IGS Discussion Forums: Learning GS Topics: Unintentional Fallacies
Author: Ralph E. Kenyon, Jr. (diogenes) Tuesday, September 11, 2007 - 03:20 pm Link to this messageView profile or send e-mail

David wrote, these immediate conclusions are often significantly different than the meaning intended by the speaker.

1. How can this be expressed in E-prime?
2. How can we test for the difference?

Author: Ralph E. Kenyon, Jr. (diogenes) Tuesday, September 11, 2007 - 09:37 pm Link to this messageView profile or send e-mail

David, as the author of the sentence, I leave it up to you as the one best qualified to reformulate the statement in E-prime. Please do so. How would you suggest that we test for or measure the difference? It seems that how such a test or measurement might be accomplished would depend on how you reformulated the statement.

Author: Ralph E. Kenyon, Jr. (diogenes) Wednesday, September 12, 2007 - 08:17 am Link to this messageView profile or send e-mail

The problem with your formulation, as I see it: One cannot express "the" "meaning" "intended" by the speaker in terms of anything heard by the listener in any manner other than as an assumed limit of a sequence of multiple transactions. No listener has any direct access to any "actual" "meaning" "intended" by a speaker; no listener can "measure" any "actual" "meaning" "intended" by a speaker, because the lister, at every transaction only has access to his or her interpretation of what he or she heard. He or she may revise his or her cumulative (limit) of his or her (listener) understanding after a number of transactions, but this never becomes the "actual" "meaning" "intended" by the speaker, especially on the basis of the "immediate conclusion" of the listener.

One can conclude, therefore, that one cannot determine or measure a difference between a listener's immediate conclusion (semantic reaction) to the words he or she heard and the ("actual") "meaning" "intended" by the speaker. If we interpret "meaning" in the manner of a "semantic reaction" then both reside in different brains, and we have no way to measure a difference between such things.

The proposed formulation then represents something completely unobservable, unmeasurable, and therefore something one cannot empirically learn on the basis of the stipulated context - the "immediate conclusion".

I would dismiss the formulation as vacuous, however, should you be able to provide an E-prime example that does not presume that someone might have some direct access to both the speaker's "intended meaning" and the listener's "immediate concusion", I would reconsider my evaluation.

You appear to have an idea that somehow some listener can have an immediate awareness of a difference between his or her immediate conclusion (semantic reaction) and the content of another's brain (speakers intended meaning) independently of the process of abstraction from what he or she hears.

A telephath with a split brain might accomplish such a feat, but we have no telephathic access to the contents of another's brain and we usually do not have split brains. With multi-level awareness we can possibly achieve two disparate semantic reactions (example: ambivalance) to one hearing, but we experience both of those through the process of abstractin; we do not in either case experience directly what the speaker intended.

Author: Ralph E. Kenyon, Jr. (diogenes) Wednesday, September 12, 2007 - 01:07 pm Link to this messageView profile or send e-mail

David wrote Ralph, from my perspective "direct access" is not presumed, implied, or required. I'm not sure why you suggest that it is. I can't imagine how that is even possibile, just like it is not a possible to have direct access to WIGO.

You wrote: these immediate conclusions are often significantly different than the meaning intended by the speaker.

When you use the words "meaning intended" (by the speakers) to what do you refer? Who is making this reference? When you use the word "immediate conclusion" (presumably by the listener) to what does this refer? Who is making this reference.

When one speaks of the "speaker's intent", one uses a phraseology that presumes direct reference to something internal to the brain of the speaker. According to our best understanding, we do not have direct access to this, so we cannot compare it to anything else, except the speaker, who can compare it to his or her own recollection.

Any listener would only have his or her abstraction from the speakers words, so the listener can refer to and compare his or her inference through abstraction of the speaker's intent. Because the listener's semantic reaction to his abstraction of the speakers words, presumably reflecting the speaker's intent, is in his or her brain and the speaker's intent is in the speaker's brain, no direct comparison is possible, because comparisons can only take place in a single brain. It can be the brain of the speaker, the brain of a listener, or the brain of a third party. But getting the content of one brain into another is not possible or direct; it only occurs by expression to verbal levels, abstraction, and semantic reaction, so a DIRECT comparison of the intent of the speaker with the semantic reaction of the listener, implied by the word 'difference' cannot happen. It is only after the fact of abstraction and interpretation.

Using the phrase "difference between listener's interpretation and speaker's intent" leaves out the abstraction process from one brain to another and presumes that these can be directly compared, but a more informed description shows they cannot be directly compared.

Author: Ralph E. Kenyon, Jr. (diogenes) Wednesday, September 12, 2007 - 06:29 pm Link to this messageView profile or send e-mail

Before we think about how to "prevent/avoid" we need clarity on your presumption: "First, these immediate conclusions are often significantly different than the meaning intended by the speaker.

I've show this formulation to involve the presumption of an unmesasurable hypothetical difference between the contents internal to two different brains, and no one can directly assertain such a hypothetical difference, consequently no one can discover if any actions reduce said unmeasurable hypothetical difference. The very statement of your first presumption entails a fallacy itself; the fallacy that one can detect a difference between the contents of two different brains without a process of abstraction. We can only compare abstractions - external maps - of the brain contents (different from the contents themselves).

Abstraction1 (map) of brain1 contents is not brain1 (territory) contents.
Abstraction2 (map) of brain2 contents is not brain2 (territory) contents.

We can compare abstraction1 (map) to abstraction2 (map), and thereby obtain a "significant difference" between two external maps, but we cannot compare brain1 (territory) contents to brain2 (territory) contents, so we cannot in theory measure any "significant difference" between these two ("immediate conclusions" [semantic reaction of the listener] and "the meaning intended by the speaker").

You said these immediate conclusions are often significantly different than the meaning intended by the speaker. [emphasis mine], and this represents a metaphysical statement about the internal state of two different brains, not an epistemological statement about how we might know such a thing. That is why I asked you to restate it in E-prime, which you declined to do.

I won't waste time proposing changes to anything that cannot be measured, as no one could measure any improvement; in short the task has no possible extensional or empircal measurement possibilities.

Author: Ralph E. Kenyon, Jr. (diogenes) Wednesday, September 12, 2007 - 09:33 pm Link to this messageView profile or send e-mail

We can understand our abstraction of a speaker's utterance, and that abstraction may change over time prior to speaking or hearing more, as in a symbol response as opposed to a "signal reaction". Such a delayed reaction gives our brain time to make more associations, recall additional related memories, and apply analysis techniques to the words heard. That much I agree to. But I do not agree to any phraseology that uses the words "intended meaning" without specifying that we only infer, guess, hypothesize, etc, our projection of such a meaning derived from our abstraction - delayed or not - from what we heard.

Through the act of delayed reaction, I give "due dilligance" to understanding the formulation I heard. That includes using memories of prior understanding of previous words heard from the same speaker.

The "speaker's intent", when the speaker is someone else, cannot be experienced or understood by the listener; the listener can only experience and understand what that listener hears. This is true even when the speaker asserts that the listener does understand, because the listener is still only experiencing the listener's own abstraction, including when the speaker asserts assent to a formulation.

From the perspective of the listener, any hypothesized speaker's "intended" "meaning" involves projecting of abstractions from heard formulations - projecting of abstractions of two different unmeasurable and undetectable hidden variables for which the listener has only a verbal map, and one not subject to any form of independent corroboration outside of the complicated path of the speaker abstracting to verbal levels, uttering sounds, the listener hearing sounds, the listener abstracting from his or her past experience with the heard formulations singly or multiply over short or long periods of time.

It does not matter how many time you try to push the same theme, you will get a repeated reminder that the listener cannot detect differences between his or her understanding(s) in his or her brain and the speaker's "intended" "meaning" in the speaker's brain, because the listener's can only compare experiences internal to his or her own brain.

"Due dilligance" applied by the listener is to the listeners short and long term semantic reactions, including cognitive analysis, of what the listener hears, not to what the speaker intends. Any suggestion to the contrary involves forgetting that the speaker's intent is hidden and always internal to the speaker's brain; it does not "get out" of the speaker's brain; it is only mapped to words (a map that IS NOT the intent, but only a verbal abstraction) by the speaker, transmitted, and "unmapped" by the listener's different experiences into the listener's understanding, massaged by delayed reactions, cognitive analysis, etc, and finally, as something that IS NOT the speaker's intended meaning, projected onto the speaker by the listener.

I infer what you intended from what I heard of what you said, but my inference is not what you intended, and what's more, because they (my inference and your intent) are in different brains, they can never be directly compared, that is significant differences cannot be detected, as diffences result from comparing.

As Thomas said, Ultimately our communications rest on faith - belief that we understand each other. Other possibilities include agreeing to a formulation or quitting the process.

Author: Ralph E. Kenyon, Jr. (diogenes) Thursday, September 13, 2007 - 09:14 am Link to this messageView profile or send e-mail

Your expression, as worded, contains a fallacy, that anyone can somehow detect a difference between a listener's interpretation (in one brain) and a speaker's intent (in another brain), a fallacy by omission of the means of knowing.

Any statement purportedly about undetectable metaphysical states does not conform to the epistemological requirements of general semantics.

Your metaphysical format statement of existence of undetectable conditions:

First, these immediate conclusions are often significantly different than the meaning intended by the speaker.

We cannot even in principle detect differences because we cannot compare the contents of two different brains.

Your rhetoric based on the epistemological fallacy above (in red) and my comments:

If we do not acknowledge this phenomena,

Acknowledging an undetectable condition amounts to belief in the unknowable.

and take steps to ensure that our interpretations are similar to the meaning intended by the speaker,

The difference cannot be detected, consequently any action to change the hypothetical difference cannot produce detectable changes, because the only things being changed are internal to different brains and still undetectable. No matter how much the listener changes his or her interpretation, he still cannot detect a difference, significant or otherwise, between what's in his or her brain and what's in the other brain (intended meaning).

our response can function as an implied straw-man argument.

A conclusion following, but not following from, a false hypothesis (that undetectables can be changed and the change detected) has no validity and no merit. Anything follows from falseness.

In other words, our response may address an assertion that the speaker never actually made.

This is a disconnect, because now you are talking about a verbal expression, and that verbal expression is the map which is NOT the territory previously talked about - the speakers intent. Your discussion has moved from about internal to brains to verbal expressions - which are not the same, as they differ as map to territory.

If one does not have the habit of temperance,

Temperance? moderation?

the fallacious response

Now the response is presumed fallacous when a fallacy has not been shown. This begs the question by assuming the conclusion.

may even result in false accusations or ad hominem attacks.

These may or may not happen independently of all the previously mentioned unconnected variables. No connection was shown to connecte these results to the assumed conclusion.

As presently formulated, your whole project begins with the assumption that one can deal, irrespective of any process of detection, with a hypothetical and undetectable existing difference between the contents of two different brains. The notion is ludicrous.

A listener abstracts from what he hears and his memory to form his understanding. What he comes to understand in time ranging from instantaneously to after long delayed reactions and analysis incudes his inference, as to the best explanation, of any speakers meaning and intent. If the listener, in his understanding, thinks that some of what he or she understands does not seem to fit together well, does not make sense, ever after analysis, can be interpreted in multiple ways, or seems to have any other kind of uncertainty in the mind of the listener, then, he or she has the option of (a) asking for more, (b) presenting his or her interpretation as most likely and asking for more (c) depending on the listener's purpose, ignoring the result as not relevant to his or her purpose and continuing with his or her prior formulations (d) presenting his or her view (e) making a judgement and deciding what to attribute to the speaker and responding accordingly (f) deciding that the conversation is not worth his or her time and abandoning it (g) verbally attack the speaker, (h) and many more possibilities, all at the sole discression only of the listener.

If the speaker then decides that the listener "should" have performed another action than the one the listener did choose, the issue changes to one of power and who's in charge, social dominance over who has the right to do what and where to whom, when, and the character of the discussion becomes "contaminated" with hidden agendas and ulterior motives - in short, political.

Assuming that the original speaker does not evaluate the original listener's response in terms of what the original speaker think the original listener "should" have said or done, he or she can become the new listener and undergo the process outlined just above, and becoming the original speaker again, express his or her meaning depending on his or her intent in an altered formulation, and thus give the original listener another opportunity to add to his understanding after again repeating the above process. Now the listener has an updated (different) understandings to put together with his prior understanding.

To an outsider, the process may look like a coming together if the outsider sees (hears) formulations from both becoming consistently similar whether or not this outside party "understands" any of the conversation or not based solely on the formulations or hearing one or both of the original parties asserting that he or she believes the other "understands" - an on faith belief in what cannot be directly measured, all done through a sequence of repeated transactions involving more and more information and structure. However, such "understanding" is in no way guaranteed. I read of philosophical correspondents carrying on a discussion for years, including writing books, and suddenly discovering that they were talking about different things. In that case, I infer, it took years for the structures each understood to become sufficiently constructed to find the subtle difference. Each had to build in parallel with his structure his model of the other's structure internal to his brain.

The Listener's "understanding" (in brain) differs significantly from speakers "intended meaning" (in brain).

1 "Difference" is trivially always true based simply on the general semantics principle of non-identity.

2. "Significantly" stands as a value judgement by some entity - the listener, the speaker, or an outside party, based on their respective criteria, but only after an epistemological process of detection, and that requires abstraction from something external to the brains on the part of the evaluator. What's in anyone else's brain is never "known"; what we can "know" is our interpretation - extended semantic reaction - to what we heard of what was said after the process of expression from the original brain. What we can "know" from another's brain content depends on how they express it in words (map1) how those words are heard (map2) what we abstract from what we heard (map3) and our extended semantic reaction (map4).

Understood meaning in brain2 = map4(map3(map2(map1(intended meaning in brain1))))

So in terms of detectablity, your assertion becomes:
First, these immediate conclusions often differ significantly [from] our understanding of map4(what we heard map3(of what the speaker said map2(of how he or she expressed map1(the meaning intended)))) by the speaker.

But, the "immediate conclusions" just "is" the understood meaning, so the assertion becomes:

First, these our understanding of map4(what we heard map3(of what the speaker said map2(of how he or she expressed map1(the meaning intended)))) by the speaker.] often differ significantly [from] our understanding of map4(what we heard map3(of what the speaker said map2(of how he or she expressed map1(the meaning intended)))) by the speaker.

In structure, First, these X often differ significantly from X, which is vacuous.

Author: Ralph E. Kenyon, Jr. (diogenes) Thursday, September 13, 2007 - 02:42 pm Link to this messageView profile or send e-mail

David, Your response did not deal with any of my formulations. Your question does not deal with either your formulation or with the content of my formulation.

I do not have access to the internals of your brain, so I do not "know" what your "observation" is; I deal with your formulation. In general semantics, dealing with the formulation is the extensional orientation. We do not deal with "concepts" if they are alegged to be internal; we deal with the formulation in which they are expressed. You have to deal with my formulation as stated. You stated a proposition and followed it with rhetoric. I dismaneled both your proposition and the rhetoric that followed. The "what" is the formulations you stated. The "how" is the formulations you stated. If you think the "what" is different from the formulation, then you are referring to something internal to your brain that I have no access to. If you significantly restate your formulation, then we can have a go at the new formulation.

You wrote I could have responded to Ralph's last post in detail, but I am not exactly sure what he is contesting:

This shows that you are not dealing with my formulation; you are trying to guess at some abstraction that might more simply encapsulate my position, and failing to feel that you can do so, you have asked which of two very simple abstract judgements you are hypothesizing that I am about.

It's not that simple. Your proposition is vacuous, because it simply names one thing in two differnt ways, and suggests a difference between them. You mistakenly think they are two different things, because you do not trace the abstraction process through both chains. I've laid that out in detail for you, but you do not acknowledge it in any way; you simply change the subject. Moreover your rhetoric that follows the vacuous proposition is neither valid nor does it show any connections. Don't ask me if I agree with a formulation I've already said I do not agree with and why.

The following formulations are senseless.
"Do you know what I mean?"
"I understand what you mean."
"Do you understand my observation."
"Do you get my meaning."

"Do you think you understand what you heard?", however, is valid, but it conveys no real information, and it may me completely misleading, because when one thinks one understands, what one understands may not subsequently agree with a further understanding of another heard formulation. Note that this is expressed from only the listener's point of view, and that's how you must express your proposition in order to not commit the fallacy you are committing and don't acknowledge.

Author: Ralph E. Kenyon, Jr. (diogenes) Thursday, September 13, 2007 - 10:43 pm Link to this messageView profile or send e-mail

David, you wrote Ralph wrote:
> I deal with your formulation. In general semantics, dealing with the formulation is the extensional orientation. <

In my opinion, that statement is not correct, Ralph.


Your opinion as you just expressed is not consistent with the general semantics dictate that we not speak of "concepts", that we speak instead of formulations. Being extensional is dealing with what can be observed, and formulations are examples. The contents of brains cannot be observed; such is not in the realm of possible extensional observation. My statement agrees with the several seminars I've attended. Extensional means getting down to what can be observed and verified.

Your subsequent statement, however is another fallacy. In we then attempt to use the scientific method to achieve structural similarity between our "map" (interpretation) and the "territory" (speakerís intended meaning). you are presuming the ability to compare an unobservable with something else. You are not addressing in any way the fact that the only access you have to the speaker's intended meaning is ONLY through various mapping processes. You or anyone else is only capable of seeking to achive structural similarity between two maps, because you can never get anything but a map of the speaker's intent. Consequently you can never achieve structural similarity between the map and the territory; you can ONLY achieve similarity between the map which is your understanding and the map you create when you try to infer the speaker's intent.

You just don't get it. You cannot achieve structural similarity with something you cannot access directly; you can only achieve structural similarity with something you can access. In this case you cannot access the speakers intent, but you can access your map-abstraction-guess-inference contructed by you, the listener. You are comparing two maps. Not a map and a territory.

I don't know in how many more ways I can say this. You cannot achieve similarity of structure between a map of the contents of a brain and the contents of the brain, because you cannot access one, and the only way you can achieve similarity is to be able to access both, compare, them, and evaluate the difference. The speaker's intent is not accessible. It cannot be measured. It cannot be compared to anything else. What you CAN measure is your reaction to the words you heard that the speaker said. This is four mappings away from the speakers intent. That's all you can measure.

In order to achieve structural similarity between two things, you must be able to directly compare them. You cannot compare a map and a territory. No one can. Each person who looks at a map is abstracting it into an internal representation. That same person looking at a territory is abstracting it also into an internal representation.
These two internal represtations can be compared by the person in whose brain they exist. But both of these are maps, so what is getting compared is mapperson's abstractionof MAP and mapperson's abstraction of TERRITORY.

PAM=PERSONS ABSTRACTION MAP.
PAM(X) is in person's brain.
X is not in person's brain.
Compare(PAM(MAP),PAM(TERRITORY) (in same brain) IS NOT compare(MAP,TERRITORY) (not in brains).

Compare(MAP,TERRITORY) is required to achieve similarity between MAP and TERRITORY, but no such comparison is possible.
Compare(PAM(MAP),PAM(TERRITORY)) is all that is possible, so this is the only similarity that can be achieved. Comparisons can only take place between like representatons in a common medium. A sound and an electric signal cannot be compared, one must first be transformed into the same type as the other, and that transformation alters what is assumed to be compared.

A computer can compare the contents of two memory locations using dedicated hardware circuits, but only by retrieving those contents into internal registers. If the retrieval process is not a direct copy, but an abstraction, then what is getting compared is not what was abstracd from.

You understand that the content of one brain is not accessible to another brain.

What do you think gets from one brain to another and how? Recall that in the structural differential a characteristic at one level IS NOT the same as a characteristic at another level.

What's in the brain is not its expression. What is heard is not what was expressed. What is understood is not what was heard.

When the territory is inaccessible, as in the case of WIGO as well as in the case of "in brains" it is not possible to achieve structural similarity betweeen any map and said inaccessible territory. It is only possible to achieve similarity between two things that can be accessed and compared. It is only possible to compare two maps that have the same form.
A neurological circuit can compare two neural patterns in the same brain.
An electric voltage coparator can only compare two voltages.
A weight scale can only compare two forces.

A speaker's intent may be a neural pattern in a brain, but it is not in the same brain as the listener, and by the time something gets into the listener's brain, it is mapped though four processes.

We cannot ahchieve structural similarity between a known and an unknown. We may be able to achieve structural similarity between a map of a known and a map of an unknown, but, because the maps are not the territories, we cannot conclude that the territories are similar.

Author: Ralph E. Kenyon, Jr. (diogenes) Friday, September 14, 2007 - 03:02 pm Link to this messageView profile or send e-mail

how can we correct the map over time?

We don't "correct" a map. What we do do is revise the map, and then test it again.

"Correct" implies going from "wrong" to "right". We cannot know when our map of unobservables (WIGO or the contents of another's brain.) "is right". We can only know that it has not yet been disconfirmed. But when we do get a disconformation, then we revise - NOT "correct" our map.

Process:
1. Assume that we are using an nth generation map.
2. Use the map, much of the time not discovering any problems.
3. Continue to use the map until discovering a prediction failure, in that we do not experience what we expect to experience from using the map.
4. Revise the map after applying best guess abstractions based on the difference between what we expected to experience and what we actually did experience.
5. Return to using the (revised) map (Go back to 1, but now it's an n+1st generation map.)

This is my "mantra": "I'm operating on the basis of a not yet disconfirmed map." As pieces of my map get disconfirmed, I revise the map, when possible, taking into consideration the difference between what I expected to experience while using the map and the surprising thing that I did experience.

Author: Ralph E. Kenyon, Jr. (diogenes) Friday, September 14, 2007 - 03:15 pm Link to this messageView profile or send e-mail

Thomas wrote The newer map is more structurally similar than the older one, based on our observations.

This is not correct. The newer map accounts for the data that the older map did not, and so far, the newer map "works better" at predicting what we will experience.

Because, however, we have no direct access to WIGO, we cannot say that is has better "structural similarity" because we have no idea what the "actual" structure, if any, of what is going on "is". To quote the objectivists, "it is what it is", and we don't actually know what that "is".

The new map works better, because it predicts correctly some of what the old map did not.

Note: is is ok to say "correct" with regard to observations, but it is not ok to say "correct" with regard to the map. This is elementary Popperian theory. Observations are confirmed, but theories are only "corroborated". Predicted observations that are not confirmed do disconfirm the theory (map) via modus tolens.

Author: Ralph E. Kenyon, Jr. (diogenes) Friday, September 14, 2007 - 03:23 pm Link to this messageView profile or send e-mail

David wrote, Your expression of the meaning of "extensional" is fine with me if you remove the word "observed" (which still leaves "verified"). As we know, use of the scientific method does not require the ability to observe directly.

No. Every chain of reasoning in science goes back extensionally to direct observations. Every hypothesized unobservable is grounded in direct observations. Until you get to the observed, you have not gotten to the bottom of the abstraction process.

A "guess" as to what a person "intents" based on analyzing what you hear is not extensional. What you hear is extensional. We can agree that we observed the same written words; with luck we can agree that we heard spoken words the same. Anything beyond that is a map of the observed, and is less extensional.

Author: Ralph E. Kenyon, Jr. (diogenes) Friday, September 14, 2007 - 03:37 pm Link to this messageView profile or send e-mail

David wrote For me, that approach is too complex and convoluted. It is too difficult, for me, to keep track of all the maps.

A significant book in general semantics was entitled "Coping with Increasing Complexity".

Oversimplification omits critical structure needed to understand the process. Models that are too simple cannot handle real complexity.

Such a claim explains why you simply do not see why "significant difference between listener's understanding and speaker's intended meaning" fails to provide a general semantics level of complexity in describing the situation, and why we've gone around and around on this so many times.

If you were a Zen seeker, and if I were a Zen master, and if you said something like that, I would send you to a false teacher.

Author: Ralph E. Kenyon, Jr. (diogenes) Friday, September 14, 2007 - 03:50 pm Link to this messageView profile or send e-mail

Milton,

Direct comparison of a map and a map of the first map is only possible when both the map and the map of the map are in the same brain.

If you abstract something you read into a map in your brain, and then you abstract from that, for example, with the intent of producing a summary or a rewording, you then have a map of the map, and since both are in your own brain, then you have direct access and can perform the comparison.

In fact, our capability to think in many levels gives us the ability to compare many distinct level of abstraction, something "fido" cannot do. This, however, comes with a price. We sometimes confuse the lower and higher levels of abstraction in what has been labeled as "identification". It's only easy to do because we have both such levels in the same brain.

In some cases it is desirable; for example, in rapid responses to emergencies, we don't want to be taking a long time to analyze each level. We also memorize the "identity" we learned from experts. Example: learning to ride a bike, we want to identify turning with tilting, because we tilt in order to turn. But don't expect every bicycle rider to be able to explain the gyroscopic and momemtum force vectors that explains in terms of physics how it happens.

The beginning learner turns and falls until he or she finally gets the idea to tilt with the turn. Eventually he or she can ride without hands on the handle bars, and at this stage the brain has "identified" tilting and turning. Works for me.

Author: Ralph E. Kenyon, Jr. (diogenes) Friday, September 14, 2007 - 04:05 pm Link to this messageView profile or send e-mail

Thomas wrote Ralph, I think you just like playing with words. Have fun.

No. I use words very seriously, and very precisely.

I operate with words like a surgeon uses a scalpel, not like butchers use a cleaver, nor like Ben's truck made "road kill" using 'word'.

Like in archetecture, we cannot successfully build a great structure with sloppy measurements and loosely fitting pieces. Great structures are build with precise measurements that fit with close tolerances.

I'm not, however, totally without humor.

Author: Ralph E. Kenyon, Jr. (diogenes) Friday, September 14, 2007 - 04:16 pm Link to this messageView profile or send e-mail

Thomas wrote they may get slightly different measurements (descriptions).

Scientific measurements are generally taken with a specified tolerance. The standard is the least division of the measuring tool. For example, if you measure with a standard school ruler, the smallest division is usually 1/16th of an inch, so a measurement might be 5-7/16ths inches plus or minus 1/16th inch. Two measurements that agree would not be different "descriptions", and a statistical measure, including processing of the uncertainty, would produce an inferential central tendency with it's computed uncertainty. Such measurements, if predicted, corroborate one theory, they do not produces "similar" theories. "Similar theories" must have at least one "postulate" or "theory-statement" that is materially different, and the meaurements might or might not permit distinguing between the theories at a specified level of significance, 5% being common, but more stringent tolerance may be desired.

Author: Ralph E. Kenyon, Jr. (diogenes) Friday, September 14, 2007 - 08:24 pm Link to this messageView profile or send e-mail

The precise use of "correct" means to take something wrong and make it right.
When the "territory" cannot be directly accessed, we cannot know if a map is right. We cannot measure the map against the territory, because we can only measure the map against another map, and that map will have the same "verification" problem as the first map.

We use the map, it makes a prediction as to what we expect to see or experience when we follow the map. If we do NOT see what the map says we should see, then we know that the map is wrong. We see what the map said we should see and we see what we experienced. We note the difference. Then we make a change, or revision, to our original map that is designed to, in the same situation, predict "correctly" what we experienced before. If we did a good job of analysis and revising the map, then next time we use it in similar circumstances, we will expect to see what we saw before, or a projection based on what we saw before. If this happens, we know the revision "worked", but we still don't know if the whole map is correct. (Do not forget that we do not have direct access to the territory.)

We update maps by revising them to take into consideration the difference between what was predicted by the map and what was experienced.

This is the basic principle of general semantics structural differential and the event level, our abstractions and model making, and it was taught through several institute seminars by Stuart Mayper.

Now here's an example of applying it.
You have a highway map that was made by somebody.
When you use the map it predicts a road going from point A to B. You drive down the road from A and you come to a dead end and obvious signs that the road is overgrown and has not been used in years. That is the simplified description.

According to general semantics, you have abstracted into your brain an interpretation of the highway map. You have also abstractracted into your brain an interpretation of your sensory inputs. You now have two neural inputs that you compare internally with neurological process. You note a match failure between these two neural processes. Now you "correct" your highway map, so that your next experience of your altered highway map abstracts to a closed road. This now agrees with your abstraction of your sensory experiences.

The process involves comparing a map of a "territory" (identified as a "MAP") and a map of a "territory" (identified as a "ROAD"), both of which are your brain's projections that you experience as being "out there".

Just like we do not know what or if any "real" structure in what is going on has caused our sensory experiences, we do not know what of if any "real" structure in what has caused that portion of our sensory experiences we abstract as a representation of the highway map and projected as the MAP.

We have no direct access to the event level, including that portion of it that we presume caused our experiences of a highway map.

This is not an overcomplexification; it is a precise statement of the theory. For practical purposes we identify our sensory experience of the highway map as "THE MAP" and we identify our sensory experiences of what is going on as "THE TERRITORY", and our brains project both these experiences as being external to us - "out there". But the brain is an organ that locates its experiences elsewhere, and we behave like naive realists for most everyday activities. You can have your simplification most of the time, but not in "Learn GS Topics" where such simplifications take the "non" out of "non-Aristotelian". Here we must be precise about the formulations of theory. In other general semantics circles we can employ the "semantic bargain" - assume that everyone knows, practices, and understands these details, and use "technically incorrect" shortcut language. But I won't do that here.

Author: Ralph E. Kenyon, Jr. (diogenes) Friday, September 14, 2007 - 09:31 pm Link to this messageView profile or send e-mail

David wrote As Einstien said, things should be as simple as possible, but no simpler.

But no simpler. - Agreed. Occam's Razor.

Author: Ralph E. Kenyon, Jr. (diogenes) Saturday, September 15, 2007 - 11:19 pm Link to this messageView profile or send e-mail

A listener understands his or her abstraction (map) from what he or she heard (map) from what the speaker said (map) in order to express (map) his or her meaning. Consciousness of abstraction is being aware of this map of map of map of map character of what we understand.

Understanding = mapabstraction(maphearing(mapsaid(mapexpressed(meaning))))=abstraction(heard(said(expressed(meaning))))

We generally assume that what is heard is what is said, and that reduces the complexity to a composition of three functional levels.

Understanding = mapabstraction(maphearing words = said words(mapexpressed(meaning)))= abstraction(heard=said(expressed(meaning))).

It's critical to the regular application of general semantics and maintaing consciousness of abstraction to keep this multi-stage-abstraction process in our awareness as we process communications.

We may not need 100% awareness of these processes in every-day communicating, but the instant we have even the slightest question or doubt with regard to what we understand, these proccess should spring immediately to our consciousness, so as to inform our subsquent actions.

If we try to simplify this three stage process down to a single "functional" characterization, such as saying "our understanding is a 'function' of the speakers meaning", it presents a model that has no general semantics left in it.

Our understanding is a function of our abstraction of the words we heard that the speaker used to express his or her meaning.

Author: Ralph E. Kenyon, Jr. (diogenes) Sunday, September 16, 2007 - 09:06 pm Link to this messageView profile or send e-mail

David wrote between any two adjacent maps.
Adjacent as in parallel or as in map of a map?

Author: Ralph E. Kenyon, Jr. (diogenes) Sunday, September 16, 2007 - 09:18 pm Link to this messageView profile or send e-mail

David wrote between any two adjacent maps.
Adjacent as in parallel or as in map of a map?

David wrote As I see it, our "understanding" of another person's utterance should be approached as a hypothesis.
Assuming that "utterance" turns out to be the same as what the listener heard, and "understanding" entails abstraction from those heard words, I'm in agreement with this, as it no longer refers to the un-knowable "speaker's intended meaning" that this thread was original stated in terms of.

Unfortunately, you just added another fallacy, when you said "A hypothesis that needs to be tested for validity prior to being acted upon., because any action you take, be it a statement or a question, just "is" acting on the hypothesis. If you estimate that your hypothes is uncertain in any significant way, then questioning is the acting. But if the listener does not have a question about his or her interpretation, then questioning does not seem to be indicated. "Testing" the hypocthesis "is" a form of acting on it.

However, when the listener responds in a certain way, and the original speaker then judges or infers, based on his or her understanding of the original listener's response, that the listener did not understand what the speaker intended, who is to say who "should" have asked questions?

Question:
What criteria should dictate that the original listener, when he or she does not have a sense of ambiguity or question about what the original speaker said, should ask questions rather than respond to what he or she understood?

Author: Ralph E. Kenyon, Jr. (diogenes) Monday, September 17, 2007 - 03:25 pm Link to this messageView profile or send e-mail

David, your posts do not answer any of the three questions that I asked:

1. Adjacent as in parallel or as in map of a map?

2. However, when the listener responds in a certain way, and the original speaker then judges or infers, based on his or her understanding of the original listener's response, that the listener did not understand what the speaker intended, who is to say who "should" have asked questions?

3. What criteria should dictate that the original listener, when he or she does not have a sense of ambiguity or question about what the original speaker said, should ask questions rather than respond to what he or she understood?

Much earlier I wrote, If the speaker then decides that the listener "should" have performed another action than the one the listener did choose, the issue changes to one of power and who's in charge, social dominance over who has the right to do what and where to whom, when, and the character of the discussion becomes "contaminated" with hidden agendas and ulterior motives - in short, political.

I see no reason to play such a space-binding game.

Author: Ralph E. Kenyon, Jr. (diogenes) Monday, September 17, 2007 - 03:34 pm Link to this messageView profile or send e-mail

David wrote As I see it, our "understanding" of another person's utterance should be approached as a hypothesis. A hypothesis that needs to be tested for validity prior to being acted upon.

Who has any authority to enforce such a "should"?
Who is the "speech police" to enforce or demand if or what form such "testing" takes?

Author: Ralph E. Kenyon, Jr. (diogenes) Tuesday, September 18, 2007 - 01:35 am Link to this messageView profile or send e-mail

Sorry, David, but your reply was unresponsive to the content of my questions, and you have not addressed the reasoning that shows your original post to be fallacy laden. I can no longer consider your communications to be a good faith attempt at mutual understanding. You are coming across as not taking responsibility for your abstractions when you repeatedly "demand" that other should not have presented a counter argument before asking questions. You are, by this action, attempting to control the speech patterns of others, whether you realize it or not. That is not acceptable. You send a message, but it's not the one you think you do. I have yet to see a formulation from you from which I can infer that you gave any significant thought to what I have been saying. I saw only one instance that comes even close when you used the word "utterance" instead of "intended meaning". These topics range far and wide from the specific wording of the original post, and my posts and questions have been addressing your perhaps unintended fallacies in your original post in this topic. Your "non-"defense is to imply that I didn't understand and to complain that I should be asking questions. Pure rhetoric. If it weren't for the fact that there are other readers who might see something in the exchange, this would have been a complete waste of my time. Until you show some good faith effort toward mutual understanding, I'm done.