The scrapbook of Boris Marinov

Philosophy

Not sure who needs to hear this, but Penrose’s theory and all other Godel-related strong AI refutations are stupid: “Human mind is different from a computer because humans are capable of detecting logically inconsistent theories and logical paradoxes and think outside the box in order to know that they are paradoxes.” Not true at all - our mind actually does nothing more than what a computer operating system would do if it sees a process that occupies a lot of memory and doesn’t produce a result - it would kill the process (or the thought that leads to paradox.) We aren’t able to escape an infinite cycle because we are more capable than computers - we are merely equipped with heuristics necessary to escape from a situation that does not benefit us in any way (sometimes).

Science is philosophy

Science is just a special application of philosophy, in the same way in which the scientific method is an application to what philosophers call critical thinking:

Critical thinking is just asking yourself “what would be the consequence if a given thing that we accept as true is actually false”.

The scientific method is the practice of applying this question to empirical observations.

Dishonesty

This morning I woke up with the following question in mind: What are the characteristics of the mental process that strips life from it’s dreamlike properties and makes it dull and monotonous?

My theory is has to do with dishonesty.

Dishonesty are the processes in which we purposefully create an interpretation of the facts that we know is not the most truthful interpretation.

So by being dishonest, we have to maintain two separate interpretations - the true one (which would always exist), and the the one we want to believe and/or want others to believe.

the true interpretation is “alive” - it always updates, it always has something happening with it.

The false one, is less connected to reality, so it is static. Nothing happens in it, as we have to ignore the reality with which it is incompatible.

Principle of triviality

Marinov’s principle of triviality: any self-consistent thesis can be trivially reduced to a (usually small) number of clear elementary postulates and what follows from them.

Any thesis for which it is not immediately clear what these postulates are, is not self-consistent.

Roko’s basilisk

Roko’s basilisk is a super stupid thought experieriment but it has a solid point - you shouldn’t ever listen to people who clearly don’t know what they are talking about.

Here is a solution to Roko’s basilisk - even if there were 100% chance that Roko’s basilisk came to be I would neve cooperate with it, because I am not evil and I want to save my soul. Fuck you Roko’s Basilisk!

Meaning something

I think that the number one fallacy that is making people stupid is the idea that everything that happens, everything that we see has to mean something. It doesn’t, most of it is just noise. Remembering most of the things that happened and thinking about them is just useless, and leads only to confusion.

Science today

Reading books of philosophy of science from the (beginning of the) last century leaves you pretty disillusioned about the state of science today: seems that the efforts to unify different disciplines in order to answer the big questions have evolved to making up new fields where their authors can work undisturbed, or producing theories of everything, which don’t explain anything more than their predecessors, all while voicing ridiculous opinions of philosophy and religion.

Formulas and text

Math is actually very far away from the universal language it should be and claims to be - read the formulas of some 200-year-old math paper - almost impossible to follow. Read the text - it reads like it was written yesterday.

Popper’s argument

The logical basis of Popper’s solution to the problem of induction - only with modus tollens we can make valid logical conclusions that proceed from specific to general, and we can make only negative such conclusions, e.g. “This swan is black, therefore not all swans are white.” Hence the only criteria for valid knowledge is fasifiability

Philosophy VS mathematics

Yesterday I was having fun imagining how would it look if people were bashing philosophical theories for being too impractical, in the way they are bashing mathematics. Like, for example someone attacking Wittgenstein’s Tractatus, saying “All too well, but what can you do with that theory?” And some philosopher sweating: “Well, it does have its applications is programming language theory…”

Instant gratification

Seeking instant gratification is not “living for the moment”, it’s a manifestation of our your fear of death (so kinda the opposite thing)

Converting others

The clearest sign that they do not feel content with themselves is their desire to convert others to be like them.

Kant’s discovery

The main discovery of Kant is that we are not “blank sheets”, but are born predisposed to certain modes of perception. This thought had profound influence on almost every intellectual discipline

Antinomy

Antinomy - an undecidable conflict between two thesis, none of which is true, simply because the question has no answer. (via Immanuel Kant)

Learning

Systematic learning (the way it’s done at schools) doesn’t work - the principal method of learning is being exposed to some new info which you connect to what you already know in a creative way, educational institutions always try to do the creative work for you and that’s why the process is bound to fail. Learning is always spontaneous and almost always comes from unserious and unusual channels.

Re:Wittgenstein

I came to the world for the facts, but it turns out I can only have pictures of facts. This is some shit.

Wittgenstein VS Kierkegaard

Look how different philosophers are from one another:

Wittgenstein’s last words (upon hearing that friends are coming to visit him): “Tell them I’ve had a wonderful life”

Kierkegaard’s were “My life is a great, to others unknown and incomprehensible suffering.”

Seems that Wittgenstein and Kierkegaard are the modern version of the laughing and the crying philosopher.

The best of all possible worlds

And to think that we live in the best of all possible worlds, I mean, imagine what the rest of them look like.

Reading David Hume’s Treatise.

I find it fascinating how similar it is to the Critique of Pure Reason, though the backgrounds of the two authors are so different.

Kant and Hume embody the religious and scientific schools in philosophy, Kant seeing belief as a transformative force and Hume seeing it as a peculiarly of the human character.

The ultimate conclusion that you can reach when comparing their viewpoints is that causality is not a law, nor a meta law, but a belief which every thinking being must hold to some extend.

Science = Philosophy + Mathematics

This came because I learned that when writing “Principia Mathematica”, Newton was influenced by two books - “Principia Philosophiæ” by Rene Descartes, from which he took the subject matter (and the name) and “The Elements” by Euclid, from which he took the method of reasoning.

Deepest chapter of the Critique

At first I thought that the Transcendental Deduction was the heart of the matter of “The Critique of Pure Reason”, but upon rereading, it’s definitely not it. The deepest chapter is appropriately called “Systematic representation of All the Synthetic Principles of Pure Understanding” and is awesome. Especially the “Analogies of Experience” and the “Anticipation of Perception” are so deep that I did not understand a single word at first, but it all comes together with time.

Rookie mistake

Top one rookie mistake made by analytic philosophers: thinking that just because X can be represented by Y therefore X is Y. So for example, just because a given phenomena can be represented by maths, does not mean that it is “mathematical” by nature.