Episode 53: Don Hoffman, Revisited | The Case Against Reality | Click to Listen


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After On Podcast #53: The Case Against Reality

This is episode is a highly-updated revisitation of an interview that ran in its original form fifteen months ago. It's a conversation with quantitative psychologist Don Hoffman, who has spent the last few decades honing an extraordinary theory about the nature of reality - one which will violate every intuition you have about the physical world you inhabit.

 
Don Hoffman

Don Hoffman

 

This is only the second time I've updated and re-posted an interview, and I'm doing it now for a couple of reasons. First, Don and I just crossed paths at a TED event in Scotland, and I had loads questions for him connected to my two most recent episodes. My conversation about consciousness with Annaka Harris got me very curious about how the notion of free will fits into Don's worldview. Sean Carroll had meanwhile told me about an interpretation of quantum mechanics that centers around the knowledge and expectations of (presumably) conscious "agents," and I was eager to learn how it aligns with Don's own consciousness-centric view of reality.

The other big factor is that Don's fantastic book, "The Case Against Reality," will be published two weeks from today (on August 13th). An early draft of it inspired me to interview Don in the first place. So in light of the imminent publication date and the new material Don and I had just recorded, it seemed like an auspicious time to re-visit our original conversation.

If you never heard that interview - or haven’t heard in the fifteen months since it first went up - I believe you’ll enjoy listening to this revised episode in its entirety. Whereas if you happen to be one of the 5,000-ish people who listened to it in the past few months, you may want to jump ahead to the new material, which starts at timestamp 1:13:50.

Rob Reid