A Conversation Between Taleb and Doolittle

Rob De Geer
I want you and Nassim Taleb to tango. My two favorites at the moment.

Curt Doolittle
We can talk and educate, but we can’t really ‘debate’ because we are saying very similar things. I think I would frame the argument, and that my terminology would be so superior that it was inescapable, and that it would show that we’re in violent agreement – and that I understand what he is doing but he doesn’t know about or understand what I’m doing.

So (a) I would ‘win’ only in the sense that I would frame the discourse with a superior descriptive language, and (b) we would both win, and perhaps mankind would win, by showing that we are not necessarily outliers but representatives of a scientific movement to counteract the pseudosciences of the 20th century.

Rob De Geer
OOOooo I want to see it more because of those statements.

Curt Doolittle
I think the big difference between Taleb and I, besides our obvious and genetic cultural differences and our equally big round heads, is that my ‘ego’ is purely a marketing position, and his is a natural extension of his background and character. My mother’s Catholicism worked on me. 🙂 In other words, It would be good for mankind but I don’t see him engaging me until I publish. Even though my work would fend off many of the criticisms he receives. I’m not actually keen on being famous. He is. Different currencies for different souls.

Curt Doolittle (after thinking a bit)
Taleb’s LITERARY method relies on ANALOGY and won’t necessarily help him get to an answer. His mathematics are excellent but don’t seem to be providing him enough parsimony. And for the same reasons I criticize apriorism as a special cast of empiricism, I don’t *THINK* until we determine what it is we need to measure and how to measure it, that we can measure it empirically.

This is why I prefer my method, which should provide us with an understanding of what we need to measure so that we can measure it. All these distortions accumulate throughout the economy and they burn down accumulated capital of every sort: genetic, cultural, normative, reproductive, productive, fixed, and monumental.

Both top down (empiricism) or bottom up (operationalism) help us solve different categories of problems – and then we use the opposite technique to test our hypothesis. We need both tools.

I’ve been hoping Nassim would get a little closer than his demonstration that we require logarithmically increasing amounts of information to gain any insight into outliers and black swans.

I think there is an operational explanation for this, and that just as we measure economies with sets of anchor measures, we can measure for black swans with sets of anchor measures.

Curt Doolittle
The Propertarian Institute
Kiev, Ukraine

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