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Posted by Richard D. Stafford, Ph.D. on October 6, 2002 16:53:01 UTC

Hi Harv,

I am sorry that I hadn't looked at the forum lately. I had gotten the impression you were dropping out of the conversation; and, as a matter of fact, was a little disappointed at that. I saw your response Friday evening but the weekend was pretty full so I didn't have time to compose an answer. I still don't think you understand what I am saying; I think you are putting much more meaning into the statement then is intended.

Harv: As a means to make my point simpler, I would like to define a 'dead horse' as category 1 [those 'things' which exist - i.e., constitute elements of 'Ultimate Reality'] which happen to be non-referring.

First, I do not understand what the term "non-referring" means! With regard to "a dead horse" in category 1, you have just referred to such a thing and I can immediately transform your reference to a number (just for the fun of it, pick the ASCII representation of your entire sentence read as a number). Thus a number can be attached to what you are referring to. Anything you can refer to, I can label with a number! Now, anything which exists can either be referred to or it cannot be referred to.

To quote you, "existence has to be defined, and causal connection with our physical universe is one of the key attributes for something to be considered to exist". Just what is a "causal connection" if it cannot be referred to?
By the way, the term "a dead horse" is usually used to reference something not worth discussing or something considerably over discussed and has no connotation at all of "can not be referred to". Your use of the word seems to indicate that when I say "can not be referred to" you think I mean it as some sort of choice. I do not! When I use the phrase "can not be referred to", I mean literally that reference to it is impossible: reference to it has never occurred and will never occur by anybody at any time 'forever' because such can not occur. I suspect very strongly that nothing which truly exists can be thought of as fulfilling that requirement: i.e., I think it is an empty set; however, I will still include it as a possibility anyway, that is exactly why I put the constraint "communicable" on the "reality" which is to be modeled.

Harv: It seems to me that you cannot accept category 1 types that lack the property of reference (or potential of reference). Why?

Exactly what do you mean by this property of "reference"? What I accept is that "things which can not be referred to" are omitted; however, I state that any "thing" which can never be referred to (that means it cannot be discussed Harv) can have little impact on any explanation of anything! If you disagree with the reasonableness of that statement, you need to make your reasons clear to me.

Harv: We have no direct experience of category 1 items...

Now that seems to me to be a rather all encompassing far reaching declaration of fact with no defense at all that I can see! I would like to see your defense of the fact that we have "no" direct experience of anything which is part of ultimate reality! In my opinion that is a rather bold assumption indicating little serious thought.

Harv: Again, I understand what you are saying. I think it is quite possible that 'Ultimate Reality' has 'things' which can be referred to without an understanding of those 'things' (and hence we can label anyway of our choosing). I'm talking about the possibility that 'Ultimate Reality' is not so simple as that. What if 'Ultimate Reality' admits the 'dead horses' as the 'things' of category 1? In that case (a possibility that we must allow), we must say that (6) is invalid.

For the moment (forgetting your constant use of that reference "dead horse") it seems to me that you do not understand what I am saying; at least you haven't convinced me of that fact. However, I suppose it could be true. Suppose I replace point #6 with the following #6 plus #7, would you find those statements reasonable?

***6. It is possible to label all of these "things" (which have ever or could ever be discussed) with numbers.***

***7. Anything which can never be discussed is not worth talking about.

Harv: You've given me the impossible task! If I can imagine such a category 1 'thing', then I have made it a category 2 thing by my mental effort of referencing such a thing.

It appears right here that you have a fundamental misunderstanding a very important issue central to my presentation. That issue is that the existence of the two categories in no way implies there is any way of determining which category a given "thing" is in. You seem to think that the sole act of identifying a "thing" proves that it is not a category 1 "thing". I am afraid that you are making an insupportable assumption there. Think about it for a while, how do you intend to prove the general statement that no specific "thing" which could ever be thought of could possibly be part of "ultimate reality". My only contention is that, only if I did knew exactly what constituted ultimate reality, could I say which category any particular "thing" would fall into: i.e., that the categories themselves exist.

Harv: It might be that your imagination has served you so well throughout your life, that the only world you can imagine is one where 'dead horses' cannot possibly exist (i.e., unless someone can reference one to you - which would contradict their definition!). I'm guessing that you are so eager to understand 'Ultimate Reality' that 'dead horses' are not only ridiculous - but that you outright refuse to even consider the possibility of them existing.

Once again, it isn't the existence of "things which cannot be referred to" which I am refusing to accept. What I am saying is that "things which cannot be referred to" cannot be part of any explanation of "ultimate reality". How can they be part of an explanation if they cannot be referred to? The subject of my paper is the abstract idea of logically constructing a rational explanation, period. If the explanation is to be an explanation of "ultimate reality", so be it! What I am saying is that any explanation of anything cannot contain things which cannot be referred to!

Have fun -- Dick

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