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RECENT POSTS IN THIS TOPIC

Vladimir Fedorov: on 2/24/18 at 14:06pm UTC, wrote Dear Bradly, I highly appreciate your well-written essay in an effort to...

Steven Andresen: on 2/23/18 at 13:39pm UTC, wrote Dear Bradly If you are looking for another essay to read and rate in the...

Satyavarapu Gupta: on 2/12/18 at 9:25am UTC, wrote Respected prof Bradly John Alicea It is very nice alternative (the...

Christophe Tournayre: on 2/10/18 at 22:37pm UTC, wrote Dear Bradly Alicea, The notion of description and relevance that you...

George Gantz: on 2/10/18 at 15:48pm UTC, wrote Bradley - I think your essay would do well to be read aloud. I love the...

Joe Fisher: on 1/31/18 at 16:20pm UTC, wrote Dear Fellow Essayists This will be my final plea for fair treatment., ...

Satyavarapu Gupta: on 1/29/18 at 23:11pm UTC, wrote Hi Dr Bradly John Alicea, Wonderful pursuit towords…” According to...

Joe Fisher: on 1/19/18 at 16:45pm UTC, wrote Dear Bradly John Alicea, In qualifying the aim of the ‘What is...


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FQXi FORUM
May 25, 2019

CATEGORY: FQXi Essay Contest - Spring, 2017 [back]
TOPIC: Towards the meta-fundamental: introducing intercontextual invariants by Bradly John Alicea [refresh]
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Author Bradly John Alicea wrote on Jan. 17, 2018 @ 21:52 GMT
Essay Abstract

The pursuit of knowledge often leads downwards and outwards: towards the lowest-level phenomenon (fundamental) and the largest number of like-minds (intersubjectivity). According to this view, a scientific phenomenon is reduced to its lowest common denominator, and eventually leads to a consensus-like view. Yet this may not be the only set of paths to and from fundamental knowledge, as this implies an inherently reductionist approach to the creation and exploration of knowledge. In this essay, we will explore how fundamental levels of analysis relate to larger frameworks of knowledge and discovery. Rather than framing the fundamental as a mechanistic necessity or a lower-level enabler of emergence, I propose that an alternative (the nonlinear intercontextual view) leads to a number of important benefits. The proposed viewpoint allows for fundamental components of a body of knowledge to be identified and characterized in a broader historical, intellectual, and mechanistic context. This view can be distinguished from the intersubjective view of knowledge-sharing, which implies many implicit assumptions and encourages unnecessary constraints of thought. A nonlinear intercontextual view also provides a way to reconsider what constitutes a fundamental unit in a body of knowledge. This leads us to new conclusions about the underpinnings of our scientific fields, our theoretical assumptions, and a set of meta-fundamentals that can redefine the manner in which scientific knowledge is set forward into the world.

Author Bio

Bradly Alicea has a PhD from Michigan State University. He has published in multiple academic fields, and in venues including Nature Reviews Neuroscience, Stem Cells and Development, Biosystems, and Proceedings of Artificial Life. With interests spanning the biological, computational, and social sciences, he is currently Head Scientist and Founder of Orthogonal Research (http://orthogonal-research.weebly.com) and a Senior Contributor at the OpenWorm Foundation (http://openworm.org). Bradly is involved with Open Science initiatives such as community-building and the DevoWorm group (http://devoworm.weebly.com). Bradly is also the administrator of Synthetic Daisies blog. Please see Bradly’s research website (http://bradly-alicea.weebly.com) or blog (http://syntheticdaisies.blogspot.com) for more information.

Download Essay PDF File

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Branko L Zivlak wrote on Jan. 17, 2018 @ 22:58 GMT
Mr. Alicea

Regarding: This interdependency can be seen in domains such as political and weather forecasting, where fundamental preconditions are used as statistical priors, and often constrain the range of possible solutions.

As a meteorologist I do not agree, because meteorological forecast is based on deterministic relations.

Regards,

Branko

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George Gantz wrote on Feb. 10, 2018 @ 15:48 GMT
Bradley - I think your essay would do well to be read aloud. I love the feel of the words you use - even as the meaning seems to drift and flow. I did, however, find it hard to find a coherence in your presentation. Perhaps we would benefit from a bit more inter contextual conversation. I also feel that your discussion of "meta-knowledge" could be taken a lot further - and would appreciate your opinion as to whether you find my essay useful in the regard.

One additional reaction to your paragraph: "In the case of social or religious fundamentalism, the idea of building blocks can work the other way. Instead of building up from a few core attributes, fundamentalism isolates a few stereotyped beliefs or cultural practices and builds a self-reinforcing set of interactions. In social fundamentalism, core beliefs are selected and reinforced post hoc, resulting in a set of reconstituted building blocks. Yet rather than serving as the foundation for additional structure, fundamentalism simply collapses cultural practices and their background belief structure to the building blocks themselves."

Would you agree this same danger exists in science as well? Avoiding this outcome requires humility and open-ness to ideas and evidence that one might initially find uncomfortable. In that way one is able to explore the intercontextual pathway to improved meta-knowledge.

Cheers - George Gantz

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Christophe Tournayre wrote on Feb. 10, 2018 @ 22:37 GMT
Dear Bradly Alicea,

The notion of description and relevance that you introduced in your essay are interesting.

Kind regards,

Christophe

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Satyavarapu Naga Parameswara Gupta wrote on Feb. 12, 2018 @ 09:25 GMT
Respected prof Bradly John Alicea

It is very nice alternative (the nonlinear intercontextual view).... "The proposed viewpoint allows for fundamental components of a body of knowledge to be identified and characterized in a broader historical, intellectual, and mechanistic context..... it is very useful... Best wishes to your essay sir... By the way....

Here in my essay energy to...

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Steven Andresen wrote on Feb. 23, 2018 @ 13:39 GMT
Dear Bradly

If you are looking for another essay to read and rate in the final days of the contest, will you consider mine please?

A couple of days in and semblance of my essay taking form, however the house bound inactivity was wearing me. I had just the remedy, so took off for a solo sail across the bay. In the lea of cove, I had underestimated the open water wind strengths. My...

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Vladimir Nikolaevich Fedorov wrote on Feb. 24, 2018 @ 14:06 GMT
Dear Bradly,

I highly appreciate your well-written essay in an effort to understand.

It is so close to me.

«A nonlinear intercontextual view also provides a way to reconsider what constitutes a fundamental unit in a body of knowledge. This leads us to new conclusions about the underpinnings of our scientific fields, our theoretical assumptions, and a set of meta-fundamentals that can redefine the manner in which scientific knowledge is set forward into the world».

«Reductionism can occur in a wide variety of forms, from training regimens to experimental designs. Secondly, the discovery and acquisition of fundamental units result in the formation of building blocks, which are essential to perpetuating knowledge and operating on it in the world. Building blocks are usually classificatory in nature, although they can also be tied together as a series of theoretical statements. In any case, building blocks contribute to structure, which creates an activity or area of inquiry distinct from its fundamental antecedents».

I hope that my modest achievements can be information for reflection for you.

Vladimir Fedorov

https://fqxi.org/community/forum/topic/3080

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