Method in Acting and Science: Why there is no such thing

Growing up in China, with the state television often showing boring programs, I was hooked to our cherished VCR and movies. My favorite actors growing up were Al Pacino and Robert Deniro (no surprises there).

It was only later on that I discovered while doing my PhD in the Netherlands, that actors like Pacino and Deniro were brothers, fathered by one Marlon Brando :). Continue reading Method in Acting and Science: Why there is no such thing

On Bertie Russell and Johnny Keynes, and the Two Meta Models of Politics

People can differ a lot on their politics. Some people want free markets, others want government intervention; some want free healthcare for all, others want to pay for it (? :P); some people want drone strikes in Pakistan to stop, others want them to continue (? :(), etc, etc.

Surely, the differences arise due to the different ways in which people model the world and the conflicting assumptions they build into their models. For example, someone who wants drone strikes in Pakistan to continue Continue reading On Bertie Russell and Johnny Keynes, and the Two Meta Models of Politics

Big Data or Pig Data?

(A fable on huge amounts of data and why we don’t need models)

 There was a pig who wanted to be a scientist. He was not interested in models. When asked how he planned on making sense of the world, the pig would say in a deep mysterious voice, “I don’t do models: the world is my model” and then with a twinkle in his eyes, look at his interlocutor smugly.

By his phrase, “I don’t do models, the world is my model”, he meant Continue reading Big Data or Pig Data?

Galileo and Economics

Or ‘Why we can’t blame Galileo for the latest financial crisis!’ 🙂

Modern science can be roughly said to begin with Galileo Galilei. One of the commonly used methods in science is sometimes referred to as the Galilean Style. This style refers to, among other things, the idealizations and abstractions that scientists use in modeling the world out there. Scientific models do not aim to accurately describe the world. Rather, the idea is (Galileo’s idea) to try and abstract away ‘superfluous’ aspects, and also to use idealizations where possible. As an example of an idealization, consider the fact that Newton in his law of gravitation supposed that the entire mass of the object is concentrated on its center. Similarly, Galileo used ‘frictionless’ planes for performing thought experiments, etc.

But what does all this have to do with Economics? Continue reading Galileo and Economics

Postmodernism: The Opium of the Intellectuals

What follows is a post-modernist defense of Agha Waqar Ahmad’s water-car. The postmodernist author is Derridalacanlatour, a famous French intellectual specializing in, and battling against, the “Hegemony of the transcendental claims of science over the ontology of world concepts” Here it is: Continue reading Postmodernism: The Opium of the Intellectuals

Fiction as Simulation

Studies by neuroscientists have shown that while reading fiction, our brains simulate the action narrated in the text. The information from the text is taken, integrated with the reader’s personal experience, and often those areas of the brain are activated which would also be involved if the reader was actually performing or observing comparable real life situations and activities.

And this is where we can see two benefits of reading (or writing) fiction. Continue reading Fiction as Simulation