re: joscha bach


watched now some bits from him, presentation and podcast discussions, and was think-prompting, but found i disagree with a few things, mostly definition-wise


he presents as being systems for coordinating individuals

to me a system of ethics is not necessarily a system geared-towards cooperating, but, more generally, a set of behavioural motivations which affect a single individual. these can be cooperation-inducing, particularly so in communal species, but, even in them, there are evolutionarily stable states of cooperators and cheaters, as cheaters thrive in all-coop systems and cooperators thrive in all cheater systems etc. and the more adaptive complexity is introduced into system members the more diverse the set of ethics becomes, need cultural constructs to synchronise them across individuals etc. where an invididual’s ethics come from is a different matter, are of course certain evopsych trends, and have to look at things like disgust reactions, but people ruminating can trim away pieces and make more consistency, axioms and logical progressions, and can to some degree repeat things to the point where they become internalised


he presents as the wildean “appreciation of the useless”, an interest in capturing mental states for their own sake. “maladaptive state, falling in love with the loss function rather than optimising”

for me, taking that adaptive algorithm analogy, art would be the jitter, that can shunt one over from one local optimum to another that might go further. so the artist has some motivation, may be it’s getting across some political message, “functional”, or just conveying a particular image or feeling, “useless”. either way, art is a technique used for that conveyance, combining the disparate to give better understanding, so say a painter combines a certain weight and style of brush stroke with a certain painting, or film-maker shoots a scene from a certain angle that pairs with the scene contents, or pairing certain music with certain scenes, write a passage in a book using a certain register, most obvious would be run-on sentences to make a scene “feel faster” etc. to carry further, in this context theoretical physics or so would also be an art, or rather rely on the use of art, pulling together ideas and intuitions to form a better model, and the science side of things is experimental. so gödel and einstein, then, were artists, relying on intuition to conjoin disparate models, rather than logical reasoning alone, carrying models to their conclusions. and that later wandering period would be something akin to writer’s block, “the words won’t come to me”


takes the “can be consciously controlled” perspective

which is fair, and he acknowledges that pushing it too far is “maladaptive”, wrote a story (or maybe not really “story”, but bit in short story collection about that, actually), re dfw’s “this is water” and 道元 that 曹洞宗 awareness move, in thinking away one’s own suffering one gives up also personal volition and becomes a non-actor. there are certain things, though, can become so core to one’s identity that one can’t give them up, even if that might be possible, because in doing so would be a different person, say the care for one’s loved-people etc; deciding to become a different person is not possible basically. one has to be externally shaken for that kind of change. this brings in “will” and so on, etc. one has a will, would take that definitional in person-being; and for that it seems like he agrees


the computational realism / mathematical constructivism bits are refreshing. he has some spiels, repeats a lot, but are definitely some things worth listening to

song of the day:

Kumisolo - Nasty Boy