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Made You Think

Mar 20, 2024

"All the facts of science aren't enough to understand the world's meaning. For this, you must step outside the world."

Welcome back to another episode of Made You Think! In this episode, we're adventuring into the world of Logicomix, a graphic novel that takes us on a journey through the intricate life of mathematician Bertrand Russell. From the quest for precision that borders on madness to the historical events Russell was embroiled in, we'll explore the complexities of logic, philosophy, and mathematics.

We cover a wide range of topics including:

  • Why seeking precision in understanding the world can drive one mad
  • Bertrand Russell's historical involvements and achievements
  • The rapid progress of aviation and technology
  • How mathematics, logic, and philosophy remain connected
  • Discovering the lives and contributions of various mathematicians

And much more. Please enjoy, and make sure to follow NatNeil, and Adil on Twitter and share your thoughts on the episode.

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(0:00) We kick off the episode by sharing John Steinbeck's journal writing process for East of Eden, his collaborative relationship with his publisher, and how he landed on the title. 

(5:25) Though we are not talking about East of Eden today (but...stay tuned for that episode up next!), we're covering Logicomix, a graphic novel by Apostolos Doxiadis and Christos Papadimitriou.

(8:16) We give an overview of the book and how it shares different intricacies and stories from Bertrand Russell's life. From his parents being in a throuple to schizophrenia running in his family, we try to decipher which parts were real vs. fabricated.

(10:36) Why you shouldn't necessarily look for precision and formal rules about how the world works. We tie this idea into Taoism which we’ve seen commonly in a few of our other recent reads. In short, no system can fully explain itself. You need to step outside of it.

(13:42) Is it possible to build a perfect map of everything that mathematics entails? We talk about the connection between logic, philosophy, and mathematics. 

(20:25) There were several mathematicians in the book. How many of them are you familiar with?

(23:36) Russell's involvement in a variety of historical events from the Cuban Missile Crisis to JFK's assassination, as he was not convinced that Oswald was guilty of the crime. 

(28:34) If you've been up-to-date with the news lately, you may be just as interested in the Kate Middleton conspiracies as we are. Tangent time!

(31:38) Russell was sat in the House of Lords, a chamber of UK Parliament which is generally not up for election. Plus, we brainstorm some ideas of who would be considered Bertrand Russell’s equivalent in the US.

(36:48) We dive in to some different historical events and wars. The Ottoman Empire, World War 1 and 2, the Persian Gulf War, and how warfare and aircraft carriers changed during these ages. 

(41:26) Aviation and its rapid improvements in technology in such a short span of time.

(45:07) "Shouldn't we get back to the book?" Nat, Neil, and Adil discuss some of the main concepts from the book, including the pursuit of truth in the world of mathematics. You're never going to fully understand reality, but for some, that's a hard truth that they don't want to accept.

(49:44) What does it mean to know, and how can you be justified in knowing something? Remember, a belief can be true while at the same time not satisfying the conditions of logic. 

(56:05) Unlike the other mathematicians discussed in the book, Gödel constructed a proof to his theorem that hasn’t yet been disproven. Regardless of whether their desires for absolute truth was achieved or not, a lot of the findings are fundamentally useful in many other ways.

(1:00:34) We talk about some of the books that we have coming up on the podcast, and throw around some ideas. Which book would you like to see us do an episode on? Let us know here!

(1:05:04) Is it true that the more you think about how you’re feeling, the worse you feel? 

(1:10:07) Nat, Neil, and Adil share some more of their upcoming reads they're excited about, and different war books, including Martin Gilbert's books on WW1 and WW2.

(1:13:24) Political ETFs that you can buy into. $NANC and $KRUZ, anyone?

(1:17:22) That concludes this episode! Next up on Made You Think, we have the long awaited episode covering East of Eden by John Steinbeck. Make sure to grab a copy of the book and read along with us before the next episode. Check out our new website to stay updated on what's to come.

If you enjoyed this episode, let us know by leaving a review on iTunes and tell a friend. As always, let us know if you have any book recommendations! You can say hi to us on Twitter @TheRealNeilS@adilmajid@nateliason and share your thoughts on this episode.

You can now support Made You Think using the Value-for-Value feature of Podcasting 2.0. This means you can directly tip the co-hosts in BTC with minimal transaction fees. To get started, simply download a podcast app (like Fountain or Breez) that supports Value-for-Value and send some BTC to your in-app wallet. You can then use that to support shows who have opted-in, including Made You Think! We’ll be going with this direct support model moving forward, rather than ads.

Thanks for listening. See you next time!