Comments on “Desiderata for any future mode of meaningness”

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Quite the challenge

shane's picture

Thanks David, this is very helpful to get an overview of the project and thought provoking. It is quite the challenge! Looking forward to seeing your future ideas on meeting it - particularly interested in the role corporations and universities might play.

Hi David,

Alex's picture

Hi David,

Trained but not practicing mathematical logician here, I get a kick out of your blog. I was inspired by your blog to read Kegan, and that plus this has been a revelation in my thinking in the last year.

Have you thought about the role of data in all of this? There's some interesting angles. First, data as a thing, meaning, concept can't really exist until a certain sophistication of concepts has arisen. I would say the concerted collection and use of data points to an actor of level 4 (intellectually) at least. Diving deep into data reveals gaps, missing data, things that cannot be captured by the current schema. Anyone who has tried to build predictive models knows how short data falls of ideal. So in that sense, a close relationship with data can push one to stage 4.5, and living with the above data problems harmoniously probably requires stage 5 development.

Further, some assumptions of classical science break down badly in data in a way that is very concrete. I love that mathematical logic breaks down classical science, exposing it's imperfections as systemic. But it is not very accessible. However, give me a petabyte of data points, and I can no longer find a median in a reasonable time. This is a concrete breakdown in an underlying unexpressed notion that one can always get simple summary statistics like max/min/median etc. The world of AI presents another concrete breakdown, where designing an autonomous car or NLP system reveals that fundamental human concepts are far more nebulous and complex than most people realize.

In general, you might think of the arise of vast quantities of data, the ability to quantify many things, etc, as ranking with the advent of computing, or the invention of calculus in it's impact.

It would be interesting to add the intellectual relationship with data to your mega chart.

Something I would love to see discussed is the difference between realizing the Kegan stages of development intellectually vs emotionally. I was probably onto Stage 5 before I could vote, but emotionally, I was still spending my days in Stage 3. I'd love to think that I'm at an emotional Stage 4 now, but I'll bet that's not true a good portion of the time. Am I missing a place where you or Kegan give a clear discussion about the difference between being at a given stage in an intellectual capacity, vs that stage being emotionally integrated?

Thx - Alex

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