ToKCast
Ep 73: David Deutsch on “Truth”. A question for David 4.

Ep 73: David Deutsch on “Truth”. A question for David 4.

June 24, 2021

This is a question for David about Popper's notion of "verisimilitude". Can we utter the truth? What does David think about probability? Two excellent talks by David referred to in this video are the one he did on "Statements, Propositions and Truth" with the Oxford Karl Popper Society https://www.youtube.com/watch?v=DZ-opI-jghs and the one on Probability (which is somewhat misleadingly titled "David Deutsch on Physics Without Probability" - it's actually far broader than this and should be required viewing for anyone who thinks they already understand lots about probability. After this, they might need to rethink their life ;) https://www.youtube.com/watch?v=wfzSE...

Ep 72: David Deutsch comments on recent UFO sighting (The “Tictac” issue). A question for David 3.

Ep 72: David Deutsch comments on recent UFO sighting (The “Tictac” issue). A question for David 3.

June 23, 2021

Yes, this is me asking David Deutsch about the supposed "evidence" of UFOs that are the US Military's release of footage from jet aircraft that have become known as "Tic Tacs". I do not mention this in the video, but the best explanation I have seen of at least some of this stuff is by Mick West who was able to reproduce at least some of the images: https://www.youtube.com/watch?v=Le7Fq... Neil deGrasse Tyson also makes broadly similar remarks to David in this podcast with Sam Harris: https://www.youtube.com/watch?v=VBVg5... Whatever the case, the deeper point is the more general one. When we do not know the explanation for a set of observations, then we have a problem. Not a solution. In this case, we seem to have either very prosaic solutions (as Mick West explains - in the form of camera effects) or perhaps something we "don't know". What we do not have is "evidence for" something amazing. Namely alien life visiting us in their spacecraft. The only way "evidence for" actually works is when it *rules out* every other theory. That is, in fact, the purpose of evidence in science. For more on that, see here: http://www.bretthall.org/general-rela... and here: http://www.bretthall.org/philosophy-o... #Tictacs #UFO

Ep 71: David Deutsch explains “explanations” further. (A “question for David” 2)

Ep 71: David Deutsch explains “explanations” further. (A “question for David” 2)

June 21, 2021

This is the second part of my interview with David - with me making some remarks about it. I will eventually release the entire conversation.

 

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Ep 70: A question for David 1

Ep 70: A question for David 1

June 10, 2021

The first episode in a new series of "Questions for David" - featuring David Deutsch himself - as a supplement or appendix to my series on "The Beginning of Infinity". This first one is about "The Reality of Abstractions".

Ep 69: “The Beginning” Part 4. The Final episode.

Ep 69: “The Beginning” Part 4. The Final episode.

May 27, 2021

This is the final "The Beginning of Infinity" episode.

I must say: the Youtube version of this contains many useful videos and images to help with what is being described and explained. 

 

Either way: Enjoy! (And rest assured "The Science of Can and Can't" and "The Fabric of Reality" episodes will continue to come out weekly. This is not the end, but "The Beginning").

 

Here is a time-stamped summary of the contents of this episode:

00:00 “The Horizon”: An introduction to “The Beginning of Infinity”

03:10 The Beginning. A throwback.

04:20 The point of all this.

06:15 Comments on Ricky Gervais and Sam Harris “Absolutely Mental” podcast and related themes

09:30 A place for religion and people.

16:00 A central message of BoI

16:45 Books that inform a worldview: including "The Fabric of Reality" by David Deutsch and "The End of Faith" by Sam Harris

22:30 Some criteria for understanding

27:40 Competing “epistemologies”.

31:20 Some comments on Ayn Rand’s philosophy

32:30 The “knowledge density” of "The Beginning of Infinity"

38:20 Critical thinking

43:15 Common Sense Realism

47:30 The end of the introduction

48:00 Reading Part 1

49:05 My reflections on historian Roy Porter and the competing Enlightenments

56:45 Reading Part 2

57:00 Prophesies and Predictions.

59:15 Reading Part 3

59:30 "Popperian Provisos"

1:00:35 Reading Part 4

1:00:51 The infinite potential of explanatory knowledge

1:01:40 Reading Part 5

1:04:10 Physical reality and laws of physics

1:05:15 Reading Part 6

1:05:30 Simulations vs recordings of people

1:06:35 Reading Part 7

1:08:00 Misunderstandings of Explanatory Universality

1:10:00 The Final Reading

1:11:00 The Beginning. A Throwback Part 2

1:12:30 Extended credits.

 

Music: "Double Slit Test" by Ketsa: https://freemusicarchive.org/music/Ketsa/The_Double_Slit_Test/Double_Slit_Test

 

Made for Mum & Jem.

Ep 68: Crypto Comments

Ep 68: Crypto Comments

May 21, 2021

This podcast is abut crypto - and recent volatility. I explain some of the psychological motivation for crypto currency and compare it to fiat currency and the liabilities of both. Some comments on so-called “Modern Monetary Policy/Theory”. 

 

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Ep 67:”The Fabric of Reality” episode 2.

Ep 67:”The Fabric of Reality” episode 2.

May 20, 2021

In this, the second part of discussion about the first chapter of “The Fabric of Reality”, we delve more deeply into what the distinction between “The theory of everything” that particle physicists have in mind and what David Deutsch’s more encompassing, more grand vision is for a unification of our deepest theories (of which the particle-physicists hoped-for unification of the forces is only a part). The former, purely physics-of-motion theory may be “predictive” in some sense but not fully explanatory. We discuss the crucial importance of the concept of “emergence” and I end this episode with “The Parable of the Copper Atom” which is first encountered here, in this first chapter of “FoR” - makes a comeback in “The Beginning of Infinity” and has taken on a life of its own out there in social media and philosophical space as a withering refutation of reductionism. 

Ep 66: “The Science of Can and Can’t” episode 2

Ep 66: “The Science of Can and Can’t” episode 2

May 17, 2021

This episode is focussed on the physics content of chapter 1. I explain what the current “conception” of physics is in terms of dynamical laws and initial conditions. I run through a simple example of how equations of motion are used and discuss how this has been, hitherto, the way physics has been done, is done and is expected to continue to be done according to most philosophers and physicists. We then compare this vision of physics to what constructor theory aims to achieve by considering more than just a single thread through the fabric of reality (what was, is and will be) and instead to consider what might have been and might still be. This clearly has implications for knowledge and, again, we hint at the possibility of a physics of epistemology. It also opens up the possibility for physics to address questions about why the initial conditions are the way they are and thus provides a new window into the origins of the universe and the problem of "fine tuning" when it comes to the constant of nature and the form of the physical laws.

Ep 65: Quasars

Ep 65: Quasars

May 14, 2021

The title says it all. This episode is about quasars. I return to my original “training” in astrophysics in order to correct some misconceptions that may have crept into my video titled “The Nexus” here: https://www.youtube.com/watch?v=zpTxBkmr4LE 

This episode covers three basic things:

The history of the discovery of quasars

The physics of quasars

Varieties of quasars

As with episodes of this kind, it is "image intensive" and although I hope listeners of the audio only will find value - there might be something missed without the images.

This episode is also in recognition of the long term work of author Danny Frederick's contribution to the promotion of Popperian epistemology. May Danny be remembered as a philosopher of deep insight into epistemology and a critically rational worldview.

Ep 64 Ch 18 “The Beginning” Part 3

Ep 64 Ch 18 “The Beginning” Part 3

May 12, 2021

The Penultimate “The Beginning of Infinity” episode. Herein we contrast pessimism with optimism - what the conditions are for providing succour to either philosophy and who some of the leaders are. While science writers such as John Horgan, author of “The End of Science” may provide something of an introduction to the ways in which people can conclude “the end is night”, philosophers like Nick Bostrom and Verner Vinge take things further providing academic papers on “the singularity” and “the doomsday argument” and “the simulation argument” - all of which regard people as being but a prelude to something else: a time without or beyond people. The arguments are summarised and countered. I provide my own spin on things, and invoke the work of computer scientist Jaron Lanier, who (while at times writing of a bleak *now*) exhaults people in the same way as David Deutsch via a different method and looks forward to a future where people are ascendant. What does our best science tell us about what is to come? If we are to take seriously our best theories - is there hope? And is there an opportunity to even find fun and funniness in what we are promised for the future? I have some ideas.

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