“5. I am composing on the typewriter late at night, thinking of today. How well we all spoke. A language is a map of our failures. Frederick Douglass wrote an English purer than Milton’s. People suffer highly in poverty. There are methods but we do not use them. Joan, who could not read, spoke some peasant form of French. Some of the suffering are: it is hard to tell the truth; this is America; I cannot touch you now. In America we have only the present tense. I am in danger. You are in danger. The burning of a book arouses no sensation in me. I know it hurts to burn. There are flames of napalm in Catonsville, Maryland. I know it hurts to burn. The typewriter is overheated, my mouth is burning. I cannot touch you and this is the oppressor’s language.”—“The Burning of Paper Instead of Children,” Adrienne Rich (via whatiwanttosaytoyou)
Is it possible to describe Human Beings with Mathematics?
isomorphisms:I hope that one day people will figure out the "perfect formula" for a constitution (balanced incentives / structure).
gsx002:I doubt it. Formulas belong to the math and logic realm.
isomorphisms:There is some logic to human interactions.
gsx002:That's using the word loosely. :)
isomorphisms:The promise of using maths to describe people is what got me interested in economics. I also do mathpsych.
isomorphisms:This is why I have high hopes for Acemoglu stuff. Also spatial voting theory, game theory, applications to constitutional design.
gsx002:I so have to follow these things more...I used to once upon a time.
gsx002:It's always fascinated me, but I still haven't met a really good Bayesian...and Newcomb's paradox is still tricky for me.
isomorphisms:I'm not saying a currently existing model [like Bayesian rationality]. Just that in theory a correct mathematical model of human behaviour seems (to me) possible.
isomorphisms:Not saying it would be super specific either. The difficulty in convincing people to my point of view is that few people know how loose abstract mathematics is. Cobordisms, homology, homotopy, topology are all very loose. Results in category theory are also quite loose.
isomorphisms:You can construct huge equivalence classes of things. Then you don't distinguish between very different things (famously, a coffee mug and a donut have the same topological equivalence class).
isomorphisms:Some abstract maths (like coalgebras) is actually criticised because "There are no calculations!"
gsx002:Hmm. . . i'd take the opposite bet . . . that there's a proof that there isn't or that there can't be such a model #Gödel
isomorphisms:Gödel is off-topic. His result was about pure maths.
isomorphisms:Even Arrow's Theorem has things fairly nailed down.
isomorphisms:Tarski also unrelated. Says ℝ is fuktup. I agree: especially for economics.
isomorphisms:I actually got Stan Wagon (a Tarski ball scholar) into a discussion on how ℝ is inappropriate for econ.
gsx002:ok, you forced me to bring out the big guns: sartre and camus! "we refuse to be modeled," or something like that :)
isomorphisms:They didn't know how loose abstract mathematics is either. =)
isomorphisms:Lacan thought there were applications of topology to psychoanalysis. Also there's a postmodernist at Ball State who says topology may be an appropriate tool for cultural analysis.
gsx002:I was talking about Tarski's Truth paradox.
isomorphisms:Oh. That's a linguistic problem. We don't have natural language logically figured out yet. However that's not a problem for behavioural modelling.
“This is a problem. Because pink happens when the red and violet sides get together, but they don’t get together — which makes pink an act of wishful thinking, or, to put it bluntly — pink is a made up color.”—
“I’m not denying that both high and low culture need women’s voices, but maybe it’s worth considering that we might want to leave these print dinosaurs to the rapidly-aging crew of men who’ve dominated them since they founded them, and decamp for spaces where there is no shortage of women’s voices. Or, hey, we could stop waiting for their magazines to accept us and start our own!”—Living La VIDA Loca (Sorry) | The Awl