December 15th, 2016 · 180 minutes
This week kicks off with some contentious claims that Merlin is a crammer and John is a monster. Merlin reminds John that he is out of his depth, and John remembers things. Also, some brief talk on Apple router alternatives and learning to tolerate morning notifications.
Lots of follow-up on Free Will, including thoughts on Heisenberg, tail-chasing, and provocative recent scholarship on whether what we see is “reality.” John wants to see more math.
A mini-topic spins out of listener feedback: what’s the distinction between being clever versus being smart? This leads to an exploration of humor, creativity, and the attraction of trying to make the right joke at the right time.
Around 01:45:00, we fire off the spoiler horn for an extended discussion of season 1 of HBO’s Westworld.
(Recorded on Tuesday, December 6, 2016)
This episode of Reconcilable Differences is sponsored by:
"See the line where the sky meets the sea? It calls me…"
Cognitive scientist Donald Hoffman is trying to answer a big question: Do we experience the world as it really is ... or as we need it to be? In this ever so slightly mind-blowing talk, he ponders how our minds construct reality for us.
Hoffman has developed a new theory of consciousness that, should it prove true, may rearrange our understanding of reality itself. Listen as Hoffman talks about the bicameral mind, the umwelt, and the hard problem of consciousness in this mindbending episode about how we make sense of our world, our existence, and ourselves.
A professor of cognitive science argues that the world is nothing like the one we experience through our senses.
Humans may have one thing that advanced aliens don’t: consciousness.
Koestler's fundamental idea is that any creative act is a bisociation (not mere association) of two (or more) apparently incompatible frames of thought.
In 1930, during the Golden Age of Detective Fiction, a number of famous British writers (Christie, Sayers, Chesterton, and Orczy to name a few) formed the Detection Club. During one of their dinners they wrote the rules of fair play. These rules were meant to allow the reader a fair chance of figuring out who committed the crime before the end of the story. While the rules have relaxed a bit over the years they are still relevant in mystery writing today.
Get your cowboy hat and your favorite Radiohead playlist, because it’s time to venture into the park for our first-season review of HBO’s “Westworld.” Is Anthony Hopkins running Westworld the park or “Westworld” the show we’re watching? Why can’t the Man in Black take a hint? Who is good and who is evil? Are the hosts sympathetic characters or empty, scripted shells? (And can’t you ask that question that about any fictional character?) We provide some quick analysis and also ponder where the show might take us in season two.
Was it John Cecil, in the loft, with the microphone? Actually, yes — and that’s more straightforward than anything in the puzzling murder-mystery-comedy-movie-of-the-board-game “Clue”, which John’s here to defend. Would anyone care for fruit, or dessert?