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Harv, Please Read This Over Carefully!

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Posted by Richard D. Stafford, Ph.D. on February 26, 2002 20:59:49 UTC


My first comments here have nothing at all to do with what is under discussion. Consider them nothing more than responses to your comments. Said so that you might better appreciate my position.

***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.***

Notice that, in my earlier post, I provided infinite time as part of my definition of "communicable". Whether or not something is communicable is not really of issue here; it is an issue to be settled at the end of the game: i.e., after the communicable concept has been communicated. Until it has been communicated any concept must be regarded as possibly incommunicable and after it has been communicated, it certainly cannot be classified as incommunicable. This is certainly not an issue to be decided at the beginning of the attempt to communicate.

***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.***

Exactly to the point. At any moment in the transaction, we must always maintain the position that what we think has been communicated might be in error. This position must always be maintained as a possibility which may be altered later: i.e., due to some subtle misinterpretation, there always exists the possibility that our understanding of the communication is faulty.

*** 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.***

This statement appears to contradict the position I just expressed. My position is that the fact of communication is always essentially assumed. Although the existence of this communication may apparently be well defended by a large number of events which appear to be direct consequences of communication, we must always remember that the possibility of error exists!

***but we cannot be so naive to think that we will ever eliminate the sources for our misunderstanding. ***

Exactly my point!

***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.****

That is the standard way of attempting communications. I wish to lay that aside and instead, consider the nature of the fundamental problem which confronts us.

***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.***

I don't believe I am discounting any of the issues you bring up. I would rather say that it is exactly the state of affairs you describe which drives my work.

***[[[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. ***

Thank you!!

***[[[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. ***

I don't think we have a problem here! I would say the interpretation stands on the meaning of "a". I mean "a" to refer to a possible (or useable) rational position, not the only rational position.

**** But, no need to spoil the enjoyment of being agreement at this point. ***

Hopefully no one is out to spoil anything!

Now then, *******************

Reiterating, "whether or not something is communicable is not really of issue here"! What is of issue is how I am going to handle the problem of analyzing the communication itself in order to assure that I do not fail to include the possibility that I have misinterpreted something.

With regard to that problem, there exist two very different aspects of what I will present. First, there is the aspect of how I want to catalog and examine that communication. This I claim to be a totally free issue: i.e., I can catalog and analyze it in any way I choose. You may argue that I am wasting my time but there exists no issue of right or wrong here with one single very specific exception. That single exception is the possibility that there exists some communication or part of a communication which cannot be cataloged or analyzed by the procedure which I will propose.

The other aspect of what I will present has to do with the reasons I have chosen to take the tack I have. With regard to this issue, error is not a possibility. My reasons as to why I propose any given way of cataloging the data are not a real issue at all. It is, in fact, present only to provide some connection to tangible roots you refer to in your comments to Paul. As you say, these abstract concepts which I am presenting did not arise from nothing; rather they are based on much thought about what I knew when I started down this path. Sort of like someone wandering in the jungle, why he took a particular turn is immaterial if the issue is what he found.

Although I would call these observations insights into the nature of the problem, whether they are indeed true insights or instead mere deluded perceptions is of no real consequence. What is of consequence is where they lead me. It is very important that you realize that the truth or error of the perceptions themselves has no bearing whatsoever on the final issue.

So, in essence, I am going to show you a way of cataloging arbitrary communications which yields some rather astounding relationships. To find fault in what I present, you need to show that there exists a communicable concept which cannot be represented as I propose to represent it.

Does that make any sense to you?

If you have no problems with what I have proposed, I will proceed. In order that you can easily differentiate between the two aspects referred to above, I will precede every paragraph with either an "A" or a "B". "A" will indicate a proposed procedure in cataloging and "B" will indicate what was going through my mind when I thought to do it.

Have fun -- Dick

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