Wiki Contributions


Prior work, in the form of a twitter joke:

I answer the "why are trees so tall" question at .  The rough answer is that height limiting treaties need to be enforced, and enforcement is costly, and for the most obvious enforcement mechanism that trees have available (negative allelopathy), enforcement is not observable by other trees.  So if any trees did enforce a height limiting treaty, the trees that freeloaded on their enforcement would out-compete them, and that's why we see tall trees and not height-treaty-limited trees.

There is a large existing literature on pruning neural networks, starting with the 1990 paper "Optimal Brain Damage" by Le Cun, Denker and Solla. A recent paper with more references is

Especially for the study of consciousness and mental states, I associate this useful tactic with Daniel Dennett's term "heterophenomenology".

FYI, there are published counterexamples to Cox's theorem. See for example Joseph Halpern's at

Perfect descriptions of reality are unattainable, unnecessary, and too costly for learning organisms, including humans. But workable descriptions are indispensable. So knowledge systems, like maps, are a complex blend of realism, flexibility, usefulness, and inspiration.

-- David Christian, Maps of Time: An Introduction to Big History

Someone once quoted Shakespeare to the philosopher W. V. O. Quine: "There are more things in heaven and earth than are dreamt of in your philosophy." To which Quine is said to have responded: "Possibly, but my concern is that there not be more things in my philosophy than are in heaven and earth."

Reported by Chet Raymo

Hi. I'm Thomas Colthurst. I will be doing a visiting fellowship at the Singularity Institute this summer.