Updates for 2019

This is a brief update to let you know that I’m still alive. I appreciate the inquiries.

I considered writing a question-and-answer section here, but it was completely insufferable. Needless to say: I haven’t been writing, now I am. I had to spend some time remembering first. Feel free to ask questions in the comment section. I’ll answer them. I’d also appreciate suggestions, by which I mean things I promised to write and didn’t and/or whatever else you’re interested in.

The rest of this is housekeeping.

I replaced the list of history books with a Top Posts & Introduction section, because it felt like there needed to be a directory of some kind. Feel free to offer suggestions or critiques of what I chose to put there.

The history itself was moved to a side-blog, Tauromachy. There are only a few posts there – you’ll notice it stops at around the same time this one does – but I’ll be picking that back up, too. I was waiting to announce it until there were more posts (I did post it on the patreon feed, just not publicly). It will be much shorter pieces, mostly just updates on books. Broadly, the interest is still in forcing myself to actually read the history I should read. More granular interests are 1) historiography and philosophy of history, 2) the history of mathematics as applied to social phenomena.

Samzdat writing plans:

I’m going to finish the Plato series, though it may take some detours. I wasn’t satisfied by the explanation of valuation at the heart of modern policy. Given that this blog is entirely about valuation, that’s a problem. At some point after that I’m going to return to the main mathematics series. I started that prematurely, and the tempo wasn’t correct.

The scraps posts were a good idea I didn’t stick with. That was foolish. I’m bringing them back.

The best book I’ve read lately is Stone Tools in Human Evolution. Other contenders are The Passions and the Interests, and some of the essays in Statistical Models and Causal Inference (e.g. here).

The blog will continue now. Ask or suggest below.

Author: Lou Keep


25 thoughts on “Updates for 2019”

  1. First of all, wonderful to see you’ll be back at things.

    w/r/t “scraps” and such, would be curious for something on the order of suggestions on “praxis.” Even if it’s simply your experiences w/ nihilism (your more or less idiosyncratic definition), I’d like to hear about your way of life. I’m not talking auto-doxing – this can be purely intellectual/emotional, but I am very interested in your immediate engagement with the big ideas that you’re writing about (and that I enjoy reading).

    I appreciate that what you’re saying takes (infinite?) time to say, but I think I speak for others when I ask how this fits into life. You’ve said you’re trying to eliminate yourself from the frame, but I’d ask that you add a little hominem to the equation. We’re all animals and we want to what kind we’ve gathered round the fire to hear stories from. Maybe your engagement w/ JBP as lifestyle “philosopher?”

    No need for polemic. Argue by example. Show us what this means to you.


  2. If I remember right, there haven’t been any posts dealing with big-C Comedy. Would be interesting to read about it or any other essays involving art/aesthetics. Other than that, I’d also like to hear your thoughts on dealing with 21st century nihilism.


  3. also in case you missed the details, a chain of events starting late last year has been extraordinary: Graeber’s promoting of the petition in november against the Oxford IQ-crime-psychologists dumdum, and his subsequent fight with Quillette people, led Taleb to come in, on the principle of the symmetry and reversal of mob-bullying, but then Taleb then started looking into it and provided a series of ongoing tweetstorm that singlehandedly completely takes apart and fully delegitimizes almost a century of psychometrics, which anthropologists, including Graeber, have been trying to do for over half a century. Taleb is now whipping psychometric people mercilessly with the actual mathematics of correlation and its brilliant, integrity and rigor pays off in the end, even if it means inverting friends and enemies along the way. A highlight while you were away. Also the J. Murphy breakdown/reinvention saga is maybe quite revealing for a new phase in academia-culture wars, i guess he reads you but he does not say, https://theotherlifenow.com/respectability-is-not-worth-it-reply-to-slatestarcodex/


  4. Great to know you’re still writing! I expect to keep being enthralled by the questions you pose and baffled / frustrated by your answers. 🙂


  5. Thank you. I was actually worried about you which is pretty amazing considering we’ve never met. I very much look forward to reading more, much more


  6. Great to have you back! I’m looking forward to your writing. What’s your take on causality so far?

    I am curious if you have an opinion on intuitionistic logic or the larger program of constructive mathematics. More specifically, what do you think of dropping the Law of the Excluded Middle (that a proposition is either true or false)? Personally I think this is completely necessary post Gödel. A proposition is either true (because I hand you a proof of this), false (again: a proof), or there is no proof either way.

    Proofs are also programs (literally, by the Curry-Howard correspondence): they are a series of steps, actions that get you to a truth value from axioms. By construction these proofs are deterministic and universal. Any observer working with the same set of assumptions will get the same results.

    Human experience, on the other hand, is inherently noisy. Observation (say, the measurement that x correlates with y) does not necessarily lead to a universal truth (x will always correlate with y because there is a causal relationship between the two). Action, in the form of experimentation, is the only way to establish these relationships.

    All this points to a fundamental relationship between action and truth: the latter is not possible without the former.

    (I posted this comment earlier but I think it may have been eaten by a spam filter)


  7. pls write that piece on stormy daniels you promised back on 6.18.
    jk: no specific shit, just echoing that i’ve loved whatever you’ve come up so far & hope you will continue. best to you and yours


  8. I hope you are well. If you need to ease your way back in, perhaps make your Kevin/Keith article. Perhaps it’s been said, but not in your words.

    I would like a hint of the ad hominem MeNU suggested, for what it’s worth.


  9. Miss you, mate. Hope you are doing well. Your articles are some of the most insightful content on the internet. Take care and be well.


  10. Given what’s been happening lately, I’m beginning to think Lou’s disappearance is an example of ‘cancel culture’ at work.


  11. I comment just to let you know that there are still people stumbling into this blog and appreciating your writing. I found the Uruk series really valuable, giving a framework for a lot of doubts that hovered on the edge of my mind but I dismissed because (aha!) I was not able to explain them to myself.
    Anyway, I hope you are well and wish you best of luck with whatever you are doing now!


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