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You Do Not See The Problem!

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Posted by Richard D. Stafford, Ph.D. on March 25, 2002 22:22:51 UTC

Hi Harv,

***Okay, I'm all for studying the problem.***

That is what I would like you to do; but before we can study the problem, you must understand exactly what the problem is.

***Let me focus on that problem by asking you a few questions.***

Nothing you have said in your response focuses on the problem in any way at all. I take that as an indicator that you do not understand what the problem is. You have completely overlooked the fundamental constraint imposed by the problem I am describing. Your first step was to immediately put forth a scenario when the primary constraint imposed by the problem itself, on any attempt to find a solution, is that no scenario is allowed.

***What I am talking about is at the very basic level of the problem of "solving a problem". It is a problem which no one ever considers; in fact, I suspect that I may be the first person to even think about considering it. It is the forgone conclusion of everyone that absolutely nothing can be done towards the solving of a problem prior to knowing what the problem is (everyone postpones thinking about solving a problem until they have some idea what the problem is: i.e., they presume nothing can be done if "what the problem is" is unknown). I hold that presumption to be false! You will never be able to understand my thoughts if you cannot consider such a problem.***

You immediately bring the discussion to a situation where "you have some idea of what the problem is": i.e., your scenario. This displays a complete ignorance of the question being asked!

Let me ask the question again. If you are going to be given a problem some time in the future (and you have absolutely no clue as to what that problem is going to be) is there anything you can do which you feel will prepare you to solve that problem?

Do you understand that question?

The answer is simple; it is either yes or no!

In order to understand me you must first be capable of at least considering such a problem!

By the way, learning more information is not an acceptable answer as that is taken to be nothing more than "additional information" which is presumed to be available to you when the problem is presented. That is, your preparation must be valid under any change in information available to you.

Don't feel bad if you feel there is nothing you can do as that is to be expected; in fact, it is exactly the position held by everyone, that is why no one has ever attempted to solve this problem. In fact, your response only makes sense when it is seen as an argument that nothing can be done. I believe that wholeheartedly: from your perspective, nothing can be done! However, I feel personally that there is something I can do which will prepare me to solve that problem.

Please notice that I did not say "solve that problem", I said "prepare me to solve that problem". Those are significantly different issues. Harv, you have to get a little more careful with your concepts as thinking with unclear concepts often does little more than muddy the water.

Have fun -- Dick

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