Stephen Paul King (email@example.com)
Wed, 08 Dec 1999 12:53:45 -0500
Dear Prof. Matsuno,
Koichiro Matsuno wrote:
> Dear Stephen and All:
> At 0:31 on 5 Dec 1999, Stephen Paul King <firstname.lastname@example.org>
> >> 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
> >are actions...
> Although I am not sure whether I took you right, the point I made in the
> above is that to say the least, interaction is an organizing principle
> guaranteeing coexistence of many things at the same time (a la Immanuel
> Kant). This organizing principle should be legitimate if I sit on the
> shoulder of the giant. On the other hand, if the giant sits on my shoulder,
> I could see only near my step and the principle would almost be of no use to
> me. In short, interaction cannot be a reliable analytical tool if the
> spatiotemporal horizons on the part of the participating material bodies
> remain finite. My choice for the purpose is the trio of experiencing,
> transforming and representing. Rather, we may be able to analyze interaction
> as appealing to the three because none of the three assumes an infinite
> horizon from the start.
I apologize for my "word salad", I was trying to think of the triad
pictographically, somewhat like a Penrose Triangle:
I had not considered the applicability of horizons in this way, but I
agree with what you are pointing out. I have been considering that the
spatiotemporal horizons of observers are a manifestation of the finite
computational power of Local Systems, something like the idea that the
"region" that has its inconsistencies removed will always be finite....
This aspect of LS theory is something that is still very sketchy. I have
been using ideas along the
lines of those of David Deutch:
except that I see the multiple universes as existing concurrently, not
sequentially. The Big Bang is seen as a result of fixing a particular
clocking framing as static out of an infinite numbers of possible
framings. This last will probably takes some discussion...
> >> 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.
> If the participant has an infinite horizon, the final causation must be
> computational. It can be equated even to an efficient causation, because
> computation is a non-empirical operation as a matter of principle. In
> contrast, if the participant has only a finite horizon, something coming
> from over the horizon must be a surprise in the empirical sense whether it
> may be a human being or a molecule.
Perhaps we should discuss what we mean by "computation" to be sure that
our thinking is not diverging here. The distinction that you are
pointing to with the difference between finite and infinite horizons,
seems to me, to be very similar to the difference that Peter Wegner
discusses with regards to Turing Machines and "Interaction" Machines
The book that I mentioned before: Understanding Computers and Cognition
by Terry Winograd, Fernando Flores is excellent as an introduction!
The idea that the states of a computational system is not fixed a
priori is the key feature here. This line of thinking also seems to
follow the general idea of "migrating inconsistencies".
The key idea is that the consistency of framings is not fixed a priori,
it is given as the clocking evolves toward universal consistency and
completeness. This idea follow the logic of "infinite limits" used in
> >> 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.
> What may look like a purpose is an a posteriori consequence of the
> artifact. When we say atoms and molecules in the empirical arena are
> agential, we are responsible for saying this statement. An inevitable
> disconformity between the present progressive and the present perfect
> applied to them could only be mitigated as appealing to the agential
> capacity on their part. If we do not have the distinction between the two
> grammatical tenses, I am not sure whether we could properly refer to the
> agential capacity of the material in general or the organisms in the
> biological realm in particular.
I think that we should try to be as general as possible, since we are
looking for a model of time that would apply to all systems.
> > 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
> >(http://plato.stanford.edu/entries/spacetime-holearg/) ?
> >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
> >about this!
> Space and time to Kant are the container of things. The container can
> remain as it is even if nothing is contained in it. However, we cannot
> eliminate the container altogether. Thus, space and time cannot be an
> abstraction from some other things. They must be special, that is, a
> universal singularis instead of a general universal. This has been in
> essence what Kant said. This kind of reasoning could quite easily be
> recruited to vindicate Newtonian space and time and its followers. Husserl
> said nay to this scheme.
Lebnitz's thoughts would also tend toward the "nay" side of the scheme
also! The idea of space-time as a contained seems to presume some a
priori thingness to space-time, that is not necessarily the case. We can
construct space-times by showing that the relations between systems can
act to "generate" a geometry (see the relationships between
transformation groups, algebras and geometries!) and topology, instead
of assuming a prior existing "container" in which to embed the system.
This is one reason why I tend toward the thought that we need to
consider that space-time is the framing of subjective observations not
the container of objective "things".
> > 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...
> One big issue in this regard must be an ontological commitment. When we
> say anything, we have to do this commitment even unwittingly. It seems to me
> that I am currently making pretty firm commitment to migrating
> inconsistencies. Once such a commitment is done for the time being, the next
> inevitable issue will be to make it subject to epistemological analysis. The
> latter is however up to the choice of analytical tools for the purpose.
This seems to involve the necessities of communication. In order for a
pair of agents to communicate there must exist some commitment to a
standard, be it a language or a clocking scheme or both. I am wondering
if the commitment requires much more than an "agreement" or "overlap" in
the classes of observables (or meaningful messages) of the agents?
> >> 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
> Intensiveness or intensionality must be a form of intentionality
> de-transcended. A representation of an intensity could be retrieved from the
> record registered in the present perfect tense.
Could you discuss this in more detail? :-)
> > 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?
> It must be an ontological issue. Comparison requires an epistemology, but
> making commitments, if failed, must pay the price by itself. Of course, I do
> know the standard practice of empirical sciences tries hard to avoid making
> such commitments as much as possible.
Yes, the history of the Ptolemeic model illustrates this well! :-)
> >> 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
> >to apply...
> Some of the records must be dissipative structures. One may retrieve
> completed movement from the record, but no one can tell whether or not the
> movement in the record has been completed in reality. So far, I have failed
> in seeing whether autopoiesis distinguishes between the present progressive
> and the present perfect.
I think that all records are dissipative, iff we consider the quantum
mechanical motions of atoms! It is the "pattern" that is stable in the
usual sense... The idea behind autopoiesis is that a "process whereby an
organization produces itself."
I am identifying an "organization" with a structure that can encode a
given quantity of information. Would this concept be consistent with
your thinking about migrating inconsistencies, where the "process" is
the "sweeping out" or flattening of inconsistencies or differences? Note
that my concept requires an a priori "object" to be "structured", but
that can be easily dealt with!
> >> 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...
> You are right. Intensity is a means of implementing an intensionality.
> Accordingly, intensity cannot be extensive because of its intrinsic affinity
> and relatedness to the whole in a bottom-up manner. French postmodernists
> were extremely keen to this notion and actually rediscovered the medieval
> philosopher Duns Scotus.
"Like Italian theologian Saint Thomas Aquinas, Duns Scotus was a
realist in philosophy, but he differed from Aquinas in regard to
theories of perception. Duns Scotus held that a direct, intuitive
grasp of things is obtained through the intellect and the senses.
Aquinas maintained that intellect did not directly know material
things but only the universal natures that are abstracted from sense
perceptions. Duns Scotus held that universals as such do not exist
apart from the human mind, but that each separate or "singular"
thing possesses a formally distinct nature that it shares in common
with other things of the same kind."
Interesting thoughts! What is it that Aquinas' and Scotus' notions have
in common? They both assume that minds are both finite and somehow have
a property that is in essence infinite if we consider the existence of
an infinite number of possible observers. Aquinas seems to makes the
infinity spatial and Scotus seems to made it temporal, by using
simultaneity and concurrency respectively.
> > 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...
> Extensive quantities alone cannot do anything by themselves. If these
> extensive quantities are uniquely supplemented by their intensities, the
> physics we know of it today can work remarkably well. Field theory is a
> superb example. A difficulty may arise, however, if the unique association
> of extensive quantities with their intensities comes to be questioned.
Umm, I may be misunderstanding your meanings here, but it seems that
one concept that we can deal with is the "unique association". This
seems to be a reflection of the classical assumption that there exist a
priori associations between the extensive and intensive quantities, that
are "knowable". This seems to be one of the fundamental tacit
assumptions of classical physics, best illustrated by LaPlacean idea of
an omniscient daemon. The key to me is that such a situation is not even
possible in principle for it ignores the factual requirements of
thermodynamics as illustrated by the study of Maxwell's daemon.
Knowledge is not possible without dissipation! It takes work to "know".
So, what do we do? For starters, I think that we should look at the
possibility of using bounded or "fuzzy" associations. If we consider
that the information content of an observation is dependent on finite
horizons, and that it is only within the possibilities available that
associations can be defined. So seems that it is a matter of
understanding the implications of finiteness and horizons have for
Perhaps there is something else involved here. I am reminded of the
Einstein-Bohr conversations! Einstein seemed to be very upset that there
did not exist in QM a one-to-one association between the mathematical
entities and actual observables. Bohr seemed to be satisfied with the
incompleteness as he embraced the complementarity of QM. It is
unfortunate that physicist seem to have such a problem accepting that
the Universe is most likely infinite and not uniquely representable by a
finite set of symbols! I side with Hitoshi's conclusion that the
inherent incompleteness of mathematical representations:
"Our starting point is the incompleteness theorem proved by Goedel. It
states that any consistent formal theory that can describe number
theory includes an infinite number of undecidable propositions. The
physical world includes at least natural numbers, and it is described
by a system of words, which can be translated into a formal physics
theory. The theory of physics, if consistent, therefore includes an
undecidable proposition, i. e. a proposition whose correctness cannot be
known by human beings until one finds a phenomenon or observation that
supports the proposition or denies the proposition. Such propositions
exist infinitely according to Goedel's theorem. Thus human beings, or
any other finite entity, will never be able to reach a "final" theory
that can express the totality of the phenomena in the Universe."
While no final theory is "reachable", we can proceed asymptotically
> >> 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.
> If you are talking about an epistemology, you will certainly be right.
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