A series of responses to recent posts of James, Gavin, Steven, Stan, Pedro, zyx, Joe, and koichiro. FIS response March 14, 2011
v547. ? Gavin: writes: "Modern chemistry fell out of alchemy." As far as I am aware, modern chemistry developed its own semantics, grammar and logical symbol system virtually independent of alchemy. The authors were Priestly, Lavoisier, Dalton, Volta, Bezerlious, and others, mainly in the late 17 th and early 18 th Century. The ostensive and demonstrative basis of alchemy was re-interpreted in terms of the properties of invisible and indivisible gases. From these origins, the alchemical ostensions were re-symbolized to become mathematical extensions of identity, volume, weight of.. , and other properties. These observations became the basis of the "ideal gas laws" and later, thermodynamics and eventually, quantum mechanics. Gavin continues: "Language still doesn’t have a good definition (or even what it may be). And we build our entire knowledge system on it." I disagree. The knowledge systems of science are based on observations and the correspondence relations between measurements and mathematical calculations. I recently published a long discussion of these relations under the title of "Algebraic Biology" in Roberto Poli's journal, Axiomathes. Gavin continues: Language has only three types of logic Declarative statements (like the one below) be either True or False Imperative statements (commands) can be structure or process. Interrogative Statements (questions), can be yes or no, and True or false To me, this assertion is simply false. Numerous logics are studied. Particularly interesting is the recent development of 'para-consistent" logics. For the past decade, I have been constructing a logic for the chemical sciences and medicine, closely related to some of the ideas of C S Peirce and category theory. It is called synductive logic and is classified as an inductive logic operating on labelled bipartite graphs. The grammar of this logic is an abstraction from the calculus of chemistry and electricity. Gavin continues: Is Mathematical Category Theory and Topoi Logic together the foundation of all Reality? My simplistic view of mathematics is that reality is vastly more perplex than anything to do with mathematics. The great beauty and power of mathematics emerges from those rare cases where the mathematical symbol systems can be shown to be in correspondence with nature. v. 547.5 by James Hannam: First, let us clear up a deep mis-understanding. My usage of the term calculus is in the traditional sense of "to calculate". That is, exact logic that is reproducible by others. Newtonian calculations are a sub-set of the more general term. The term comes from Latin, meaning a small pebble, referring to the use of an abacus. Jim, you write: "So, while I can clearly see you disagree with me, I am afraid that I do not really follow why." I provided you with a short summary of the basic ideas of modern science - roughly thirty concepts that were developed in Aristotle's writings roughly 2300 years ago. The extension of each of these concepts from Aristotle to today is a study of the history of a critical term of modern science. It is the sort of study of the history of science that I wish you had done before you boldly asserted your "contentious postulate." If you elect to undertake such a multi-year study, then you may find that modern science, much like modern mathematics, is a tightly interwoven network of both semantic and syntactical terms, glued together with mathematics and arcane beliefs about nature. The level of coherence within this network of terms is robust. v547.6 Joe Brenner writes: "It would be most interesting if synergies were to appear. For example, how might the logic of situations be related to the dynamic logic of processes of Logic in Reality, etc.?" Joe, your messages remain outside the scope of my comprehension. May I request that you give the list three or four concrete scientific examples of your "Logic of Reality"? In particular, is your usage of the term "reality" either ostensive or demonstrable? I am of the persuasion that "A rose by any other name is a rose" or, in this case, phenomenology by any other name is phenomenology. :-) :-) :-) v547.7 Stan Your conceptualization of the concept of properties as a way of knowing appears to be grossly deficient with respect to the chemical sciences. Metaphorically consistent with category theory, the chemical way of knowing emerges from the commutativity of the grammar of chemistry as derived from Dalton's "ratio of small whole numbers." The critical notion is the the commutativity among the nominative case, the properties as "universals" and the arrangement of parts of the whole. This commutativity creates a mathematical and logical intimacy among ostension, extension and intention. (While this a triadic argument, it differs substantially from the icon / index / symbol triadicity of C S Peirce.) Your writings appear to me to be a personal metaphysics which cannot support this intimacy of commutativity and therefore your are left to reject the role of properties in the study of nature. Or, do I mis-read the intent of your communication and metaphysics? v.547.8 Steven writes: "However, that does not avoid the fact that the universe is profoundly uniform and it is that uniformity upon which we rely." I disagree. for reasoning see comment to v547.12 v547.9 Pedro "At the stake are the limitations of the cognizing individual: the auxiliary "memories" that have been central along the knowledge accumulation enterprise: numbers, writing, tablets & papyri, codices, printed books, computers... without them, no knowledge accumulation possibilities." Is it your intent to submerge the role of human sign readings and other non-verbal and non-symbolic forms of knowing? Would it be your intent to submerge the knowledge within life itself (for example, the encoding of genetic cycles) to the mere grammar of sentences? v547.10 Y. X. Zhong The thought of extension from information to knowledge to wisdom is comforting within the concepts of frames. Can this extension of semantics be made realizable in various symbol systems used to send messages among individuals? v547.11 Koichiro The events of the past few days in your homeland remind us of the role of man within nature. My confidence in the enduring and endearing activities of Japanese culture remains strong. Personally, I wish you and your family fair winds and smooth seas as your country sails through these troubled times. v547.12 Steven writes: The universe, independent of any conception, is profoundly uniform and it is this uniformity that is the basis of perceived universals. Our conceptions can have no intrinsic uniformity unless they are founded upon this profound feature of the world. I find Steven's statement of principle to be exact. Of, course, this line of reasoning explains virtually nothing. With the conceptualization of "mass", nature is striped of her identities. In my view, the only intrinsic uniformity is of space and time. The twisting of the remainder of reality to fit into the uniformity prison, distorts the truth of matter and the truth of matters. This line of reasoning perfectly excluded the mental, bilogical and chemical sciences because of the necessity for irregular extension. The essence of the distortion of universality begins with the effort to strip the atomic numbers of their individuality. The other consequences follow from this antecedent. V547.13 (Pedro) Pedro makes a valuable contribution to the discussion in this post by seeking to place our present situation in a wider historical context. All such efforts are to be applauded, IMHO. The creation of new knowledge is, I believe, rather different than painted by the simple notion of "recombination" invoked from the hypothesis of Scott. Without doubt, many little steps of progress are simple recombinants of parts within wholes. Combinatorics is a rich branch of mathematics that offers unbounded potential for constructing new wholes from an assortment of parts. But, in the semantic domain, the question of whether a particular new sentence is actually a progressive step or is merely a re-arrangement of pre-existing knowledge is a difficult and often questionable decision because of the large open neighborhood of interpretation about non-numerical terms. The premier example of this is the discourse in philosophy where arguments are iterated over centuries, century after century, with little if any basic difference in meaning or ostension. The principle basis of construction of new knowledge is, I suggest, new interpretations of signs from nature. It is the construction of new methods of communicating knowledge that generates the rich informative structures of modern communication. The development of new sign systems, new logical and ostensive terms, is a slow process that evolves over decades and centuries. Prime examples of this are the sign systems for mathematics, for music, for chemistry, and for electricity. In particular, in the past two hundred years, the sign systems for chemistry (Dalton, Lavoisier, Berzelious) and for electricity (Coulomb, Volta, Kirchoff) have led to networks of quantitative relations of knowledge systems. I would hasten to add that both of these sciences arose from the synthesis of the Western European tongues with the classical Latin of Rome and equally important the genesis of new ostensive terms founded in Greek. Of course, the crisp logic of mathematical sign systems was essential to distinguishing the mere internal mental images of belief from the demonstrative signs systems of electricity and chemistry and genetics. In short, the creation of new knowledge is an active process of interpreting signs from nature in coherent numerical contexts. The history of human symbolic communication as a record of thought, started with the number system of the Sumerians and continues to develop, after 5000 years, with the construction of new signs and symbol systems. The works of C S Peirce continue to provide guidance in straddling the abyss.
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