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Re: Communicable Concepts

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Posted by Harvey on February 26, 2002 16:37:40 UTC

Hi Dick,

***Just to show you how differently we think, I was quite astonished that you would even think of trying to communicate about any concept which you held to be incommunicable. If you yourself truly believe a concept to be incommunicable, then any attempt by you to communicate it can only be regarded (from your perspective) as noise, supplying nothing but distraction to any communications.***

Well, here's the deal. We don't know if a concept is communicable until we attempt to communicate it and we see if the other party appears as if they understand it. As humans we look for signs that our communication was successful. Such as, if we are giving directions the person follows the directions that we gave them, or if we are a teacher our students pass our tests, etc. Realistically, we know that no communication is 100% successful. There is always noise and distortion to the message. It might be that I was thinking of something else, you had in mind something else, etc. If we really pursue this issue, there are elements in any message which relate to one's childrearing, etc that may be communicable if we knew they were factors in our miscommunication, but we may not even be aware of them. In day to day communication we pay little heed to those obscure factors, but they are always lying under the surface to distort the message. Nevertheless, we can establish communication by establishing a number of areas where we can understand each other, and this is why communicable concepts are even possible.

***As far as I am concerned, I have no interest whatsoever in any concept which cannot be communicated for I clearly have no chance of ever understanding such an idea. I am of the opinion (and everyone has a right to their opinions) that anyone who thinks they can objectively deal with anything they cannot communicate is being quite gullible.***

We'll we have to focus on what we can communicate, but we cannot be so naive that we fully understand the meaning behind any particular message. Me and you are perfect examples. We spend a great deal of time miscommunicating with each other. It's not that either one of us are idiots, rather we simply have a totally different mindset that gives us quite different perspectives. The way I interpret incoming messages is vastly different than how you interpret those messages. Obviously we are interested in narrowing those differences by better communication, but we cannot be so naive to think that we will ever eliminate the sources for our misunderstanding.

Rather than get all caught up in our inability to communicate, we keep tossing out analogies, descriptions, definitions, etc which we hope will bridge the difference in the way we think so that we can form a common understanding. By forming this common understanding it is hoped that our communication is effective enough so as to be effective.

My point is that mental models are never fully communicated. Some people understand certain people better than others, but no one fully understands the whole mental model of one individual. Even you and Paul connect only loosely in your understanding of each other (but far better than you and I). While that can be good most of the time, at other times similar individuals make similar mistakes in their understanding of the world.

I think both of us would agree that creationists have a collective flaw in their mental model in the way they perceive the issues of biology and evolution. They communicate their mental model to each other just fine, but we see horrendous flaws in their mental models. So, it is not always a good thing that we have similar mental models. Otherwise the Catholic Church might still be imposing its mental model on the world.

***That being the case, let us (at least between ourselves) constrain any discussions to communicable concepts only!***

That's fine. The only reason I mention this whole state of affairs is because I believe that discounting it is very likely to lead to improper conclusions. We'll see if these improper conclusion raise their ugly head.

***1. The Universe --- absolutely everything!

3. Sense Impressions --- the information from which your Mental model (as per Paul's suggestion) of The Universe is built!

2. Your Mental model of the Universe! (I have absolutely no idea how I missed that "you're" .. sorry about that!)

4. That any aspect of the above which is not communicable is not part of this discussion.***

Fine to all.

***If that is indeed the case, would you agree that this same identical circumstance (collection of concepts) defines a rational position between myself and any person with whom I could have a logical discussion?***

What do you mean exactly? I don't think 1-4 defines a rational position. I would agree that it is a rational position to hold.

***Please realize that these definitions still in no way constrain what your mental image of the Universe actually is, nor what your Sense Impressions actually are! Those two issues have still been left entirely open! By constraining what we will talk about to be communicable concepts only, we have done nothing except constrain the outcome of our communications to include only communicable concepts. To expect anything beyond that is to expect to communicate incommunicable concepts; an expectation which any rational mind should recognize as pure folly.***

I can agree that the above are not a constraint on our mental model of the Universe nor what our sense impressions of the Universe are. I get the feeling, however, that we are soon to diverge in our agreement much beyond this point (we'll soon see the reasons). But, no need to spoil the enjoyment of being agreement at this point.

Warm regards, Harv

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