Posts filed under “Philosophy”

What is Consciousness ?

Cool stuff from Information is Beautiful:
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click for interactive version

Category: Philosophy, Weekend

What is the Half Life of Your Favorite Technology?

I mentioned this on Bloomberg early this morning, but its worth exploring further: What is the average half life of your favorite technology? We operate under the false assumption of substance and solidity, when in reality, things are deeply in flux. Everything changes, nothing lasts. The various technologies we use are physical manifestations of ideas,…Read More

Category: Cycles, Philosophy, Technology

How To Have A Rational Discussion

Thought Catalog explains how to have a Rational Discussion: > Hat tip Simolean Sense

Category: Philosophy, Psychology, Science

Stumbling, Imperfectable Creature Like Ourselves

Quote of the day from the piece From Hiroshima to Fukushima. > “The problem is not that another backup generator is needed, or that the safety rules aren’t tight enough, or that the pit for the nuclear waste is in the wrong geological location, or that controls on proliferation are lax. It is that a…Read More

Category: Energy, Philosophy, Psychology

Music Industry = Egypt

Interesting quote of the from Bob Lefsetz: EGYPT: “We were there first, music fans already revolted.  They killed not only the album, but the major labels.  We’re living in an era of chaos.  To complain is to be Mubarak.  The audience was oppressed for too long, given an opportunity to go its own way, it…Read More

Category: Music, Philosophy, Technology

Friday Philosophy

A bit of Friday philosophy: Most of us will morph through different phases of our life, as we grow and live and learn. Its not quite a caterpillar to butterfly metamorphosis, but it represents specific changes in what we know, do, feel and think. A little introspection, perhaps some insight gleaned through hard work and…Read More

Category: Philosophy, Weblogs

Once again, with feeling: The most over-analyzed, over-emphasized, least-understood data point of the month comes out today. I guess we could probably add “over-traded” to that list. Why do am I critical of how we discuss this point? Consider these reasons: 1) The overall trend in hiring is what matters, not a single snapshot 2)…Read More

Category: Data Analysis, Employment, Philosophy

QOTD: Data vs Theory

Here is today’s extended version of our QOTD” “[George Bernard Shaw] once said that as he grew older, he became less and less interested in theory, more and more interested in information… Nothing is so hard to come by as a new and interesting fact. Nothing is so easy on the feet as a generalization….Read More

Category: Data Analysis, Philosophy

Naive Science and the Nature of Financial Markets

The post was originally published at The Financial Philosopher.

It’s quite true what philosophy says, that life must be understood backwards.  But one then forgets the other principle, that it must be lived forwards.  A principle which, the more one thinks it through, precisely leads to the conclusion that life in time can never be properly understood, just because no moment can acquire the complete stillness needed to orient oneself backward. ~ Soren Kierkegaard

Man is a perpetual naive scientist: Formal scientific methodologies generally involve Describing, Explaining, Predicting and Controlling, which are all extensions of everyday human behavior.  The naivety in this regard, as associated with financial markets, is financial market participants believe that by describing and explaining the past with empirical evidence, they will be given the capacity to predict and control the future.

Additionally, this empirical evidence is often compiled haplessly and contained within a certain bias to a desired result.  Although completely within in the bounds of human nature, this naivety is surely among the greatest of man’s arrogance and foolish behavior.  This is not to say that science is required for financial success but rather a suggestion that a good scientist is almost always preferable to a bad one.

Describing and explaining is integral to understanding or, at a minimum, a means of satisfying simple curiosity; and predicting is often perilous but can be done prudently; however the controlling aspect is almost always tragic.  Because man is so engulfed with the desire for knowledge (of things past and of things future) there is no ability to see himself as he is now.

Faced with the choice between changing one’s mind and proving there is no need to do so, almost everyone gets busy on the proof. ~ John Kenneth Galbraith

Last week’s 662-page Financial Crisis Inquiry Report, for example, is almost useless; however it is one of the only predictable aspects of the entire financial crisis: Humans, to satisfy their desire for control and for narcissistic display of knowledge, will perpetually look to the past and wonder how things could have gone so wrong, then will proceed to rationalizing the event into a means of controlling (preventing) a similar event in the future.

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Category: Philosophy, Psychology

Why Blog?

The latest spasm careening through the blogosphere tangentially referred to a minor rev share offer from Seeking Alpha, one of the major blog aggregators.  We saw the usual hand wringing discussions of “blogonomics,” as well as an article discussing the challenges of blogging (its hard). Pretty much, most missed the point (though props to Abnormal…Read More

Category: Philosophy, Weblogs