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You Are Beating A Dead Horse!

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Posted by Richard D. Stafford, Ph.D. on September 19, 2002 15:55:25 UTC

Hi Harv,

Well, you certainly are back to your previous form. I will omit responding to issues which have no bearing on the discussion and instead concentrate on the issues which prevent you from comprehending my point. To begin with, all your complaints can be put into a specific scenario.

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Harv: However, if I have identified it, how do I know this 'thing' is something that exists versus only thought of as existing?
****

You are assuming it is necessary to know something about a "thing" in order to refer to it. I said "It is possible to label all of these "things" with numbers!" I said nothing about knowing whether any particular thing exists or is only thought of as existing. Or, for that matter, that even knowing what the thing is which is being referred to is of any significance at all.

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Harv: For example, if I identified 'red' as a number '1', but later you found out that 'red' includes what you call 'orange', then you might say that I should number 'red' as 1 and 'orange' as 2. However, by me identifying 'red' as 1 (i.e., as I originally did), I am assuming that there is 'red' as something that exists. What you later found by seeing me include 'orange' as 1, is that I was mistaken - at least partially in my identity of 'red' (i.e., you say I need 1 for 'red' and 2 for 'orange'). However, all of this assumes that what we are labeling can even be labeled at all! What if, instead, this process of putting 1 for red, 2 for orange, is an infinite process whereby we never correctly identify 'red'? No matter how many times we place a number on the real 'red', later we always realize that we incorrectly included or excluded certain elements of the real 'red'.
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So what? It makes no difference at all to my arguments. You are assuming that the things being referred to are understood; essentially, you are assuming that one cannot refer to something they do not understand. All I said was that "It is possible to label all of these "things" with numbers!" You want to change your numbers - go ahead, I have no complaint with that at all. My only concern is that they can be numbered.

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Harv: These 2 sentences contradict each other. Considering all possibilities includes the possibility that 'things' cannot be correctly numbered.
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Exactly where did I say anything could be "correctly" numbered? All I said was that "It is possible to label all of these "things" with numbers!" You are assuming that to label things implies some kind of understanding of what those things are.

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Harv: You could if it is possible to do so. The argument is that it might not be possible. How do you know it is possible? Just because we lack imagination of how it is possible, is not enough to justify (P-6). Our imagination is what might be limited here.
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Ok, fine! Anything which cannot be labeled will be referred to by the number 6. I have now labeled these things with a number! All I said was that "It is possible to label all of these "things" with numbers!" At no point have I made any inference that I have any understanding of the things I have labeled. You are the one who keeps wanting to insert that requirement.

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Harv: AR: All 'things' that exist exhibit approximate characterizations. These approximate characterizations are what is grasped by human minds in order to approximately conceptualize the real 'things'. For example, molecules, atoms, nuclei, quarks, etc, are all approximate characterizations of 'things', but they themselves are not 'things'. The 'things' cannot be numbered, labeled, identified, or conceived of by the human mind (or any mind, for that matter) because this is contrary to the nature of 'things'.
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Well, first you are apparently constraining the concept "thing". You are assuring me that a molecule is not a thing! From my perspective, anything is a thing. I certainly do not intend to make any such constraints; however, you apparently believe they are not so I will label that "thing" (that particular belief itself) number 676. Since you say they are not things and thus cannot be labeled I will attach the number 6 to the idea "molecule". Oh, maybe I will attach the number 58; Ok. Maybe tomorrow I will use the number 57. Please recognize that I am not attaching any meaning to these labels; all I said was, "It is possible to label all of these "things" with numbers!"

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Harv: Dick, read your words: appears, fear, unreasonable. These words are based on the world of things that we think exists. If this wrong, then it doesn't matter how things appear, or what our fears are, or what is unreasonable. The fact of the matter doesn't change due to the way we prefer things to be.
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This entire conversation is based on vague and difficult to define concepts. I have already commented on that issue. I am using the conversation to serve one purpose and one purpose only: that of trying to communicate ideas fundamental to my logical path. That statement you refer to is nothing except an expression of my feelings and has little to nothing to do with what I am trying to communicate except for the fact that I am sorry you find my ideas so alien that you apparently cannot understand what I am saying.

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** Dick: The whole idea of "meaning" implies understanding of some sort.**

Harv: No. Meaning in this sense only implies that some isomorphic relationship obtains. For example, if a relationship exists between a son and his mother, then it is meaningful for the son to say 'mom' to this person. If a mother doesn't exist or is non-referable, then it is not meaningful for a son to say 'mom' to a non-referencable person. We don't have to understand who mother is, we do need the relationship to exist (i.e., son to mother must be referencable, otherwise the terms are meaningless).
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Meaning requires no understanding of anything? Harv, get real! If no understanding is required, why did you write a whole paragraph (being internal self denial, I haven't bothered to read it by the way!)

Only one thing is in contention here. I have stated that "It is possible to label all of these "things" with numbers!" and you deny that. The only possibility is that you believe there exist things you can believe in which cannot be referred to in any way. If that is the case then I say we cannot discuss them! You are beating a dead horse.

As I said, everything you bring up can be assigned to a very specific scenario: first you bring up some issue, pointing out that the issue you bring up requires some background and then demonstrate that the background required cannot be proved. Harv, I understand that; I understand that you understand that and I would hope that you can understand that I do understand that. Your ability to comprehend such things is one of the reasons I talk to you. Having said that, let us lay these issues aside and get to the issues you do not understand.

You are essentially holding fast to the idea that you cannot discuss anything which you do not understand; in fact, you apparently hold fast to the idea that you cannot even refer to something which you do not understand. If that is the case, then you cannot discuss anything as proving anything you believe is true is fundamentally impossible. From that perspective, only one choice remains: one can presume that someday, something may in fact be understood but for the moment, everything must be held as possibly doubtful. All I am saying is that I can at least label the things for the simple purpose of consideration and I can do this even if I have no idea what they really are!

You continually want to jump to specific labels and then want to know how I can know these labels are the right labels. The answer is simple: I cannot "know" anything! My only hope is that some set of labels may someday be found to be meaningful but, for the time being, I am certainly not in any position to defend any interpretation of any kind. As far as eventual untangling of these labels is concerned, the actual labels you or I use is a trivial issue; over the long haul, this can be interpreted as a language issue. If anyone ever exists who can understand "Ultimate Reality" the conversion of these arbitrary labels to the "correct" labels is a translation and interpretation problem; but certainly not a problem I am prepared to even think about at this time.

Think about this a little before you respond.

Have fun -- Dick

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