Weekend Reading: Liberal Science, Roam42, and JTBD Examples
Jonathan Rauch on pluralism and the necessity of disagreement in the search for truth.
His book Kindly Inquisitors was first published in 1993, but is as relevant today as ever. The book is a defense of what he calls “liberal science”, our decentralized process for knowledge discovery that relies on relentless-but-gradual error correction:
Liberal science, by its very nature, has little tolerance for fundamentalism; conversely fundamentalism is a threat to liberal science. Fundamentalism, defined by Rauch as the “search for certainty rather than for errors,” is the antithesis of scientific inquiry. Fundamentalism seeks a monopoly on knowledge from which it can deny the beliefs put forth by all others. Rauch even notes that there are fundamentalist free-marketeers—those who refuse to accept the possibility that cherished economic axioms may be flawed, or at least in need of revision—and he challenges them to enhance their intellectual rigor. If classical liberals are willing to accept the self-correcting actions of the marketplace to properly allocate valued resources, they should also allow the self-correcting mechanisms of liberal science to separate knowledge from supposition.
Due to its nature as a decentralized system, liberal science frees knowledge from authoritarian control by self-appointed commissars of truth. “In an imperfect world, the best insurance we have against truth’s being politicized is to put no one in particular in charge of it,” notes Rauch. Liberal science achieves this end. It avoids despotism in the intellectual realm as it does in those of politics and economics.
A great guide here from Ramses at RoamStack
I set up RoamHacker’s Roam42 suite for SmartBlocks a few weeks back, and it’s game-changing. I’m still a novice with it and have only used a few of its tools, but this sort of extensibility and programmability is what’s making Roam the most interesting text platform.
This is a solid, brief guide on how to frame Jobs to Be Done statements.
“Help me brush my teeth in the morning” is not a great example of a Job to Be Done statement.
“Help me brush my teeth in the morning” is joined at the hip to an existing solution (a toothbrush) and there’s only so far you’ll be able to expand your thinking within that bubble.
A way to describe the Job to Be Done when a person is brushing their teeth that could lead to more innovative product design is:
“Keep my teeth healthy.”