6 di 6 persone hanno trovato utile la seguente recensione
- Pubblicato su Amazon.com
Formato: Copertina flessibile
Many of those who purchase and then begin to read this book will learn, for the first time, about Edge.org, a website offering an abundance of resources. John Brockman is the Editor of This Will Make You Smarter (2012) and This Explains Everything (2013). He is also the Editor and Publisher of Edge. As he explains, its purpose is to "arrive at the edge of the world's knowledge, seek out the most complex and sophisticated minds, put them in a room together, and have them ask each other the questions they are asking themselves."
He goes on to suggest, "Edge is a Conversation: Edge is different from the Algonquin Roundtable or Bloomsbury Group, but it offers the same quality of intellectual adventure. Closer resemblances are the early seventeenth-century Invisible College, a precursor to the Royal Society. Its members consisted of scientists such as Robert Boyle, John Wallis, and Robert Hooke. The Society's common theme was to acquire knowledge through experimental investigation. Another inspiration is The Lunar Society of Birmingham, an informal club of the leading cultural figures of the new industrial age -- James Watt, Erasmus Darwin, Josiah Wedgewood, Joseph Priestly, and Benjamin Franklin."
In 2011, those involved with Edge were asked to respond to a question proposed by Steven Pinker and seconded by Daniel Kahneman: "What scientific concept would improve everybody's cognitive toolkit?" Pinker ("Positive Sum Games") and Kahneman ("The Focusing Illusion") were also among the 160 contributors. David Brooks provided a Foreword, followed by Brockman's Preface in which he offers this clarification: "Here, the tern 'scientific' is to be understood in a broad sense -- as the most reliable way of gaining knowledge about anything, whether it be human behavior, corporate behavior, the fate of the planet, or the future of the universe."
Here in Dallas near the downtown area, there is a Farmer's Market at which a few merchants offer slices of fresh fruit as samples. In that spirit, I now offer a few brief excerpts from the lively and eloquent narrative:
o Richard Dawkins explains the need for "tools to help nonscientists understand science better and equip them to make better judgments throughout their lives." (Page 17)
o Although the unconscious mind may be most of the mind, Jonah Lehrer observes, "we can still focus on those ideas that will help us succeed. In the end, this may be the only thing we can control." (48)
o Kevin Kelly: "We can learn nearly as much from an experiment that doesn't work as from one that does. Failure is nit something to be avoided but something to be cultivated." (79)
o Steven Pinker: "An explicit recognition among literate people of the shorthand abstraction 'positive sum game' and its relatives may be extending a process in the world of human choices that has been operating in the natural world for billions of years." (97)
o Douglas T. Kenrick: "Thinking of the mind as composed of several functionally independent adaptive subselves helps us understand many apparent inconsistencies and irrationalities in human behavior." (131)
o Alison Gopnik: "The greatest advantage of understanding the rational unconscious would be to demonstrate that rational discovery isn't a specialized abstruse privilege of the few we call scientists but is instead the evolutionary birthright of us all." (149)
o Irene Pepperberg: "Given an understanding of our fixed-action pattern, and those of the individuals with whom we interact, we -- as humans with cognitive processing powers -- could begin to rethink our behavior patterns." (161)
o Giulio Boccaletti: "By itself, [scale analysis] does not provide answers and is no substitute for deeper analysis. But it offers a powerful lens through which to view reality and to understand 'the order of things.'" (187)
o Linda Stone: "Articulate, intelligent individuals can skillfully construct a convincing case to arguer almost any point if view" by narrowing our vision. "In contrast, projective thinking is expansive, 'open-ended,' and speculative, requiring the thinker to create the context, concepts, and the objectives." (240)
o Victoria Stodden: "One interesting aspect of the phase transition is that it describes a shift to a state seemingly unrelated to the previous one and hence provides a model for phenomena that challenge our intuition." (371)
These are but a few of hundreds of observations that caught my eye. I realize that no brief commentary such as mine can possibly do full justice to the scope of material that is provided in this volume but I hope that I have at least suggested why I think so highly of it. I also highly recommend the aforementioned This Explains Everything and, especially, checking out the ever-increasing wealth of resources at Edge.org. Thank you, John Brockman, for the thought leadership you and your Edge colleagues continue to provide. Bravo!
16 di 17 persone hanno trovato utile la seguente recensione
- Pubblicato su Amazon.com
Formato: Formato Kindle
150 short essays. Some of them worthy of 10 stars, some - only of 1. If you are willing to invest some time and effort in order to search for real jewels, then definitely read this book!
The most useful ideas/concepts for me:
1) a keener awareness that for the Universe "far more time lies ahead than has elapsed until now." "There is abundant time for posthuman evolution, here on Earth or far beyond, organic or inorganic, to give rise to far more diversity and even greater qualitative changes than those that have led from single-celled organisms to humans." "So humans are surely not the terminal branch of an evolutionary tree but a species that emerged early in cosmic history, with special promise for diverse evolution." [Martin Rees]
2) "the history of life on Earth doesn't support this evolution toward intelligence [...] Play the movie differently and we wouldn't be here [...]" [Marcelo Gleiser]
3) "No matter the domain of life, one's generation's verities so often become the next generation's falsehoods that we might as well have a pessimistic meta-induction from the history of everything. Good scientists understand this. They recognize that they are part of a long process of approximation. They know they are constructing models rather than revealing reality. [...] The idea behind the meta-induction is that all of our theories are fundamentally provisional and quite possibly wrong. If we can add that idea to our cognitive toolkit, we will be able to listen with curiosity and empathy to those whose theories contradict our own. We will be better able to pay attention to counterevidence - those anomalous bits of data that make our picture of the world a little weirder, more mysterious, less clean, less done." [Kathryn Shulz]
4) "Cognitive machinery guides us to think in terms of THE cause - of an outcome's having a single cause. Yet for enlarged understanding, it is more accurate to represent outcomes as caused by an intersection, or nexus, of factors (including the absence of precluding conditions.) [...] "The complexity and noise permeating any real causal nexus generates a fog of uncertainty. Slight biases in causal attribution or in blameworthiness allow a stable niche for extracting undeserved credit or targeting undeserved blame. If the patient recovers, it was due to my heroic efforts; if not, the underlying disease was too severe. If it weren't for my macroeconomic policy, the economy would be even worse. The abandonment of moral warfare and a wider appreciation of nexus causality and misattribution arbitrage would help us all shed at least some of the destructive delusions that cost humanity so much." [John Tooby]
5) Technologies have biases. "Soft technologies, from central currency to psychotherapy, are biased in their construction as much as their implementation. No matter how we spend U.S. dollars, we are nonetheless fortifying banking and the centralization of capital. Put a psychotherapist on his own couch and a patient in the chair and the therapist will begin to exhibit treatable pathologies. It's set up that way, just as Facebook is set up to make us think of ourselves in terms of our "likes". [Douglas Rushkoff.]
6) "But without our biases to focus our attention, we would be lost in that endless and limitless expanse. W[...] Biases mediate between our intellect and emotions to help congeal perception into opinion, judgment, category, metaphor, analogy, theory, and ideology, which frame how we see the world. Bias is tentative. Bias adjusts as the facts change. Bias is a provisional Hypothesis. Bias is normal. [...] Truth need continually to be validated against all evidence that challenges it fairly and honestly. [..] Like the words in a multimensional crossworld puzzle, it has to fit together with all the other pieces already in place, The better and more elaborate the fit, the more certain the truth, Science permits no exceptions. It is inexorably revisionary, learning from its mistakes, erasing and rewriting even its most sacred texts, until the puzzle is complete." [Gerald Smallberg]
7) The focusing illusion. "Income is an important determinant of people's satisfaction with their lives, but it is far less important than most people think. If everyone had the same income, the differences among people in life satifaction would be reduced by less than 5 percent." "Paraplegics are often unhappy, but they are not unhappy all the time, because they spend most of the time experiencing and thinking about things other than their disability. When we think of what it is like to be a paraplegic, or blind, or a lottery winner, or a resident of California, we focus on the distinctive aspects of each of these conditions. The mismatch in the allocation of attention between thinking a bout a life condition and actually living it is the cause of focusing illusion." "People can be made to believe that school uniforms will significantly improve educational outcomes, or that health care reform will hugely change the quality of life in the United States - either for the better or for the worse." [Daniel Kahneman]
8) "[...] When it comes to understanding probability, people basically suck. [...] When a state government requires its citizens to buy car insurance, it does so because it figures, rightly, that people are underestimating the odds of an accident." [Seth Lloyd]
9) Shifting Baseline Syndrome. "it forces you to continually ask what is normal. Is this? Was that? And, at least as important, it asks how we "know" that it's normal." [Paul Kedrosky]
10) "[...] Not all explanations are created equal; some are objectively better than others. [...] It's inference to the beast explanation that gives science the power to expand our ontology, giving us reasons to believe in things that we can't directly observe, from subatomic particles - or maybe strings - to the dark matter and dark energy of cosmology. It's inference to the best explanation that allows us to know something of what it's like to be other people on the basis of their behavior." [Rebecca Newberger Goldstein].
11) "attention is highly selective." "Although there are billions of neurons in our brains firing all the time, we'd never be able to put one foot in front of the other if we were unable to ignore almost all of that hyperabundant parallel processing going on in the background. [...]" [Douglas T.Kenrick]
12) "The small subset of the world that an animal is able to detect is its umwelt. The bigger reality, whatever that might mean, is called the umgebung. The interesting part is that each organism presumably assumes its umwelt to be the entire objective reality "out there". Why would any of us stop to think that there is more beyond what we can sense? [...] Truman show [...] A good illustration of our unawareness of the limits of our umwelt is that of color-blind people: Until they learn that others can see hues they cannot, the thought of extra colors do not hit their radar screen." [David Eagleman]
13) "While most of us go through life feeling that we are the thinker of our thoughts and the experiencer of our experience, from the perspective of science we know that this is a distorted view. There is no discrete self or ego lurking like a Minotaur in the labyrinth of the brain. There is no region of cortex or pathway of neural processing that occupies a privileged position with respect to our personhood. There is no unchanging "center of narrative gravity". In subjective terms, however, there SEEMS to be one - to most of us, most of the time." [Sam Harris]
14) "Supervenience explains, for example, why physics is the most fundamental science and why the things that physicists study are the most fundamental things. To many people, this sounds like value judgement, but it's not, or need not be. Physics is fundamental because everything in the universe, from your pancreas to Ottawa, supervenes on physical stuff." [Joshua Greene]
15) A cognitive toolkit full of garbage. "Is there a pragmatic way out, other than to radically get rid of mental garbage? Yes, perhaps: Simply not using the key shorthand abstractions explicitly in one's toolkit. Working on consciousness, don't use the SHA "consciousness." If you work on the "self", never refer explicitly to self. Going through one's own garbage, one discovers many misleading SHAs." [Ernst Poppel]