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Wicked Minds - Issue #2

The Messenger
Wicked Minds - Issue #2
By Socratus • Issue #2 • View online
In this newsletter, we start our investigation of public problem solving in all seriousness. Instead of defining that term, let me just give a teaser:
solving problems: of the people, for the people, by the people

Links from the Web
A precursor to public problem solving is public reasoning which is at the core of democracy. Public problem solving combines reasoning with action, but sticking to reasoning for a moment, we have to make sure our reasons are precise and our concepts aren’t too broad
Conceptual overreach threatens the quality of public reason – John Tasioulas | Aeon Essays
The Nobel Prize winning advances in behavioral economics etc have made a certain kind of ‘nudge’ like reasoning very popular and much of the use of mental models, heuristics etc in the public interest is guided by these behavioral ideas.
Nudge (book) - Wikipedia
However, there’s an older, and in my opinion, wiser approach to being a wicked mind which should be brought back. David Bohm’s “Thought as a System” is a five star representative of this category (thanks Sonali for the tip!).
Thought as a System by David Bohm
I will see if we can combine insights from behavioral science and wisdom systems of the Bohmian kind. The first is neoliberal and the second is utopian, so it will be an interesting masala.
Foraging for Knowledge
How Animals Learn Foraging Skills
How Animals Learn Foraging Skills
Today, most humans live in knowledge societies where all questions about the natural and the social world are subject to disciplined inquiry. We subject our hypotheses to skeptical scrutiny and look to the world for answers instead of being satisfied either with religious or philosophical dogmas. On the flip side, we deliberately create and propagate falsehoods that pretend to be true. The speed of knowledge (and untruth) creation has never been more intense.
Most of that new knowledge is now created in networks. Data is collected in parallel by several groups, their sensors and the platforms that host the data and the models. The data sets are noisy. They are in different, incompatible formats. Ocean acidity measurements collect one kind of data. Air temperature readings collect another kind of data. Historical records are full of gaps.
Similarly, the computer models have to simplify the real world in order to be tractable. You need higher order models to calculate whether the simplifications of the lower order models omit important parameters. When approaching these new forms of knowledge, our archetype is no longer the scientist collecting data in slow motion, but an animal constantly foraging for knowledge from the world and responding appropriately.
We are a problem solving creature. (Also a problem creating creature…)
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Illustrating Wicked Problems

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