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Posted by Richard D. Stafford, Ph.D. on March 18, 2002 16:32:16 UTC


On a forum, it is presumed that anyone can comment anytime!

***And most of us have attached meaning to those definitions.***

As I said in my original post, "It is not a definition (in your mind) because you have already assigned meanings to the words (symbols) and to the syntax used in that piece of information. However, the fact that that need not be the case is clearly understood by anyone who has ever broken a code."

***So my supposition is that you regard such relationships as definitions. ***

You are reading things between the lines which were not said and are not of issue. The issue you bring up has absolutely no bearing on the issues I am discussing; however, in the interest of clearing up your confusion, let me comment that it is possible to consider an equation as a definition but only in the case where all concepts imbedded in the equation other than the concept supposedly being defined have meaning attached. This interpretation of the circumstance becomes an issue of assigning meaning to syntax (how is meaning to be assigned).

All of this is completely beside the point as the point of my discussion is the abstract issue of assigning meaning itself.

***Then the process I use to catch a ball can be defined as a sequence of events that allow me to place my glove closer and closer to the flight path of the ball. But that is the name of the process. It does not describe the means that I used to get better and better information on where the ball is going. ***

I have never discussed the means! The "means" is an explanation and I am not discussing the validity of any explanation. I am discussing the abstract nature of definition and of assigning meaning.

***Sooo---I tend to think of definitions and postulates and assumptions and axioms as basically the same thing, and the relationship between such concepts as relationships. But the one described above about where I live can also be a definition. ****

That's nice. What you are saying is that there can be quite a variation in how things can be understood and explained. I have no argument with that. My point is that it is a waste of time to go into such details prior to establishing the nature of information and how we are going to model that abstract entity so we can be assured that we are not being blind to possibilities outside those presented by our subconscious. That is, as far as I am concerned, intuition (or *gut feelings* about how things should be done) has utterly no bearing on the problem; in fact the only thing we can ever be sure of are rational deductions from well defined analytical concepts. Otherwise, we can only regard our efforts as bumbling around in the dark.

***Where I need help is then to describe how the process of gathering information to catch a ball can also be thought of as shifting definitions. I would be very pleased if you could help me out in this way. ***

I do not know that I can! I pretty well gave up on explaining things to you when you insisted that the fact of a *double stage* separation from "reality" (to quote myself, "the problem becomes one of constructing a rational model of a totally unknown universe given nothing but *a totally undefined stream of data [#1]* which has been transcribed by a *totally undefined process [#2]*") did not *require* the symmetries I had used in my deduction.

This indicates to me that you have great difficulty seeing the fundamental characteristics of ideas and, instead of thinking things out for yourself, are more inclined to fall back on rules of thumb presented to you during your education.

Have fun -- Dick

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