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I Don't Know What You Are Talking About!

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Posted by Richard D. Stafford, Ph.D. on March 27, 2002 18:17:54 UTC

Hi Harv,

I think putting the referenced material in color is a convenient way of differentiating who is saying what. If you dislike that, let me know.


Okay, write a step-by-step account using my 6AM scenario on once can came to face 'the problem of solving problems' and include in that account both the formulation of mathematics and its use in terms of solving 'the problem of solving problems'. I think if you do that you will see the futility in your question (which is why I suspect you won't do it).

I have absolutely no idea of what you mean. You seem to have some attack on this problem which makes sense to you; but I have no idea what it is.

Dick, every problem known to man can be demonstrated to arise using this 6AM scenario.

Every problem??? I wasn't even aware that someone existed who knew of every problem. I certainly don't!

Your's is the only exception. You are basically admitting that you cannot explain how one can come to see this problem if they began life with just a self-aware sensation (i.e., no knowledge of the world).

What problem are you talking about? That future problem of which I have no information or the problem of what I am going to do about it? And what does "if they began life with just a self-aware sensation" have to do with it?

This indicates to me that this 'problem' is not a real problem since you cannot give this kind of account.

For some reason, which I cannot comprehend, you seem to feel you have proved one of two things. Either you think you have proved that there are no new problems to be faced by mankind or you think that you have proved that the problem of preparing for such an eventuality does not exist. And I don't see a proof of either proposition!

Real problems can be shown step by step as to why they are real problems (versus pseudo-problems that arise from illogical steps taken in their formulation).

So, you hold that the problem of preparing for future problems is a pseudo-problem which arises from illogical steps. I guess you would categorize the problem of getting an education as a pseudo-problem????

Here's an example of a pseudo-problem:

(1) Is natural selection the survival of the fittest?

(2) Then who are the fittest?

(C1) Answer: Those that survive! Circular reasoning.

(C2) Is natural selection the survival of those who survive?

The question in C2 is a pseudo-problem. It is constructed using invalid steps to construct a definition of natural selection which isn't quite correct (natural selection is a selection process of biological traits and not survivors per se). This is a formulated pseudo-problem that Creationists commonly use in their 'problem' for evolutionists. The 'problem' looks acceptable if you do not understand the intricacies of the question and the underlying assumptions of the question.

As far as I am concerned, your example has absolutely nothing to do with this conversation. The only possible reason you would bring it up is that you have no idea of what I am talking about.

Similarly, your 'problem' is easily shown to be a pseudo-problem once we see the step-by-step reasoning that leads up to it.

At this moment I don't believe you have any concept of what my 'problem' consists of.

We see that there are invalid assumptions (i.e., logical fallacies) that are needed to construct the pseudo-problem.

Now I asked, "what can I do to prepare myself to answer some unknown question I will come across in the future". This you apparently think is a pseudo-problem. That being the case, please point out to me the invalid assumptions I made when I asked (constructed) that question.

By keeping these steps hidden you are able to continue to say that it is a legitimate problem - even though it is not (e.g., "if I gave you my steps of inference that lead to my problem then you are violating the terms of my problem").

What steps do you think I am hiding? The only thing that makes any sense at all at this point is that you are not referring my posed problem but rather, you are referring to that unknown problem I would like to prepare myself to solve. As far as that problem goes, I certainly cannot give you any steps of inference as I don't know what the problem will be. But I fail to see how that fact either proves that future problem cannot exist or proves that nothing can be done to prepare myself for the eventuality of a problem.

Here's a case in point. You are being asked to give a sketch of how to formulate the problem as well the steps to making a solution, and you simply turn away from that proposal. The reason is that if you took this challenge your ill-founded assumptions would be quickly spotted and the game is over.

I don't have the slightest idea what you are talking about! Please make it clear which problem you are concerned with: the one of preparing myself to solve a future problem or that future problem itself?

No, a step-by-step account from knowing nothing other than having a self-aware sensation of the world. Surely, if you have a real problem you can construct that step-by-step account. Even the 'problem of solving problems' falls in that category.

You are completely over my head here. Please give me an example by constructing that "step-by-step account" "from knowing nothing other than having a self-aware sensation of the world" of the problem of deciding what television show I want to watch tonight. Or is that a pseudo-problem too?

Your whole formulation is based on a pseudo-problem (unless you can show otherwise this is my view).

So, any attempt to prepare one's self for a future problem is definitely a pseudo-problem as far as you are concerned? Far be it from me to question your authority! I am not well versed in the classification of pseudo-problems.

Every attempt I've made to understand your model always leads back to a misunderstanding of this pseudo-problem.

What model? In this current presentation, I have made utterly no mention of any model! All I have put forth is the question "is there anything I can do which I think is valuable preparation for solving future problems".

If we cannot agree as to the correct formulation and soundness of this 'problem', then how can I know what you have accomplished. We don't agree on the very premise of your paper which I see as based on ill-founded assumptions.

Yes, I know you see the paper as based on ill-founded assumptions. That is why I decided to go back to the original question which lead me to that paper. For the moment, leave the paper out of the discussion. You clearly do not understand it and you will never understand it without understanding how I got there.

There's no more we can do.

If you say so, I will accept your decision!

I think you need to formulate the problem and your attempted solution of this problem in a step by step account, and you don't think this is possible.

I guess it is not possible with you as you apparently think my proposed starting point does not exist: i.e., that there exist future problems for which I might be able to prepare myself. I guess if we are all forbidden from preparing ourselves for future problems then mankind is doomed to muddling through by luck!

Dick, this is all philosophy what you have proposed. The problem is philosophical (even though it is a pseudo problem).

Do you have any idea what the problem I am talking about is?

Well, once you understand the pseudo-ness of this problem, then you will see why a correct formulation of this problem (known as Hume's problem of induction) isn't solved by your method and you will gain a much more deeper respect for the 3 centuries of effort gone into solving this problem of justifying the scientific approach to problems.

I don't believe you have any idea at all what I am doing. That is why I decided to get down to the fundamental problem I attacked and forget about the implications. Your frame of reference is just way too limited. There are concepts we can think about which have never occurred to you. Or are you of the opinion that mankind has already uncovered all of the concepts which could possibly be useful to thought?

I have to stand behind my last comment: "you apparently stand steadfast behind the idea that "nothing of value can be done" and have no desire whatsoever to consider thinking otherwise!"

So, have a blissful time -- Dick

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