David Deutsch's Book Isn't Flaky

From: Lee Corbin (lcorbin@ricochet.net)
Date: Sat Mar 24 2001 - 09:21:28 MST

I first read David Deutsch's book, "The Fabric of Reality"
in 1997, and, although I was very impressed with his exposition
of MWI (the Many Worlds Interpretation of quantum theory), I
was skeptial of the relevance of quite a bit of it. For
example, he devoted an entire chapter to "Virtual Reality",
which at the time seemed to me to have nothing to do with
the main thrust of the book. Moreover, about a quarter of
the book appeared to me to be plain wrong.

Later in the book, he went off on a tangent exploring time
travel, again, which struck me both as not germane, and also
a bit, yes, flaky. This was true even though I had two main
advantages over most readers:

* I already was very familiar with MWI and had accepted it
* I was already well-acquainted with evolutionary epistemology,
  which, although he doesn't call it by that name, David
  Deutsch fully explains in his chapter about falsifiability
  (Popper), and how bad "justificationism" is.

However, I reread "The Fabric of Reality" last summer with
excruciating care. I believe that I have studied that book
more than any other book I've read in ten years. I found
that as I closely examined each of the approximately one
thousand very carefully written paragraphs of the book, I was
slowly coming to see things in exactly David Deutsch's way.

One by one, dozens of unconscious assumptions that I had
had about physical reality and my place in it were undermined
and refuted. I began to see exactly why "virtual reality"
had to play such a prominent role in the book. Also, despite
the hundreds of conversations I've participated in about
virtual reality---all of which would be very familiar ground
to extropian readers---everything that David Deutsch was saying
was thoroughly correct, and I was left with virtually nothing
to disagree with him about.

If you have read "The Fabric of Reality", and your reactions
were somewhat as mine were when I first read it, you may be
interested in giving it another try.

Lee Corbin

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