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Your comment on Hayek's epistemological works reminds me of Manuel de Landa's lectures on the philosophy of Gilles Deleuze. Deleuze's theory is ontological materialist, and his theories of cognition are similar to a modified version of Hume's - essentially, consciousness is a coherence of pattern, and cognition is a 'low-intensity recreation' of experience.

Stereograms are also an example of how we see with our brain according to our own brain’s maps and models. Some people cannot ever see a 3D picture within a stereogram; what is interesting about the optical illusions, paintings by Dali or Escher and stereograms is that, although we all may eventually perceive the same optical illusion (we all see the mask and have the same optical illusion when it turns), we have different time responses to the eye trick – the illusion may be the same for all of us, but the conscious response in the brain that it is an illusion is different for each of us. As Hayek put it in the Sensory Order, although the physical and physiological patterns within the brain are common for all human beings, the connections that translate the stimuli into thought and mind processes - maps and models - are unique for each of us. In the case of the optical illusions, although we perceive the same image, the way and time duration for our brains to connect the dots to interpret the image differ.

That color illusion is STUNNING.

Ever read Wittgenstein's _On Colors_? Highly recommended.

I participated in a Wittgenstein reading group with Larry Wright, and that is one of the books we read, passage by passage. Wittgenstein talks alot about the significance of context for color language and color perception.

Kant claims that we can't imagine or conceive of seeing Red and Green at the smae time, and if I remember right, Wittgenstein seems to side with Kant. The question is whether this is an empirical fact or a conceptual fact, or what.

This illusion almost makes me think that Kant was wrong.

I've read that there is an experiment that make one see Red and Green at the same time, whatever that means.

This is a particularly effective illusion ... kinda like the housing bubble.

You can create a really simple version of this by drawing two filled squares of any colour in paint. Make one darker. Then draw another smaller filled square inside each, and make it some shade between the two larger squares. It'll look just like there are four different shades of colour, even though you only used three.

Because it's simple and impressive (you can do it in 2 minutes using paint), it's one of my favourite tricks to explain how observation is theory impregnated. No proposition follows from experience, since it all depends on how you interpret that experience.

does this strenghten or weaken the case that we are rational decision makers? do we need to have the world "designed" for us to save us from ourselves when it comes to stockmarkets etc?

Designed by other human beings at least as likely to be irrational?

Just got back from Liberty Fund's "Adam Smith Boot Camp." After reading a massive chunk of Smith's collected works one cannot help but recognize that Smith's research project is at heart one of spontaneous orders or as Nozick puts it, "invisible hand explanations."

Hayek's research project looks eerily similar - a basic framework of institutional structures and their patterned outcomes. While many have argued that Hayek's Sensory Order is ancillary to the rest of his work, Steve and others have correctly pointed out that TSO is more a welcomed compliment to Hayek's broader research program.

Unfortunately for Hayek, it seems Smith beat him to the punch on many of the supposedly unique contributions of TSO. Specifically check out Smith's Essays on Philosophical Subjects.

But if I now know I am subject to the illusion, does that help? In one sense, it does not. I look at it again and see the same illusion. But if I *know* what I do not see I am, in another sense, overcoming the error. I can prevent the illusion from leading me into bad decisions, I suppose.

You cannot prevent the illusion from leading you into error if you cannot foresee all the ways in which this misperception feeds into other ways of understanding the world. This would be especially true for areas that blend abstract reasoning with normative claims, politics, etc. You might think you'd separated out your errors, but unless you're sure of every possible interaction, the errors can compound.

Good point.

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