Rereading Meehl

Lately, I’ve been rereading a lot of Meehl’s papers on the epistemological problems with research in psychology. This passage from “The Problem Is Epistemology, Not Statistics: Replace Significance Tests by Confidence Intervals and Quantify Accuracy of Risky Numerical Predictions” strikes me as an almost perfect summary of his concerns, although it’s quite abstract and assumes […]

Norvig and the Nature of Modern Science

In this, Chomsky is in complete agreement with O’Reilly. (I recognize that the previous sentence would have an extremely low probability in a probabilistic model trained on a newspaper or TV corpus.)1 Anyone who considers themself an intellectual should be required to read this new essay by Peter Norvig. It’s the best summary I’ve ever […]

Modern Science and the Bayesian-Frequentist Controversy

The Bayesian-Frequentist debate reflects two different attitudes to the process of doing science, both quite legitimate. Bayesian statistics is well-suited to individual researchers, or a research group, trying to use all the information at its disposal to make the quickest possible progress. In pursuing progress, Bayesians tend to be aggressive and optimistic with their modeling […]

Freedman on Decision Theory

On the other hand, taken as a whole, decision theory seems to have about the same connection to real decisions as war games played on a table do to real wars.1 David Freedman : Some issues in the foundation of statistics↩

The Goddess Logical Rigor

Initiates into the mysteries of the goddess Logical Rigor use a strange speech among themselves, and find it all but impossible to communicate their visions to the mass of ordinary, unilluminated mankind. This accounts in part for the fact that, of the three disciplines most devoted to that goddess, analytical philosophy and neo-classical economics have […]

The Young and the Restless

I’ve held onto old codes of honor like the captain to a sinking ship. The world moved on and rolled its eyes, but there are some things that are worse than dying. It’s always been my way to over-romanticize, cuz’ when I was young I had a hard time with what was real and fantasized. […]

The Sort of Men Involved in Domestic Abuse

Here’s a real testament to the strength of character of men who beat their wives: they beat them more when their favorite sports team loses.

Nietzsche’s Formula for Happiness

My formula for happiness: a Yes, a No, a straight line, a goal.1 It amazes me that nearly all of Nietzsche’s philosophy is implicit in this single maxim, which is plainly a statement of the motive that singularly defined his personality. What is the madman of The Gay Science’s fear when he says, “what were […]

Paul Graham on Determination

Paul Graham just posted a new essay on determination. It is probably my favorite of his essays so far. I particularly like this paragraph: That word balance is a significant one. The more willful you are, the more disciplined you have to be. The stronger your will, the less anyone will be able to argue […]

Returning to the Escolios

Rereading Gómez Dávila’s “Escolios”, I am once again reminded that it is the greatest of the works of 20th Century Spanish language literature that have yet to be translated into English. Each time I return to these books, I find new sections that I adore: En el auténtico humanismo se respira la presencia de una […]