This also is very interesting.  Peirce typing, as you put it, equals
"abduction".  Is "Duck Typing" a term of art, somewhere?  Or is that your
neologism.  I like it.  


Actually, from Peirce's point of view, I perhaps made a mistake with 


"It's a duck!"  (Some might say I was guilty of a canard.  Heh. Heh.)


I should have written, "It's more probably a duck."   The point is,
channeling my mentor again, that "abducktion (=duck-typing, as you put it)
is a probabilistic enterprise.  As we accumulate concordant properties
between the white feathered thing in front of us and what we know about
ducks, the creature seems more probably to be a duck.  No poke is ever the
last poke.  Each poke leads to future pokes.  After "Poke-squawk" works, we
might try to see if the creature goes well in a cassoulet, and if the result
of that experiment is also, "yes", then the creature is even more probably a


But I really need to learn more about "duck-typing".  




From: Friam [] On Behalf Of Owen Densmore
Sent: Monday, April 22, 2013 10:47 AM
To: The Friday Morning Applied Complexity Coffee Group
Subject: Re: [FRIAM] science and language (was How do forces work?)


Ha! Nick, you DO understand computer science: Duck Typing has been popular
as a way of describing loosely typed dynamic languages.  I guess to be fair
I'll start calling it Peirce Typing.


   -- Owen


On Mon, Apr 22, 2013 at 10:41 AM, Nicholas Thompson
<> wrote:

Glen, John,

A really interesting exchange.  It feeds into my conversation with my Peirce
Mentor about science being at its root experimentation and experimentation
being, at its root, poking the world with a stick.  ("It walks like a duck,
it quacks like a duck.  Does it squawk like a duck? [poke!] Yes.  It's a
duck!")  I render this in language, but the whole thing could be done
without language at all, unless one is one of those people who insists that
all thought is in language.

-----Original Message-----
From: Friam [] On Behalf Of glen
Sent: Monday, April 22, 2013 9:42 AM
To: The Friday Morning Applied Complexity Coffee Group
Subject: [FRIAM] science and language (was How do forces work?)

That's a _great_ counterfactual suggestion, to imagine science without
language. The way I see it, science consists of transpersonal behaviors.
I know this definition is (almost) peculiar to me. Sorry about that.
But science is unrelated to thought at all.  It's all about methods and
getting other people to do what you do.

And if we can imagine that language is somehow related to grooming, e.g.
the reason humans usually don't lick their fingers and wipe smudges from
each others' faces on a regular basis is because our language has obviated
most of that behavior.  We've replaced grooming with moving our jaws up and
down and emitting complex sequences of grunts.

If we can imagine that, and temporarily accept that science is unrelated to
thought, then perhaps we can imagine a language-less science?  I suspect it
would be similar to the apprenticeship model for education.
It might also be similar to the ritualistic oral traditions of people like
the Celts.

But the problem I'm having imagining it comes down to the definition of
language.  To what extent is abstraction (symbol manipulation) necessary for
us to call something a "language"?  At bottom, I think it boils down to the
ability to _point_ at things, which requires the ability to see, an
appendage with which to point, and the neurological structures to empathize
(put yourself in the pointer's shoes).  This strikes me as the root of
language.  If so, a harder counterfactual is:

Can we imagine science without the ability to point at things?

I think the answer to that is, "No."  But as long as we have that root,
regardless of the structure and dynamic that might grow from that root, I
think the answer is "Yes, science can exist without the implementation
details of what we now call language."

John Kennison wrote at 04/22/2013 06:49 AM:

> My first thought was that we would first need language -without

> language it is hard to imagine what consensus would look like and hard
> to imagine science. How could we say that an experiment disproved a
> hypothesis, or even that one experiment is a repetition of another?
> But without consensus, how do we get language? Maybe science and
> language develop in tandem, --assuming we are programmed to believe
> that gestures and vocal sounds mean something --which can be
> determined through experimentation. This would explain why science
> seems to start with unsophisticated statements such as "Objects tend
> to fall in a downward direction." And why it seems necessary, when
> grappling with new, abstract scientific (and mathematical) ideas to
> reduce them to simpler statements involving ideas we are already
> comfortable with.  And Russ's question might be part of what is needed
> to understand abstract concepts of modern Physics. In 1962 I had a
> grad course in quantum mechanics (given by the Math Dept). It started
> with a discussion of motion in the physical world and a look at some
> of the questions we would ask. But very soon we adopted the axiom that
> the set of all questions was isomorphic to the set of all closed
> subspaces of a Hilbert space. Even the instructor admitted that this
> was a bit hard to swallow, but once we swallowed all would eventually
> become clear. I learned a lot about operators on a Hilbert space and
> even got an A in the course, but I never connected it to any ideas I
> had about the physical world.

glen e. p. ropella, 971-255-2847, There is all the
difference in the world between treating people equally and attempting to
make them equal. -- F.A. Hayek

=><= glen e. p. ropella
The suckers giving up their souls

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