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You Seem To Think "words" Are Special Symbols Of Some Kind.

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Posted by Richard D. Stafford, Ph.D. on October 8, 2002 19:55:11 UTC

Hi Harv,

Again, I think the problem is that you are reading more into #6 than is there! By the way, following my last post, I will revert back to the original #6. Regarding your complaints above, please make an attempt to understand the following:

****
Harv: Perhaps that something cannot accurately be labeled as a number.
****

I never said anything about "accurately" labeling anything! All I said was, "it is possible to label all of these "things" with numbers". No comment about how this labeling is to take place nor what meaning the labeling has nor whether the labeling is of any value; only one thing, "it is possible to label all of these 'things' with numbers". We are, at this moment, discussing these "things". All I said was, "it is possible to label all of these "things" with numbers". Let us use the numerical label 25 for each and every "thing". That is, for the moment, when ever I refer to the number 25, I am referring a "thing", some "thing" which is part of the "things" we are talking about! You should be able to comprehend that I have attached a numerical label (the number 25) to every "thing" under discussion.

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Harv: For example, if I asked you to label the largest even number...
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Again, you are reading things into the statement that are not there. If you asked me to label the largest even number, I could just as well "label" it with the number 39. What you are doing is confusing the role as a label with its numerical meaning. So long as I am using the number as a label only, its numerical meaning is entirely beside the point. As a matter of fact, in this particular case, I arrived at the label 39 via the rule that it was the three words following nine words in your sentence (the rule is entirely open: I can use any rule that pleases me, including giving everything the same numerical label). All I said was, "it is possible to label all of these "things" with numbers". You keep trying to read more into that statement than is there.

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Harv: However, it would be wrong to say that 'infinity' is part of an empty set of 'things'. It (the concept of infinity) simply cannot be referred to like you would refer to the number 9.

...

You are referring to a human concept of 'things'. However, you are not referring to 'things'. Using my example above, you can refer to the human concept of 'infinity', but you cannot refer to infinity itself since whatever number you use to refer to infinity would be incorrect (i.e., you can add 1 to that number showing that whatever number you labeled to infinity did not meet the requirements of infinity by being the largest number).
****

So, you want to talk about 3536 (just as an aside, I am referencing whatever is referred to by the 35th and 36th words of the second part of the above quote: i.e., whatever you are referring to as "infinity itself") . Again, what you are doing is confusing the role as a label with its numerical meaning. All I said was, "it is possible to label all of these "things" with numbers". I did not even say that it would be possible for you to decipher what thing the number stood for. You keep trying to read more into that statement than is there.

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Harv: ...we can never refer to the 'original condition' as a thing ...
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Now it seems to me here that you are constraining what a "thing" is. When I used the word, I had no intention of constraining it in any way. From my perspective the 'original condition' is some "thing" you are referring to. If you insist on constraining the meaning of the word "thing", then give me a word to use which is not so constrained.

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Harv: This, in a nutshell, best exemplifies your misunderstanding of your whole approach. In short, you are saying that because you cannot conceive of something as possible that it becomes impossible. Based on what? Based on logic that you learned from childhood? What a short span of time is that? What if your experience is wrong? You admit no fallibility in your knowledge. This is a problem.
****

I think it exemplifies your misunderstanding. I have never said that anything I could not conceive was impossible. What I said was that it could be labeled with a number, whether I could conceive of it or not!

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Harv: I did not see the words 'communicable' in the original collection of (1) thru (6).
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It is not there, I was referring to my constraint in the original paper where I constrained my work to "communicable" concepts. Considering my proof that the set of things which cannot be referred to is empty, I am now of the opinion that the constraint may be relaxed.

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Harv: On the other hand, if I see a cloud that is intertwined with another cloud (i.e., from my perspective), then it might be unclear to another person where my reference of "that cloud" is different from someone else's reference of "that other cloud".
****

Again, you are reading more into #6 than is there. I never said that any reference was supposed to be clear, all I said was that "it is possible to label all of these "things" with numbers". My proof is very simple, I can conceive of millions of ways to translate any reference which might arise into a number. Thus, if anything can be referred to, it can be labeled with a number. Thus the only "thing" which cannot be labeled with a number is something which cannot be referred to and I think I have proved that the set of things which cannot be referred to is an empty set.

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Harv: We have no known direct experience of category 1 items. That is, everything we experience might be direct experience of category 1 items, but we have no way of knowing it.
****

Where did I say I knew anything? All I have done is ask you if you find the following statements reasonable.

***1. First it is possible that some specific thing (or perhaps several specific things) may exist.***
***2. Second, it is possible that some of those things which exist have no direct consequences in the physical universe available to my studies.***
***3. Third, some of those things described as having no direct consequences in the physical universe available to my studies may have consequences in the future.***
***4. Fourth, at all times, from the ancient past to the far flung future, any rational person's idea of the universe will be based on things they think exist.***
***5. Fifth, those "things" which are not part of "Ultimate Reality" can be absolutely anything.***
***6. It is possible to label all of these "things" with numbers.***

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Harv: ...as far as we know we lack full knowledge about category 1 'things', therefore we cannot talk in terms of category 1 'things' without admitting fallibility (or potential fallibility) in our understanding.
****

I have no complaint about that at all!

You still seem to be very confused as to what I am talking about.

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Harv: As I mentioned above, our explanation might REFER TO infinite numbers, complex numbers, and even uncomputable numbers. That doesn't mean that we cannot use these 'explanations' even though they refer to these [non-referring] physical things.
****

I never said anything about "non-referring" physical things (in fact, I do not know what you are talking about). If your explanation refers to "infinite numbers, complex numbers, or even uncomputable numbers", those are certainly things which can be referred to! I can label those references 1,2 and 3. I can label any reference with a number!

All I can get from your complaints is that you do not understand the sentence, "It is possible to label all of these "things" with numbers". All six of my "reasonable propositions" are actually quite simple ideas. Please consider exactly what that sentence means.

I am using numbers in place of words for one reason only; they are very easy to deal with while completely avoiding the presumption of any meaning.

Have fun -- Dick


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