16 Matching Annotations
  1. Dec 2017
    1. So thought is always both collective and individual, both a manifestation of a wider network and something unique, both an emergent property of groups and a conscious choice by some individuals to devote their scarce time and resources. The interesting questions then center on how to understand the conditions for thought. How does any society or organization make it easier for individuals to be effective vehicles for thought, to reduce the costs and increase the benefits? Or to put it in noneconomic language, how can the collective sing through the individual, and vice versa?
    2. all ideas, information, and thoughts can be seen as expressions of a collective culture that finds vehicles—people or places that are ready to provide fertile soil for thoughts to ripen. This is why such similar ideas or inventions flower in many places at the same time. It is why, too, every genius who, seen from afar, appears wholly unique looks less exceptional when seen in the dense context of their time, surrounded by others with parallel ideas and methods. Viewed in this way, it is as odd to call the individual the sole author of their ideas as it is to credit the seed for the wonders of the flowers it produces.
    3. The more dimensional any choice is, the more work is needed to think it through. If it is cognitively multidimensional, we may need many people and more disciplines to help us toward a viable solution. If it is socially dimensional, then there is no avoiding a good deal of talk, debate, and argument on the way to a solution that will be supported. And if the choice involves long feedback loops, where results come long after actions have been taken, there is the hard labor of observing what actually happens and distilling conclusions. The more dimensional the choice in these senses, the greater the investment of time and cognitive energy needed to make successful decisions.

      Conexão entre complexidade e dimensões de maiores ordem

    1. Two-level selection (between individuals within groups and between groups in a multi-group population) gave evolutionary theory the capacity to explain both disruptive self-serving behaviors (favored by within-group selection) and prosocial behaviors (favored by between-group selection) in any social species.
    2. Evolutionary theory looks far, far into the past. From this vantage, pirates were doing what came naturally throughout our history as a species—cooperating within their groups in a way that was rigorously policed and behaving as a corporate unit toward other groups in a way that was adapted to the ecological context.
    1. The transition from one species to another – like the variation between individuals – is gradual in both time and space; but those transitions that evolutionary theorists have singled out as the most important appear to present relatively sudden increases in complexity. With higher complexity come new possibilities. But new possibilities often come at some cost to the organisms concerned.

      What language does is to enable speakers to differ about propositions. Propositions ground inferences, which can be persuasive without being logically compelling, and on which two people can differ. Thus the invention of language, like other major transitions of evolution, generated an explosion of possibilities. When we can talk about what we want, we can also discuss, generalise, refine, extrapolate, analogise, creating fresh propositions to endorse. Wants can be grounded in basic needs and desires but, from those raw materials, talking quickly leads us to a potentially unlimited variety of new propositions about artificial things to care about: cultural conventions, institutions, art, money. These constitute the values by which we govern our lives. Each variant of human desire is ‘natural’, not in the sense of being required, but only of being made possible by nature. And it is in what nature makes possible, not in what it necessitates, that we should look for the answer to the question about what we should be or do.

    2. Although language seems to us so obviously useful that its cost is hard to discern, there is some truth to Thomas Hobbes’s explanation of why humans find it so much more difficult to cooperate than ants do. Ants don’t require a tyrannical monster to enforce cooperation, Hobbes argued in Leviathan (1651), mainly because they don’t talk. They can be harmed but not offended; they can’t make agreements and therefore cannot break them; and they don’t ‘strive to reform and innovate’ – all of which spares them quarrels, disagreements and generally bad feelings.
    3. In repeating the well-worn phrase that is supposed to sum up natural selection, ‘survival of the fittest’, we seldom think to ask: the fittest what? It won’t do to think that the phrase refers to fitness in individuals such as you and me. Even the fittest individuals never survive at all. We all die. What does survive is best described as information, much of which is encoded in the genes.
    4. Some cases of fitness are frequency-dependent, which means that certain traits acquire a stable distribution in a population only if they are not universal.

      what are some examples?

      • Perhaps:
        • Greed - tragedy of the commons?
      • Mentioned:
        • Doves and Halks example
    5. We are the direct descendants of millions of freaks. In light of that thought, we should perhaps regard our more eccentric acquaintances with more respect. Not every freak is an improvement, but every improvement must first have been featured in a freak.

      therefore, there is no good or bad (normal and abnormal) as postulated by teratology (Aristotle)

    1. Até chegar a hoje, quando vivemos na sociedade mais complexa de todos os tempos. Só que aí as hierarquias pararam de funcionar – colapsaram. O mundo ficou tão complexo que ficou impossível para um chefe dominar a complexidade abaixo dele.
    2. “a complexidade de um sistema realizando uma tarefa deve ser tão grande quanto a complexidade da tarefa”
    1. Process-thinking has profound implications for medicine, because it shifts the burden of scientific explanation away from the interaction of things based on essences, and towards how unruly processes somehow manage to crystallise into identifiable patterns.
    2. ‘Thingness’ has a very real impact on scientific work by motivating the search for mechanisms. A mechanism is a precisely arranged set of stable things whose interactions generate a phenomenon of interest. Scientists often see uncovering mechanisms as the gold standard of scientific insight. This approach certainly has its benefits: not everything can be examined at the same time, and science depends on careful attention to well-defined parts of the whole.

      However, mechanistic explanations can be successful only under certain conditions. First, the constituent bits must be stable over the relevant timescales. So, for instance, most enzymes will be more or less fixed over the course of the cellular process they’re involved with. But enzymes have life cycles too, stretching from their creation to their decay, or proteolysis – which is itself catalysed by further proteins.

    3. A process, on the other hand, does not persist by some central something remaining the same, but rather by the causal connections between the activities that continue to sustain the process.

      If we are committed to thingness, it becomes a real quandary as to how something can undergo such profound changes to its fundamental properties without ceasing to exist

    4. Life conforms to neither of these conditions. Take self-reliance. Living systems exist far from the state known as thermodynamic equilibrium – instead of their energy spreading itself out over the widest possible space, it’s concentrated in specific areas and flows along defined pathways, such as the cardiovascular or nervous system. Such phenomena are very improbable, as far as fundamental physics is concerned. Maintaining this unusual arrangement requires constant activity, or metabolism, which in turn demands that organisms extract energy from their environment via eating, breathing, photosynthesis, and so on. That belies any pretensions of independence.

      May be this the reason why life "goes against" entropy?