On 19/12/2008, at 5:52 AM, Bruno Marchal wrote:
>> you think it's impolite to think of a machine as a sexless "it" (as  
>> in
>> Anglais) -- yet you quite arbitrarily assign a feminine gender to the
>> word!!! What's so feminine about a machine anyway? What if the  
>> machine
>> is gay? "It" might fit
> Gay have no sex?

Should be a third and a fourth sex in my view. If we think of a  
person's "sex" as being a combination of preference as well as gender

"It" would certainly be insufficient, then!

Which language actually gets it right?

> All words in french are either masculine or feminine. The sun, the  
> fire, the air, are male (Le soleil, le feu, un air). The moon, the  
> sea, the earth, the water) are female (La lune, la mer, la terre,  
> une eau). Yes "machine" is a feminine word: LA machine, UNE machine.  
> What shocks me if I say "the machine itself", is not that it is  
> sexless, but that it sounds "personless". In flemish words are  
> either feminine, masculine or neutral: the neutral if for personless  
> entity. If I say "the machine itself", I understand "the concept (of  
> machine) itself". If I talk about some particular machine and say  
> "the machine itself", I feel like I am denying person-ness to the  
> machine, at the start. It sounds weird to me in the comp setting.

OK, Gallic and Flemish distinction have won out against English - as  
so often happens - it's not a question of the sex of the machine but  
the "personhood" of the machine.

No way will we be denying personhood to a machine - the personless  
quality of "It" does not fit then, despite the fact that "the machine  
made references to itself" is correct in English while your preferred  
"the machine made reference to herself" is not

t'en fait pas...

after all we say "She was a great sailing ship" - "She was a clipper  
of class, skipper" and things like that. I always feel like slapping  
English speakers when they do that. They're just suffering from a  
nasty bout of Gallic and Flemish distinction ;-D


>> Just remember to take the mathematical part out of the maths. I will
>> cope easily with the rest
> Hmmm... My diagnostic is that you are suffering from an acute form  
> of math-anxiety.  I can cure that!

Looks like I have to say "Yes, Doctor" again!

>  Tell me first if you have been once mentally or physically raped or  
> tortured by a mathematician.

Yes. When I was in first class, the school teacher said "Stand up and  
recite your 7 times table". I became anxiety-struck, got sweaty palms  
and sat down. I think I may have cried. I think I should find this  
person and bring them to justice, what do you say?

Later on, it was discovered that the part of my brain that does  
mathematics had somehow mapped itself to the musical part, possibly  
even at that very moment - so that the musical perception became more  
finely-grained while the maths-perception missed out

I kid you not, a psychologist told me

> Friedrich Gauss said that math is the most easy of all the sciences,  
> and I think he is right.

Yes, but he and you probably were not physically abused or tortured by  
your primary school maths teachers the way I was

> It is probably not obvious to find something new in math, but it is  
> easy to apprehend the discovery of others. That needs only work and  
> patience, and some taste, but you are musician and I am sure you  
> have the taste for at least some part of math.

The part that where they drop a silicon chip into my brain with the  
whole of mathematics and computational science on it, plus the mental  
software to run it - and I simply understand all of it without going  
to the monumental effort of learning it.

How far off can that be?

> Math is very large. Almost all tastes can be recompensed. Baroc,  
> Classical, Jazz, Pop, Techno, Melodic, High, ...
> All geometers like beauty. All logicians like mystery (but only one  
> half of the logicians admit the fact).
> Mathematicians of different sensibilities can be terrible among  
> themselves and with their students. It is very sad!

Like the one I copped when I was in first class who publicly  
humiliated me and shorted my math motherboard

no wonder I need a new, fully digital, artificial brain. This one  
comes PRE-loaded with the whole of mathematics!!

> I will do KIM 2.2 asap (= tomorrow, or Sunday, or Monday). It  
> introduces the key difference between first person and third person  
> experiences/discourses.
> We cannot really know what a person experience is, so we will  
> contend ourselves for a time with their discourses (including  
> silences).

This sounds like the fun part

> It will not be an ultimate definition of "first person", but a  
> practical approximation which is necessary and sufficient for the  
> rest of the reasoning.
> Best,
> Bruno
> http://iridia.ulb.ac.be/~marchal/
> >

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