The world is mostly empty space.
I work mainly in two areas:
1) Evolution of Complexity: In a recent book with Robert Brandon, Biology's First Law, we argue that the complexity of organisms will tend to increase spontaneously in the absence of natural selection and other forces. In evolution, complexity is easy. (And simplicity is hard.)
2) Goal Directedness (purpose, teleology): A common physical structure underlies all goal-directed systems, from acorns turning into oak trees to homing torpedoes to human passions and purposes. All of these are hierarchically structured, consisting a small thing nested within a large thing, more precisely, a goal-directed entity moving within a larger directing field. For the homing torpedo, the directed entity is the torpedo itself, and the directing field is the sound field emanating from a target ship. In us, the directed entities are thoughts and behaviors, and the larger fields are wants, preferences, passions. According to this view (and consistent with David Hume's centuries-old argument), it is not reason that powers and directs purposeful behavior, but our most powerful passions.
Link to papers & books
Links to stories, past essays
- Anonymous on Wisdom for the day