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Re: [xmca] Progress: Reality or Illusion?

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...).

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 <mailto: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

    (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
        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
        phenomenologically valid.
        Maybe you're arguing from different frames.

        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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    xmca@weber.ucsd.edu <mailto:xmca@weber.ucsd.edu>

Gregory A. Thompson, Ph.D.
Sanford I. Berman Post-Doctoral Scholar
Department of Communication
University of California, San Diego

*Andy Blunden*
Joint Editor MCA: http://www.tandfonline.com/toc/hmca20/18/1
Home Page: http://home.mira.net/~andy/
Book: http://www.brill.nl/default.aspx?partid=227&pid=34857

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