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Posted by Richard D. Stafford, Ph.D. on September 16, 2002 14:59:47 UTC

Hi Harv,

It's nice to see the old "Harv" back; you were begining to worry me.

But, with regard to your complaint, I am afraid you will have to make that complaint a little clearer as I am not sure I see the nature of the problem. You appear to want to insert a single point, "All 'things' have a unique identity"; however, I don't quite see the neccessity of the characteristic "unique". Are you trying to tell me that if I have 3 things which are not unique I cannot attach numbers to them for the sake of reference? If you are asserting that, you will need to make a better agument than simply stating that I cannot do it! As it stands, your complaint is equivalent to "things which are not unique can not be referred to".

I also do not follow your statement, "Numbers are simply a mental means by which to represent the uniqueness and separability of 'things'". I would say that it is possible to use numbers for that purpose; but, it is also entirely possible to use numbers as mere labels. The first purpose requires some rules as to how the numbers are assigned whereas the second does not.

It appears to me that your position comes from a reliance on authority without critical thought as to the reasoning behind their positions; this is the single most common flaw in the thinking of educated people.

Have fun -- Dick

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