AUG 27, 1978

C. A. Hilgartner
307 Berkeley St.
Rochester, NY 14607

Dear Andy,

As I promised, I am responding to your papers.  This is a response to The Newtonian Problem-solver.

I have read this paper at several levels of abstraction.  At the most abstract level, the level I would call "sense of", I do not think that all physicists or mathematicians use "equal" or "identical with" in the sense I infer you assert by "entire and absolute agreement or negation of differences".

Additionally, "statistics" does not suggest that we can determine "the true value".  Measurements are concerned with "repeatability" (precision [small differences between repeated measurements] and validity (accuracy [small differences between measurements of the standard and the label for the standard]).  Inferential statistics allows us to make assumptions based upon the measurements as to what "the true values" are, and it is clearly known (explicitly) that this hypothesis is not a measured result.  In my opinion, most gsers (perhaps I should spell that word 'gee-essers') are blinded by their own intensional assertion about what "others are doing" using "identity" (explicit).

At another level, however (linguistic) the "inferential character" of "electrons", etc., is (in my opinion) often never known by those who are not directly involved. In basic particle physics, a "resonance" or a peak in a curve must be agonizingly analyzed before a decision is made whether or not to call that peak a new particle. In the reports, who, using what criteria, and indicating the method for inferring are all usually explicit.

At another level. You contrast "organismic judgement" with "what you might say out loud or say sub-audibly to yourself". I infer you intend that "symbolizing" refer to "organismic judgement". I cannot infer that emphasis is on "refer to" to indicate the difference in level between "organismic judgement" and "symbolizing". For example: "to symbolize organismic judgements of the environment" [s(j(WIGO))]. In my view, the human nervous system incompletely represents and partially misrepresents "wigo". The levels in the process I refer to as distinguishable by 'non-verbal' and 'verbal'. I consider 'verbal' as included in symbolic; but not all non-verbal is included in symbolic. For symbolic I require that "the referent cannot be inferred from the symbol per se". Cameras abstract "representations" that are not symbolic. "Encoding" may be "structurally determined" as at the object level or "arbitrary" (symbolic). Just where in the process "representation" of "wigo" transforms from "structurally determined" to "non-structurally determined" has not, to my knowledge, yet been described or asserted. Bob Pula, in my recollection, uses "verbal" in the broad sense to include "all symbols". I do not, however, recall him extending "symbolizing" to "non-verbal" brain functioning or "the silent level". I am not able to comfortably infer where you draw the distinction between "symbolizing" and "non-symbolizing" behavior. Also, I wonder what you mean by "organismic judgements". Can you provide more objective structured terms?

The use of "symbolize" seem vague to me. The combination of "symbolizing" to refer to "organismic judgements" doesn't help clarify the picture either. I think the situation operationally depicted and discussed could stand just as well without the confusion of these terms.

On page 6, lines 5-11 is answered by lines 12-27, to which you reply "Okay -- duly noted. But, --." On page 26 you do not permit the "same" response from S. (lines 4 6 7-11). Not very fair, I say.

By the way, In regard to page 16-18, G. Spencer Brown, in Laws of Form, uses a single symbol (analogues to your single function of "terming").

What you have failed to depict (tacitly) is that the artilleryman does make appropriate identification at a certain point for his final "zeroing in" on the target.  He identifies left-right and up-down with a grid of X (left or right on the line from the gun to the target) and Y (further or closer on a line from the gun to the target in reference to the target) centered on the target. How fast he gets down to that identification and how accurately he determines the proportionality of the units (degrees for yards [different for X and Y]) measures his skill.  At this point he has "backgrounded" the other aspects and has "foregrounded" or "figured" what gets results.  In this case how many yards for each degree of elevation and how many yards for each degree left-right of aim.  The "system" must include the spotter and means of communication as well.  In the pinch, the spotter uses direction calls saying "up 15, left 5", the gunner converts the 15 and 5 into degrees while identifying the "up and left".

In my opinion, the "close in" identifications correspond to the "local properties" in absolute geometry. (Euclidean geometry and non-Euclidean geometries differ in global properties [the fifth postulate] but not in local properties.

I don't yet think I am ready to "chuck out" all identifications, however I do agree that "inappropriate" identifications have to go. I hope that you would agree that we can permit some explicit, conscious, appropriate identifications.  I am inclined to agree that "tacit" identifications must go.  Basically, I look at G. S. with a critical eye, one that applies the assertions of g.s. to itself.  More on the other papers later.

Ralph E. Kenyon, Jr.
145-103 S. Budding Avenue
Virginia Beach, VA 23452

Annotated bibliography of general semantics papers
General Semantics and Related Topics

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