c. Jan 18, 2016
To Whom It May Concern:
It’s been a little while since I first released this work. Here at last is the next major update:
As before, the evolving work is hosted here:
Somewhere along the way I also wrote up a personal account of the events behind the paper. It was necessary, and I hope that it will alleviate confusion and help with understanding:
In the intervening period since 2014, I mostly focused my efforts on developing the economic model further. These efforts were inspired partly by some early feedback, and partly because this section struck me as the one that could have the greatest positive impact in the near term. While formerly this section in the paper had the character of an outline sketch, it is now reasonably well-developed and, with any luck, even actionable. If there is to be one section that you will read in the paper, let it be this one, i.e. the one on “Human Institutions.”
In the limited feedback that did come in after the initial release, a common inquiry concerned the philosophical foundation of the work. Although I did not see my work as “philosophical” (due to some unconscious biases that I now believe were partially, although not entirely, misguided), it quickly became apparent that while philosophical aspects were nowhere explicitly addressed, there was a philosophical conception everywhere implicit in the work which needed to be elaborated. Thus the present release includes a new section to start to directly address this philosophical foundation. The development of “epistemic priority” is perhaps the most notable outcome of this endeavor. While it is still nascent, it may well be the most valuable single takeaway from the paper due to its foundational nature: everything else ultimately follows from an understanding of epistemic priority.
The present release also includes numerous other small changes and improvements. Another noteworthy addition, while not emphasized at the moment, is the identification of “radically general” philosophical principles. These are principles that seem to be true about reality at the “highest” conceptual levels of abstraction. Thus they apply universally — to such an extent that the word “universal” seems barely capable of expressing the level of generality. These principles and their nature, however, remain to be specified in detail.
At the stage where the work is now, I hope to focus on one major section at a time, the next one probably being the mathematical and logical foundation, especially in relation to category theory. I also hope to develop the philosophy further, with the immediate vista ahead including the idea of “epistemic regions” — binary regimes of knowledge that appear to characterize our nature in a pervasive and in some ways insidious manner; “conventional and transcendent ideals”, a categorization which appears to indicate that some ideals toward which we strive are outside the scope of “dialectical” agreement and, indeed, transcend our ideas of “fairness” and all conceivable societal structures. Besides that there is a tremendous amount of work still to do in statistics, recursion, information theory, and the various branches of science. This work lies at a standstill at present, and has been for a little while.
– The author