# Concepts and Percepts

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GS:

Grrr I still detest imaginary numbers, I attempted to understand it semantically which did not work at 13.

What is your problem. The imaginary numbers (so-called) are what you have to add to the reals to make all polynomials with real co-efficient have roots. The complex field is the algebraic closure of the real polynomial ring. What is detestable about that?

If that is too rare for you consider the set of matrices:

- ............-

| a, b.......|

| -b, a......|

_............._

where a and b are real. Algebraically they form a field in which the polynomial x^2 + 1 = 0 has a root.

If I recall correctly, you are a master of statistics. I cannot comprehend why you have this difficulty.

Ba'al Chatzaf

Edited by BaalChatzaf

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Are you saying you cannot imagine a hand with 6 fingers??

GS,

Michael

I suppose when swans were defined and imagined as white no one was imagining them as black either. Our conceptions and definitions are based on our observations but we are free to conceive of things we have not observed. Who knows, maybe one day we will.

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GS,

I thought you were talking about concept formation. You mentioned you did not fully understand Rand's theory.

Creative (and not so creative) imagination is another mental process. We can also talk about that if you like.

Michael

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I started this thread to establish that concepts exist in our brains and are abstractions from our perceptions.

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GS,

I started this thread to establish that concepts exist in our brains and are abstractions from our perceptions.

So they are. (You actually said "images" originally, but I won't quibble.) So what is your doubt? Or did I misunderstand the following?

BTW, what I have read of Rand's doesn't make much sense to me and I can't argue with her so that's why I am here.

Michael

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What I am saying here does not apply to mathematics, we don't perceive i, the root of -1, we define it. ...

We do not perceive 7, either. I can show you 7 paper clips, 7 milk bottles, 7 Yellow Labradore Retrievers, and so on... None of them is "7." I can show you my hand, MSK's hand, your own hand, and the hands of workmen who have lost fingers, and even people who have lost their hands, and none of them is "hand." But if I show you enough hands -- say you are from Mars -- and then show you a person missing their hand, you can ABSTRACT the ESSENTIAL, and integrate your perception of the missing hand into the concept of "hand."

Furthermore, David Kelley suggests that, indeed, our brains are evolved to form concepts from a single instance. You do not need to see 3, 5, 139 "hands" to inductively define "hand" ... and then have that blown away by the first arm without one. (The downside, not from Kelley, from me, is that this is how we form superstititions.)

So, GS, are we speaking of the same thing in different words?

Uh, Merlin, yes, thanks for that... but... it is no more an "image" of i than this is an "image" of "infinity."

lim (1/n) = ∞

n →0

More substantially, however, i while "imaginary" is not "unreal." If you read that Wikipedia entry down to the Applications, you will see that calculating with i makes your home electricity possible.

Edited by Michael E. Marotta
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We do not perceive 7, either. I can show you 7 paper clips, 7 milk bottles, 7 Yellow Labradore Retrievers, and so on... None of them is "7." I can show you my hand, MSK's hand, your own hand, and the hands of workmen who have lost fingers, and even people who have lost their hands, and none of them is "hand." But if I show you enough hands -- say you are from Mars -- and then show you a person missing their hand, you can ABSTRACT the ESSENTIAL, and integrate your perception of the missing hand into the concept of "hand."

Furthermore, David Kelley suggests that, indeed, our brains are evolved to form concepts from a single instance. You do not need to see 3, 5, 139 "hands" to inductively define "hand" ... and then have that blown away by the first arm without one. (The downside, not from Kelley, from me, is that this is how we form superstititions.)

So, GS, are we speaking of the same thing in different words?

I agree, we don't perceive whole numbers either, but they are more intuitive for sure. Numbers represent relations in general. For example, we use 0 to represent the relation of equality under addition. If x=x it means x+(-x)=0. Under multiplication x=x means x*(1/x)=1. All other numbers represent unique, specific, exact asymmetric relations and can be defined with 0 and 1. So 2=1+1 and 3=2+1, etc., where 2>1 and 3>2 etc. and we exactly how much greater or less.

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It has been pointed out that if you can't step in the river twice you can't step in to it once either.

The saying goes like "you can't step into the same river twice".

Your missed the point: To make this more explicit; If you can't step in the river twice you can't step into it once. The concept of the Mississippi river already involves the idea of water flow (1.6 million gallons per second usually) so if you obliterate the concept of 'river' by stating that you can't step into the 'same' river twice you can't step into it at all. The concept of river is a flow of water down a more or less fixed path.

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It has been pointed out that if you can't step in the river twice you can't step in to it once either.

The saying goes like "you can't step into the same river twice".

Your missed the point: To make this more explicit; If you can't step in the river twice you can't step into it once. The concept of the Mississippi river already involves the idea of water flow (1.6 million gallons per second usually) so if you obliterate the concept of 'river' by stating that you can't step into the 'same' river twice you can't step into it at all. The concept of river is a flow of water down a more or less fixed path.

If you were any more concrete bound, you'd be at the bottom of the river...

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It has been pointed out that if you can't step in the river twice you can't step in to it once either.

The saying goes like "you can't step into the same river twice".

Your missed the point: To make this more explicit; If you can't step in the river twice you can't step into it once. The concept of the Mississippi river already involves the idea of water flow (1.6 million gallons per second usually) so if you obliterate the concept of 'river' by stating that you can't step into the 'same' river twice you can't step into it at all. The concept of river is a flow of water down a more or less fixed path.

If you were any more concrete bound, you'd be at the bottom of the river...

Not at all. He is being precise. One cannot step in the same river twice or be electrocuted by the same current twice. Flow defines a time changing set of particles in a three dimensional region.

Ba'al Chatzaf

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How about the "impossible twice" people defining river? David did.

Then it will be clear that you guys are talking about two different things.

Michael

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Heraclites quote is (like many famous quotes) of course deliberately paradoxical. If you hear it for the first time, your reaction will probably be "huh, why not?". The point he wants to make is that everything is continuously changing (Πάντα ῥεῖ !), not only rivers (rather obvious), but also people and everything around them. Therefore arguments that this is in contradiction to the standard definition of "river" are missing the point.

A similar paradoxical statement is "less is more". It would be a contradiction if taken literally, but that is of course not its meaning. By summarizing the idea in a short paradoxical statement you can create a successful meme and arguments against the literal interpretation are beside the point.

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Yes, the name of the river hasn't changed, for example, but the river has. The concept of a river has not changed but the river itself has. This is all the saying means. The value of this expression is something Korzybski held high, namely that we should always remember that there are characteristics not included in our concepts and definitions and when dealing with actual things we often are surprised if we are not careful. This is why he puts so much emphasis on differentiating between words and what they represent.

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GS:

"The value of this expression is something Korzybski held high, namely that we should always remember that there are characteristics not included in our concepts and definitions and when dealing with actual things we often are surprised if we are not careful. This is why he puts so much emphasis on differentiating between words and what they represent."

Yes that is why I have always valued his work and employ it every day. I believe, just like the neo- Randians he would want to be protected from the neo-K men.

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Yes, the name of the river hasn't changed, for example, but the river has. The concept of a river has not changed but the river itself has.

GS,

The entity, river, has not changed. There is an individual flow of water following an individual path. That individuality didn't change and this is reality, not just a concept. The river's components, such as water molecules, change constantly.

Using "change" to mean both allows for this confusion.

This is more than just an issue of how to use a name.

Michael

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I have enjoyed the discussion of “cannot step into the same river twice.” Here is an additional note on abstractness, particularity, and sameness for “the water flowing in a particular river between definite fixed boundaries,” such as “the water flowing in the Chicago River between Lake Shore Drive and Michigan Avenue.”

http://www.objectivistliving.com/forums/in...entry8914

Related:

Ordinary Objects

Amie L. Thomasson

(Oxford 2007)

http://www.oup.com/us/catalog/general/subj...i=9780195319910

Edited by Stephen Boydstun

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The entity, river, has not changed. There is an individual flow of water following an individual path. That individuality didn't change and this is reality, not just a concept. The river's components, such as water molecules, change constantly.

Using "change" to mean both allows for this confusion.

This is more than just an issue of how to use a name.

Michael

Well, I doubt we will ever come to any agreement on this. All I can say is that all our measurements we take of various properties of said river will show that is constantly changing and yet you insist it isn't.

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I believe, just like the neo- Randians he would want to be protected from the neo-K men.

Yes, very true.

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Well, I doubt we will ever come to any agreement on this. All I can say is that all our measurements we take of various properties of said river will show that is constantly changing and yet you insist it isn't.

Really?

"molecular weight, weight of a molecule of a substance expressed in atomic mass units (amu). The molecular weight may be calculated from the molecular formula of the substance; it is the sum of the atomic weights of the atoms making up the molecule. For example, water has the molecular formula H2O, indicating that there are two atoms of hydrogen and one atom of oxygen in a molecule of water. Rounded to three decimal places, the atomic weight of hydrogen is 1.008 amu and that of oxygen is 15.999 amu. The molecular weight of water is thus (2×1.008)+(1×15.999)=2.016+15.999=18.015 amu." (source)

"Heraclitus claimed that one cannot step into the same river twice. Same is clearly ambiguous here; the sense is not specified. His claim is based on the fact the bits of water at a particular location of the river at two different times are not the same particular bit of water. However, use of the phrase “the same river twice” is surely justified when one considers (1) stepping into the Nile River twice within the span of a few seconds versus (2) stepping once into the Nile and once into the Mississippi." (same source as post 42)

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"Heraclitus claimed that one cannot step into the same river twice. Same is clearly ambiguous here; the sense is not specified. His claim is based on the fact the bits of water at a particular location of the river at two different times are not the same particular bit of water. However, use of the phrase “the same river twice” is surely justified when one considers (1) stepping into the Nile River twice within the span of a few seconds versus (2) stepping once into the Nile and once into the Mississippi." (same source as post 42)

Yes, it is ambiguous, and I have already admitted that the name is the same. We use labels to identify which objective experience we refer to but we must remember that on a scientific level we deal with dynamic, changing process exclusively and the objective experience is only "a snapshot" of that. (Or perhaps an integration of that)

Edited by general semanticist
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Yes, it is ambiguous, and I have already admitted that the name is the same. We use labels to identify which objective experience we refer to but we must remember that on a scientific level we deal with dynamic, changing process exclusively and the objective experience is only "a snapshot" of that. (Or perhaps an integration of that)

Okay, I see you did in post 38. However, you also said that all the measurements are constantly changing. How does that square with the part of my post about molecular weight?

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Which side of the sameness-identicality distinction would you place "equal," Merlin? And "equivalent"?

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Okay, I see you did in post 38. However, you also said that all the measurements are constantly changing. How does that square with the part of my post about molecular weight?

Actually, I wasn't sure what that part of the post was relevant to. Are you saying that the molecular weight of water is a constant non-changing thing? If you are, I will submit that these values are only approximate and subject to the accuracy of our methods of determination. I know this from experience as a surveyor that you virtually never agree with another surveyor what the coordinates of some point are and it becomes a matter of error analysis to arrive at some value.

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However, use of the phrase “the same river twice” is surely justified when one considers (1) stepping into the Nile River twice within the span of a few seconds versus (2) stepping once into the Nile and once into the Mississippi." (same source as post 42)

Korzybski would say Nilet1 is not Nilet2 . This symbolism allows you to show the similarity and differences of the abstractions. "Nile" by itself is misleading because it implies a static,unchanging affair.