Harry Potter and the Methods of Rationality

TheĀ First Law of Fanfiction states thatĀ every change which strengthens the protagonists requires a corresponding worsening of their challenges. [ā€¦]Ā stories are about conflict; a hero too strong for their conflict is no longer in tense, heart-pounding difficulty. [ā€¦]

TheĀ Rationalist Fanfiction Principle states thatĀ rationality is not magic; being rational does not require magical potential or royal bloodlines or even amazing gadgets, and the principles of rationality work for understandable reasons.

That’s Eliezer Yudkowsky in an introduction to his acclaimed Harry Potter fan fiction,Ā Harry Potter and the Methods of Rationality.

The piece of “serial fiction” looks at cognitive science and rationality in a Harry Potter-type world where Harry, having been raised by a scientist stepfather, is a rationalist, enteringĀ the wizarding world “armed with Enlightenment ideals and the experimental spirit.”

Currently 63 chapters long–including chapters such as A Day of Very Low Probability, The Stanford Prison Experiment, The Unknown and the Unknowable and Title Redacted, Part I–the Methods is a fantastic read.

There’s a “book-style” PDF available, ePUB and MOBI versions for those on e-readers, and a great TV Tropes entry. You can find more resources on the unofficial homepage, hpmor.com.

Although listen to Eliezer when he says “This fic is widely considered to have really hit its stride starting at around Chapter 5. If you still don’t like it after Chapter 10, give up”.

via Hacker News



4 responses to “Harry Potter and the Methods of Rationality”

  1. I know that this post is an old one, but i want you to know how hooked you got me on this thing. I think I have pointed at least a dozen other people to it, and always eagerly anticipate the next section. Thanks for sharing.

  2. Thanks for coming back and letting me know, Nic.

    Yep, it’s an addictive and long read. Not a great combination for productivity, but a great combination nonetheless.

  3. Anonymous

    When you made this post there were only 63 chapters of it, but now there are more than 80. Can you tell, where did you get mobi file and where can I get a fresh one?

  4. Hi there.

    I believe that the MOBI and ePUB versions linked to in my post are updated frequently. The link also stays the same, so this should always be up to date (or a week delayed).

    If not, you can check on the main Harry Potter and the Methods of Rationality site.

    If you’re having further problems, you can create your own version using the FanFictionDownLoader.