David Hugh-Jones

My book is out! https://www.amazon.co.uk/Wyclifs-Dust-Western-cultures-printing/dp/B0B5PPXSQH/

I'm a social scientist in an economics department in Britain. Two of my interests are experimental economics and the social causes of genetic variation. I have a newsletter at https://wyclif.substack.com.

Wiki Contributions


I understand your point. Probably I'm overestimating. Which quotes were hard? I'm guessing that e.g. “the commandement, or example of our superiours” and “grant [sin] but her little, and this little will quickly come to a great deale” are relatively clear.

Reading C17 English isn't hard to learn: it's modern English (not Middle or Old) but just in an antiquated style and sometimes words have different shades of meaning. By "not hard" I mean you can teach yourself, simply by reading stuff and picking it up as you go along - I did Shakespeare at school, then Hobbes' Leviathan and Locke's Treatises on Liberty. (I wouldn't start with Puritan self-help literature!) It's worthwhile, because you get access to a bunch of people who thought in ways very different to your own time. That helps you surmount historical parochialism (https://wyclif.substack.com/p/parochialism-in-time-and-space).

There are definitely differences. One is that NNs are trained on training data and then let loose on real world (or testing) data. Markets are always training online. Another is that NNs (are supposed to) approximate a true hidden function, whereas markets are adapting to changing conditions not necessarily to a single underlying truth. But markets do adapt to inputs they haven't seen before, and there are economic theories describing that process, like adaptive expectations and tatonnement. I suspect that markets are more likely to adjust quite quickly, and also to "forget" old data quite quickly.

Thank you! Yes, this guy adds details.

Also, the nuclear family is absurd and unnatural, and we evolved to be raised by entire communities, not just by one mother and maybe one father. With too few adult caretakers, of course outcomes will be far worse.

Citation needed. Parents are biologically related to their children. Entire communities are not. Is there any evidence that humans have any evolved characteristics which make the nuclear family worse than community upbringing?

I think almost everyone (who isn't daft) accepts IQ is partly genetic - and the author does too. But the question is whether there's a gene-environment interaction in parenting styles, which is slightly different.

So the argument is based on substitutability. If you don't do (global good thing X) - and if it is truly important - someone else probably will.

That is true, but I also think journal editors will internalize that. And it's easy to fetishize this stuff – electronic formats die out, so let's engrave all our journals on stone tablets! – but arguably, any important article exists in 50 versions on the web, and will eventually be preserved, so long as anyone cares about it. At least, that seems to have happened so far.

I think that's a weird take. A cooperation game typically has actions where you lose, but others gain more (whatever actions others take). Prisoner's Dilemmas and public goods games are simple examples. The only wrinkle is "what counts as more" if you take seriously the idea that utility is non-comparable across persons. But a weaker criterion is just "everyone would be better off if everyone cooperated", which again the PD and public goods games satisfy.

You're right. I didn't distinguish between the two concepts, because I think cooperation in the colloquial sense – working together for a shared goal – typically involves elements of both. 

At its simplest, the internet makes communication easier, especially public communication. That should certainly help to solve coordination problems. It'll also help solve cooperation problems insofar as (1) communication shapes preferences; (2) people are susceptible to social norms, and communication helps to spread norms, clarify them and make them salient; (3) people can coordinate on structures which enforce cooperation, e.g. punishment for non-cooperators. Examples of (3) might be non-cooperators getting "cancelled", or e.g. consumer boycotts of firms who exploit labour unethically. And of course, points 1-3 can all also be (ab)used to enable bad kinds of cooperation.

For social science, here are some I'd throw in:

  • Are there questions nobody is asking?
  • Is there a real world phenomenon that nothing in the field addresses?

The best social science follows George Orwell's dictum: it takes huge effort to see what is in front of your face.

Load More