39 episodes

A podcast with episodes loosely tied together by Popper-Deutsch Theory of Knowledge. David Deutsch's 4 Strands ties everything together, so we discuss everything we find interesting be it science, philosophy, computation, politics, or art. Support this podcast: https://anchor.fm/four-strands/support

The Theory of Anything Bruce Nielson

    • Society & Culture
    • 5.0 • 13 Ratings

A podcast with episodes loosely tied together by Popper-Deutsch Theory of Knowledge. David Deutsch's 4 Strands ties everything together, so we discuss everything we find interesting be it science, philosophy, computation, politics, or art. Support this podcast: https://anchor.fm/four-strands/support

    Episode 38: Animal Learning and Popper's Epistemology (part 2)

    Episode 38: Animal Learning and Popper's Epistemology (part 2)

    Karl Popper has a radical theory of 'dualistic evolution' where behavior had to evolve first before physical evolutionary changes could be taken advantage of. As part of his theory, Popper pointed out that an animal's ability to learn would be paramount to making evolution work at all -- similar to the Baldwin effect discussed in the last episode, but now for physical adaptions. This means evolution would have had intense pressure to evolve learning algorithms early in the evolutionary tree. 

    As it turns out, Richard Byrne's work largely corroborates Popper's theory of dualistic evolution. Nearly all animals show an ability to do trial-and-error learning and this is the main source of 'animal intelligence' in the animal world. Byrne even argues that this ability to do trial-and-error learning is a form of evolution where animals let their behaviors 'die in their place' rather than having to wait for the slow biological evolutionary learning processes of the genes.

    We also discuss what split-brain patients might teach us about human explanations and go over examples of animal-like gene channeled learning in humans. 

    Links:


    Richard Byrne's book Evolving Insight: How it is we can think about why things happen
    Richard Byrne's book The Thinking Ape: The Evolutionary Origins of Intelligence
    Kenneth Stanley's work on the problem of open-endedness
    The Monkey Fairness Experiment
    Frans Waal's Paper: Monkeys Reject Unequal Pay
    A primer on Donald Campbell's Theory (including animal learning and the Baldwin effect)
    A short summary of how Popper and Campbell (apparently) disagree with David Deutsch on what counts as knowledge creation


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    Support this podcast: https://anchor.fm/four-strands/support

    • 1 hr 32 min
    Episode 37: Animal Intelligence and Knowledge Creation (part 1)

    Episode 37: Animal Intelligence and Knowledge Creation (part 1)

    How intelligent are animals?

    In this episode, we introduce our series on animal intelligence rooted primarily in the research of Richard Byrne. Richard Byrne (mentioned in Beginning of Infinity) is a first-class Popperian researcher (though he doesn't realize it).

    We first talk about how Bruce got interested in this subject after reading Fabric of Reality (but before reading Beginning of Infinity) and how animal intelligence is at once beyond anything we know how to program but also unbelievably unintelligent at times. We consider how the Pseudo-Deutsch Theory of Knowledge has misled the Deutsch fan community about how much of an animal's knowledge is "in its genes" as well as how many fans of Deutsch (due to the same misunderstandings) have accidentally fallen into Lamarkism because they don't understand the importance of the Baldwin effect on the evolution of animal algorithms.



    Links:


    The Monkey Fairness Experiment
    Dog Playing Jenga
    Cat Playing Jenga (Another Example)
    Richard Byrne's book Evolving Insight: How it is we can think about why things happen
    Richard Byrne's book The Thinking Ape: The Evolutionary Origins of Intelligence
    A primer on Donald Campbell's Theory (including animal learning and the Baldwin effect)
    A short summary of how Popper and Campbell (apparently) disagree with David Deutsch on what counts as knowledge creation


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    Support this podcast: https://anchor.fm/four-strands/support

    • 1 hr 32 min
    Episode 36: Failure is an Option!

    Episode 36: Failure is an Option!

    In this episode, we discuss the value of failure and how businesses have yet to fully embrace the Popperian notion that we learn from our failures, so we should want to fail more, not less. 


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    Support this podcast: https://anchor.fm/four-strands/support

    • 1 hr 9 min
    Episode 35: Physics and Relationalism: An Interview with Julian Barbour

    Episode 35: Physics and Relationalism: An Interview with Julian Barbour

    Sadia, in her four episodes on unsolved problems in physics (first episode here), was clearly heavily inspired by the work of Julian Barbour. So we invited Julian to join us for an episode and got a chance to ask him questions about his theories. Julian is a world-renowned physicist and author of several books on physics including The Janus Point, The End of Time, and The Discovery of Dynamics.  His theories include a challenge to the prevailing theory of entropy (i.e. heat death) and even hint as possible apparent teleology in cosmology (in this case a tendency towards novelty and variety.) We are very excited to have him on the show and to answer our questions about his theories. 


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    Support this podcast: https://anchor.fm/four-strands/support

    • 1 hr 54 min
    Episode 34: Alpha Go and Creativity

    Episode 34: Alpha Go and Creativity

    When Alpha Go beat Lee Sedol, the world Go champion, it came up with creative new moves never previously seen before and even invented a whole new style of play unknown to humans. IBM's Deep Blue, the champion chess algorithm, failed to do either of these. What was the difference?



    In this podcast, we review Alpha Go the Movie. Warning: Spoilers abound! Please go watch the movie first! This is an excellent movie. 



    Bruce (using his admittedly thin knowledge of reinforcement learning) explains how Alpha Go works (using the materials previously discussed in our Reinforcement Learning episode) and how Alpha Go came up with a creative new approach to Go that went beyond the knowledge of the programmers. 



    While Alpha Go definitely does not have "creativity" in the universal explainer sense of the word (it has no explanatory knowledge nor understanding), it did come up with a creative new playstyle never before seen in the history of the world that changed how humans play Go. Even the programmers were caught off guard by what it came up with. We talk about how Alpha Go challenges the Pseudo-Deutsch Theory of Knowledge but meshes well with Campbell's evolutionary epistemology. 


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    Support this podcast: https://anchor.fm/four-strands/support

    • 1 hr 16 min
    Episode 33: Unsolved Problems in Physics Part 4 - Possible Solutions and Criticisms

    Episode 33: Unsolved Problems in Physics Part 4 - Possible Solutions and Criticisms

    We wrap up our discussion with Sadia Naeem covering possible solutions and criticisms of those solutions. 


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    Support this podcast: https://anchor.fm/four-strands/support

    • 1 hr 10 min

Customer Reviews

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13 Ratings

13 Ratings

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