ToKCast
Ep 50 Ch 16 “The Evolution of Creativity” Part 2

Ep 50 Ch 16 “The Evolution of Creativity” Part 2

January 17, 2021

The 50th episode! This is the third part (given there was a part 0, introduction) referring to chapter 16 of "The Beginning of Infinity" with substantive readings. We get into how memes evolved in non-human animals and then how these memes, and genes at some point allowed for a jump to universality. Specifically the universality of explanatory knowledge - which is a quality of a special kind of software - that which runs on our brains, or otherwise known as "a person's mind".

Ep 49: An introduction to epistemology

Ep 49: An introduction to epistemology

January 13, 2021

What it says in the title :)

A short and sweet introduction to a particular way of thinking and knowing. This is all about fallibilism and the possibilities that being wrong opens up.

Ep 48: Cosmological Economics

Ep 48: Cosmological Economics

January 13, 2021

This episode is highly visual and better viewed on Youtube here: https://www.youtube.com/watch?v=VlcQ4ZFKrKk However, the substance is still there in this purely audio-only version. This is another episode not primarily about "The Beginning of Infinity" but it is deeply inspired by it. It is a discussion exploring the "resources" debate. Are resources finite or infinite? I look at the intersection between economics and cosmology or people and the universe. So this is all about how knowledge changes physical reality, or as David Deutsch has said: how explanations transform the world.

Ep 47: Are we alone?

Ep 47: Are we alone?

January 8, 2021

A ToKCast Special: Brett talks about what he's learned over the years from various academics about the question of alien life. Although I don't mention it, I draw my inspiration from an academic paper I wrote years ago as part of my Masters degree in Astronomy - it can be found here: The Rare Earth That might be a bit more sober, hard-going and not exactly entertaining. I hope this video is fun. I don't read - I simply talk. It's a somewhat different style for ToKCast.

Ep 46 “The Evolution of Creativity” Part 1

Ep 46 “The Evolution of Creativity” Part 1

January 8, 2021

This is the second part (after a part 0, introduction) referring to chapter 16 of The Beginning of Infinity with more substantive readings. We get into imitation and compare how apes "ape" and parrots "parrot" to what humans are doing when they learn. Meme replication and lyrebirds make an appearance.

Ep 45 Free Will Exists

Ep 45 Free Will Exists

December 25, 2020

This is not a regular episode - and if you have listened to episode 44 you do NOT need to listen to this because it is simply excerpts from that episode. It is simply an extraction from that episode of the material - solely my remarks rather than any reading - about the concept of "free will". The following is the Youtube description of this episode:

This is an excerpt from https://www.youtube.com/watch?v=Oypz57aosnE but is focussed on my remarks about "free will". This is my best attempt at a response to Sam Harris or "CosmicSkeptic's" video here https://www.youtube.com/watch?v=Dqj32jxOC0Y It seems to me almost every public intellectual, more or less (Daniel Dennett aside) is allergic to the notion of "free will" because they guess it must be linked to some supernatural notion or must defy physics or is in some other sense irrational. I try to explain the scientific notion of the little we know and advance the case that a denial of free will simply moves the same mystery - the same problem - elsewhere.

Ep 44 Ch 16 “The Evolution of Creativity” Part 0

Ep 44 Ch 16 “The Evolution of Creativity” Part 0

December 25, 2020

Early on in the episode, I wrongly refer to this as "Episode 43". It's not: it's episode 44. This particular episode is largely about the concepts underpinning chapter 16 - with very little reading (I get through the first page or so). We explore creativity, choice and the associated "mysteries" (or problems of) consciousness and free will. Are these all facets of the same underlying - deeper truth - about personhood? This is one of those episodes with a couple of references to what is going on in the video version of the podcast...but I think most people will have sufficient imagination to guess what is going on :)

Ep 43 Ch 15 “The Evolution of Culture” Part 3

Ep 43 Ch 15 “The Evolution of Culture” Part 3

December 25, 2020

This is the third in a 3 part series devoted to Chapter 15 of "The Beginning of Infinity" by David Deutsch. All about "The Evolution of Culture", in this part we are looking at the conditions under which a dynamic society can gradually evolve and persist. Importantly we distinguish between rational and anti-rational (not merely irrational) memes.

Ep: 42 An autobiography of wealth

Ep: 42 An autobiography of wealth

December 10, 2020

This episode is not about "The Beginning of Infinity". It is largely a reading of an article that can be found on my website at http://www.bretthall.org/blog/an-autobiography-of-wealth

The purpose of that article and this episode is to discuss the pervasive claim that the middle classes have seen a stagnation in "real wage growth". I do not go deep into economic matters but rather take a personal perspective which, I would guess, is applicable to almost anyone.

Ep 41: Deutsch Discoveries: Part 2 of an introduction to the philosophy of David Deutsch

Ep 41: Deutsch Discoveries: Part 2 of an introduction to the philosophy of David Deutsch

December 4, 2020

In this episode I cover more of David Deutsch's contributions to philosophy. In order these are:

1. The true function of evidence in science

2. How the quantum multiverse is a testable theory

3. All evils are due to insufficient knowledge and how morality is about "What to do next".

4. The mathematician's misconception (i.e: that mathematical proof is independent of the known laws of physics).

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