IGS Discussion Forums: Learning GS Topics: Three Umpires
Author: Ralph E. Kenyon, Jr. (diogenes) Tuesday, June 12, 2007 - 12:34 am Link to this messageView profile or send e-mail

#3 represents the fact that we experience a map of the world, the map is not the territory, and we can only know our map, but we cannot "know" the territory. We build a map and we project it onto what is going on. Since everybody has their own map, what they see is assumed to be relative compared to others. Unfortunately, we have no way of directly comparing our internal map to anybody else's internal map. When we try, we are actually comparing our map of what we infer is their map (our map of their map) to our own map, and we have to build our map of the other person's map by that incredibly unreliable process called communication.

The so-called "non-Newtonian" physics, which includes Einstein's theories, is based on the assumption that the laws of physics must "look the same" to all observers.

The second umpire can be a very solid "realist" who thinks the view varies with the perspective, but that there is still stuff out there independent of observers - like the blind men and the elephant story.

Don't forget, however, "flying fast and loose with terminology".

Anything expressed that abstractly is open to a great deal of interpretation, too.

Author: Ralph E. Kenyon, Jr. (diogenes) Tuesday, June 12, 2007 - 04:30 pm Link to this messageView profile or send e-mail

One is free to believe anything that cannot be proved or disproved, anything for which there is no evident in favor of or contrary to. It's also true in logic that an axiom that is independent of other axioms can be added to a system of axioms without introducting an inconsistence. As an example we have the fifth postutlate of geometry. It is independent of the other four, so it can be assumed in a variety of forms, each of which leads to a different geometry. Euclid's fifth postulate (axiom) produces flat space. Change the form of the postulate and you get various curved spaces. Each one is internally consistent, but you cannot choose more that one at the same time. "People used to believe the world was flat; now they believe it is curved (round), and parallel lines on the surface of the earth always meet at opposite poles, no matter how you rotate them, because a "straight" line the shortest distance between two points is always a segment of a great circle and great circles on a sphere always intersect.

So believing that there is stuff out there is something that we cannot prove, because it always boils down to a matter of how we know, and we know that we only know by abstraction, so what we know is our maps, not the territory. Everybody can have different maps, and the map is not the territory, so we know about maps, and we like to think, many believe, that the territory "is" (structurally similar) to our maps. But we cannot get out of our maps. For practical purposes we just assume that the territory is "strongly like" our maps, and we act accordingly; we "identify" our maps with the territory, treating them as if we do know the territory.

The scientific method allows us to build and test maps. Physics is about what we can say about the world, not what the world is like. (reference provided in an earlier thread).

Strictly applied, the scientific method allows us to make observation statements, weave from these theories that predict other observation statements, perform the indicated actions, and assign "true" or "false" to observation statements. It is only through identification of our statements with what is going on that we make a bridge from our language to "stuff out there", but we really don't know that there is any particular "stuff". To paraphrase that well known expression "stuff happens". But how would we know that without some observer saying so? If only to him(her)self?

I think general semantics (you'll notice that I never abreviate or capitalize it) takes us all the way to #3. But belief that there is stuff out there independent of all observers is a prerequisite for #1. You can't call them the way they is unless there is a fact of the matter independent of observers. And you can't call them the way you see them unless there is a fact of the matter independent of perspective. Unless, perhaps, it is something like N-rays which some saw and some did not, in spite of the fact that later theory proved they were imaginary.

In the act of calling them, we project the called structure onto what's going on. Others can call it differently. Then we have a perspective variance based on calling, not based on relative position from an independent event.

Author: Ralph E. Kenyon, Jr. (diogenes) Tuesday, June 12, 2007 - 10:36 pm Link to this messageView profile or send e-mail

There is no quantum world. There is only an abstract physical description. It is wrong to think that the task of physics is to find out how nature is. Physics concerns what we can say about nature.
Aage Petersen paraphrasing Niels Bohr, Quantum Reality by Nick Herbert.
Speaking of building and testing maps, see Note 1, and for comparison, see Strange Rites;

Author: Ralph E. Kenyon, Jr. (diogenes) Wednesday, June 13, 2007 - 12:00 pm Link to this messageView profile or send e-mail

That is not my assertion.
My assertion is that we cannot know of any structure in the world. The best we can do is construct models that make predictions of our future experiences. These predictions may come true, in that we abstract that our prediction "came true" or they may be "proved false" in that we abstract the contrary of our prediction.

Metaphysics makes statements about what is.
Epistemology makes statements about what we know.

The history of science has many instances in which practioners said that they now know the structure of the universe, we just have to fill in the details. In every case these models were subsequently proved wrong. As we became sophisticated about the growth of scientific knowledge, as well as about the workings of our nervous systems, we intuited (built an abstractive concept, devised an empirical model, etc.) that our experiences in our brain are maps that are not the territory. Our cognitive maps are built from abstractions that involves both transformations and transductions from one medium and one form into another medium and another form, that it takes place in our brains after the fact of whatever from whence the abstractions are derived. From the models of instruments we "realized" our experiences after the fact, in the brain, different from what is going on out there, into projections which we "experience" as if they were out there. For millennia we "identified" our internal brain experiences with "structure in the environment" believing that we "see" what is "actually there". As our knowledge of the workings of the nervous system grew and our philosophy of science matured with Popper's falsification principle, it became understood that there seems to be a hard and fast distinction between what "is" and what can be known. (The Greeks knew this over twenty-five centuries ago.)

General semantics is not about metaphysics; it is about epistemology. It has been defined at seminars as "modern applied open epistemology".

General semantics (personified) is silent about what is. General semantics describes with the structural differential how we know, but it is very clear that it does not make statements about "existing structure" at the event level. It it is precise in any reference to "the mad dance of electrons" that this is a projection of our most abstract models onto what is going on.

You said, It seems to me that on a low level of abstraction we know that certain actions will lead to certain results,.... Let's reformulate that in epistemological terms without the word 'know'.
On a low level of abstraction, we experienced in the past that certain action lead to certain results, consequently we have a model that predicts that those actions will have "the same" result in the future. We also depend on that model with confidence that we will not be disappointed. When we internalize these experiences at low levels of abstraction our terminology is "conditioned responses", as is the case with the dog. These are neurological connections that take abstraction responses and map them to nerve circuits that initiate actions, some very simple, such as the Pavlovian salivating at the smell of food, some more complex, such as recognizing the unique sound of the family car from a long distance away.

In traditional philosophy the word "know" is treated very strongly. If A "knows" that X, then it is the case that X cannot be false, in other words, knowledge entails truth. Our normal use of the word 'know' is usually quite close to this meaning. The meaning is defined intensionally; it is a concept by postulate.

As I am getting older, I'm becoming aware that some of my "nearly automatic" "conditioned response" aren't working as well as they did. For years I could go to the refrigerator and unerring take the coffee creamer from the spot where I always keep it, but that is not working as well. I have noticed in the last couple of years that the frequency with which I get the orange juice instead of the creamer, or that I open instead of the refrigerator, the cupboard door next to it, has increased enough to flag my consciousness. I have been consciously keeping track, and I now must move slower than before in order to insure that I go to the proper place and that I get the proper item. My conditional/conditioned responses are not as reliable as they were. (I first noticed this trend as a need to apply more concentration during driving, but that's another story.)

My point is that the model I've dependend on for many decades seems to be less robust, indicating that my brain machinery is beginning to function in these areas less well. I don't "know" always exactly where my hand is going, even though I think I'm taking the same actions as in the past; I'm responding in a less reliable manner. My consciousness of abstracting has been taking note of my model making and updating process in conjuction with my own aging, and how it seems to be changing with time. It's more apparent that my brain is an organ which builds a model and project that model, and that model is continually changing.

Non-verbal "knowledge" is, from a general semantics perspective something softer than the traditional "knowledge"; it is a collection of learned responses - conditioned and conditional - that have worked effectively in the past. (We discard those that do not work effectively on a repeated basis.) These models are built by trial and error and honed to a high precision in sports. For me, it's ballroom dancing. But even these are "plagued" by a mechanism that evolution has favored. We change how we do something as a means for testing variations, because this eventually results in discovering more energy effincient behavior, and evolution favors energy effinciency. As I frequently say, creativity involves doing something "different" and discovering that it works better. (But often times doing something different is "just plain wrong", such as in breaking intensional definitions in math, for example.)

So, I'm not saying that there "is" no "structure" in what is going on. I'm saying that we cannot directly know of any such structure; the best we can do is construct a map or model, navigate using that map or model, and update the map or model when it fails to predict. We have enough information to abstract that a great deal of what we project as structures are fairly arbritary, particularly when we have people disgreeing with respect to formulations projecting such structure. In strict theoretical terms, we can not say what structures exist. As a practical matter, we assume that what we experience directly represents a corresponding structure in what is going on, and in doing so we are identifying map and territory, particularly at non-verbal levels, but also often at verbal levels. It's very practical to do so, because it's energy efficient to do so. The quicker I can clobber the prey the more likely my offspring will survive. I simply can't afford to take non-identification time in the energy competitive environment of survival of the efficient. But our precise formal theory - general semantics model - is another story.

Author: Ralph E. Kenyon, Jr. (diogenes) Wednesday, June 13, 2007 - 03:50 pm Link to this messageView profile or send e-mail

These are all metaphorical.
We have not established that "there is actual stuff out there independent of observers"; that was part of the assumption for a realist second umpire. Can the second umpire be non-realist? I think not. He perceives stuff that he assumes is there. As long as we don't confuse that with knowledge, we can be consistent with general semantics, which allows for both realism and anti-realism, as neither is an epistemological perspective; they are metaphysical perspectives, and the "truth" of metphysics is unknowable (according to our best current theories).

Umpire 1 experiences things as they really are. He said so.
Umpire 2 experiences things as he sees them. He said so.
Empire 3 calls his experiences. He said so.

Author: Ralph E. Kenyon, Jr. (diogenes) Friday, August 3, 2007 - 01:10 pm Link to this messageView profile or send e-mail

Let me add to 3 what I omitted.

3. There ain't nothing till I call it, "just a ball thrown".

How would you test a call prior to calling it?
Umpires make the call.

It isn't a "strike" or a "ball" until the umpire calls it, because he (or she) is the one with the authority to make the determination. This judgement is not at the level of objective validation or verification.

Even post mortum video does not change the call once it is made in the game.

It's not about testing a theory as to "what is" (realism) that can be "validated" by independent observers (empiricism).

It's not about building and testing models.

The umpire creates the status in the context of the game that is "added" to the objective physicality of the putative "event".

The proposed 4 does not fit.

Author: Ralph E. Kenyon, Jr. (diogenes) Friday, August 3, 2007 - 07:37 pm Link to this messageView profile or send e-mail

I understood the "concept".
Umpire 1 believes he sees reality.
Umpire 2 takes relativity into consideration, but still believes there is an independent reality.
Umpire 3 take abstraction into consideration, and responsibility for building the view.

Testing is not a separate way of seeing. It is part and parcel of building the model and knowing that we cannot "know" what is there.

As a matter of fact, testing is part of the second umpire's perspective as well, because the second umpire tests to see that his point of view is validated.

The third umpire builds a model and call things according to the model, changing the model as appropriate based on testing, but he does not assume that the model is ever correct, or that he can know that it is "correct". He does not "test" to see that his model is "correct" prior to "calling" it. That point of view is for the second umpire.

Testing is not a paradigm shift in the way of looking; it is part and parcel of both the second and third paradigm.

Author: Ralph E. Kenyon, Jr. (diogenes) Friday, August 3, 2007 - 09:18 pm Link to this messageView profile or send e-mail

David wrote Your model seems to imply a context where an observer is observing some phenomena, and them making the "call" unilaterally.

This phraseology effectively "begs the question" of external existince by presuming some phenomena to be observed "already exists" and all that has to be done is to "get it right". The first umpire confuses seeing with the presumed existing and identifies the experience of seeing with reality. The second umpire no longer confuses seeing with "reality", but he fails to realise that he is creating the seeing; he merely differentiates point of view and accepts relativism that can make things appear different from different perspectives.

The third umpire does not presume that there is anything other than that his seeing is a joint result of his own structure and experiences and unknown causative factors; based on his interpretations of his own experiences he "calls it", and that then is projected onto whatever may have contributed to his experience.

First umpire.
First coach: "He's safe!" First umpire: "He's out!" First coach: I was wrong. First umpire: "You're damned right."
Second umpire.
Second coach: "He's safe!" Second Umpire: "He's out!". Second coach: "That's not the way I saw it." Second umpire. "The way I see it is what counts."
Third umpire.
Third coach: "He's safe!" Third umpire: "He's out!". Third coach. How can you possibly call that an out?" Third coach. "It's my job to call it. It isn't anything until I do call it."

Now, put together a coach and umpire using two different perspectives, and all hell breaks loose.

The first coach will simply insist against the second and third umpire.
The first umpire will answer the second and third coachs that there is simply the fact of the matter and he knows what it is

The second coach won't understand the third umpire, but he will chalk up the difference to point of view.

That leaves the third coach and the second umpire - an exercise left to the reader.

Author: Ralph E. Kenyon, Jr. (diogenes) Saturday, August 4, 2007 - 07:50 am Link to this messageView profile or send e-mail

Be prepared for candor - hold the signal reactions.

The umpires analogy is not, in my opinion designed to deal with transactions; it is designed to contrast the perspective of general semantics with earlier paradigm views of the world.

The process of feedback and clarification of "intent" falls into the model of time-time binding.

In all my readings of general semantics, I do not recall a general theme or emphasis of "personal responsibility" to "double-check" a conversation interpretation to the satisfaction of the "other" person. It's part of consciousness of abstracting to delay one's reactions, not only to what we experience that is non-verbal, but also to our interpretations of the verbal, and possibly to respond. We do not have, to my knowledge, a particular ethic in this regard that is unique to general semantics. On the speaking end we have Don Kerr's admonition to find out what experiences the listener has and to try to use terms that we infer will evoke experiential elements in the listener that will come close to our own experiences.

Of course, it's nice for a person who notices an ambiguitity in his interpretation of another's words to ask a clarifying question or to present his own view in more detail to give the other another chance to provide altered formulations.

In this regard we do not have the condition that the listener infers that the speaker "made an error"; that involves providing a simple correction together with a certain tact and providing some time-binding reference that shows the speakers words inconsistent with the reference.

It is the more subtle circumstances where the speakers words evoke a "clear" understanding in the listener's experiences. And that understanding is inconsistent with the listener's prior conversation understanding. The listener has responsibility for his understanding but does not necessarily assume that the reply should be a question.

An overview might suggest that the original speaker failed to adequately find out what the listener's experiences were and did not use enough words or words that related to his model of the listener's experences to evoke the desired meaning.

It seems to me that you think that when a listener did not adequately "get" your meaning, as evidenced by your interpretation of his or her reply, that the responsibily for "getting" your meaning was on the listener to ask qualifiying questions rather than to respond based on his or her interpretations.

This interpretation ammounts to an "ethic" as to how other people "should" behave in conversations.

Moreover, it seem to me that you are frequently pushing this "ethic" on others, especially me. That is the "gut feeling" I'm getting based on this and several past incidents.

I, on the other hand, do not think that a listener needs to respond with a question unless the listener feels like he or she does not understand what the speaker said. If the listener thinks that he or she did understand, but sees an ambiguity, it's his or her choice to present his view.

The "three umpires" parable does not have as a purpose an ethic of how to communicate. They present, realisim, relativism, and general semantics paradigm views of how an individual "sees".

My supressed "signal reaction" to some of your suggestions in the past have been "Don't tell me how to talk!", and I infer that some others might also have had such an immediate reactions. I have supressed that, and provided the above symbol response after what seems to me several such incidents of "demanding that I ask questions" rather than allowing me to talk. What else could be involved? Dominance? Status? "Self-esteem"? "Territoriality"?

The three umpires paradigm has nothing to do with how we communicate; but you appeared to have tried to "inject" that ethict into it with your suggestion, and that would suggest either an unconscious motive or a covert one, both of which involve "telling others how to talk". How is your consciousness of your own abstracting. Are you consciounsly or unconsciously pushing this ethic? Did you really fail to get the primary purpose of the three umpires when you added your fourth umpire? What did you have in mind? Now, there are some questions for you together with my candid reaction and an analysis.

Author: Ralph E. Kenyon, Jr. (diogenes) Monday, August 6, 2007 - 09:50 pm Link to this messageView profile or send e-mail

David wrote,
You might recall we started our transaction with this:

> "Your model seems to imply a context where an observer is observing some phenomena, and them making the "call" unilaterally. Does the model change at all if the context involves two people attempting to interpret each others intended meaning?" <

No, I see this as beginning with your:

Four umpires:
1. I call them the way they is.
2. I call them the way I sees them.
3. There ain't nothing till I call it.
4. I test my calls for validity before I call them.

In the ensuing discussion your use of "call" seems to have become interpreted more in the sense of communicating than strictly in the sense of abstracting to the verbal level (which would precede any communication use of said abstraction). The three umpires parable is about seeing, not how that seeing is communicatated. The question you asked, "Does the model change at all if the context involves two people attempting to interprece each others intended meaning?", moves outside the purpose of the analogy, metaphor, parable, etc. It raises the question of what you may be referring to by the use of the word "model" in your question. Hence my question.

Author: Ralph E. Kenyon, Jr. (diogenes) Tuesday, August 7, 2007 - 07:33 am Link to this messageView profile or send e-mail

Thanks, David,

Relative to the structural differential, the three umpires model looks like this:
The label tag represents the "call".

Once an umpire has made a call, and then he or she subsequently wants to communicate it, the transactions would be governed by the talk model, but that model is not consistent with either the first or second umpire perspectives. I tried to show what I think such conversations would sound like in my prior post.

The models are not yet detailed enough to show where corrective questions based on consciousness of inference would fit. Obviously, correction can fit at every levels, but consciousness of inference in the process of abstraction would only fit in the third umpire perspective where consciousness of abstraction includes awareness of incompleteness and potential error resides.