Economics thinking

Mistakes in business or in science are costly and deplorable, but mistakes in the conduct of life are usually dangerous to life itself. To the tack of illuminating man's progress toward a better understanding of human nature, this book is dedicated. —Alfred Adler (1927) Everybody gets something out of every transaction. —House of Games 1.… Continue reading Economics thinking

The Dark Miracle of Optics

Epistemic status: no idea how original any of this is; it just connects a lot of nodes in my brain. I’ve been told there’s a real debt to Robert Trivers, which I hope to educate myself on shortly. I may just be reinventing signal theory. Alternate titles: The Public-Private Information Gap Rules Everything Around Me… Continue reading The Dark Miracle of Optics

Institutional Myth in Contemporary Art

I’ve spent a lot of time in & around the New York visual art scene the past few years, and it’s been a very strange & uncanny & informative experience. A lot of the preference falsification and undead prestige cultures of, say, academia, or science, or politics are in play, but here the emperor can… Continue reading Institutional Myth in Contemporary Art

Re-engineering “taste”

One way I've found it helpful to think about "culture" in a more manageable scale is through the metaphor of an unending variety show, with many theaters and stages (think music festivals—GovBall, Coachella). This neverending show presents a class of problems to any audience member attempting to grok an act, or to any act attempting… Continue reading Re-engineering “taste”

The telephone effect, and the reciprocity of perspectives

In F. L. Allen's Only Yesterday, a history of the 1920s published in the early 30s, Allen writes about the revolution in manners and morals that began to pick up in the early years of the decade: Like all revolutions, this one was stimulated by foreign propoganda. It came, however, not from Moscow, but from… Continue reading The telephone effect, and the reciprocity of perspectives

Overhaulism

overhaulism (n): related to Chesterton's fence, Hayek's "fatal conceit," Christopher Alexander and James Scott's "high modernism," Taleb's "modernistic intellectualism," and John Gall's "systemism." A belief in the power of individuals' synchronous reasoning & intelligence to intervene in a complex system; correspondingly, an attitude of bearishness toward evolved solutions. Ethical overhaulism is an arguable facet of… Continue reading Overhaulism

Sidebar: Mutual Hostilities

This is an entry in an ongoing series of posts, which will work through the ideas advocated by Eliezer Yudkowsky and other amateur philosophers from the LessWrong community, and attempt to understand the extent to which their ideas are novel as opposed to reinventions of the wheel. Link to introductory post for context and motivation.… Continue reading Sidebar: Mutual Hostilities

Meta-Sequences: Introduction & Criteria

I have offered bounties to anyone who can identify a precedent, in mainstream philosophy, for an idea advanced by Eliezer Yudkowsky as his own. These bounties are in the service of a larger accounting: Background & Motivation LessWrong rationalists and mainstream philosophers are two tribes made up of generally intelligent & knowledgeable people, focused on… Continue reading Meta-Sequences: Introduction & Criteria

Wait, what? Sense-breaking in contemporary art

x-post from Carcinisation In a recent paper, my collaborator Tom Rutten and I advanced a tentative theory of how contemporary visual artworks might interact with a predictive error minimization (or "predictive processing") system in human viewers. The predictive processing model of cognition is a relatively recent figuration of the age-old problem of inference (how humans… Continue reading Wait, what? Sense-breaking in contemporary art