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Thread: Most intellectual writers

  1. #121
    King of Dreams MorpheusSandman's Avatar
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    Quote Originally Posted by mona amon View Post
    I was scared off from the article you linked by terms like 'Bayesian scientific method' and 'psycholinguistics' but anyway, I certainly wasn't denying that philosophical thought keeps advancing and growing! If Philosophy is "the study of the fundamental nature of knowledge, reality, and existence" (dictionary definition), then of course it has to change with every new addition to our understanding of these concepts.
    You shouldn't be scared off by those terms! Bayes' Theorem is a formal, mathematical expression of how evidence SHOULD work. It elegantly expresses how new observations should affect our beliefs using probabilities. One thing it also teaches you is that human intuition doesn't work (at all) like Bayes theory. People undervalue their priors and really don't get how much an observation should affect the probability of one theory compared to another; but if you just think of Bayes as "a mathematical answer to the question 'what is evidence'" then it's not all that scary. Psycholinguistics is just the study of how brains process words, which is even simpler. Anyway, the issue I was bringing up is that a lot of philosophical thought DOESN'T advance and grow, and probably the majority of philosophy/philosophers are still batting around the thoughts of old dead guys that were demonstrably ignorant about how the world works. Yes, many of them were geniuses, but they all had to make due with the limited knowledge they had.

    Quote Originally Posted by mal4mac View Post
    Why do they need philosophy to interpret quantum physics? ...Your continual backing of "many worlds", above all other interpretations, is an indication that you are "arguing from emotion", not an example of you being a better philosopher than those physicists who don't use the many worlds interpretation. You "like" the many worlds interpretation so you argue yourself into thinking it's the only possible solution.
    Firstly, they need philosophy to interpret QM because science has zero ability (right now, and likely well into the future) to experimentally test which interpretation is correct. All the interpretations lead us to expect exactly what we see when observing/modeling QM, and it's not clear how it's even possible to set up a test that says "if X interpretation is right you'll observe Y instead of Z." This is where philosophy comes in, because it can tell us which interpretation should be favored a priori.

    Secondly, the accusation that my promotion of MW is "arguing from emotion" is flat-out offensive. Please, quote a single post of mine where I've argued for MW and explain how I'm "arguing from emotion" rather than "arguing from the available evidence and a priori philosophy" and I'll PayPal you $100.

    Thirdly, I don't LIKE MW. I have no emotional attachment to it whatsoever; it means nothing to me. If tomorrow there was experimental data that definitively proved Copenhagen was correct I'd shrug and say "cool" and drop MW like a hot potato. I also don't think (and have never said) that MW is the "only possible solution." You're just pulling that one out of your backside.

    Here's my non-emotional, philosophical argument for MW in a nutshell: the mathematical models of QM points to MW IF we assume they're modeling real things. The only only only ONLY reason to get around MW is to violate Occam's Razor, or assume the models are modeling something unreal. Now, considering we have not a single reason to do either EXCEPT our historically fallible intuitions, why don't you explain to me philosophically why we should trust our intuitions over our mathematical models. I'll also be waiting for you to explain why anything I've said is an argument from emotion.

    Quote Originally Posted by Frostball View Post
    Mal4mac, I agree with almost everything you say, particularly the bit about many worlds, while being possible, shouldn't be accepted over other models because we simply don't know yet, and should therefore withhold judgement.
    1. MW and all other QM interpretations aren't "models," they're "interpretations." QM is already fully and completely modeled and has been since the 20s. Schrodinger's Wave Equation models how particles behave, and Heisenberg's Uncertainty Principles models our ability to measure how they behave. The debate is over what those models MEAN. The math alone combined with the assumption that the things the math is modeling are real point to MW. The math combined with the assumption of an observer-dependent collapse into a single world combined with the assumption that the things the math is modeling are unreal point to Copenhagen, which leads to it contradicting everything else we know about physics.

    2. I've nowhere spoken about any interpretation being "accepted," I always say "favored." One shouldn't be accepted until experiments can definitively distinguish one from another empirically. However, even with the state of evidence we currently have, we should still favor certain interpretations over other. All things being equal (as they are in the case), favor the simpler interpretation that is supported historically and by our current knowledge of physics; not the more complicated interpretation that flouts history and our current knowledge of physics merely to maintain our faulty intuitions.
    Last edited by MorpheusSandman; 01-22-2014 at 12:25 PM.
    "As far as we can discern, the sole purpose of human existence is to kindle a light of meaning in the darkness of mere being." --Carl Gustav Jung

    "To absent friends, lost loves, old gods, and the season of mists; and may each and every one of us always give the devil his due." --Neil Gaiman; The Sandman Vol. 4: Season of Mists

    "I'm on my way, from misery to happiness today. Uh-huh, uh-huh, uh-huh, uh-huh" --The Proclaimers

  2. #122
    Grumpy Book Critic
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    Bayesian probability is also the fun little trick with the two goats and the car.
    Serik: It's a roleplaying game with aliens and lasers and stuff. It's pretty darn cool.
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  3. #123
    A User, but Registered! tonywalt's Avatar
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  4. #124
    Registered User mona amon's Avatar
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    Quote Originally Posted by Hwo Thumb View Post
    Bayesian probability is also the fun little trick with the two goats and the car.
    Ooh the Monty Hall puzzle! I came across it in The Curious Incident of the Dog in the Nighttime (Great book, by the way), and have been fascinated by it ever since. The explanation is not difficult to grasp once it has been explained, but what is really interesting is why most of us have such an overwhelming intuitional feeling that the odds are 50/50 even when it's been proved mathematically to be 2/3 in favour of changing your decision. I think it is because the initial odds - 1/3 chance of choosing a car - are not so unlikely, so you think there's a very good chance that you've chosen the car, and reformulate the probabilities from there. The guy who gets the goat after listening to the Probability theorists and changing his decision will probably agree with me.
    Last edited by mona amon; 01-26-2014 at 01:02 AM.
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  5. #125
    King of Dreams MorpheusSandman's Avatar
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    I must be strange as I actually got the Monty Hall problem before it was even explained. 2/3 of the time I've picked the wrong door, and those 2/3 of the time I've picked the wrong door, by changing it I'll have picked the right one. That's really all you need to think about. For some reason, people DON'T tend to think like that. It may have something to do with the general principle that people undervalue their priors in the Bayesian sense as well.
    "As far as we can discern, the sole purpose of human existence is to kindle a light of meaning in the darkness of mere being." --Carl Gustav Jung

    "To absent friends, lost loves, old gods, and the season of mists; and may each and every one of us always give the devil his due." --Neil Gaiman; The Sandman Vol. 4: Season of Mists

    "I'm on my way, from misery to happiness today. Uh-huh, uh-huh, uh-huh, uh-huh" --The Proclaimers

  6. #126
    I agree with a majority of you, David Foster Wallace has a very very intellectual style of writing (Note: his use of footnotes, vocabulary, and academic concepts)

    During college he studied highly advanced math -- which, I believe, is very evident in his writing. His work is exceedingly thought out and punctilious, he chooses his words and ideas in an almost calculative way and formats his prose like an academic essay or dissertation.

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