IGS Discussion Forums: Learning GS Topics: Mixing Your Disciplines
Author: Ralph E. Kenyon, Jr. (diogenes) Wednesday, June 27, 2007 - 10:12 am Link to this messageView profile or send e-mail

Doesn't anybody (else) "practice the discipline of" (extensionally) checking the time-binding record when questions of "definition" arise? define:discipline

Consider the various dictionary definitions above.
The ones that seem most appropo to this thread is:
a system of rules of conduct or method of practice; "he quickly learned the discipline of prison routine"; "for such a plan to work requires discipline";
Behind that seems to be an implicit assumption that favors another definition.
A field of study and/or knowledge.

Taken together such a "discipline" forms a body of information comprising beliefs and knowledge together with a set of rules for applying the information. To be speaking of "different" disciplines requires differences in the body of information and/or differences in the rules for applying it.
A "conflict" require differences in beliefs or rules. In extensional terms, we can limit the application of "conflict" to just those cases where the combined information and rules command different behaviors in the same situation or context.

Remain conscious of (bear in "mind") that "rules" are primarily intensional in nature in that they provide propensities to act whatever the case (excepting very specific conditional rules).

With this as background note the following sequence.

A person abstracts from his or her situation.
He or she then matches that abstraction to the bodies of information from his or her various disciplines.
For a conflict to arise later, this match must "activate" two different disciplines and the rules of those disciplines, and the matched circumstances in the respective disciplines must prescribe conflicting behavior.

This should, according to Julian Jaynes, be a "consciousness raising experience", and the subject "should" experience a nearly paralizing quandry, depending on how thouroughly assimilated both (or more) disciplines are for that person.

What to do? What to do?

If after reexamining our abstractions we still have the quandry, as general semanticists, who think in terms of levels of abstraction, we should immediately look for higher levels of abstraction in a multi-level model which places the respective disciplines in a system relative to each other, and use this higher level model to resolve the quandry.

In short, you take responsibility for your abstracting and choosing, assume the risk, and then act, adding the result and your resolution as a precedent for future such potential conflict resolution.

Given the original question, how much do you find mixing your disciplines risky? Do you frequently do this? Or, do you regularly keep them separated?

I don't think "mixing" is "risky"; I think "actions" following choices are risky, and actions follow resolving the apparent conflict between prescribed actions. And I think the "risk" varies according to how much we have "invested" in the outcome. Just to complicate matters, how much I have "invested" in the outcome correlates with being intensional (pun intended). I believe my disciplines are integrated into a hierarch of levels of abstraction, but consciousness of abstraction will frequently allow us to reexamine and resolve the potential conflict.

Author: Ralph E. Kenyon, Jr. (diogenes) Wednesday, June 27, 2007 - 09:58 pm Link to this messageView profile or send e-mail

David wrote I don't see how referencing a dictionary (or google) is helpful in understanding how the speaker conceptualizes a word.

To me, referencing a dictionary in this context is a good example of applying a discipline out of context.

General semantics provides the extensional device "quotation marks" to indicate when a term is being used in a non-standard manner - also known as scare quotes. When a word is used without "scare quotes" we are entitled to assume standard usage until such time as subsequent communications allow us to infer that the user of the word in question is not following standard or customary usage. How are we to understand what the customary or standard usage is? We check the time-binding record.

When I presented those standard usages, in this context, that indicates the basis from which deviations may be measured, explained, etc. The "disciplines" that Ben named are all consistent with the "dictionary definitions" I picked out. Moreover, Ben did not think my post significantly different from his meaning, but he expressed a preference for something weaker or softer than "rules" - which he called "principles". I agree with that, as I indicated with the phrase "propensity to act" in my earlier post. How rigidly one adheers to a "rule", "principle", "guideline", etc., depends on how thoroughly instantiated the appropriate "discipline" is in the person in question, and that "thoroughness" would, in my opinion, provide the basis for resolving apparent conflicts. Whichever is the stronger for the person in question should decide the action to take. If two "disciplines" which "command", "suggest", "indicate", etc, contrary actions with equal strength, then the person experiences ambivalence for strongly held disciplines to indifference for weakly held disciplines.

In such a case, mathematical catastrophy theory can "inform" the likely behavior. This graph can show the relation where the "b" direction represents the context between two disciplines (one to the left, one to the right, with similarity in the middle), the "x" direction represents the behavior indicated by the discipline (up being one behavior direction and down being the contrasting behavior direction), and the "a" direction correlates with the degree of assimilation of the disciplines or the strength with which they are held. Negative "a" direction is strongly held, while positve "a" direction is weakly held. Ambivalence is shown in the a less than 0 line, and indifference is shown in the a greater than 0 line. "Conflict" then applies in the a less than 0 area.

Catastrophy theory applied in this case suggests that the degree to which the person evaluates the context as applicable to one or the other disciplne will depend on which direction the person approaches the similarity. Starting in the context on one strongly held discipline, it will be held until its data is overwhelmed suddenly by the other disclipine. Persons coming from opposite perspective will be in "conflict" as one rides the lower (a less than 0) curve from the left and the other rides the upper (a less than 0) curve from the right. They will pass each other on the same data. But when the disciplines are not intensely adhered to, as in the a greater than 0 curve, coming from different perspectives will meet without conflict.

If you treat my "two persons" above as allegorical of one person's internalization of two "disciplines", then this can be applied to Ben's question, "For a simple example, does the application of the scientific discipline on the discipline we could call "living our daily lives" have limits before it starts to make living our daily lives problematic?".

Applying this perspective yields the answer that it depends on how strongly the person holds the two disciplines, provided they actually are seen as having conflicting "rules" (for Ben, "principles").

If you take life in general, yourself, science, etc., all "with a grain of salt", then there probaly won't be much internal conflict. But if you are rigid about two or more "disciplines", then you are likely to experience some discomfort with certain decisions, and of course the spectrum between, provided, of course, if you see the disciplines as prescribing different behavior. It all depends on what one means by "living our daily lives" as a "discipline" and what one means by "scientific" as a "discipline".

For me, there is no conflict, because I stop at railroad crossings.

Author: Ralph E. Kenyon, Jr. (diogenes) Thursday, June 28, 2007 - 10:54 pm Link to this messageView profile or send e-mail

Ben, The "aim" of cooking is not to "soil dishes"; that is a byproduct of the aim of preparing food, and a "good" cooking "discipline" includes cleaning up after oneself.

David suggested that one or both of "conflicting" "disciplines" may have an "erroneous assumption". I would not think that such "assumptions", which we might also call "beliefs" would be necessarily "errorneous". They may be simply incompatible. The example that I think of is the various geometries that flow from different forms of the fifth postulate. Each non-Euclidean geometry as well as Euclidean geometery is internally consistent, but we cannot simultaneously hold the fifth postulate in contrary forms in "one" geometry. We have to choose the postulate form to fit whether we need a model that is flat, has an open curved space or a closed curved space. None are "erroneous"; they are just incompatible, and one model may fit one circumstance and another another.

Similarly "atheism" and various different religions may sometimes prescribe different behaviors in one circumstance, but we have no way of knowing the "truth" with respect to atheism and the religions, so we cannot say that one or more is "erroneous". The fact of the matter is that each says that all the others are erroneous. It is quite possible that there may be a higher perspective in which none have "erroneous" assumptions, such as, for example, possible world semantics.

Author: Ralph E. Kenyon, Jr. (diogenes) Saturday, July 21, 2007 - 11:26 am Link to this messageView profile or send e-mail

"Get out of jury duty"? Tisk, tisk, tisk. "Jury duty" is the one responsibility we have as citizens.

Author: Ralph E. Kenyon, Jr. (diogenes) Sunday, July 22, 2007 - 09:18 am Link to this messageView profile or send e-mail

The duty of the Jury is to "determine the facts" in the manner of the third umpire as a collective symbol response to the presented evidence with consciousness of abstraction - attending to the rules of evidence and the instructions from the judge.

If you can, conceived of the entire trial as a "conscious process" in which close attention is paid to the process - rules of evidence - procedure for conducting the trial - instructions to the Jury, etc.
(Think about it - what is the function of "objections"? - Compare that to a person "thinking" [carefully].)

In criminal cases, the Judge then applies the law (in most case) to determine the sentence.
In civil cases the jury usually determines the award.

Author: Ralph E. Kenyon, Jr. (diogenes) Sunday, July 22, 2007 - 11:37 am Link to this messageView profile or send e-mail

I see "objections" as part of the "consciousness of abstracting" in the overall process. One monitors the speech (thoughts) of the other and subjects the formulation (thought) to judgemental criteria of appropriateness to the "proper" (sane) reasoning process. In this allegory one part of us is continually conscious of the other part and is monitoring with corrective feedback that does not end up in the output (jury for consideration).