motion, unless acted upon by a force
Physics













Newton's second law
F = ma, or an object of mass m feeling a force F will accelerate by an amount a
Physics













nodes

Math














noosphere
Sphere of human thought — all interacting minds on earth. An early 1900s concept from Teilhard de Chardin
Data science














nominal figures

Economics














nonlinearity

Math














Normal distribution

Statistics













normalized weighted average
















normative and descriptive

Philosophy














novus ordo seclorum
A new order for the ages; Latin phrase seen on the dollar bill















null hypothesis

Science













observer effect

Science














Ockham's Razor
A philosophical rule of thumb that favors the simplest explanation. Also known as the "law of parsimony"
Philosophy

law of parsimony












octal numbers
base 8
Math














omphalos

Politics














opportunity cost

Economics














options

Economics














orders of magnitude

Math













ordinally ranked data

Statistics














organizational debt

Economics














oscillations

Science














out-group bias

Social psychology














outlier

Statistics













paragon
A standard against which something can be judged — an exemplar example of a thing
Culture














P/E Ratio
Price to earnings ratio: standard measure of relative stock performance
Economics














permutations

Math














Peter Principle

Systems theory














phase shift

Science













philosopher kings
















Philosopher's Stone



lapis philosophorum












phonemes
















Platonicity
adherence to crisp abstract theory & forms that blind us to the mess of actual reality
Philosophy














Plato's Cave
allegory in The Republic about a cave dweller whose only picture of reality is the shadow on the cave wall thrown by the fire
Philosophy
see also: the blind men and the elephant fable












pluralism

Politics














polling

Statistics














Pollyanna Principle
tendency for people to remember pleasant events more accurately than unpleasant ones
Psychology














populism
















positron
an antimatter electron
Physics

used in medical PET scans for visualizing the thyroid












Potemkin Village Effect
tendency of systems to create the appearance of functioning normally — to appease the operators who wish it so — even when they are not
Systems theory
see also: showrooming, peacocking












precision

Math














present value
the expected current value of an income stream
Economics

see also: net present value, future value












prima facie
















principle of indifference
in probability, when there is no basis to choose some outcomes as more likely than others, they are given equal weight (1/2 chance of a particular side of a coin, 1/52 to get a particular card from a deck, etc.)















prisoner's dilemma

Math

see also: game theory












private equity (PE)

Economics














probability

Math














Procrustean bed

Philosophy













propaganda
originally, a way to "propagate" any idea; used by both sides in WWI, it thereafter took on a sinister connotation when American & British citizens felt hoodwinked by their govt's use of it
Social psychology

see also: public relations/PR












proper frame
in physics, the frame of reference that accelerates with you and determines your age
Physics

see also: reference frame












proportionality

Math














prospect theory

Psychology














proximate cause
















proxy war

Politics













Pygmalian Effect

Social psychology














Pyrrhic victory
















quantum computing

Science














qubit

Science














quid pro quo

Law














random walks

Math














range
in a set of numbers, the difference between the highest value and the lowest value in the data set
Statistics














rara avis
"rare bird" in Latin















rate of return

Economics














recursion

Math













red shift

Physics













reductio ad absurdo
collapsing things too far, in a way that destroys real significance















reductio ad finem
To analyze to the end — break the concept down into its conponent parts.
Philosophy














redundancy
having multiple pathways within a system to accomplish the same task or achieve the same objective
Systems theory














reference frame
a frame that does not accelerate; also known as a Lorentz frame
Physics
see also: proper frame, time dilation, length contraction












regnat populus
















regression analysis

Statistics














relativity
Einstein's central insight that the experience or perceived passage of time depends greatly on the conditions of the observer, particularly with respect to velocity and gravity
Physics

see also: General Relativity; Special Relativity












reinforcing loop

Systems theory













resilience
ability to bounce back into shape after having been pressed or stretched; elasticity. The ability to recover quickly.
Systems theory














respice finem
"consider that you will die" — i.e. live life as you would in order to be proud of it by the time it's over


see also: Stoic philosophy












res publica
pertaining to the state















risk

Economics














risk-weighted assets (RWAs)

Economics














root cause
















rounding

Math














rounding error

Math














sampling

Statistics













search intent

Media














selection bias

Psychology














set theory

Math














SIFI
systemically important financial institution; post-2008 financial crisis designation for banks deemed "too big to fail" (currently, firms holding more than $50b in assets)
Economics














signal path

Physics













significant figures
aka "sig figs"
Math














simulation

Philosophy

see also: simulacra












singularity

Physics














site navigation
















six degrees of separation

Statistics














skew

Statistics













skin in the game

Economics














slope of a line

Math














social contract
Profoundly impactful document in political philosophy from Jean Jacques Rousseau in 18th c. France, refuting the rights of monarchs to rule the people
Philosophy














Socratic method
Technique of instruction or conversation where the teacher or moderator proceeds by asking the student or pupil a serious of questions, enticing her or him to come up with their own answers to the issues related to the subject at hand.
Philosophy













sorting
















speed of light (c)
approx. 300 million meters per second
Physics














spread

Statistics














standard deviation

Statistics














stare decisis
"it has been decided" — terminology used by a judge or court to indicate that the matter before them has already been decided by a previous ruling
Law














status quo

Culture














stochastic terrorism

Social psychology














stocks and flows

Systems theory













Stoicism

Philosophy














Streisand Effect
when the act of attempting to hide information only makes it more prominently spread, especially via the Internet
Social psychology














strict liability
crimes which have no mens rea requirement, such as rear-ending of another vehicle (where it is always the rear-enders' fault no matter what the circumstances















success to the successful
reinforcing loop within complex system — especially economies — wherein the spoils of victory include the means to alter the rules of the game further in the favor of the previous winners
Systems theory

see also: monopoly, winnter-take-all market












summum malum
ultimate evil — some posit cruelty as this ultimate evil
Politics














supply and demand

Economics













supply chain

Economics














symmetric encryption
















tachyon
hypothetical particle that travels faster than the speed of light
Physics













tempus edax rerum
"Time devours everything." — Ovid
Arts














tempus fugit
Time flies















Third Story
the story an impartial third-party observer might tell; a version of events any unbiased person could agree on
Philosophy














Thucydides Trap
















tilting at windmills
A reference to the novel Don Quixote, denoting the ongoing pursuit of useless attacks against an implacable enemy
Arts














time dilation

Physics














time series data
















touchstone
A black stone once used to judge the purity of gold or silver — now signifying a standard against which something should be judged.















tragedy of the commons

Systems theory














turtles all the way down

Philosophy














twin paradox

Physics













tyranny of choice

Systems theory














Unicode
















union

Math

see also: intersection












universal law

Philosophy

see also: natural laws












usury
the act of charging interest on borrowed money; for thousands of years there have been religous proscriptions against lending money with interest in various societies
Economics














utility

Philosophy














variance

Statistics














Veil of Ignorance

Philosophy

see also: "i cut, you choose," Texas shootout, Nash equilibrium, regret-free decisions












Venn diagram

Statistics













via negativa
indirect description of a thing by describing what that thing is not
Philosophy

Michaelangelo's method: "It's simple. I just remove everything that is not David."












Volcker rule
financial rule preventing consumer lending banks from speculative trading in securities for their own profit
Economics














winner-take-all market

Economics

see also: zero sum game, monopoly, success to the successful












wisdom of crowds
derived from the Diversity Prediction Theorem: the average prediction of a group of individuals will be more accurate than the prediction of one average member
Social psychology














wolves and sheep

Philosophy














zero sum game

Math














z score

Statistics