About Dave Marsay

I blog at djmarsay.wordpress.com.

From an early age I wondered at the range of different ‘adult’ reasoning styles and the confidence with which they contradicted each other and took it upon themselves to assume superiority over mine. ‘Might is right’ and ‘because everyone thinks so’ did not appeal. Even Darwinian socialism, which says that evolution favours the ‘best’, so those who have done best must be right, has never had much intellectual appeal for me. (We seem to be swept by fashions in at least some of the details of reasoning – how can we tell that things have stabilised?)

The old argument that ‘westernism’ is superior to ‘easternism’ because we have been more favoured by ‘the markets’ has lost its force post the crash of 2008 and the rise of Asia. So how do we recognise the ‘real deal’ for reasoning? Can we transcend the accident of our history that had us raised in a particular culture?

I was born and raised in suburbs of London, UK, that stood out as mixing pots of cultures on social maps of the time. No culture had a clear superiority, but the engineers, scientists and mathematicians (of various ethnic backgrounds) stood out as at least making an effort to reason well, and in having methods that stood up well in certain (narrow) domains. And at that time, such reasoning skills were widely appreciated and the development of them a recognized means of advancement.

At that time anyone who kept just half an eye out for debates on mathematics and its significance to settling society’s questions found much of interest. For example, mathematics is obviously about counting things, and one of the most important things to count is votes. So what do we make of Arrow’s Theorem? Do we conclude that mathematics is useless outside a narrow domain, or do we think that mathematics has helped to uncover some limitations of ‘common sense’, and think that it might be useful to uncover some more?

This blog seeks to identify some key titbits. You can start with my posts, mycomments on the works of others, or my own semi-original thoughts. I can also be found on LinkedIn.

Dr DJ Marsay: C.Math; Fellow, IMA; Senior Research Fellow, ISRS (UCL).

64 Responses to About Dave Marsay

  1. Pingback: How much complexity and uncertainty? | djmarsay

  2. Pingback: Complexity, uncertainty and heuristics | djmarsay

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  4. Pingback: The new mathematics of voting? | djmarsay

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  59. Could I just throw these into the ring. The Unified Field Theory (aka The Grand Unification Theory), The Theory of Everything, N-Theory and Choas Mathematics?

    The universe has to be a closed system doesn’t it?

    To me it follows that everything inside is fundamentally connected – especially connections through spaces (dimensions) unobservable from you physical location, like the trajectory of bird an obstacle. When it passes behind the object obscuring it it enters a dimension we cannot see and, and can therefore no longer predict – unless you can see through time.

    It has been observed in animals with acute perception of polarized light AND charge (static electricity) have a gift for *lightening* fast reflexes. So fast in fact it has been speculated that they have this limited ability to literally predict an event before it occurs.

    This is hardly surprise they have two more senses giving them binocular vision on a space that we can’t see – or can we?

    The man who finds or has the unified field theory would be able to turn it into a regressive mathematical function, rather like a random number generator and exactly like a finite state machine.

    Cause and effect.

    The seeding figure or input to this function would be the exact number of individual particles in the universe, but even if that number is not known by using mathematically similar numbers he would get a result of lesser granularity and resolution.

    If the future is written then there is only Fate or Faith – perhaps these were once the same word…

    Because a finite state machine is a computer, and given the number of connections, certainly sentient.

    • Dave Marsay says:

      Jonathan, Thanks. As mathematics the theories that you mention can have no relevance, unless we think that the world is socially constructed by Physicists. 😉

      What do you mean by a closed system? Does it allow for novelty? I think that I am capable of creativity, and you can hardly blame me if I disagreed that this was impossible.

      I’m currently getting my ideas together, but I think that science only looks for regularities and as such is blind to free will. But just because free will is ‘unscientific’ doesn’t mean that it isn’t real. I would need to think about your examples.

  60. Pingback: The money forecast « djmarsay

  61. Pingback: Hercock’s Cohesion « djmarsay

  62. Pingback: Avoiding ‘Black Swans’ « djmarsay

  63. Pingback: Uncertainty Puzzle « djmarsay

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