Hi Lou and Colleagues,

On 16 Apr 2016, at 06:57, Louis H Kauffman wrote:

Dear Maxine Sheets-Johnstone,
I would like to make a remark on your comment below.

"(4). References made to Gödel’s theorem to uphold certain theses can be definitively questioned. The claim that Gödel makes on behalf of his theorem is inaccurate. Three articles that demonstrate the inaccuracy, one from a phenomenological perspective, two others from a logical-analytical perspective, warrant clear-headed study. In brief, self-referential statements are vacuous, hence neither true nor false. Moreover the sentences expressing the statements may be used to make two quite different statements, a fact ignored by Gödel.(See Note #4: “Self- Reference and Gödel’s Theorem,” “The Liar Syndrome,” and “Doctor’s Diagnosis Sustained”)”

My remark takes the form of a partially linguistic analysis of reference and it will be a bit technical/symbolic. My point is to show that reference naturally leads to self-reference in domains where there is a sufficiently rich structure of reference.

OK. here an interesting happening is that such richness is cheap, as just a tiny part of arithmetic has already what is needed to have the references and self-references. Similarly, we get all this from two simple combinators relation.

I also have a question for you in that you say that "The claim that Gödel makes on behalf of his theorem is inaccurate.”. Can you please articulate your view of Goedel’s claim. There are many claims about Goedel that are inaccurate, but I would not say that the inaccuracies are his!

I agree.

Now to get to my analysis. First let A——> B denote a reference from A to B. You can think of A as the name of B. But it can be just an ordered relationship from A to B and in that case A and B can be physical entities or symbolic entities. Usually in naming we think of A as symbolic and B as physical, but we mix them in our language. For example, if I am introduced to you then I acquire a pointer Maxine ——> SJ where I use SJ to denote the person you are. This might be the person sensed visually upon being met. Before we were introduced, there was SJ in my sight, but now I know her name.

This situation shifts almost immediately. I learn to associate the name Maxine with SJ the person, and so when I see you next I see you as “SJ - Maxine” and it seems that your name comes along with you. I call this shift the Indicative Shift and denote it as follows.
A ——> B shifts to
#A ——> BA.
#Maxine is my internally indexed name for that entity SJ-Maxine who is seen with a name associated with her. You could call #Maxine the ‘meta-name’ of SJ-Maxine. Of course in our actual language #Maxine is still pronounced and wrote as Maxine. The indicative shift occurs in all levels of our language and thought. The objects of our thought and perception are so laden with the names and symbols that have been shifted to them, that their ‘original nature’ is nearly invisible. I will not involve this to a discussion of the ding-an-sich or with meditation practice, but these are important avenues to pursue.

I am imagining a human being (or another organism) as a very big entity with the perceptual and naming capabilities who is endowed with this ability to make indicative shifts.

Such a being would notice its own shifting operation.

The being may then engage in a naming process such as M ——> #.
M would be the being’s name for its own operation (so observed) of shifting reference.
It does require a certain age for this to occur.
But then this naming would be shifted and we would go from
M ——> #
#M ——> #M.
At this point the being has attained linguistic self-reference. The being can say “I am the meta-name of my own naming process.” This nexus or fixed point of self-reference can occur naturally in a being that has sufficient ability to distinguish, name and create.

In this way, I convince myself that there is nothing special about self-reference. It arises naturally in observing systems. And I convince myself that self-reference is central to an organized and reflective cognition. Even though it is empty to say that “I am the one who says I.” this emptiness becomes though language an organizing center for our explorations of our own world and the worlds of others. The beauty of “I am the one who says I.” is that it is indeed a vacuous reference. Anyone can take it on. The “I” can refer to any observing system sophisticated enough to give it meaning.

My example should be expanded into a discussion of the role and creation of meaning in observing systems, but I shall stop here.

I am interested in how Soren Brier will react to these, perhaps seen as indirect, remarks on mind and meaning. I take thought and the realm of discrimination as the start of epistemology and I do not regard the immediate apparent objects of our worlds as anything but incredibly decorated entities appearing after a long history of indicative shift. What is their original nature? It is empty. Emptiness is form and form is emptiness. The form we take to exist arises from framing nothing.

Now, I caution you in replying to please read carefully what I have written here.
I will not reply directly to the discussion for another week or so.

What you say here is coherent with the idea that the meaning might be given when we attach the representation with the referent, like with the definition of knowledge given by Plato in the Theaetetus. But this would lead us far and is perhaps premature.

P.S. The indicative shift is precisely the formalism in back of the workings of Goedel’s Theorem. (See “Categorical Pairs and the Indicative Shift”, http://arxiv.org/pdf/1102.2048.pdf)

That diagonal construction is also the base of recursion theory, and a large part of theoretical computer science, and, as my paper explains, it the base of my whole work. It is indeed the royal entry to the biology and psychology of the machine (and of a large class of non- machine as well). What I do add is the first person indeterminacy, which eventually makes the physical (and even the theological) science(s) into a branch of machine or arithmetic phenomenology. A machine cannot known which computations support her among the infinitely many computations (executed in the tiny part of the arithmetical reality mentioned above). So if she looks below its substitution level, she must observe the trace of many parallel computations: this seems to explain both qualitatively and quantitatively most of the quantum "weirdness", without needing an abandon of determinism and locality. It leads to a sort of many dreams internal interpretation of arithmetic.

Bruno Marchal

On Apr 11, 2016, at 11:41 PM, Maxine Sheets-Johnstone <m...@uoregon.edu > wrote:

To all colleagues,

I hope I may voice a number of concerns that have arisen in the course of the ongoing discussions that are ostensibly about phenomenology and
the life sciences.

The concerns begin with a non-recognition of what is surely the ground floor of real-life, real-time realities, namely, animation, not in the sense of being alive or in opposition to the inanimate, but in the sense
of motion, movement, kinetics. As Aristotle cogently remarked,
“Nature is a principle of motion and change. . . . We must therefore see
that we understand what motion is; for if it were unknown, nature too
would be unknown” (Physics 200b12-14).

Through and through--from animate organisms to an ever-changing world-- movement is foundational to understandings of subject and world, and of
subject/world relationships, and this whether subject and world are
examined phenomenologically or scientifically. In short, movement is at the core of information and meaning, at the core of mind and consciousness, at the core of both gestural and verbal language, at the core of nervous system and organic functionings, at the core of molecular transformations, at the core of ellipses, electrons, gravity, waves, particles, and so on, and further, at the core of time, the concept, measurement, and meaning of

I enumerate below specifics with respect to what is essentially the
foundational dynamic reality. The summary concerns are followed by
references that document each concern. If further specifics are wanted or
if specific articles are wanted, kindly contact m...@uoregon.edu

(1). Instincts and/or feelings motivate animate organisms to move.
Without such instincts or feelings there would be no disposition
to move. An ‘animate organism’ would in truth be akin to a statue,
a statue Condillac described two and a half centuries ago as having
first this sense given to it, then that sense given to it, but that,
lacking movement, is powerless to gain knowledge of the world. Such
a movement deficient creature would furthermore lack the biological
capacity of responsivity, a near universal characteristic of life.
The startle reflex is a premier example. Can what is evolutionarily
given be “illogical”? Clearly, feelings are not “illogical,” but move
through animate bodies, moving them to move. Without feelings of
curiosity, for example, or awe, or wonder, there would be no exploration
of the natural world, no investigations, hence no “information.”
Furthermore, without feelings of movement—initially, from an evolutionary perspective, no proprioception, and later, no kinesthesia--there would be no near and far, no weak and strong, no straight and curved, and so on, hence, no determinations of Nature. In short, there would be no information
and no meaning. (See Note #1: The Primacy of Movement)

(2). An excellent lead-in to scientific understandings of movement and
its inherent dynamics lies in the extensive research and writings of
J. A. Scott Kelso, Pierre de Fermat Laureate in 2007. Kelso was founder of the Center for Brain and Behavioral Studies and its Director for twenty years. His rigorous multi-dimensional experimental studies are anchored in coordination dynamics, an anchorage that is unconstrained by dogma. The breadth of his knowledge and his sense of open inquiry is apparent in the literature he cites in conjunction with his articles and books. His recent article in Biological Cybernetics that focuses on “Agency” is strikingly relevant to the present FIS discussion. It takes experience into account, specifically in the form of “positive feedback,” which obviously involves kinesthesia in a central way. Moreover his upcoming Opinion piece in Trends in Cognitive Science should be essential reading. (See Note #2: “The Coordination Dynamics of Mobile Conjugate Reinforcement” and The Complementary Nature)

(3). As pointed out elsewhere, “Certainly words carry no patented meanings, but the term ‘phenomenology’ does seem stretched beyond its limits when it is used to denote either mere reportorial renderings of perceptible behaviors or actions, or any descriptive rendering at all of perceptible behaviors or actions. At the least, ‘phenomenology’ should be recognized as a very specific mode of epistemological inquiry invariably associated with the name Edmund Husserl. . . . ” Phenomenological inquiries are tethered to a very specific methodology, one as rigorous as that of science. Phenomenological findings are furthermore open to verification by others, precisely as in science. Moreover two forms of phenomenological analysis warrant recognition: static and genetic, the former being a determination of the essential character of the object of inquiry, the second being a determination of how the meaning of that object of inquiry came to be constituted, hence an inquiry into sedimentations of meaning, into protentions and retentions, into horizons of meaning, and so on. Thus too, what warrants recognition is the fact that bracketing is not the beginning and end of phenomenological methodology. On the contrary, bracketing is only the beginning. Phenomenological reduction follows bracketing and allows the essential character of the object of inquiry or the constitution of its meaning to come to light.
(See Note #3: Animation: Analyses, Elaborations, and Implications”)

(4). References made to Gödel’s theorem to uphold certain theses can be definitively questioned. The claim that Gödel makes on behalf of his theorem is inaccurate. Three articles that demonstrate the inaccuracy, one from a phenomenological perspective, two others from a logical-analytical perspective, warrant clear-headed study. In brief, self-referential statements are vacuous, hence neither true nor false. Moreover the sentences expressing the statements may be used to make two quite different statements, a fact ignored by Gödel.(See Note #4: “Self- Reference and Gödel’s Theorem,” “The Liar Syndrome,” and “Doctor’s Diagnosis Sustained")

(5): Information is commonly understood as factual knowledge, thus empirically sustained and sustainable knowledge. It is thus a matter of the condition or nature or workings, etc., of something out there in the world, including even your liver if that is the source of information. Mathematics has its origin in arithmetic, the latter having its origins in counting things in the world, including if not beginning with one’s fingers, and in shape, including if not beginning with differentiating contours and size, thus with linear and amplitudinal dimensions of things in the world. As I wrote in my last posting, I hope that someone will take up the challenge of doing a phenomenological analysis of information. An inquiry into the relationship of meaning to information and of information to meaning might then be undertaken. That step, to my mind, would provide solid ground for linking informational sciences and phenomenology, linking by way of showing—- demonstrating—complementarities, precisely complementarities in the sense that
Bohr and Kelso specify.

Note #1: Sheets-Johnstone, Maxine. 2011. The Primacy of Movement, expanded 2nd ed.
Amsterdam/Philadelphia: John Benjamins Publishing

Note #2: Kelso, J. A. Scott and Armin Fuchs. 2016. “The Coordination Dynamics of Mobile Conjugate Reinforcement,” Biological Cybernetics: DOI 10.1007/s00422-015-0676-0. Kelso, J. A. Scott and David A. Engström. 2006. The Complementary Nature. Cambridge,
MA: Bradford Book/MIT Press.

Note #3: Sheets-Johnstone, Maxine. 2015. “Animation: Analyses, Elaborations, and Implications,”
Husserl Studies, 30/3: 247-268.  DOI 10.1007/s10743-014-9156-y

Note #4: Johnstone, Albert A. 2002. “Self-Reference and Gödel’s Theorem: A Husserlian Analysis."
Husserl Studies, 19: 131-151.
Johnstone, Albert A. 2002. “The Liar Syndrome,” SATS/Nordic Journal of Philosophy, 3/1: 37-55. Johnstone, Albert A. 2002. “Doctor’s Diagnosis Sustained,” SATS/ Nordic Journal of Philosophy,
3/2: 142-153.


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