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John and Ian discuss Time Travel, The Flash, and why time travelers tend to be the bad guys in their own stories because of Hayek’s knowledge problem.

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  • Let me get your thoughts on this. I’m not a philosopher but I’ve noticed it seems like people – even professional philosophers are confused about what they can and can’t know. You know Descartes guy? asked, “what can I know for sure” eventually came to, “I think therefore I am.” He thought (correctly) that the only thing you can know for certain is that you’re having a subjective experience. You might not know what that experience means but you know you’re having it. You know you exist because to experience is to exist, but everything else you think you know is not what you know but what you believe. I think that’s right but if you think I’m off base, let me know. So here’s where people seem to go wrong: they seem to think that means everything is up for grabs – that there is no truth, that all other things are equally uncertain. This assumption to me seems to manifest in such things as post modernism. But the assumption is not true is it? Some beliefs we may hold about what our subjective experience means may be true and others are almost certainly not. See, after that subjective experience we have to use tools to discern the difference between those beliefs that are probably true, and those beliefs that are probably not true. Its these tools that help us decide what to believe as “true.” And what are those tools? Logic mostly, which is usually dependent on evidence and reason. But anyway, my whole point is this is theory is very simple, its easy to understand and intuitive. It seems to me that if philosophers and thinkers would just recognize this basic fact about the scope, composition and nature of knowledge a lot of confusion and ill-conceived beliefs would be weeded out of the dialogue and civilization. What do you think? Is my premise right? Would it make a difference at all?

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  • Is a rate of change for life on Earth rising relative to linear time seen as days, years, etc.?  Maybe eons ago, the planet’s geology was morphing gradually, new life forms were born, and many vanished as biology adapted and grew more complex.  As in markets, there’s creative destruction in natural order.  Evidence may suggest far more total change of this type over any 100M years than 1M, the way of life for single creatures remaining static over lifespans.  A T-Rex’s experience was very similar to its great-great-great-grandparents’. We enter. In a tiny cosmic epoch, caves, camels, and copper become castles, cars, and crypto-currency.  How? Evolve intellectually, gather data, technologically manipulate resources, and advance new ideas.  Ownership is an idea, emanating not from aspects inherent to the physical realm, but mental notions generated through socialization.  If I have undisputed claim of a tomato I grew, none seeking to take it from me, and then I willfully hand it to you, making clear with language, spoken, written, or elsewise, that I give you all rights to it, and you accept, the food doesn’t glow and bind to your soul.  It’s a thing in a spot.  To decipher property, let’s seek an origin. As nomads, land isn’t scarce.  With spare space and few of us, tribes who meet are safest following certain rules of engagement.  Trade and division of labor being productive, our best route is always alliance.  Hostile others are hazards to avoid or exploit.  If they’re strong, fighting is a dangerous last resort for defense only.  If they’re weak and won’t join forces, we can leave or loot.  Threatened by powerful foes, resource maximization is crucial for tribe-family survival.  We weigh estimated costs of war against expected spoils, and take risks. Cultivating voluntary relationships helps markets flourish, and we’ve no use for those who would do us harm or isolate us economically.  An attack against person or property of a member of ours diminishes our ability to thrive, as we’re all competitors for finite stuff.  This style of liberation from the state of nature, incorporates property rights emanating from what the group considers its own, within which individual property rights are established and maintained by common-law for the betterment of all. Are there parallel processes at work?  The whole claims what any single part wants, and parts make use of whatever the whole cedes.  Is this a form of democratic self-governance?

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