IGS Discussion Forums: Learning GS Topics: Questions about Korzybski's Structural Differential
Author: Ralph E. Kenyon, Jr. (diogenes) Sunday, September 30, 2007 - 12:54 am Link to this messageView profile or send e-mail

Thomas, when you say "proceeding from the object level to the parabola" it sound like "going backwards" from the "normal order of abstracting". The model holds that the object level is a response to the event level.

The so-called "redness" of cherries has been shown to be a product of our nervous systems; it is seen as the way that our nervous systems present certain configurations of abstractions to the perceiving part of our brains. Our scientific "model" of this process has allowed us to create "unnatural" "colors" such as day-glow and others that were never before seen in nature. In doing so we are "manipulating" our perception. Artists have been doing such with their "intuitive" use of pigments long before a scientific model was created.

When you say "We can see that the evolution of language depends on other people perceiving in a similar fashion (abstracting similar structure) and when this is done enough by enough people we have the beginnings of science." I would disagree that this is a precise enough description. We "assume" that other people perceive in a similar fashion when we "agree" to use the word "red" in a repeatable way [in which each new user is trained by a previous one]. But we have seen parrots who talk with English and respond to the self-same color words in manners consistent with humans. I was listening to the NPR book show earlier this or last week and a particular bird was discussed who apparently got bored with the process of experimenting and began to ignore the experimenters, except to say "Want a nut." According to the report, the bird, after several attempts to get a nut stopped and spelled the word for the experimenters. "want a nut - N - U - T." I submit we have no idea how or what kind of structure embodied the "knowledge" that enabled that particular bird to not only initiate a request using English, but to spell it out for the people who were ignoring his request. There was much more to the report.

On the basis of the learning process, the process of experimental corroboration, and statistics, we can reliably conclude, within a level of confidence that we can expect consistent future experiences, but we can not confuse this epistemological perspective with the metaphysical perspective and conclude that what we model, perceive, and project with such repeated reliably "really is", that is to say, "exists" independently of all observers. We are, after all, in the model of "Philosophy in the flesh", using a particular perception system which we evaluate is similar at fairly gross levels.

They may be relatively independent of any particualr human observer previously trained by time-binding to report in a manner consistent with previous reporters, but we cannot conclude from this that such "putative" "existence" "is" independent of "all" observers, including non-human.

We need to continue to hold in our consciousness of abstracting that "independence" "means" something like "independence of any individual observer" but not of the collective.

But because of the very large and continuing propagation of "mystical" and other "universes of discourse" in which no effort is made to corroborate by empirical testing, it takes more than consistent usage to provide evidence of "independence".

Mass halucinations illustrate my point. Religion does as well. Independence, a metaphysical notion, cannot arrise from "perception" and "agreement" epistemological notions. That is one of the most common fallacies in our various cultures, commonly expressed by "seeing is believing". It took hundreds of years of applied emprirical testing for us to arrive at the modern scientify perspective, only understood and shared by a small percentage of the population, hence certainly not "universal", let alone species wide, nor even culture-wide in any culture in the larger sence.

Within a small segment of our population, those who more rigidly apply the principles of empirical testing and consistent cognitive model revision, some "projections" may be believed to have "existence" "independently of the limited collective.

The strongest I "believe", however, can be expressed that my expected risk of my "not yet disconfirmed model" failing is quite low.

Author: Ralph E. Kenyon, Jr. (diogenes) Monday, October 1, 2007 - 02:10 pm Link to this messageView profile or send e-mail

Here's my take on "when science started": Heraclitus? or Xenophanes?.

I have also long made a connection between the growth of scientific knowledge by the process of testing (including through use) and the brain's learning (modeling) process by trial and error through use.

The extra-neural process, I think eventually lead to to consciousness of our own abstracting prosess though the study of nervous systems and perception. But we can "retrofit" that perspective back down the phylogenetic scale through evolution. Those nervous systems that had a higher percentage of predictive capability in conjunction with organismic and species needs "survived". Evolution favors an efficient modeling and predictive capability. "Science" (to know [not in the traditional philosophical sense that knowledge entails truth]) "began" far down the phylogenetic scale with the first nervous systems capable of learning. Man's science is recorded back in ancient Greek times, but was largely lost, principally due to the influence of the church, during the dark ages until Roger Bacon wrote into the time-binding record: In 1268, in Opus Miaus:

There are two modes of knowledge, through argument and experience. "Argument" brings conclusions and compels us to concede them, but it does not cause certainty nor remove doubt in order that the mind may remain at rest in truth, unless this is provided by experience.
Francis Bacon (1561-1626), however, seems to get more citations for introducing the empirical approach.

Author: Ralph E. Kenyon, Jr. (diogenes) Wednesday, October 3, 2007 - 09:29 pm Link to this messageView profile or send e-mail

Thomas wrote "Would you say that [a belief in "constant change"] belongs in GS or in Physics? Seems to me that is the view of modern physics and Korzybski just used that to build his work on." about my 1993 paper.

By the truth table for "OR" the answer is a simple "yes".

"True" physics has no beliefs. Now-a-days physics has conditionally held models that have not yet been disconfirmed. Failure to fail does not confirm; it merely adds to the time-binding record of instances of not yet failing.

"Science" holds conditinally models that have not yet been disconfirmed.
We "believe in that which we do not yet know how to test or which is in principle not testable.

The claim that all things continually change is in principle not testable, because there will always be untested future possibilities, consequently it is a "belief". And, since it is frequently cited or stated in general semantics circles, it is safe to say that general semantics believes in continual change. If we are to be precise, then we should stick to describing it as holding a not yet disconfirmed model.

Author: Ralph E. Kenyon, Jr. (diogenes) Thursday, October 4, 2007 - 09:07 am Link to this messageView profile or send e-mail

Yes. Assumptions "are not" beliefs, although beliefs "are" assumptions. ("Is" of class inclusion.)

Assumptions are made with respoct to both things that can be tested and that cannot be tested.

Strictly speaking, "beliefs" refer to assumptions that (1) cannot in principle be tested (2) we hold to be "true" in the sense that we act accordingly, (3) we are likely to argue strongly for and defend, (4) and more, as this would qualify as a "concept by intuition".

Physics has assumptions, and some physicists "believe" these assumptions to be "true".

"Assuming" that the laws of physics appear the same to all observers produces the mathematics of relativity by giving us a term that we can set to zero after applying transformation equations. If we do not assume this, then we would need to specify some alternative. Some of these, I presume, have already been disconfirmed, but there are likely many more ways that one could deviate from "appearing" "the same" (within the level of uncertainty of our instrumentation system). We can not prove the assumption mathematically, because it is a map statement about territory, and, as such, is subject only to empirical corroboration. I accept this assumption as part of the current model, but I have no way to "know" if it is actually "true" or not.

It's not a "belief" (for me), because my response to anyone who says different is, "Ok, how do we test that?". For me, its represents the current state of physics according to the time-binding record. I will act on it, and in so doing, continually test it. Corroboration for it, however, is strong, so my "risk" is correspondingly weak.

If you like to use a weaker or softer definition or distinction with respect to "assumption" and "belief", no problem. It's allowed by multi-meaning of the third kind, but we would be talking about different things.

Author: Ralph E. Kenyon, Jr. (diogenes) Friday, October 5, 2007 - 01:28 pm Link to this messageView profile or send e-mail

Yes, David,
The word 'belief' gets learned and understood as a concept by intuition rather than as a concept by postulation. That "means" that there are likely many subtle variations as well as a number of varying "dictionary definitions" for the word.

Milton, many of our neurons fire in an all-or-none fashion. This implements the capability of binary distinctinctions. It terms of our ability to perceive, we can notice or not notice a difference that gets implemented somewhere in the brain as a neuron firing or not firing.

We can observe the absence of change, but this is a map, and it is not the same as "detecting no change". "Detecting no change" is currently understood as "impossible" in the light of the Heisenburg uncertainty principle. We simply cannot know if or how much change may or may not have happened below the thereshold of our detection ability. You rightly note that you must "assume" no change when you do not detect change, but that is no longer strictly an observation; it is an (untestable) assumption in the context of the postulates and their consequences of our current model of physiscs.

We can detect change, but we cannot detect "no change". We can "observe" no change, but that observation is in our objective and verbal maps, not to be identified with that which those are abstractions from.

General semantics: I did not see a change. (epistemological)
Not general semantics: There was no change. (metaphysical)

We can of course, assume and act as if there were no change, and this frequently does not get us into trouble, so the inferential second-order-abstraction map "infer no change" was not disconfirmed. But that only means that if there was change, it was not enough of a difference to make a difference to our actions when we tested our second order (inferential) map by acting on it.

Author: Ralph E. Kenyon, Jr. (diogenes) Friday, October 5, 2007 - 05:39 pm Link to this messageView profile or send e-mail

Thomas, have you noticed the frequence with which I do NOT use acronyms?

David, A "concept by postulation" is one that is stated in which a word is completely defined by the predicate. Examples come principly from mathematics, hence the use of the word 'postulate'.

A function f is continuous at a point a if and only if for every epsilon greater than zero there is a delta greater than zero such than for every x such that |x-a|<epsilon, |f(x)-f(a)|<delta.

[There are mathematically equivalent definitions with slightly different wording.]

"Continuous" (at a point) is thus a concept by postulation, because every condition is included (if) and nothing is left out (only if). Concepts by intuition are learned ambigously by abstraction from examples - examples which may include just words or words and non-verbal instances labeled with the concept word.

Author: Ralph E. Kenyon, Jr. (diogenes) Saturday, October 6, 2007 - 10:27 am Link to this messageView profile or send e-mail

I do not consider "concepts" as "instances" at the object level in any way shape or form. Object level responses get abstracted further into concepts as a way of organizing collections of instances. As such, they are higher levels of abstraction than "object". When we sense many objects (object level) and we abstract from those an experience we further lable as "blue", we have gone beyond the object level into higher, though still non-verbal, levels of abstraction. To equate a "concept" of any kind as an "instance" of an object level experience, I believe is to identify levels of abstraction.

We can say that we interpret an instance of something as having the abstractable characteristic we label as blue as representing an example of something that illustrates what we mean when we say something "is" blue.

When we "point" (physically or figuratively) to many different instances that we abstract a concept by intuition from, and we provide some verbalizations to go along with each "pointing", it become the operation of the respondent's abstracting process that creates his or her "intuition" and instantiation that he subsequently can apply the verbalizatinos in the presence of.

If we show a person many things we call blue, and they all just happen to share some other characteristic, the risk is that the other characteristic may be picked up by the other person as that to which to apply the term 'blue'. The risk is much higher with instances that do not involve something physically shown. Examples incude lots of abstract words: consciousness, pain, "black hole", etc. Pain? But that's not abstract, you argue? Well, no one can experience another's pain any more than another's experience of 'blue'. We cannot "show" it directly in the manner that we can hold up a blue dot.

We can suggest that an instance of an object stands as an example for abstracting to the concept. But in virtually all cases an instance of an object may also be abstracted to some different concept.

Hence the expression, "You need a finger to point at the moon, but woe to he who takes the finger for the moon."

But your classification examples do illustrate the diffence between concepts by intuition and concepts by postulate, provided they are not "identified" as instances of "objects".

Author: Ralph E. Kenyon, Jr. (diogenes) Saturday, October 6, 2007 - 11:24 am Link to this messageView profile or send e-mail

We heretofore don't have "formulation by intuition" or "formulation by postulation".

A "formulation" is made up of words, spoken or written. As such they do not get represented on the structural differential at the object level.

When one hears a formulation, one has an object level experience of sounds, but that is very quickly identified at verbal level abstraction from that prior object level expience to verbal levels.

It matters not whether the formulation includes words that name concepts by intuition or concepts by postulation. We experience "sounds" at the object level, and we subsequently nearly instantaneoulsy "identify" those sounds as "words" that evoke semantic reactions including the embodyment of our concepts. The process is so instantaneous that we are barely aware of the sounds, at least in the case of those of us with good hearing and without hearing disabilities. They are brought to our level of consciousness in noisy environments, where the ability to abstract to the "meanings" of the sounds as words is impaired.

The original structural differential is inadequate for the purpose of locating neurological instantiation of concepts. For that we need to use some of the later revision proposals, particularly one that shows a non-verbal level of abstraction between the immediate object level and verbal levels.

Perhaps you may argue that I use 'object' level in too limited a fashion. I use it as the immediate neurological representation of sensory data, prior to more abstract processing. Think of it as the "object" projected by a lens in the imaging process. A semantic reaction follows the object, in which prior associations are brought forth into which to abstract from the object. In the case of reading and hearing words, the process in nearly instantaneous, covering multiple levels of abstracting.

We go from event to object to semantic reactions (including evocation of concepts) to verbal.

Concepts, including non-verbal, are more abstract than objects.

Formulations are more abstract than concepts, though they may represent concepts (mapped to words). But formulations are also more concrete than concepts because they are emitted externally and can be shown directly.

Author: Ralph E. Kenyon, Jr. (diogenes) Saturday, October 6, 2007 - 12:08 pm Link to this messageView profile or send e-mail

The original structural differential does not differentiate among immediate objects and higher non-verbal levels of abstracting.

It is inadequate for the purpose of locating neurological instantiation of concepts as distinct from immediate "objects". For that we need to use some of the later revision proposals, particularly one that shows a non-verbal level of abstraction between the immediate object level and verbal levels. example I use the term 'object' for II and "semantic reaction" for III. Both of which fall into the "circle" on the original structural differential.

Author: Ralph E. Kenyon, Jr. (diogenes) Saturday, October 6, 2007 - 07:41 pm Link to this messageView profile or send e-mail

It has been often said here that a "concept" exists in brains.

I would say that a "concept" is instantiated in individual brains, and in each case, uniquely so.

I would also say that that a formulation expresses a concept.

In the case of a concept by intuition, there is usually considerable variation in the formulations as different brains express it verbally with different formulations. Although we agree, most of the time, to the "name" of a concept, we do not agree as much as to how it may be formulated or what instances fall under the name.

In the case of a concept by intuition, there is no variation in the formulation, as such a "concept" is defined by the formulation. (This does not mean that there are not formulations that can be proved equivalent by mathematical or logical deduction. Such proof depends mostly on other formulations of other concepts by postulation.)

Author: Ralph E. Kenyon, Jr. (diogenes) Saturday, October 6, 2007 - 09:12 pm Link to this messageView profile or send e-mail

Oops... My bad. You are right. The second instance should definitely be "concept by postulation".

Trying to get an answer in while guests are about.

Author: Ralph E. Kenyon, Jr. (diogenes) Sunday, October 7, 2007 - 07:36 am Link to this messageView profile or send e-mail

David wrote, It seems that in concept by intuition, the instantiation of concept precedes symbolic formulation, where in concept by postulation the symbolic formulation precedes the instantiation of concept.

I dont think this distinction matches up in quite this way. I wouuld think that for concepts by postulation it is largely true, but as a mathematician by training, I had some notion of continuity of a fuction simply by applying my prior experience with the word continuity prior to my having been exposed to the formal definition, and I could see how the formal definition squared with my "intuition". In this case a "concept by intuition" was transformed into a "concept by postulation" by learning the precise formulation after the fact.

When it comes to concepts by intuition, however, I think the vast majority of them begin to be acquired from two primary sources, inferred from the context while reading for words that we do not bother to look up in a dictionary and a verbal formulation given by a dictionary or another person. We accumulate concepts by intuition in our early development through the repeated association of events with names, and the events can be hearing another use the word or phrase that names the concept, having another tell us something about the concept named by the word or phrase, and through class room or other training where we are given concepts by intuition though definition and descriptions. I would suggest that such "definitions" in the "hard" science have a higher percentage of concepts by postulation, whereas in the "soft" sciences the percentage of concepts by intuition is much more prevalent. Examples "id", "ego", "superego" from psychology. "You name it" ecconomics. From common language, how about political parties and practices? "Conservative", "liberal", "democrat", etc.

I do not think that whether or not a formulation is heard first correlates strongly with the distinction, let alone qualifies as a distingishing characteristic.

Author: Ralph E. Kenyon, Jr. (diogenes) Sunday, October 7, 2007 - 11:19 am Link to this messageView profile or send e-mail

Once we start using "concept by intuition" and "concept by postulation" as a springboard to dive into "x by intuition" and "X by postulation" we are creating new distinctions only related metaphorically to the original distiction, and only careful analysis will show if there is a close correlation for any new distinction and the orgininal one. I've shown that two of them do not correlate. This newest one wont correlate either. I see each of these as distinct distinctions, each of which cuts up the universe of experience differently.

Concepts by ...
Formulations by ...
and now
Images by ...

For me "images" are distinct from "concepts", and the pair-wise distinctions do not correlate.

We can invent a whole new universe of discourse focused on by simply applying the classifiers "X by intuition" and "X by postulation".

"Postulation" in Northrop's usage comes from the notion of mathematical or logical postulates - which I would relate to a-priori philosohpy. These are strictly intensional approaches.

As I have noted elsewhere, the "intensional" is the province of formal mathematics and logic. Its utility comes from the ability to reliably derive consequences from starting assumptions.

On the other hand, the "extensional" is the province of empirical science and direct observation. It's "utility" is what works (pun intended).

We merge these to by building theories to explain our observations, using the intensional logic and mathematics to derive predictions from the hypothetical theories, and using the principle of modus tolens from logic to disconfirm the theory. Any theory that is not disconfirmed may continue to be used until such time as it is disconfirmed. Then it is sane to revise it, unsane to ignore the failure.

A postulate is an intensional definition or assertion that completely specifies its properties. If we apply that to observation, then we abstract characteristics and match them up with the properties.

In the case of mathematics, all properties exactly match the characteristics.
In the case of empiricism, however, the characteristics that are matched up to the properties are not all the characteristics that can be abstracted (the map covers not all the territory). Consequently, we can "never" be "sure" that our "theory" "is" "true". (Hmmm... lots of scare quotes. ???)

Why not a new thread? "How many ways can we apply the abstract template (X by intuition vs X by postulation) abstracted from Northrop? Do any of the correlate strongly? (For somebody else more interested in persuing such a digression.)

Author: Ralph E. Kenyon, Jr. (diogenes) Sunday, October 7, 2007 - 12:36 pm Link to this messageView profile or send e-mail

I am reminded of the policy that was in force by the Institute of General Semantics back in the days when it was run by Kendig. The use of the term 'concept' was eschewed in favor of either 'formulation' or 'notion', with 'formulation' being much preferred. This shows a strong extensional orientation; we can see the words that were written in the time-binding record. See my A Notion of Concept written after some discussion on the subject. In the same vein, Bob Pula, when he was running formulation sessions at Institute of General Semantics Summer Laboratory-workshop seminars frequently chastized us to speak of "formulations" rather than of "concepts". It extensionally directs our attention to the words spoken or written.

I am reminded of this extensional orientation when I read Aristotle and encounter the translation that reads "X is said in many ways". I revise that to "X is written in many ways". Aristotle is interested in "meaning" from the point of view of what the different usages "refer" to, because he seeks to describe the metaphysics - the structure he "sees" and attributes (automatically and unconsciously) to what is going on. But we can use the formulation "X is written in many ways" -> "X is used in many different contexts" -> and abstract to "X has different dictionary definitions (formulations)". We can revise any one (dictionary definition) and use X in our own new context differently than it was ever used before. But through time-binding we can go back and look at what was written as well as ask the author to reformulate it.

Presumably from "what is going on" we abstract an immediate "object" or sensory image (visual, tactil, auditory, etc., which evokes an initial (non-verbal) semantic reaction by stimulating the recall of similar experiences together with the memory of how we felt, what we did, and the value to us of any resulting circumstances, in an ongoing cyle of continuous sense, image, recall, react. We further abstract these churning sensory impressions and recalled experiences together with our current need situation and predict what we will experience as a result of our actions. At any time in this ongoing process wa may further abstract into verbal levels to label, and describe what we are experiencing. We may apply unconscious and conscious methods of inference to draw conclusions and make value judgements at even higher levels of verbal abstraction.

Unfortunately, the structural differential does not present all these distinctions as separate visual items. All non-verbal processes are lumped together in one circle labeled the "object level".

Author: Ralph E. Kenyon, Jr. (diogenes) Monday, October 8, 2007 - 11:56 am Link to this messageView profile or send e-mail

David wrote Me: It seems to me that you are adding a new definition to the normal GS definition of 'intensional'. Would you say that that is true? How does that relate to 'intensional definitions' of 'words' for which all properties do not match the characteristics? I am speaking of words representing high-level abstractions such as 'freedom', 'love', 'honor' etc..

Or have I just completely missed the point of what you are saying.?

I'm not adding a new definition. Pehaps I should reformulate as: The "intensional" inculdes the province of formal mathematics and logic. The utility of formal mathematics and logic comes from the ability to reliably derive [consistent] consequences from starting assumptions.gslogic.gif

Postulates are a special case of intensional definitions. An intensional definition defines a word in terms of other words. The result depends on the nature of the words used in the definition.

In mathematics and logic, the words used in the definition must be well-defined in terms of other well defined words or undefined terms and relations. In the case of words that are "ill-defined", such as most "concepts by intuition", we have a propagation and multiplication of the uncertainty involved in intuitively "defined" words.

So I divide "intensional" into the kind we need in sane reasoning - strict mathematical and logical usages involving only valid rules of inference, based on well defined "concepts by postulation" which include both "objects" and relations. The other kind, what's left, involve those ill-defined "concepts by intuition" which can have many different formulations often with no apparent relation among them, sometimes as many "definitions" as there are people at any given moment. Ask anyone what "love" is and you will get a different answer (formulation) most of the time; these are all idiosyncratic "intensional" definitions - which fall into the class that cannot be shown by any formal logic or mathematics to be equivalent.

I note that successful navigation involves two parts. Abstracting from experiences to build maps (extensional process) and using logic and mathematics to predict future experiences derived from the map using only valid rules of mathematical and logical inference (intensional process restricted to sane reasoning). These two parts are integrated by the process of using the map's predictions, being alert for prediction failures, abstracting more from prediction failures and the failed map, and using the differences detected to revise the map prior to next use in prediction - and continuing this cycle as long as we live.

So, I'm not adding a new definition, I'm distinguishing among applications of intensional to differentiate between those to which sane reasoning may be applied and those where it cannot effectively be applied.

There are those who eschew any use or application of the "intensional"; this is a misguided naive view not consistent with Korzybski continued extolling of the virtues of mathematics and his advocating the use of "sane" (as opposed to "unsane") reasoning. Among the mathematically naive and the mathphobic adherents of general semantics is the notion that any use of intensional is "bad"; this is just plain wrong. The whole idea of testing to disconfirm theories is the using of modus tolens with a failed prediction to indicate a need to revise the theory. The use of modus tolens is "intensional" (pun intened).

Not all adhenerents are so mathematically naive, but enough are to warrent discussing the issue. Moreover, new adherents tend, it seems to me, to go through a phase where they, among other naive actions, eschew any "intensional" activity as evidence of the horribly feared "intensional orientation".

Author: Ralph E. Kenyon, Jr. (diogenes) Tuesday, October 9, 2007 - 03:13 pm Link to this messageView profile or send e-mail

Hi Vilmart,
Firstly, the ESGS article is very poorly written. The forth bullet should not be a bullet in the list of example intensional definitions; it is an introduction to the next topic. The use of "etc." in a definition automatically turns it from extensional to intensional, because the referents of 'etc.' are left up to the intuition of the reader, even for such "obvious" examples as the even number. A precise example would be

The set of even prime numbers is {2}.

My living siblings are {Sherry, Michael, and Rosanne}.

"Extensional orientation" is an abstract notion - a concept by intuition that can only be defined intensionally. That in itself make such a thing an oxymoron. The "extensional" is defined by the "intensional". Whoa, what a Zen Knot.

Part of what is being described as "extensional orientation" is the beginning of empiricism; the Ancient Greeks said that every hypothesis must 'save the appearances'.

I personally characterize "extensional orientation" is a readiness to "move" from the more abstract to lower levels of abstraction, as in let's get down to basics - to the original facts - to our interpretation of the events - to describe the events without bias. Give examples.

The pragmatist asks, "What do you want (out of this).", instead of discussing "what it is".

About Principia Mathematica... The project is known in the philosophy of mathematic as Logicism, and has since shown to be incomplete by Gödel. From a general semantics perspective, Russell's theory of types results in an ever ascending hierarchy which corresponds directly to Korzybski's levels of abstraction. Levels of abstraction are a metaphorical application of the theory of types to "ordinary language", and Korzybski gives us that with the caveat that we should learn and use the proper rules of inferencing so as to use only "sane" reasoning for our abstracting. Since we don't control the unconscious abstracting of the brain, we have to use consistency checking and "extensional orientation" together with the extensional devices to override any "signal reactions" with sanely reasoned symbol responses.

The "Aristotelian system", used properly, is simply one limited subset of the methods of valid reasoning that insures conclusions consistent with hypothesis. It is the use of the Aristotelian modus tolens that enables us to use a prediction failure to disconfirm a hypothesis.

Denying the validity of the disconfirmation and insisting on continuing to use the disconfirmed hypothesis would be an example of "intensional orientation". "Extensional orientation" would dictate that we immediately discontinue use and revise the offending hypothesis.

Author: Ralph E. Kenyon, Jr. (diogenes) Friday, October 12, 2007 - 11:21 pm Link to this messageView profile or send e-mail

All four of the terms specified above refer to hypothetical brain functions organized modularly for the purpose one of the models described by the article. Note the phrase "(inner speech)".

The uses of these four terms varies significantly with our general semantics use of "formulation" - words already spoken or written and - "concept" presumed to be a representaton of a relative invariance (for each person) represented as stored in memory.

See page 6 for a diagram. A search of several documents suggested that the "conceptualizer" represents our non-verbal pre-processing, and appears a trifle "homuncular". All the "good parts" of "thinking" are left in this "mysterious" "conceptualizer". Once a person has an intention to speak, the "conceptualizer" goes to work feeding other parts of the model that eventually results in muscular movements coordinated to produce sound or writing (beyond the scope of the article).

Intent or purpose
has to be shaped
into "concepts"
that dictate the
selecting words
arranging syntax
preparing the sequence
transformed by the articulator
(monitored by the conceptualizer)
The articulator eventually controls
the muscles that produce the final output.
but the "monitor" examines the proposed muscle movements
and converts them back into "fodder" for
the "comprehension" system as feedback to the conceptualizer.

(So as to compare what I'm about to say to my intent to see if these words will do the job.)

(L1 = Primary language, L2 = Second language)

Interesting model covering a number of stages of "abstracting" with feedback that could be used to extend the structural differential showing some output processing sub-levels within that "all encompassing" "object" circle. Note, the referenced article is about "language production", not about input and understanding, so it is only a very small part of the process.

Author: Ralph E. Kenyon, Jr. (diogenes) Saturday, October 13, 2007 - 10:49 am Link to this messageView profile or send e-mail

I think that suggesting that the conceptualizer "determines what to say" is putting the cart before the horse (putting the cart before the "horse and cart"). "What to say" gets created by the entire production system, not just one part of it. That's the purpose of the whole model; to provide a hypothetical process for modeling the production of what to say, not just one part carries this responsibility.

The model states "The intention to speak activates the conceptualizer". We have to back up and ask what drives or preceeds the "intention" to speak. I stipulate that it involves the current "state" of the body, the immediate "state" of the desires or directions preceeding, the motivations and needs of the person, etc.

The activation of the conceptualizer begins the processes of seeing what available concepts can drive the creation of something to say that relates to the current state of needs and motives. I would characterize this process as "abstracting" from states and needs, including historically recent memory" into a level of nonverbal representation of various concepts, bringing to the surface by the "auto-respondnig" process described in On Intelligence concepts more related to the "territory" of this level of mapping. Once some of these "concepts" are activate/formed/recalled, the formulator processes them as its territory, mapping through auto-responding words, grammar, syntax, etc, to possible syntax and candidate formulations to create the next level map. This serves as the territory of the articulator, which translates these into potential commands to the vocalization hardware, but they are still at the level of the "interiorized imitaton of language", "sub-vocalization", "words in the head", etc., having not yet been actually emitted.

The model has an undescribed "interpreter" taking the output of the formulator as inputs and providing feedback to evaluate the effacy of the propose formulation.

"The monitor system provides a direct link from the production system to the comprehension system and thus allows the speaker to evaluate the output of the formulator (inner speech)." [emphasis mine] from citation above.
The "production system" is all four parts described, but the monitor takes the output of the formulator specifically.

I'm inclined to think that this modularizing in the model may be more structurally articulated than the neurological implementation, in that I'm inclined to think of "monitoring" as simultaneously abstracting from all three of the other component "functions".

But the modeling in terms of articulated parts gives us a way of breaking the process down into subordinate functions.

We can see the buildings projected by a hologram, but we cannot take apart the recorded light patterns on the film in the same way.

The adavantage of continuous auto-responding memory is that it short-circuits the sequential processing time.

Author: Ralph E. Kenyon, Jr. (diogenes) Sunday, October 14, 2007 - 12:13 am Link to this messageView profile or send e-mail

David, If "what to say" is words, they are not formulated by the conceptualizer; they are formulated by the formulator function. The system does not have "what to say" until they have been formulated.

The system has needs and desires that must be shaped non-lexically by the conceptualizer.

Only when the formulator processes these non-lexical conceptual representations do these non-lexical structures create something else shaped into a formulation thus creating "what to say". One cannot "say" non-lexical items, so they are not yet "what can be said".

Author: Ralph E. Kenyon, Jr. (diogenes) Sunday, October 14, 2007 - 09:30 am Link to this messageView profile or send e-mail

David, Perhaps, but then you use "to say", and "to say" can only refer to utterances - words and grunts, etc.

That which can be "said" are only sounds, usually words, but sometimes grunts, screams, etc., but even those extensions are "pushing" the normal usage for "say".

If you used the words "express" or "formulate", these would not have the more specific connotation of "say".

What to formulate - input of formulator=output of conceptualizer.
How to formulate it - output of formulator
How to phrase it - output of formulator.

The process starts with the person having an intent to communicate. As I indincated above that is shaped by the persons needs and desires at the moment in conjunction with his or her current recent history.

It is therefore reasonable to assume that the production system begins with the communicator already having established What to communicate. The production system is then concerned with how to get that amorphous and relatively unformed "thought", "idea", "notion", "desire", "will", etc., out. Let's call it What to communicate.

In parallel construction format:

Level 1: The Conceptualizer function addresses how to structure What to communicate.
Level 2: The Formulator function addresses how to phrase What to communicate.
Level 3: The Articulator function addresses how speak What to communicate.
Level 4: The Monitor function addresses how check What to communicate (by providing feedback to the level 0 "intent" area through the processes that understand words using the output of the formulator function.

(For stray readers, recall that all this applies to the model, as per mine and Nora's caution that the model [map] is not the brains workings [territory].)

We must be clear that "what [intent] to say [words]" is not known prior to the operation of the production system to produce it. A general non-specific need/desire to communicate in order to effect a change of some sort in the environment (even if only in the listener's mind) has come into existence in the motivation of the entity, and this drives his or her production of speech.

Author: Ralph E. Kenyon, Jr. (diogenes) Sunday, October 14, 2007 - 08:51 pm Link to this messageView profile or send e-mail


Yes "talk about" would be better here, than "communicate", since, for this situation, "communicate" is more general than necessary.

But sometimes, we do "communicate" using words without talking about our "real" intent, purpose, or need.

Author: Ralph E. Kenyon, Jr. (diogenes) Tuesday, October 16, 2007 - 07:28 pm Link to this messageView profile or send e-mail

Yep. In spite of the qualifier: (this constitutes an intensional definition of "extensional definition").

1. "Intensional definition" cannot be defined "extensionally", because it is not possible to list all intensional definitions.
2. Adding "etc." to a list removes the possibility of a fully extensional definition. A fully extensional definition lists all instances to which the definition applies.
Adding "etc" where the meaning is commonly understood in a unique way produces an "ostensive definition

Example of an extensional definition: The decimal digits are defined as '0', '1', '2', '3', '4', '5', '6', '7', '8', & '9'.

Example of an ostensive definition: The even numbers are '2', '4', '6', '8', '10', '12', '14', '16', '18', etc.

Both statements begining "the paragraph above" are false. Neither refers to an 'extensional definition', because neither lists "all" definitions in the respective class.

While the authors may have thought it desirable to be "as extensional as possible" in keeping with the general semantics dictate to "exhibit an extensional orientation" and provide low level examples as much as possible, by simply presenting examples and attempting to "define" using only examples, they really messed it up.

My suggestion?

Give a paragraph header for each set of examples that "intensionally" defines the concept, and follow that with precisely correct paradigm case examples.

An intensional definition defines a word or concept in terms of other words or concepts.
1. A bachelor is an unmarried man
2. Man is a featherless biped
3. Even numbers are numbers evenly divisible by 2.

An extensional definition lists all examples in the extension of a term.
1. Even prime number is '2'.
2. Binary digits are '0' and '1'.
3. The G7 consists of the United Kingdom, the United States, France, Canada, Italy, Japan and Germany.

Author: Ralph E. Kenyon, Jr. (diogenes) Wednesday, October 17, 2007 - 07:15 am Link to this messageView profile or send e-mail

Natural numbers: N = {x such that x=1 or (IF y is in N THEN y+1 is in N) }. This definition uses neither etc. nor elipsis.

Author: Ralph E. Kenyon, Jr. (diogenes) Wednesday, October 17, 2007 - 07:46 am Link to this messageView profile or send e-mail

Not "my" definitions, definitions in the time-binding record:

define: "extensional definition: "An extensional definition of a concept or term formulates its meaning by specifying its extension, that is, every object that falls under the definition of the concept or term in question" [emphasis mine].

define: Ostensive definition: "An ostensive definition conveys the meaning of a term by pointing out examples."

Wittgenstein rejects the idea that ostensive definitions can provide us with the meaning of a word. For Wittgenstein, the thing that the word stands for does not give the meaning of the word. Wittgenstein argues for this making a series of moves to show that to understand an ostensive definition presupposes an understanding of the way the word being defined is used.[8] So, for instance, there is no difference between pointing to a piece of paper, to its colour, or to its shape; but understanding the difference is crucial to using the paper in an ostensive definition of a shape or of a colour. Philosophical Investigations

Author: Ralph E. Kenyon, Jr. (diogenes) Wednesday, October 17, 2007 - 08:34 am Link to this messageView profile or send e-mail

Gary wrote, to remind us of the abstracting process. The SD

Perhaps the institute should commission the manufacture and sale of jewelry in the form of a necklass with a structural differential pendant, or a lapel pin. Then we can wear our general semantics icon just like the Christians wear crosses, or the Legionaire's wear lapel pins, proudly displaying our affilliation, and allowing "infidels" to see and question our "icons".

Author: Ralph E. Kenyon, Jr. (diogenes) Wednesday, October 17, 2007 - 10:05 am Link to this messageView profile or send e-mail

My structural differential jewelry suggestion was not sarcasm. It was partly tongue in cheek, partly serious. If it serves as a reminder to "practice" general semantics, it would function just like a lot of religious icons, such as rosary beads for prayer, crosses to identify and remind one of one's obligation, as well as as a visual indicator of "membership" in the class. We have "air quotes" as a gesture. Instead of a "worry stone", carry an icon the physical presence of which acts as a reminder.

We can't carry the wall chart with us all the time.

Author: Ralph E. Kenyon, Jr. (diogenes) Wednesday, October 17, 2007 - 10:23 am Link to this messageView profile or send e-mail

Thomas wrote, Never seen that before, kind of weird. How do you know y is in N in the first place?

My post provides a formal recursive definition based on mathematical induction. (Mathematical "induction" is strictly deductive.)

The IF ... THEN ... construct dictates that you start with one that is known to be in the set.

That means begin with '1' which is specified explicitly to be in the set.
Let y=1. Apply the rule: IF 1 is in the set then 1+1=2 is in the set. Now you have 2.
Let y=2. Apply the rule: IF 2 is in the set then 2+1=3 is in the set. Now you have 3.

You may continue in this fashion until you get to or past any number you pick for y. This generates the members of the set, and it bypasses numbers (such as decimals) that are not in the set. If it hits your candidate number, it validates it being in the set; if it passes your candidate number, it confirms that it is not in the set.

Add 1 to 1 and get 2, thus bypassing 1.5, so 1.5 is not in the set, because every successive number is generated by adding 1, and hence is bigger than 2, which is bigger than 1.5.

Author: Ralph E. Kenyon, Jr. (diogenes) Wednesday, October 17, 2007 - 11:28 am Link to this messageView profile or send e-mail

Vilmart wrote Well, an article on Wikipedia doesn't constitute the time-binding record in its whole. I am pretty sure that you wrote this article on wikipedia yourself. Would you acknowledge that ??

Not true. Anything I wrote in Wikipedia is clearly identified with my user id "Xenodochy".

Wikipedia articles represent abstractions from the time-binding record, similar to, but more extensive than dictionary definitions, but like any other map they may also contain errors. But with "everybody" capable of participating, errors get corrected, and too frequent corrections result in the creation of dispute pages.

I would not consider the ESSG a "safer" record, because it has been under the dictatorial control of one person. Wikipedia has a review board and process that supports error correction, concensus, and a dispute resolution process.

No, the words were not inverted in "The use of 'etc.' in a definition automatically turns it from extensional to intensional." It was a separate reason for my judgement; as such I could have started a new paragraph with it.

Etc. is advocated as an extensional device, because we cannot say everything about anything. It is "extensional" because it is explicitly written rather than omitted. It is extensional because its presence reminds ourselves that there is more that could be said, and it reminds the reader of the same thing. The "same" is true of "scare quotes" and the hyphen. The actual physical presence of these devices in use is what makes them extensional. They "extend" the ordinary meaning (pun intende) of the useage that omits them, 'etc.' by reminding us that there is more, "quotes" by reminding us of difference, and hypens by reminding us of elementalisms.

If you regularly use the "extensional devices" you will have "extended" your consciousness of abstraction to use "the map covers not all the territory" (etc.), "the map reflects the map maker" (quotes), and "the map is not the territory" (hyphens).

Author: Ralph E. Kenyon, Jr. (diogenes) Wednesday, October 17, 2007 - 01:16 pm Link to this messageView profile or send e-mail

I should have defined it as: N = {x such that x=1 or (IF x is in N THEN x+1 is in N) }. natural.gif