IGS Discussion Forums: Learning GS Topics: Puzzles
Author: Ralph E. Kenyon, Jr. (diogenes) Thursday, January 10, 2008 - 08:01 pm Link to this messageView profile or send e-mail

Ben wrote "I don't understand this puzzle.

How would you describe it?

Author: Ralph E. Kenyon, Jr. (diogenes) Thursday, January 10, 2008 - 10:59 pm Link to this messageView profile or send e-mail

I figured out the solution, (without looking it up, I might add). My point in posting it was to present an example that a paradigm shift in perception would be required to solve it. Now, of course, by looking up the time binding record, the opportunity to learn by solving it unaided is gone.

It relates to Northrop because a major paradigm shift or possibly two, took place between Northrop's writings, and Popper's philosophy. One must read Northrop with a pre-Popper and pre-Kuhn point of view and word usage to recognize the difference between our present day view and what Northrop was writing about. Even Korzybski's writings need to be looked at with an understanding of the pre-atomic age perspective on science. It was thought that the world was "known", that science had yet "just to fill in the details". Though Plato's metaphor of the cave hung in the philosophical background, theories were still largely viewed as true or false rather than as false or not yet disconfirmed. Thinking of theories as true or false (a two valued distinction) was the mind-set of the day. Now we have "accepted as true" - stood the test of time, probably true (strongly corroborated), possibly true, corroborated, unknown (not tested), and falsified or disconfirmed [false] - a many valued logical classification scheme.

Author: Ralph E. Kenyon, Jr. (diogenes) Friday, January 11, 2008 - 11:53 am Link to this messageView profile or send e-mail

One speaks of the difficulty of understanding a new paradigm for viewing, seeing, understanding, etc. Think of "backward compatibility" from computer science. When one grows up in a paradigm, learning a prior one is nearly as difficult. Would you understand how to code in binary when you are used to using high level languages? Do you understand machine code (in binary and in hexidecimal), assembly language, macros, subroutines; the next level high level languages such as FORTRAN, COBOL, LISP, PL-1, PASCAL, etc.?; followed by higher level applications that generate high level languages; and still another level object oriented programming, embedded systems using asymetric processes? There are approximately four major paradigms for developming applications in the preceeding descriptions, and, though they follow a historical development sequence, the first three operate as automated levels below the remaining. Micro-code is used in the design of microprocessors - which read and execute machine code, which is written by low-level assemblers and routines that analyze and optomize assembly code, which is generated in blocks by high level languages by compilers, which itself may be assembled in blocks from automatic application generating programs that compile and interpret objected oriented languges. Asyncronous process collectively opperate like individuals each doing their own thing, but they communicate with each other using something analogous to mailboxes. If you program in html using something like Dreamweaver, or frontpage, a WYSIWYG editor, you rarely stop to look at the detailed html code or xml code generated - a high level markup display language. In my AI couse we had the task of implementing Herbert Otto's preliminary programs for translating English into formal language statement - would you believe? written in BASIC - into Lisp. On the project we had programmers experienced in many different language. The "lisp" code they wrote "looked" like the language they were used to using. We lisp modules that "looked like" PL-1, Mumps, BASIC, and PASCAL. I was the only one who immediately took advantage of the unique capabilities of Lisp to write code that looke like I began to "think' in Lisp instead of the several different languages at my disposal. I adapted to a minor paradigm shift immediately, but the others did not - at least not until near the end of the project when they began to incorporate more Lisp unique features after we discussed their "cloned code" technique.

Thinking in another paradigm, like using another language is more than mere "translation". Northrop states on page 77 Similarly, the trustworthy student of comparative philosophy must be more than a mere linguist or posses more than atrustworthy tranlations by linguists; in addition he must have a professional mastery of the problems, methods, and theories of philosophy. I sure you have heard of the natural languge translation effort that when translating "The spirit is willing, but the flesh is weak.", from English to another language and back, returned "The wine is good, but the meat is rotten.".

Who says that Northrop brings support/clarification to Korzybski? Northrop wrote in a prior paradigm.

My prior posts in both other threads provide plenty of discussion, examples, and citations.

But as they say, "You can lead a horse to water, but you can't make him drink.".

I have some experience in reconstructing models of prior paradigms - a necessary skill for philophers - especially those that interpret the works of ancient philosophers. Once one sees the two faces and the vase in the same gestalt illusion, one can switch from one to the others. But one must first see both.

You may note in reading Northrop that he frequently speaks of confirming postulates or "empirically confirmed postulates". This is laguage of the prior paradigm. In today's paradigm we can only corroborate "postulates" or other theory statement. They can stand, in the multi-valued logic as something weaker than "confirmed" (true). Prediction statements, when observed empirically (and recorded) do get "confirmed" transforming them into observation statements. But as Northrop wrote, it take more than this "mere translation"; it takes a professional understanding of the problems, issues, methods, etc., of the time to ferret out a model for the prior paradigm.