84 episodes

A podcast with episodes loosely tied together by Popper-Deutsch Theory of Knowledge. David Deutsch's 4 Strands tie everything together, so we discuss everything we find interesting be it science, philosophy, computation, politics, or art. But there is a heavy emphasis on the exploration of intelligence and the search for Artificial General Intelligence (AGI).
Support this podcast: https://podcasters.spotify.com/pod/show/four-strands/support

The Theory of Anything Bruce Nielson

    • Society & Culture
    • 5.0 • 22 Ratings

A podcast with episodes loosely tied together by Popper-Deutsch Theory of Knowledge. David Deutsch's 4 Strands tie everything together, so we discuss everything we find interesting be it science, philosophy, computation, politics, or art. But there is a heavy emphasis on the exploration of intelligence and the search for Artificial General Intelligence (AGI).
Support this podcast: https://podcasters.spotify.com/pod/show/four-strands/support

    Episode 83: Popper's Second Axis (aka Bruce's Epistemology?)

    Episode 83: Popper's Second Axis (aka Bruce's Epistemology?)

    Bruce summarizes his (unique?) understanding of Karl Popper’s epistemology that (possibly?) straddles the line between orthodox and unorthodox and is Influenced both by Deutsch, more old school Popperians, and his own unique interpretation of critical rationalism.

    Bruce claims that the key difference between regular "folk epistemology" (i.e. how humans reason without a correct understanding of epistemology) and "Popper's epistemology" (aka "Critical Rationalism" or the correct epistemology) is due to Popper's epistemology having a 'second axis' that regular folk epistemology entirely lacks. This 'second axis' is rooted in a choice to make your theories bold and risky by maximizing empirical content.



    This makes Popper's epistemology 2-dimensional instead of 1-dimensional.



    If this fact is missed, Bruce claims your epistemology collapses back to be regular old folk epistemology and you are no longer doing critical rationalism.


    Refutation, corroboration, explanation, induction, falsification, verisimilitude, “the Popperian war on words,” and “Popper’s ratchet” -- from past podcasts! -- are all touched upon.


    Follow us on Twitter: ⁠https://twitter.com/bnielson01⁠


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    • 2 hr 1 min
    Episode 82: Popper's Ratchet

    Episode 82: Popper's Ratchet

    In an episode that may (or may not) be his magnum opus, Bruce introduces his term for Karl Popper’s idea that you are only allowed to solve problems with your (scientific) theory by making it more empirical, not less empirical.

    Bruce makes the case that this is one of Karl Popper’s least appreciated ideas, as all of us are tempted by ad hoc saves that move our ideas in the direction of vagueness.

    Bruce also considers where conjectures come from and if Popper thought there existed a scientific method.


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    • 1 hr 53 min
    Episode 81: Easy to Varyness vs Ad Hocness

    Episode 81: Easy to Varyness vs Ad Hocness

    Bruce sympathetically critiques David Deutsch’s concept of “easy to varyness” as a way to judge our explanations.

    Are our best theories about reality truly hard to vary? Bruce makes the case that Popper’s concept of “ad hocness” may be a strangely interwoven concept.

    Along the way we get deeper into whether Popperian epistemology is best seen as an attitude or a methodology.


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    • 2 hr 14 min
    Episode 80: Knowledge vs. Simul-Knowledge

    Episode 80: Knowledge vs. Simul-Knowledge

    Bruce wraps up his epic 6 part series on knowledge and the 'two sources hypothesis' (i.e. Deutsch's theory that all 'knowledge' comes from only two sources: Biological evolution and human minds).



    What happens if we take all the non-two sources examples of 'adapted information that cause itself to remain so' (e.g. the walking robot, the immune system, trade secrets, animal learning, animal memes, etc.) and give them their own theory distinct from the theory of 'knowledge'? Sort of like a theory of "a simulacrum of knowledge" (to uses Deutsch's own term) or "Simul-Knowledge" for short.



    This turns out to be remarkably easy: you just take the constructor theory of knowledge without any implicit additional criteria. Doing this has immediate profound implications that impact how we see and understand Deutsch's theory of knowledge.



    Like to a version of the drawing Bruce refers to throughout the episode.



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    • 1 hr 44 min
    Episode 79: Perspiration vs Inspiration

    Episode 79: Perspiration vs Inspiration

    Is human creativity algorithmic? What is the difference between an Inspiration and a perspiration algorithm? Can mechanical processes ever create knowledge? What is the relationship between creativity and explanation? If we had the 'inspiration' algorithm today, would it use perspiration? Here Bruce continues his exploration of these issues and more.




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    • 1 hr 31 min
    Episode 78: Are Animal Memes Knowledge In the Genes?

    Episode 78: Are Animal Memes Knowledge In the Genes?

    Do animals create knowledge? Deutsch claims they don't because all their knowledge is in their genes. Yet he admits that animals do have memes! But aren't memes, by definition, knowledge outside the genome? How does Deutsch attempt to deal with these problems with his theory of knowledge? And how well do his arguments hold up?




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    • 1 hr 11 min

Customer Reviews

5.0 out of 5
22 Ratings

22 Ratings

Al Pittampalli ,

Popper in-depth

Gets into the weeds on Popper in a wonderful way. Highly recommended.

E-ric____ ,

Promulgating Popper = 👍👍

Well done folks!

reviewer-47 ,

Reviewer-47

Great podcast for anyone interested in epistemology. Bruce explains ideas well.

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