[p2p-research] Building Alliances (basic income and entrepreneurship)

Paul D. Fernhout pdfernhout at kurtz-fernhout.com
Sat Nov 7 17:29:20 CET 2009

J. Andrew Rogers wrote:
> There are two basic mechanisms for "knowing".
> There is mathematics, which is axiomatic and deductive. There is
> science, which is non-axiomatic and inductive, with the caveat that
> the correctness of this model is predicated entirely on the axioms of
> mathematics.
> What am I missing?  Divine revelation? Astrology?


Or, in fact, all these sorts of modalities listed here, or more:
# 1 Gardner's categories of intelligence
     * 1.1 Bodily-kinesthetic
     * 1.2 Interpersonal
     * 1.3 Verbal-linguistic
     * 1.4 Logical-mathematical
     * 1.5 Intrapersonal
     * 1.6 Visual-spatial
     * 1.7 Musical
     * 1.8 Naturalistic
# 2 Other intelligences
     spiritual, existential and moral intelligence.

All are, to some extent, fundamentally different ways of "knowing".

All reasoning depends on assumptions, and all reasoning is done in service 
of values and emotions, and involves a decision about what are acceptable 
reasoning tools. None of those choices about assumptions, values, and tools 
can be made logically. At best, we can iterate on these things as part of a 
process where logic plays a part. So, there is a lot more uncertainty that 
scientism tries to paint. For example, are we living in a simulation? What 
would that mean? Where do we come from? What happens after we die? How 
should that effect our choices now? Our assumptions about a lot of these 
things can have some big effects on our behaviors.

See also:
"Descartes' Error: Emotion, Reason, and the Human Brain is a book by 
neurologist Antonio R. Damasio, in which the author presents the argument 
that emotion and reason are not separate but, in fact, are quite dependent 
upon one another."

Another way to understand this might be to look at some of Marvin Minsky's 
and other's work on multiple representations and artificial intelligence. I 
was at a talk Minsky gave around 1999 where he outlined the idea that the 
human brain simultaneously kept running several different models of the 
world (semantic, 3D, 2D, and so on, don't remember for sure which ones he 
discussed) and kept choosing solutions from one of the model as they were 
most appropriate. So, there he was talking about building AIs with multiple 
ways of knowing, all going on simultaneously. :-) Mathematical and abstract 
enough for you? :-)

A first quick reference, showing his thinking on that goes way back:
"A Framework for Representing Knowledge; Marvin Minsky; MIT-AI Laboratory 
Memo 306, June, 1974."
The different frames of a system resemble the multiple "models" described in 
Guzman (1967) and Winston (1970). Different frames correspond to different 
views, and the names of pointers between frames correspond to the motions or 
actions that change the viewpoint. Later I discuss whether these views 
should be considered as two- or as three-dimensional. ...
   If asked about important future lines of research on Artificial or 
Natural Intelligence, I would point to the interactions between these ideas 
and the problems of using multiple representations to deal with the same 
situation from several viewpoints. To carry out such a study, we need better 
ideas about interactions among the transformed relationships. Here the 
frame-system idea by itself begins to show limitations. Fitting together new 
representations from parts of old ones is clearly a complex process itself, 
and one that could be solved within the framework of our theory (if at all) 
only by an intricate bootstrapping. This, too, is surely a special skill 
with its own techniques. I consider it a crucial component of a theory of 

>> Last, social change must not be proven in theory, but experimented in
>> practice. Lots of things were impossible in theory, like the Wikipedia and
>> the Arduino, but happened in practice. In that case, theory must be revised,
>> but above all, one must be aware of the relativity of theory at all times.
> Huh? Neither Wikipedia or Arduino are impossible in theory. It is
> silly to assert as much. Indeed, they are *expected* in theory.

Only after the fact. Biofilms are theoretically not possible either, 
according to this:

Science usually gets patched up after the fact. No one believed amorphous 
semiconductors were possible either, and Stanford Ovshinsky was laughed at 
for years in academaia for proposing that.

"Amorphous and Disordered Materials?The Basis of New Industries"
"As in the past, materials will shape the new century. Dramatic changes are 
taking place in the fields of energy and information based on new synthetic 
materials. In energy, the generation of electricity by amorphous silicon 
alloy thin film photovoltaics; the storage of electricity in nickel metal 
hydride batteries which are the batteries of choice for electric and hybrid 
vehicles. In the information field, phase change memories based on a 
reversible amorphous to crystalline transformation are widely used as 
optical memories and are the choice for the new rewritable CDs and DVDs. The 
scientific and technological bases for these three fields that have become 
the enabling technologies are amorphous and disordered materials. We will 
discuss how disordered, multielemental, multiphase materials can throw new 
light upon metallic conductivity in both bulk and thin film materials. We 
will demonstrate new types of amorphous devices that have the ability to 
learn and adapt, making possible new concepts for computers."

Could the same be true for how you say other things, whether disordered 
amorphous p2p volunteerism, or distributed search, are not theoretically 
possible, or are certain to fail? :-)

Ultimately, it is experiment that we need (in reality, though, or simulation).
"Hence, demonizing centralization and glorifying decentralization as the 
solution to all our problems would be wrong. An open and experimental 
attitude towards the question of different hybrids and mixtures is what the 
complexity of reality itself seems to call for. "

--Paul Fernhout

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