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Re: [xmca] Progress: Reality or Illusion?
- To: Greg Thompson <email@example.com>
- Subject: Re: [xmca] Progress: Reality or Illusion?
- From: Andy Blunden <firstname.lastname@example.org>
- Date: Tue, 28 Feb 2012 16:27:17 +1100
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Well I guess that would be a tautology, because "I like ..." is
unashyamedly subjective. But if you try to be objective and say "... is
preferable to .." then you need criteria.
Greg Thompson wrote:
I like apples better than oranges.
Seems like a tautology to say that "liking" is quantitative. What
matters here is the practice of choosing apple over orange when
presented with both options (and under certain conditions, e.g. when
my body does not have a deficiency of Vitamin C...).
Alfred Korzybski, the founder of General Semantics, used to say that
we need to get beyond our tendency to two-valued orientations that
rely on the Aristotelian Law of the excluded middle that says that a
thing is either A or not A. Korzybski says that the tendency that we
have to think in terms of two-valued orientation leads to very serious
problems when we encounter the world. Instead he proposes a
many-valued orientation. (and one of his favorite examples was the
classic hot-cold water example, but introducing a third bucket of luke
warm and into which the child places his hands after putting one in
hot and one in cold and at which point he cannot say whether the luke
warm water is hot or cold). So David Ki, you suggest two is better
than one, but why stop at two? And why not recognize that all of these
quantities are only as they appear "to me," and, at best, "to us"?
On Mon, Feb 27, 2012 at 6:56 PM, Andy Blunden <firstname.lastname@example.org
Yes, and in fact if we were to introduce vector quantities into
the discussion we see that Quantity, in the strict Hegelian sense,
is not limited to integers or even numbers. Quantity is something
abstracted from a perceptual field which may vary without the
object from which it is abstracted becoming something different.
(The old thing about transformation of quantity into quality and
So it is fine to compare two entities by means of a bundle of
numbers. But of course if you do that you don't get to "more" or
"less". So the notion of "progress" does imply a single attribute
type of abstraction. Characterising a complex entity like an
entire form of life by a single attribute is as far from concrete
thinking as it is possible to get. I'll go for concrete thinking I
(Why don't elephants drive a Porsche?)
David H Kirshner wrote:
The literature on understanding of integers notes a developmental
difference between a "two-attribute" and "single-attribute"
interpretation of negative number. Consider a child who places
in a bucket of ice cold water and the other in a bucket of hot
and is asked "which bucket has warmer water?" The "two-attribute"
approach is characterized by dichotomous thinking, as in the
response, "This water isn't warm at all, it's cold!" As a
later stage of
development hot and cold are realized as poles of a single
Seems like both of these perceptual frames are
Maybe you're arguing from different frames.
Davis, R. B. & Maher, C. A. (1993). The reality of negative
R. B. Davis & C. A. Maher (Eds.), Schools, mathematics, and
the world of
reality (pp. 51-60). Boston, MA: Allyn and Bacon.
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Gregory A. Thompson, Ph.D.
Sanford I. Berman Post-Doctoral Scholar
Department of Communication
University of California, San Diego
Joint Editor MCA: http://www.tandfonline.com/toc/hmca20/18/1
Home Page: http://home.mira.net/~andy/
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