Interesting letter. It was a rollercoaster from my POV because the first few paragraphs appeared to be a dastardly warping of what I was saying, yet by the end of the letter I was nodding my head, utterly in agreement. How can this be?
This might seem lame but I think it’s easiest if I just respond to the relevant points inline. This is you:
I was saying adaptations reflect truths, which is to say they somehow represent (I was saying “encode”) some truth. Instead you say it’s more a “hack”, something that exploits the world without awareness certainly but also even without reflecting any truth. This is most obvious if you manipulate the environment so that the hack fails.
I never said “hack”. Bad start. Continue reading #59 On how the question changes the answer
This is a long letter but I feel we’ve alighted on a fundamental, multifaceted philosophical difference and it’s what I’ve been researching full time for several years so I’ve got too much to say.
OK. The brain is an organ situated in a body (including a gut) and a world (including a culture). The modern brain is in the same kind of body as before, but in a very different world. And the world is where most of a brain’s knowledge is. Insert mind-blowing sound effect. Continue reading #57 On the key (and lock) to knowledge
Yeah, you’re probably right. I’m just trying to be part of the fun of a unique, intricate worldview but strict naturalism is hard to argue against. You don’t really need the more pragmatic parts of your argument either, namely cordoning off existence in order to illegitimatize bad concepts. It only brings more questions, like does this mean that only things that exist should matter?
Continuing along this thread. Yes some abstractions are more fake than others. And this implies that some are more real than others. Continue reading #18 On truth, beauty and exploitation
Great letter. I feel like we’re finally getting into it… whatever it is. You asked a quick question:
I’ve quoted this book [David Deutsch’s Beginning of Infinity] tons in the last letters and I worry. Is it because the book has great insights into these seemingly unconnected topics? Or am I too good at drawing connections between things that should remain separate?
That’s a tricky one. EM Forster said “only connect” because that’s what thinking is, that’s what creativity is. But then again paranoia, conspiracy theories and apocalyptic prophecy are born of too much connective thinking. That’s the old madness/creativity thing: “Great wits are sure to madness near allied / And thin partitions do their bounds divide.” I’m trying to sugarcoat it with some nice verse, but what I’m saying, Mat, is that you have full blown schizophrenia and it’s because of David Deutsch. Continue reading #15 On exactitude in science