Re: Show Just One Example

Lee Daniel Crocker (
Sun, 22 Mar 1998 01:21:37 -0800 (PST)

> IAN: A definition is useful IF it puts
> the defined in context, IF it defines
> the relations of the defined to things
> that are different than it. The "A=A"
> definition of A does not do that...

I have an even stronger standard: that the identity
of an can be expressed as the relationship between
X and not-X is a truism that a 12-year-old could
understand with a bit of reflection, and it is "true"
in the metaphysical sense that it is impossible to
show a counterexample, but it is /not useful/ to
anyone, because It doesn't help me predict things.

The symbolic string manipulations of traditional
boolean algebra, starting with "A=A", are useful to
prove complex theorems; /they don't mean anything/,
and never have, so your rant against them is hollow.
Math and Logic aren't real; they don't have to be.
They are just models. When we manipulate the models,
we get predictions; when those predictions succeed,
we call those models "useful". Metaphysical truth
is a mystical concept, not a useful one. What's
useful is anything that improves my ability to
predict the world by reducing the information
content of my world model. The act of reason is
just data compression; the simpler my model, the
more I can predict with it in less computational
time--given the constraint that its predictions
must match my observations within the universe of
phenomena in which I am interested.

The fact that "crowness" is a relationship between
those things that are crows and those things that are
not is a true, but utterly useless, observation. A
more useful observation is to note the asymmetry in
the system: there is a lot more information complexity
on the non-crow side than on the crow side: think of
a non-crow. Ok, now think of a crow. Which was
easier for you, and more productive? That asymmetry
allows me to do useful work: if, for example, I store
the information about "crowness"--this relationship
between crows and non-crows--/as if/ it were a set of
properties belonging to crows themselves, I can store
the information about that relationship more compactly.
Crows are black, have feathers, etc. That simple bit
of information can enable me to accomplish things
like learning not to stand around dead animals if I
don't want to be attacked by an angry bird.

Don't tell me that holism is /true/. I don't give a
damn. Tell me how I can /profit/ from it.

Lee Daniel Crocker <> <>
"All inventions or works of authorship original to me, herein and past,
are placed irrevocably in the public domain, and may be used or modified
for any purpose, without permission, attribution, or notification."--LDC