Brain Dump – 2 v 3 layer / dualism / heuristics / less-is-more

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Since yesteday evening UK time.

Some holding thoughts …
Binary vs three-layer world. Mind & Matter debates. Mind – Conscious & sub-conscious thinking and behaviours, as well as non-thinking reflex stimulus / response behaviour. Every time I see a binary argument, I suspect a three layer problem – net result is that every layer (having two interfaces) also has three layers, thus infinite onion-skins in every issue. Simple topology, but naturally fractal.

Beware definitions – defining hard boundaries – this and not this. (someone said that ?) Also see my caveat on the “Glossary” page – One of the web dictionaries of philosophy has an ancient quote to the same effect (cannot immediately re-locate ?). (Caveats to texts – never start a presentation with an apology adage ? This is not an apology , or since I’m starting with one, I can’t be selling you anything etc … Double-bluff / games theory etc, where will this end ?)

Not enough words in the English (or any natural) language to reserve hard definitions for each – example – behaviourists would like to define behaviour as meaning only stimulus / response behaviour. Note also conditional statement in Turing machine definition (it works … “provided the problem can be unambiguously defined by a finite set of words” … or words to that effect). One feature of “isms” is that they become “schisms” – divisions divided by defintions which were really only intended to be working definitions against which to apply the chosen logic in the chosen space. From the outside the natural language words look like they’ve been “hi-jacked”. This gets more problematic the more its the meaning of “natural language” we are concerned with – the context becomes the subject content too – tricky one [Post Note – not come across Quine at this point?] – very close to the Catch22 line I keep raising – a circular reference – a bootstrapping problem. (Q – is this also related to the “there is no such thing as a private language” debate ?).

On a similar problem with naming or definition of words representing nouns (tangible or conceptual) – often observe the behaviour that people use the name for a main sub-type which is the same as the common name of it’s parent. It’s a kind of arrogance that the sub-type currently under consideration is somehow all important – often means siblings have trouble resolving their parent from the “main” sibling. In complex, uncertain, situations involving learning by discovery (heuristics) it becomes essential that long-winded precise naming is used until such time as the common ground is firmly established. “Why use one word when a sentence will do ?” – is an adage I’m often heard to utter.

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