IGS Discussion Forums: Learning GS Topics: word choices and writing styles
Author: Ralph E. Kenyon, Jr. (diogenes) Saturday, December 10, 2005 - 09:47 am Link to this messageView profile or send e-mail

Milton wrote, "My concern involves writing in a manner that reflects our present understanding of the discipline." Milton, in terms of the general semantics notion, "people have meaning", how does your use of the word "our" in your sentence as opposed to using the word "my" reflect your understanding of general semantics principles?

Author: Ralph E. Kenyon, Jr. (diogenes) Saturday, December 10, 2005 - 12:28 pm Link to this messageView profile or send e-mail

Milton wrote, "My concern Brent, has to do with all of us making an effort to show we are practicing some general semantics by the way we formulate our statements. My ideal involves this: A general semantics message board 'should' not look, 'read' like any other message board.
In terms of "consciousness of abstracting", and "people have meaning", how "should" this board "look"?
Milton wrote, "It has been recommended by some that a good way to practice general semantics involves taking some care about the way we talk and the way we write." In terms of "extensional orientation" and "the word is not the thing" how do the written formulations translate to "some care" about how they were produced?

Author: Ralph E. Kenyon, Jr. (diogenes) Sunday, December 11, 2005 - 10:39 pm Link to this messageView profile or send e-mail

The term "technobabble" is shop-talk in the field of science fiction, among other fields. It became a public term when the science fiction channel discussed it in some "behind-the-scenes" programs. Specifically, the Actor Richard Dean Anderson, who played the character MacGyver used all kinds of household items to build various devices to get himself out of difficult situations. These were all based on current science, but the "practicality" of the actual devices was somewhat overblown, and that's where the "fiction" part comes in. http://www.fao.uci.edu/~david/macisms.html Most of his technical explanations and tricks were solid science. In the more futuristic science fiction programs, devices are explained with theories which build on current science, but which assume things not in current science. The explanations given, using technical words in these contexts, are designed to sound plausible to the most sophisticated of listeners. Technical terms of science, engineering, and mathematics are put together in an explanation that sound plausible, but the words are not being used in their technical sense. The lines the actors say when these pseudo-scientific explanations are given is technically known in the trade as "technobabble". You used science terms and math terms in a manner not consistent with their technical usage, but your explanation sounds "plausible" to prospective listeners who do not know the technical uses. But someone who knows and understands the technical use, and sees that your usage is not consistent with the correct technical use, would be correctly applying term 'technobabble' to your speech regarding those specific instances.


Please note, that you have twice injected this term in other topics, while I had not used it again. When I did use it, I provide a whole paragraph of extensional description of why I made that judgement. I also offered to recant the judgement on the original use provided you respond with a structured explanation of your use and show how your use uses the technical structure the terms you used. You need to show the mapping between the structure in the technical use and in your use. You have not done so.

If you want to use calculus terms, especially in the context of actually stating that you are writing "in the terms of calculus" and I'm in the audience, you had better use the terms consistently with their calculus meanings. If you do not, it will be just more technobabble.

I'm not asking you to "define" these things; I'm asking you to provide more detailed formulations of what you mean. If you have a solid meaning, then you can described it in hundreds of ways. If you cannot rephrase something you say, then what can it mean, even to you?

Author: Ralph E. Kenyon, Jr. (diogenes) Sunday, December 11, 2005 - 10:53 pm Link to this messageView profile or send e-mail

Milton wrote, "I do not understand this question, Ralph. But I will give it a go. "My" relates to a concern I have. "Our" relates to my awareness (in terms of non-identity) that each one of us have different levels of experience, practice, and understanding of the discipline. As such I expect different forms of expression expressed in my suggestion "we make an effort". Making the effort for me constitutes a way of practicing the discipline...regardless of the current outcome, but which I expect or hope would improve with time, concern, and more effort.

Well, your reply, in terms of non-identity, recognized that different people have different expressions, and different levels of experience and understanding. Would it not be a "truism" that each person writes in a manner consistent with his experience and understanding? Could anyone do differently?

Would that not be consistent with saying "My concern involves [each person] writing in a manner that reflects [his or here] present understanding of the discipline."

But it seems to me that you could not be concerned that each person's writing reflected his or her experiences and understanding, as that should be an unavoidable truism, so I wonder if you mean something else by your concern.

Author: Ralph E. Kenyon, Jr. (diogenes) Friday, December 16, 2005 - 06:09 pm Link to this messageView profile or send e-mail

I feel your lexicographer was much too abstract; see these definitions of calculus.
A metaphor does not even qualify as such if there is not at least a minimal corresponding similar structure.

Author: Ralph E. Kenyon, Jr. (diogenes) Saturday, December 17, 2005 - 01:47 pm Link to this messageView profile or send e-mail

Yes, different "dictionary definitions" in different contexts. "Incorporating", what Piaget, in child development used the term "assimilation" for, "working together" (as a whole), "abstracting and incorporating", etc.

I prefer your quote in it's original context (S&S pp.574-5)
     It is not an exaggeration to say that the calculus is one of the most inspiring, creative, structural methods in mathematics. There is little doubt that the analysis of the foundations of mathematics, and their revision, was suggested by a study of the methods of the calculus. It is structurally and semantically the 'logic' of sanity and, as such, can be given ultimately without technicalities by the present A¯-system and semantic training, with the aid of the Structural Differential.
     The application of the differential calculus to geometry produced differential geometry. This prepared the way for the notions of Einstein and Minkowski.
     The whole of modern physics becomes possible through the calculus, and it will probably be correct to say that the achievements of the future also will be dependent on it.

What do you think he means by "without technicalities"?

Author: Ralph E. Kenyon, Jr. (diogenes) Sunday, December 18, 2005 - 12:46 am Link to this messageView profile or send e-mail

So you endeavor to help them get a third order abstraction "feel" from your second order abstraction "feel" abstracted from your memory of your exposure to it in back in high school all without using the differentiation and integration technology that is its fundamental basis.

The fundamental theorem does not illustrate the structure of differentiation - finding the derivative or finding rates of change - or the structure of integration - finding the sum of infinitesimals - it shows that the value of the definite integral of a function is the difference in values of the anti-derivative between the end point - if F'(x)=f(x) then òa bf(x)dx=F(b)-F(a).