The lecture starts at 14:22 and Jordan starts speaking at 20:07 – and it is all worth watching.
Jordan at his superb best. Thank you.
Only two areas of significant divergence.
At 51:20 he says we act in order to survive in the world.
Is it true to say that we act in order to survive in the world?
Or is it more that we act in the way that we do because such impulse to action in our ancestors managed to survive in the world of our ancestors.
There is a distinction there.
In the first case, it can be read as being an intention.
In the second case it can be merely a consequence.
The second case seems to be what evolution does in a very real sense.
Evolution (differential survival) selects, on an absolute basis in terms of individuals leading to a probability basis in terms of populations, by differential rates of survival among variants in particular contexts.
So it seems at some levels to be more accurate to say that for the most part our ancestors survived because they acted in the ways that they did, and this led to selection among variants, and to the specific sets of impulses and probabilities to action that we each as individuals have from our genetic and cultural components.
And it seems that we have the possibility of something else present also.
We are more than any set of genetic impulses to action (though we have these).
We are more than simply the current expressions of sets of implicit cultural constructs to action (though we have these too, and the more conscious we become of the many levels of both sets the greater the choice we have in their expression).
We each seem to have the ability to model our actions and the actions of others at ever higher levels of abstraction, and to select among those abstract levels on the basis of some (chosen) value set, and to make sufficient effort to translate those abstractions into actions in reality that produce outcomes that are at variance with the defaults of genetics or culture.
And in so doing, it is powerful to be cognisant of the many levels of complexity present in both genetics and culture, and the many levels of hard won lessons taken from survival over deep time.
And I think that Jordan understands and expresses this better than most, and that speaking clearly and concisely in this context is crucially important at many higher levels.
My second point (1:08:29) is on the definition of information. To my understanding (backed by the Oxford English Dictionary) it has less to do with regular formations like crystals or armies, than it does to the general notion of giving form. Information gives form by instruction.
The notion then is of instruction, as something that alters the form of a complex system. Thinking in terms of the Daivd Snowden’s Cynefin framework as the best simple model I have encountered for classification of types of action appropriate to different classes of complexity.