One joke about philosophers is that we walk around all day just going, "what does it all mean?" Though it is a joke, some philosophers are concerned with meaning. I don't mean meaning in a kind of ethical, "why are we here?" sense (although some philosophers are concerned with that), but rather what we mean… Continue reading Paper Review: The Semantics Latent in Shannon Entropy
One day you are walking along the street, and someone in front of you drops a $50 bill. Even though no one around is really paying attention, most of us will pick it up and give it back to the person. Why is that? Maybe it has something to do with morals in this case… Continue reading Paper Review: Asymmetric Population Games and the Legacy of Maynard Smith: From Evolution to Game Theory and Back?
Decision theory seeks to understand how rational agents should act. More specifically, I am talking about normative decision theory. There is also descriptive decision theory which tries to characterize how people in fact act. For this post (and most of my posts) I will focus on normative decision theory. Importantly, the "should" here is not… Continue reading Paper Review: Decision Theory Without Representation Theorems
Often we begin exploring a topic because we find it interesting, perhaps even mysterious. For example quantum mechanics gets a lot of play in the media these days -- probably because it is seen as puzzling, mysterious, even ineffable. There are perfectly coherent ways to understand quantum mechanics without sliding into mysticism, but that is… Continue reading Paper Review: Measurement Scales on the Continuum
Can two rational people agree to disagree? This question seems really important to me. When having a conversation with a friend, for example, if we are both good-faith rational actors who are engaged in a collective truth-seeking endeavor (as is my hope!), is it possible that we can agree to disagree? Of course, in the… Continue reading Paper Review: Agreeing to Disagree
We've all heard of the classic grandfather paradox of time travel: you go back in time and kill your grandfather before he sired your father. But then what happens? We can reason about it in something like the following way. You kill your grandfather, so your father never existed, so you never existed. But then… Continue reading Paper Review: The Paradoxes of Time Travel
Readers of the blog will know that I am a fan of the Bayesian approach to probability. This approach is also sometimes called "personal probability", because it takes probabilities to be the degrees of belief (or credences) of rational agents. We can think of using probability like this as a framework for managing uncertainty in… Continue reading Paper Review: Difficulties in the Theory of Personal Probability