Good bunch of books – all on a similar theme. Hofstadter is amazing. Thinking Fast and Slow was good. Deutsch I like as a person and his profession, although I haven’t read this one, but Tegmark is the only one I’d really put some criticism towards.
Minsky – I remember the name and I have a positive ‘feel’ for him but I can’t remember from what. I *think* I liked him.
My criticism of Tegmark is that everything’s too neat and pat with him. But the rest I like.
AH! Minsky – yes, Minsky. He expanded complexity theory and came up with a good viable plan of action towards a workable AI scheme. His ideas also lead well into embodied cognition, which is a way of thinking that I like.
Ok, yes, I read him in college. Ok, yes, Minsky – I’m a fan.
Yeah, I studied Tegmark a year or two ago. Wrote some stuff about it. The issue I have with Tegmark is that he’s mistaking the model for the thing itself.
An artist can draw a realistic person on a piece of paper.
A person with a computer can mathematically model a Universe.
But neither is the drawing of the person a person nor is the mathematical model of the Universe a Universe.
Math is an effective sketching tool but it’s sketching reality but it’s not reality.
I’m just saying by the definition he gave, that’s what society is. Humans are a collection of living machines that together create an organism of its own and the name for that organism of comprised of humans is a society.
Minsky took it a step further and transferred it into being possible for machines as well, using society as an analogy for a kind of collective consciousness… sort of a twist on the collective unconscious concept. It was a brilliant step actually.
I never read either in full – but GEB if I remember right was a very thick read, but strange loop is more approachable, likely given the extra 20+ years he had inbetween to be able to refine his thinking into an easier to digest way.
Well, I’d put the basis to analogy instead of math, as the alien has to analogize rocks to the abstract concept of number and sameness. I think that’s the distinction I’d make. But it’s a minor quibble I had/have with Sagan compared to the bulk of everything he had to say.
Yeah you bring up a good point : I find it very helpful to read the critics when I am enjoying an author or a concept.
I don’t think there’s a concept out there without some flaws, and it’s good to know what the critics have to say. They might have some things right. Maybe they’re off base. But I find a solid idea becomes more solid because while the weak spots are exposed, the strong parts by comparison are much much stronger because they withstood the