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Suppose We Drop The Peripheral Issues!

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Posted by Richard D. Stafford, Ph.D. on March 4, 2002 19:22:15 UTC

Hi Harv,

All I can say is that you sure have a compulsion to keep attention to peripheral issues! Reminds me of something Henry Ford said: "thinking things out is very difficult that's why most people don't do it!"

*** Better than beating real ones, right? ***

Why do you need to beat any?

***Yes, misunderstanding is an error, but not all messages are equal in terms of the possibility of them being misunderstood. Appearance is important in establishing confidence that a message was correctly understood.***

One of the fundamental issues of my position is that it is an *error* to believe that your confidence has any bearing on the issue of whether or not an error exists! It is always possible you have been stupid maybe you should take that into account in your thoughts. The real issue here is that I know how to do that and you do not.

***What about Thales?***

So what about Thales? Clearly he didn't comprehend the problem I have solved (if he had, the whole scientific community would be aware of it). I have no idea what he did nor do I have any interest in it and I am certainly not going to take the time to find out. What I have done stands on its own merits and makes no claim on any authority other than the accepted rules of mathematics.

***How do you know what you consider important is really a valid category to distinguish as meaningful***

My category is "information"! Now, you are going to tell me that "information" is not a meaningful category??? If information is not a meaningful concept, please explain to me what you consider to be meaningful!

***I am skeptical of any attempt that tries to be more fundamental than pragmatism.***

I have no idea what you have in mind! You are implying that my approach is not pragmatic! Either you do not understand what I am saying or you are operating with a definition which is not consistent with the common interpretation of the word. For that reason, I looked up "pragmatism"

1. Character or conduct that emphasizes practicality.
2. A philosophical movement or system having various forms, but generally stressing practical consequences as constituting the essential criterion in determining meaning, truth or value.
3. Archaic: a. officiousness; meddlesomeness. b. dogmatism; arrogance.

This lead me to look up practical which appears to revolve around the idea that "it works". Certainly, since I am trying to show you something which (outside everyone's expectation) "works", I cannot comprehend why you regard what I am doing "more fundamental than pragmatism", unless of course you are using the word in its archaic sense.

***When you say that you want to lay aside the pragmatic approach …***

I do not believe I have ever said any such thing!

***Most intellectuals know the history of foundationalism. It has failed miserably over the course of the centuries and every attempt to revive it has also failed.***

ERGO all attempts will fail!! Is that the extent of your *proof*?


***I am not saying that you have cataloged errors, I am saying that whatever you catalog is based solely on appearance. If you catalog an appearance, then your cataloging is only as valid as the appearance of the thing in question.***

So something appears to be information and it turns out in the end to be "not a valid appearance"! Could you clarify that a bit for me?

***Thales failed…***

So he failed! Lots of people have failed and I have no interest in them at all! Failure is not my goal! Can we drop him???

***You are not depending on experiment, so the question becomes how do you know you have properly cataloged a valid appearance?***

See, right here you have the whole issue confused! I am not proposing to explain anything without experiment! All I am doing is organizing my thoughts so that when I do go to "examine the Universe", I do not make the insipid error of thinking something is real when it is in fact nothing more than a direct consequence of my definitions! Let us think about things a little bit before we go charging off with some half-cocked hypothesis!

Now, just because I happen to have discovered that most of what the scientists think are "laws of physics" are no more than consequences of their definitions, you presume I am saying experiment is unnecessary! I am not saying that at all! What I am saying is, let us first find some experiments which prove something!

***I'll look at it, but why can't you simply answer the question? What prevents you from being a 21st century version of Thales? ***

Perhaps I am the 21st century reincarnation of Thales, here to do it right! Why don't you get off this Thales thing?

Believe it, my assignments do indeed turn out to be absolutely identical to theirs!

***I'm not so sure about that. Your definition of time is a parameter based on [Chap.1 from your paper]: 1) [The subsets of reality (sets of numbers) are transformed (by our senses) into the information available for us to analyze (after we have constructed our mental model of reality)] ... the subsets must be finite 2) The number of subsets examined must be finite. 3) The number of subsets which make up the universe must be infinite.

Now, just this definition alone is not a scientific definition of time. Time, as far as I know, doesn't have an exact definition in science. That is, there isn't an equation which tells us all about what time is. It is one of the perplexing mysteries of science. Quantum physics treats time differently than GR physics, and these two fields have not yet been unified.

We could go over more definitions, but I think this illustrates my point.***

You are clearly confusing the issue of "definition" and "assignment". As you point out, the scientific community has done a very poor job of "defining" time ("It is one of the perplexing mysteries of science") but "assignment" of the concept absolutely permeates all the sciences.

Now, I define it very specifically. It is almost beyond comprehension that something defined in such a simple way could be successfully assigned in a manner absolutely identical to theirs with no conflict with any conceivable experiment!

***No, my position is that foundationalism is completely off base and that there are very general reasons why this is so.***

No one has ever managed to establish a valid general foundation for examining the Universe therefore it cannot be done! Reminds me of a joke. A businessman and an economist are walking down the street. The businessman says, "hey look, there's a twenty dollar bill in the gutter!" "No", the economist answers, "it cannot possibly be there, as, if it were, someone would have picked it up!"

***If you rely on mathematics, then how do you know that mathematics is merely a human invention? What if our evolution were different, how do you know that our mathematics wouldn't be different? I believe that mathematics couldn't be different for an alien species, but heck, mathematics was different between the Babylonians and the Greeks.***

Now here, your definition of "mathematics" and mine are very different (since you have made it clear in the past that you disliked my definition). As I said in my paper, I believe "mathematics" could be defined to be the creation and study of internally self consistent systems. If one takes that to be the definition of mathematics then there is no "different" mathematics, only mathematics you are not yet familiar with!

*** When we make assumptions based on appearances***

You are the one who keeps wanting to make assumptions based on appearances, not me! As I said in my paper, I don't want to make any assumptions (other than the fact that mathematics is valid - as defined above).

*** not ontological proof of anything***

Tell me Harv, do you have any ontological proof of anything? I would like to see it just for the fun of it.

So I return to the original issue: I would like to show you a way of cataloging arbitrary communications which yields some rather astounding relationships (which are true "by definition" when the information in the communications is so cataloged).

In order to show that it is possible for those relationships not to be true, you need to show that there exists a communicable concept which cannot be represented as I propose to represent it.

The interesting fact which resides within my presentation is that, as my "assignments" are identical to the scientific communities, their definitions must also implicitly require those same "laws of Physics": i.e., the "laws of physics" have nothing to do with reality and are, in fact, nothing more than the consequence of their mental model of reality being "internally self consistent"! That is to say that you cannot conceive of an internally self consistent model of the universe where those laws are false!

Have fun -- Dick

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