/ Valmik Rao




Assumptions - David Hume                                                               
19/ 12/ 2020

"It is, I ought"

Hume concepts I'll talk about:
- Critical assumptions that are found all around us, that are completely baseless and can create an environment where these assumptions hurt people.
- First principles but not really, he talks about understanding the cause behind the reality that we belief in, and if those are truly causes or inferences.
- Implication: Qualified assumptions vs. unqualified assumptions.

My thoughts:
- I disagree with the premise he uses to bring up how critical assumptions can cause harm to people that blindly believe the assumption. An example that he brought up was a person walking past construction workers, where if an educated person were to walk past a group of construction workers, he would think to himself about how physically built these people are but if he were talk about science or complex math, he assumes that they would not be able to hold a conversation, therefore these people are inferior. Where I believe that yes these type of assumptions could bring harm, but there are a lot of external factors that serve as driving forces for this type of assumption. Where its roots derive from societal status, the societal status isn't derived from the assumption being made on the street. Here's how I think about it:

Assumption --> Conversation rather than Conversation --> Assumption.

- I agree with the premise he uses to help us understand our own logical fallacies when we "think" we're doing first principles and root causes. It's like we might think we're being super logical and leaving no room for interpretation or misunderstanding, but in reality it will never be that logical, because the primary inference comes from you as a person voicing their logic. People who agree with you might share a similar premise with you for the idea in general, but it does not mean it is pure logic. Let's talk about science:

Knowing = Doing it right.

You're first instinct might have been looking at through a lens of "yeah I know that, just because I know something doesn't mean i'm doing it". Well you can't really see it, but I added "right" after because you as the carrier of that specific knowledge are making an inference on what is the best thing to do, you will never know if that was the best thing to do, you might introspect and think what you could have done better, these "better options" in your head are datapoints for the next time. Reality is that you are probably the first person in your unique situation with a unique environment, you're situation can be similar to somebody else's but never the same. The so what?

Understanding that no matter how logical something may play out to you, in our basic nature our logic is subjective therefore open to interpretation, which our day to day actions to high impact decisions are basic assumptions/bets we think we can win on.

Implication: Qualified assumptions vs. unqualified assumptions 

My thoughts on this are, the fastest way to make qualified assumptions is to achieve a wide variety of datapoints and have that depth for the situation where the action was made. I'm not saying this will make you choose the best answer or something, because like I said above, there is no best choice. There is only qualified or unqualified, which means an unqualified assumption in my eyes would baseless assumptions that were impulsive, lack of understanding and perspective.

Something to take home. Understand and explain anything logical to yourself, you'll find yourself making basic assumptions in the parts where you call "logic", say you play pool and you hit another ball with the ball you hit. There is almost no way for you prove that both balls made contact and due to this contact the other ball moved, we can only create an inference based on the sequence of events. But think about like this, night comes after day, does not mean day causes night. Therefore for any decision or assumption you make or have made, try to understand if that's truly a qualified assumption or a blind one you follow.

First Principles - Rene Descartes                                                               
02/ 11/ 2020

"I think, therefore I am."

This was the entire basis for which he explored first principles. Here's some quick context:

- First principles 
   - Finding the root cause of something, the assumption you deduce your original assumption to            because it's been proven (or at least you think it's been proven).
- Rene Descartes 
  - in our context (scope), french born philosopher that used first principles to understand what it           means to exist and what is the most basic function that can validate the assumption that we               exist.

The Idea: How do we know what's real is actually real?

On the flow of understanding the quote, what Descartes did was go back and challenge all the basic assumptions that he was conditioned under. We don't need to go and understand exactly what he did step by step, that's not the goal here, we just need to know that it brought him to a state where he went deeper into understand our reality. His thought process was something along these lines, he thought that we have no way of understanding if our perceived reality (this life we're living) is true reality. A strong example that he brought up was the flaws in our senses, he noticed that our senses have evidently fooled us many times whether they be mirages in deserts, or illusions in a children's book. So questions like "what if we are just being elaborately deceived into believing that this is our reality" would come to mind (how is irrelevant).

What I think: 

I have two main opinions that I hold:

- First Principles is a good way to challenge yourself and your beliefs.
- Just because you can't prove something as true, doesn't mean it's false.

I won't go too deep into the first point, I think it just comes from personal use, I've intentionally used to understand my beliefs and opinions.

There have been too many times that I've been in conversations, where one person would leave thinking that they "won" just because they proved a flaw in an opposing concept, but automatically thought that they're theory was right. 

I think there is a similar connection to this concept, right now we don't have any evidence that there are multiple realities, but that doesn't mean that it's false. On a relatable scale, let's take religion for example, if you are religious and somebody asks you to prove if god exists, and you can't find any tangible proof, that doesn't mean that god doesn't exist.

The insight here is a mechanism for how we can prove objective reality to ourselves, I think it just makes sense to put ur belief in what provides the most utility for the present case.