Stephen Paul King (email@example.com)
Sat, 04 Dec 1999 10:30:03 -0500
I am doing a bit of free-association... :-)
Koichiro Matsuno wrote:
> Representation is the beginning and the end of all we can do, but
> is only part of the whole story. If one tries to ground the fundamental
> property of material bodies upon the capacity of making distinctions in
> progress at least phenomenologically, representation must necessarily be
> situated within the triad of experiencing, transforming and representing.
There is something about this triad that is bugging me, like an idea
that one has "on the tip of the tongue"... It is as if any one of them
is given by interactions between the opposite pair, umm, something is
missing... For instance, does an interaction between experiencing and
representing give us transformation? How could we put this in words? All
> In particular, both experiencing and transforming are beyond
> representation. Consider, for instance, the dichotomy between
> "is walking" and "has walked". Aristotle came up with the notion of a
> final cause to represent the difference between the two. Although this
> representation must have found much followers up to during the Medieval
> Age, the Galilean-Newtonian camp dismissed it completely by forcibly
> equating "is walking" to "has walked". Instead, the G-N camp came to
> focus upon the notion of boundary conditions as a candidate to be
> represented. Nonetheless, Franz Brentano and his protege Edmund Husserl
> came up with another notion called Phenomenological Reduction and
> Intentionality by charging that the G-N externalist perspective was too
> good to be true. The price Husserl had to pay was, however, to accept
> these non-empirical and transcendental notions as representations. Even
> today, I cannot find much sympathizers to Husserlian Transcendental
> Phenomenology among empirical scientists. This must be a tough game, to
> be sure.
Yes, it is very difficult to overcome the mental habits! I find that if
we reflex on our discussion itself, it might give a clue to how to deal
with this. I call it second-order awareness, we reflect on on the
content of our reflections, thinking about thinking, etc.
> > In your thinking is this property of sequence defined by the reading
> >and adjusting fundamental? I see it as a fundamental aspect of
> >observation. This follows from the idea that "clocking" is fundamental.
> >Perhaps, we need to work out a semantic for thinking and communicating
> >about "clocking".
> Put another way, Aristotle is quite right in distinguishing between
> "is walking" and "have walked". Although I can say I am walking towards
> the souvenir shop in the airport, it is also undeniable that my walking
> in the crowded airport concourse has been actualized in order to
> constantly avoid the approaching danger of collisions with the others.
Umm, we could also think of the souvenir shop as moving toward you and
undergoing the same collision avoidance process with the pedestrians.
This notion of collision avoidance entails to me the idea of logical
precedence and that causality is computational in nature.
> Aristotle must have definitely thought of the souvenir shop when he
> emphasized final causation, but I am not sure whether he would have also
> thought of the approaching danger of collisions. It is extremely difficult
> to represent the approaching danger properly. In fact, the Galilean-
> Newtonian scheme was brave enough to dismiss such thins smacking of final
> causes altogether from the very start.
Another point that I have considered is that Aristotle et al, seemed to
assume that the "final cause" existed a priori, in the naive sense that
the souvenir store "exists" in some definite sense prior to my visit of
it. I would say that existence, per say is tenseless, but the
definiteness of state is not. It is as if we project our subjective
observations onto some imaginary observer that does not perturb anything
that it observes. This need to be explicitly integrated in our model!
> At issue is how to appreciate the
> difference between the present progressive and the present perfect tense.
> In other words, it must be an imperative to note that the present perfect
> tense is a linguistic artifact in the legitimate sense of the word. This
> may become clearer if we consider the contrast between "is walking" and
> "have walked so far". A similar line of argument may apply to "clocking".
> Ameliorating the linguistic artifact necessarily resting upon the present
> perfect (e.g., as in the difference, if any, between "have walked" and "
> have walked so far") must be the prime mover of clocking. It may be
> intentional, but not in the transcendental sense of Husserl.
Yes, it is an artifact, but it could be that it has a purpose that need
to be considered. It reminds me of the way that our awareness is always
"after the fact", since it takes time for the signals to travel to the
brain, etc. Roger Penrose has discussed this in his wonderful book The
Emperor's New Mind. Pratt said "cognito, ergo eram" -I think, therefore
I was". Umm, this backs up your thought that the present prefect is a
"frozen" occurrence. It is only in retrospective that we "project" a
present state of being.
> > To try to start this, I propose the concept of "mapping" used widely in
> >mathematics. It seems to imply an identification of objects, concrete or
> >abstract -spanning the gamut, that are distinguishable in some sense,
> >yet have some commonality that can be used for the purpose of the
> >identification. Umm, it seems that we also need to understand how to
> >groups objects, viz. how to subjectivize or relativize the concepts of
> >set and class so that they are not assumed to be fixed absolute
> >universals. I see attempts toward this in tense and modal logics, but
> >these seems to fail in ways that are overcome in non-well founded set
> >theory (AFA), but the difficult and abstract nature of the texts on AFA
> >seems to cause a problem for our folks... :-(
> It seem to me that you are emphasizing the one-to-many temporal
> mapping instead of the one-to-one.
In a subtle sense, yes! I am thinking that the concept of time as a
sequence of one-to-one "identifications" of events within the
conventional model of the Universe, e.g. a 3+1 dimensional hypersurface,
is deeply flawed! When we consider the ordinary idea of "events" in
Special relativity, there is no room to introduce changes in the states
of motion of the infinitesimal point particles without altering the
whole hypersurface! Such "changes", as what one would expect for any
concrete observation and/or experiment, would involve some type of
There is some cheating allowed in SR by introducing the notion of an
infinitesimally small incrementation of change in trajectory, so long as
the geometry can be "patched" back to its original "flatness" with the
mere replacement of the single offending point of interaction. (In fact
the theory of General Relativity disallows this type of cheating at the
price of the undefinability of time in its field equations!) (I could be
wrong about this thought!)
So, why the notion of "one-to-many"? Umm, I need to understand what you
are thinking with regards to these words: "temporal mapping" ...
> > So could we construct a formal way of representing this idea, perhaps a
> >matrix-like representation. In fact I see the various formalisms that
> >are used in QM as a way of doing this, what is lacking in them is a
> >coherent explanation or understanding of the limitations inherent in
> >observation, e.g. infinite observers are not allowable!
> One thing prerequisite to this perspective must be to admit the whole
> body we can see in the present perfect mode carries with itself inevitable
> linguistic artifacts. Once we can find some of them, what we should do is
> only to constantly pass it forward, like handling a hot potato in the air
> otherwise we would have a severe burning on our hands.
Umm, I wonder if these artifacts are truly such, I have always
considered Kant as having proven that certain qualia were necessary
(http://www.artsci.wustl.edu/~philos/MindDict/qualia.html). He called
them Categories, if I remember correctly... Space and Time very included
in these... So I ask, is it really necessary to assume that space and
time "exist" externally to the observer, e.g. space-time substantivalism
I am not so sure, the only alternative seems to be some type of
multi-mind solipsism! I would be happy to find an alternative thought
The idea of "passing a hot potato" makes me smile! :-) I see it as a
sequential optimization, a minimum of "passers" get burns while the
potato does not drop to the floor while traveling as far as possible! I
have a caution though, I think that we need to be careful what
ontological status we give to the "order" in which the "passers" handed
off the potato, when we think within the metaphor. :-) Is is really
given a priori or is it a "situation" (I need a better word!) were each
passer makes a choice only at the instant that the potato is passed to
her? The "throwness" or "kickability" of the potato is only such at the
instant that is touches the hand...
> >The idea of
> >thinking of sequences of observations as defining a "moving locus of
> >consistency" seems to marry the idea of time with set theoretical
> >primitives that may give us a toolbox with which to build a geometry!
> >:-) I am thinking that the idea of "space-time" should be derived from
> >such a methodology, instead of merely assuming an a priori and "for
> >free" constructed space-time!
> That is the internalist perspective, exhibiting a distinct contrast
> to the G-N externalist one. The internalist perspective does not say
> anything great or big in the beginning. It's bottom-up like Husserl's
> Phenomenological Reduction. The internalist perspective grounded upon
> finite horizons is intentional in precipitating the present perfect
> tense on a global scale, which is an artifact but an inevitable one.
I agree. I would go as far as saying that the directedness of
intesionality is such because it "is" the act of defining, of giving
meaning; and such occur only within finite "bracketings", or as I say
"framings" of objects. So there is, in the were act of interaction, a
definition of a particular space and time categorization of such, and
such only can have meaning or directedness within the context of a
Is a history an artifact? How can we be sure that we are not brains in
vats! Computational complexity may give us a clue!
> Despite that, the internalist stance is by no means transcendental.
> It rests upon the ordinary linguistic practices. The internalist
> perspective sees the occurrence of space-time in the present perfect
> mode. The other side of the same coin is to admit that it would have to
> constantly be updated.
Yes. I use the metaphor of an image on a computer monitor. The program
shell of my Word 97 appears to be static and the words appear as I press
certain keys on the keyword, but do we have a good generic model for how
there exists a correlation between the appearance of words, which
manifests the "updating" aspect you spoke of, and the physical acts of
pushing certain sequences of keys?
When we try to imagine a single unique Minkowskian 3+1 space-time
hypersurface within which are embedded computers and typists, I have a
hard time understanding how it is possible to be sure that there exist
the possibility of the concept of "updating"! This points to a serious
problem with the perspective of a frozen Minkowski hypersurface "stuck"
in present perfect mode! :-)
So, I believe that we need a logical formalism that gives us a way of
relating these two perspectives! What if, in some way, they were
complements of each other? On one hand, we have a Universe forever at
equilibrium with any proper subset of itself and thus having as subsets
Minkowskian hypersurfaces that are in constant uniform motion with
respect to each other. On another hand, we have a multitude of finite
framings, that somehow, when we allow for comparison between them, are
not in uniform motion with each other!
Then the question becomes: What is the mechanism of this act of
comparison, using the term mechanism loosely?
> > Umm, I think that we need to look carefully at the necessity that "a
> >material body is that it can remain passively immobile even momentarily
> >until its inevitable next updating". This reminds me of the notion that
> >there is a non-zero duration involved in the reaction recordable in a
> >system given a perturbation, e.g. the reaction to an action is not
> >instantaneous, as is implied in Newton's model of the world. This
> >connect us to the finiteness of the "speed of light" and limits on
> > Perhaps the key is the amount of closure that a material body can
> >"squeeze out" inconsistencies. This notion reminds me of the ideas
> >involved in the compression of information!
> This would mean that what is material is informational, and vice
Perhaps. But another possibility other than identifying may be
possible! This is why I am exploring Pratt's idea:
> > The usual formal languages and axiomatic set theories seem to refer to
> >an infinite observer that is capable of discriminating with arbitrary
> >precision, so it seems that we need to work within the limits of
> >Heisenberg's Uncertainty toward the end of constructing a empirical
> >model. Even the concepts of records must involve limitations on the
> >ability to recover the original information. It seems that we forget
> >that there exist more than one language and that records encoded in one
> >language are usually not decodable within another language such that the
> >original object could be reconstructed, e.g. we need to consider the
> >issue of faithful reproducibility...
> The record is an artifact. The record cannot keep in itself the
> very activity of precipitating the following record. But we cannot live
> without it.
So, could we think of records as being "dissipative structures"
(http://pespmc1.vub.ac.be/ASC/Dissip_struc.html)that depends of the vary
process of migrating inconsistencies? The term "autopoiesis" also seems
> >> No, this is an artifact at best. Sometimes, it would turn out to be
> >> extremely useful.
> > I agree; so long as we do not forget the limits of such, we can use
> >these tools, e.g. we can hammer nails with a wrench, but a hammer is
> >useless to tighten screws...
> A nice wording!
> >> I remember that intensities were a favorite subject matter to
> >> medieval Scholastic philosophers including Duns Scotus. Intensities were
> >> taken to be the agency of individuation. This idea has survived even
> >> until now though in a very restricted form known as boundary conditions
> >> that are already deprived of dynamic capacity of changing themselves.
> > I still am unsure of this line of thinking. Umm, I believe that I will
> >grasp it eventually. :-)
> In short, mechanics must perfectly be legitimate if the intensity
> specifying the initial condition is fixed. However, the reverse is not
> true. The intensity is beyond mechanics. Although it can tell how the
> celestial bodies would move, Newton's mechanics does not tell us what
> celestial bodies would be available there in the first place. Likewise,
> many seismologists seem to agree that precise prediction of the future
> earthquakes would be hard to be attained. The fault is of course not
> upon Newton's mechanics, but upon our inability to be acquainted with the
> intensity driving the mechanics. The notion of distortions (of the earth
> plates) remains quite uncomfortable within mechanics. One of the illusions
> especially of our contemporary time is to let intensities be subordinate
> to mechanics.
Umm, I am still struggling with the concept of intensities! :-( Does it
have any relation to intesionality?
I found these on the net while looking for examples of intensities...
I take the statement of yours " Although it can tell how the celestial
bodies would move, Newton's mechanics does not tell us what celestial
bodies would be available there in the first place." to imply that
intesities relate to the a priori possibilities from which observations
are selected, but I am not sure...
Umm, I found the page of someone who is offering an alternative to
http://www.quantchem.kuleuven.ac.be/research/fys/xh_en.html . I have
conversed with him in the past, he is very kind!
> >> Or, the whole Universe is a gigantic clock. But there is no one who
> >> can read it as such, and accordingly no time because time is
> >> intrinsically relational.
> > Yes, I find Leibnitz's writings to be somewhat helpful in giving a
> >starting point toward the discussion...
> A good remark.
> >> One strategy must be to implement interactions in a bottom-up manner
> >> instead of a top-down. That is to say putting small clocks together one
> >> by one.
> > I tend toward the use of both bottom-up and top-down thinking, like a
> >zig-zag between seeing the Vase or the pair of faces in the illustration
> >if FACES / VASE STEREOGRAM:
> Of course, things in the present perfect mode are always conceived of
> in a top-down manner.
I am not sure why this is... but I do agree with it. Perhaps it is due
to the way that postulated Ideals (at the top) are used to justify the
properties of the particular concretes.
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