Reading recommendations 10th July 2016

  1. Tyler Cowen on ‘Why Brexit happened and what it means
    Like myself, Cowen was pro-Remain. However I saw several people on the Leave side praising Cowen’s articulation of their beliefs and saying that it passed the Ideological Turing Test.
  2. The Germ Theory of Democracy, Dictatorship, and All Your Most Cherished Beliefs
    The Pathogen Stress Theory of Values suggests that our reactions to germs can explain many puzzles of human social behaviour including morality, politics and religion.
  3. The Man Who Tried to Redeem the World with Logic
    This is the sad tale of the life of scientist and mathematician Walter Pitts. When he’s described as being the undoubted genius of a group containing John von freaking Neumann then you know he was something special. 

    “That winter, Wiener brought Pitts to a conference he organized in Princeton with the mathematician and physicist John von Neumann, who was equally impressed with Pitts’ mind. Thus formed the beginnings of the group who would become known as the cyberneticians, with Wiener, Pitts, McCulloch, Lettvin, and von Neumann its core. And among this rarified group, the formerly homeless runaway stood out. “None of us would think of publishing a paper without his corrections and approval,” McCulloch wrote. “[Pitts] was in no uncertain terms the genius of our group,” said Lettvin”.


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