An old dialogue:
I START WITH:
I'm a big fan of both e-prime and maybe logic.
to me, it's all about clarity and accuracy, to myself as well as to others.
The only problem is, it tends to make for shitty rants, and it can suck the fun out of a good joke.
I think the big problem with the "is of identity" seems not to be so much that it labels an object, but that it tends to exclude all aspects of the object that are not part of the label ("the flower 'is' red" excludes all the other aspects of flower-ness).
Also, inserting the observer as part of the observation tends to remind us that subjectivity plays a key part in most observations (and even can remind us of basic physical properties of seeing - Cf: the "Blood is blue/red" thread*).
*The thread in question reminds the reader that blood “is” not red, it <i>reflects</i> the color red, which enters your eyes and is interpreted as such, etc.
it may be possible that e-prime still holds the trump card -
it could be said that the IS of identity has no real function anyway
since coming to this forum
i have been made aware that classifying and defining things seems to be nothing more than trifles and a cause for debate
"this is a real discordian"
it always comes down to
'well - what do you mean by that'
how many different words are there for 'red'
it may be comfortable to use 'is'
it may also be something that is on its way out
Not on it's way out-- it has to do with the way the primate brain functions. Labeling, categorizing-- hell, even the bible has Adam classifying things right off the bat.
humanity as a whole will probably never get over "is". But trying to escape tends not only to be fun, but it is mildly enlightening as to how we function as humans.
Also, as Hugh will probably point out, it can be a mistake to put too much faith in simple semantic word games to lead us into bliss. Just because you sometimes use maybe/fuzzy logic doesn't make you much better than the pinks/greys/cabbages/opiez.
doesnt this whole thing point out that even the bible (gasp) could be subject to this fallacy?
The bible does indeed seem to be filled with this apparent fallacy (even down to YHWH’s “I am that I am.”). My point was that the tendency to name and classify things can be traced all the way to the creation myths. Even in our beloved Tiamat and Marduk story, we had Things (stuff that has been “is-ed”) separated from chaos (undefinable; Cf: the tao that can be told is not the eternal tao, etc).
THEN JPF GETS INTO THE ACT:
JPF: To return to the original topic of conversation, EP/ML seems to gives us the best possible platform to move forward logically, but does that result in knowledge becoming a probability?
ME: Yes. Knowledge appears to be an evolving thing, and can often be hinged upon a frame of reference of a window of time. While I “know” that my pen will fall “down” if I drop it, there is a very small chance it won’t, for various reasons. While the percentage of that happening is infinitesimal, it still precludes my knowledge from being 100% sure. But for me, it’s close enough that I don’t worry about it. I feel that nothing can be known 100%, and that’s a good thing to me.
JPF: Truth as only a possibility?... and if that's so, then wouldn't the original assumption seem a possibility?
ME: Yes. Maybe Logic/E-Prime (ML/EP) are simply game rules that we have arbitrarily assumed. (Side note: even the phrase “original assumption” implies a less-than-100% level of assuredness to begin with). Those that find it useful, use it. Some have decided that, for now, it’s the best set of game rules to use. If a better one comes along, the chances are good that ML/EP will be abandoned in favor of the new rules. ML/EP shouldn’t be thought o as “the” answer, just a set of beneficial rules.
JPF: Doesn't it erode any ultimate basis for subscribing to EP/ML since probability encompasses all probabilities?
ME: Are you trying to do a George Bernard Shaw-style paradox? Because it’s not working.
JPF: The benefit of EP/ML is only a possibility. Why do we have greater confidence in EP/ML?
ME: Because when using ML/EP, the level of opinion and prejudice is made more apparent. ML/EP shows the degree of bias in the system. This leads to greater clarity, though (of course), not 100%.
JPF: To what degree is our confidence greater in it than our confidence in other possibilities. Using ML, what convinces us that ML is true(r)?
ME: There is no “truth” in ML/EP. As said before, they are merely game rules.
JPF: In short can EP/ML convince us of any truth, itself included?
ME: No, because that is not its intended purpose.
Essentially, you seem to be trying to fold ML in on itself and make it implode, but ML easily encompasses itself in a very clear manner.
In addition, you seem to be saying that if we can’t get to 100% truth, then its Hassan I Sabbah time: “Nothing is true, everything is permitted.”
But that’s not what ML does. You seem to be using polar thinking on ML, “true/false”, where ML behaves more like, “not true/kinda true/more true than that/pretty awfully convinced that this is most likely true”.
Just because probably nothing can be 100% true doesn’t mean that everything is false (unless you ask a Buddhist).
JPF: As far as posssibilities are concerned, do you think that there are ways to deduce what degree of probability can be associated with any idea?
ME: So, you’re looking for a mathematical equation that will give you an exact percentage? I’m not sure there’s a catch-all formula, but if you really wanted to look, I’d suggest quantum physics as a start.
JPF: Does everything end up having an equal possibility of occuring or is there still a difference in possibilities?
What I mean is: your pen is dropping. There's an infinitesimal chance of it becoming a brown dwarf and a more likely chance of it hitting the ground. Can you measure that still? Can you say that hitting the ground has a greater chance of happening than brown dwarf-morph? If so, how do you measure that with ML?
ME: Remember, these are game rules, and therefore, arbitrary. Yes, you probably can measure the probability of pen-to-brown dwarf, but I don’t get that picky. I just say, “not fucking likely”, and carry on with my day. Not to mention, if that did happen, knowing how improbable it was will be the least of my worries.
JPF: “not true/kinda true/more true than that/pretty awfully convinced that this is most likely true”
-- Can we provide percentages or is thaat impossible?
ME: You can, if you’d like. I’m more subjective. The point is that it’s not a “yes/no” dichotomy, it’s a “more than/less than” evaluation.
JPF: I guess what I want to know is: if every possible scenario is still a possibility, does that mean that 100% chance (of something happening and something not happening) is divided infinitely?
ME: I don’t see why not. But much like in physics, you’ll get a large chunk of the 100% divided among a handful of things, and an extremely small fraction of a percent taken up by everything else.
JPF: I was asking specifically ABOUT the more/less thing and your last paragraph answered my question.
ME: Wait, your whole point was whether or not a system of game rules that subjectively applies percentages of truth can be divided infinitely?
Wow, that was really stupid.
…And that, my friends, is how these sorts of things usually end.