[Inquiry] Re: Differential Logic A -- Discussion

Jon Awbrey jawbrey at att.net
Mon Feb 16 13:36:06 CST 2004


DLOG A.  Discussion Note 14


HT = Hugh Trenchard
JA = Jon Awbrey

Re: DLOG A Discussion 12.  http://suo.ieee.org/ontology/msg05421.html

HT: From some of the discussions you've presented,
    it seems that Peircean logic does contemplate
    formalizing interactions between components.

That would be a misapprehension on several scores:

First, as to what I've been busy about under this
subject line, and along the lines of inquiry that
I've been tracing in its name for the last decade
and a half or so, it is very much about extending
our most rudimentary logical formalisms in a way
that would be more adequate to dealing with the
problems of change and diversity as we run into
them in qualitative settings.

Second, as to the character of Peirce's "logic as semiotics" (LAS),
that I am merely drawing on as the best resource for my own effort.

Third, as to the purpose of logic in general, a normative science
dedicated to the objective of optimizing the practice of thinking,
in other words, that investigates the question of how we may best
conduct our thoughts, on the condition that we desire to achieve
a number of more or less well-appreciated purposes of reasoning.

HT: I am reminded, as I mentioned previously, of your
    discussion relating to measures of uncertainties
    and options at succeeding junctures ("what to do,
    what to hope ...").  Even in the basic scenario
    you presented, which seems to imply some degree
    of causal interactivity, I recall that compound
    uncertainty was multiplicative (though additive
    by logarithm), which even in that sense begins
    to look more like "emergence" than simply the
    whole being the sum of its parts.  But beyond
    that, I wonder if there is potential to combine
    "trees", if you will, of compound uncertainty,
    that lead to patterns of compound uncertainty
    which wereperhaps not predictable by the initial
    set of "decisions" at the base of the "trees".

I continue to detect in this interpretation of what I wrote on that thread
some assumptions that I never intended to convey, but I do not know how to
revise my story in a way that would fix the evident deficits in my account.

Part of the problem seems to come in with my use of trees to represent what
is really the stepwise analysis of a present situation, and not necessarily
a sequential process of decision-making that happens on the plane of action.
It may be that my try at a triple play, stretching to cover all three bases
of Kant's 3-fold inquiry "What's true?  What's to do?  What's to hope?" has
strained the limits of my agility for capturing all three in a general idea.
Anyway, I can see no way home, nor any way to retire the field at this time.

HT: I realize that emergence in the sense I have applied it,
    occurs primarily in the context of complex dynamical systems,
    and may simply be inapplicable to Peircean logic.  But I do wonder
    if one might stumble upon the existence of fractals or power laws in
    the patterns of relatively complex uncertainty trees.  I would suggest
    that if such patterns exist, then there is a fundamental relationship
    between Peircean logic and complexity (in the sense of the science
    of complexity).

Here I get that talking past each other feeling again.  Just about all the
disciplines that we lump together under the "formal sciences" are designed
to address complexity of one ilk or another, and if there is anything that
all of them have in common, it is a high level of care about what it takes
to attribute any property at all to an objective reality, as distinguished
from the careless attribution of a relative property to one of the parties
to the relation in question.  Now Peirce is remarkable for his early sense
of the subtleties that are involved in such questions, but the insights he
foresaw are hardly unique today, indeed, they are prevalent in most of the
formal sciences that I have ever encountered.

HT: I think I know what the general response is going to be --
    but here again, I just throw this out as food for thought.

Well, anticipated or not I will go ahead and try to give a succinct summary
of how I see the question of emergence.  I am not questioning the value of
the word in pointing to phenomena that escape explanation in terms of our
prevailing "frames of inquiry" (FOI's), indeed, it seems to follow almost
automatically from the approximate nature of all human FOI's that there
will always be these kinds of emergent complications arising from time
to Timbuktu.  Given all of the things that we ignore in order to form
a FOI in the first place, it's a global no-brainer that some of the
details we neglected will rise up and bite us back sooner or later.
But it does not address this very real issue when we use the terms
Chaos, Complexity, Emergence, Manifoldness, Multiplicity, Variety,
Uncertainty, ..., in ways that consign them to the very long list
of mystifying vital principles that operate not to urge inquiry
but only to pacify its urgings.  It's all about how the words
are used in practice, not essentially a question of spelling.

The question is the next question, after you've succeeded
in calling attention to an emerging phenomenon, then what?

Jon Awbrey


More information about the Inquiry mailing list