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Re: [xmca] Progress: Reality or Illusion?

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...).

David Ki,

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 <ablunden@mira.net> wrote:

> 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 vice versa).
> 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 think.
> Andy
> (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 one hand
>> in a bucket of ice cold water and the other in a bucket of hot water,
>> and is asked "which bucket has warmer water?" The "two-attribute"
>> approach is characterized by dichotomous thinking, as in the bewildered
>> 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 dimension.
>> Seems like both of these perceptual frames are phenomenologically valid.
>> Maybe you're arguing from different frames.
>> David
>> Davis, R. B. & Maher, C. A. (1993). The reality of negative numbers. In
>> 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
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