Naval: David Deutsch has this great view of the world where he believes that everything important is understandable by a single human. By important he means the underlying base theories that drive most of reality.
Deutsch fixates on four theories. I could argue maybe there are a few more, especially if you start getting into Adam Smith and The Wealth of Nations and a few other more sociological ones. But he’s obviously a physicist concerned more with reality and truth-seeking, not human systems.
The four he picks are the theory of epistemology; the theory of evolution by natural selection; quantum theory, into which he subsumes relativity and other physics; and the theory of computation, which includes his theory of quantum computation.
These four are fascinating. It’s probably worth exploring what’s interesting about each of them. What is the breakthrough here that might be nonobvious?
Let’s start with epistemology.
The reason I love The Beginning of Infinity is that Deutsch does a very rigorous review of what is correct in epistemology, what we know to be the best answers. Once you have a good theory of knowledge, then you can decide what else is true.
If you’re starting with a bad basis for the theory of knowledge, then you’re going to decide on a bunch of things that are false when you think they might be true.
And his epistemology is centered around good explanations. It takes Popper’s view of science and truth-seeking as being error-correcting mechanisms and expands on it. I’d love to hear your summary of the theory of knowledge, or epistemology, as Deutsch lays it out.