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Friday, December 4, 2009

Randall Munroe Is my hero

http://www.youtube.com/watch?v=mpxe7bpaT8o

For background, reference:

http://xkcd.com/114/

With that said, I don't see anything immediately objectionable about computational linguistics. Getting computers to interpret natural language is a worthy field of study; perhaps Randall knows some things about it that I don't. Or maybe he's just being funny and he doesn't actually object to it at all. I just like his boldness and confrontationalism.

I feel like I've been too equivocating recently, I've given too many peoples' ideas a free pass just because I don't want to pass judgment on them (and presumably hurt their feelings). I suppose this is an reaction to my objectivist days when I was convinced that I had the proper knowledge to make firm claims about any philosophical subject. Having realized that some of those foundational ideas are definitely wrong gives me pause in criticizing others.

However, I believe that there are two ineradicable facts: reality has a structure, and we can come to know that structure through observation. If the first is not true, then no intellectual endeavor is worthwhile; all concepts are completely arbitrary. Thankfully the evidence from observation tends to support the hypothesis that there is a structure. Any set of ideas that repudiates these facts, postmodernism for example, I am willing to completely exclude from consideration.

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