[Top] [All Lists]

Re: [ontolog-forum] intangibles (was RE: Why most classifications are fu

To: "[ontolog-forum]" <ontolog-forum@xxxxxxxxxxxxxxxx>
From: "John F. Sowa" <sowa@xxxxxxxxxxx>
Date: Sun, 10 Jul 2011 01:56:43 -0400
Message-id: <4E193F1B.6060001@xxxxxxxxxxx>
Chris, Azamat, and Cory,    (01)

The puzzles you're discussing are examples of what Wittgenstein called
a philosopher's disease.  Normal human beings deal with them correctly
without worrying about them.  For representing them in a computer,
it's necessary to find a consistent way of representing them so that
the result that normal people arrive at without thinking will be
the one that the computer also derives.    (02)

> But I was asking for an explanation how something intangible
> (more accurately, 'abstract') could have these tangible (more
> accurately, 'concrete') effects. As I understand it, there is
> no scientific evidence  of intangible/abstract things having
> a causal effect on tangible/concrete things.    (03)

All of mathematics consists of signs.  The sign types are
abstract information, which is intangible.  But the sign tokens
are physical marks on paper, in physical artifacts, or in
physical activations of neurons in somebody's brain.  Those
things can definitely have causal effects.    (04)

A contract can be "a gentleman's agreement", whose only tokens
are neural impressions in the brains of the people who made the
contract.  That might be harder to enforce in a court of law,
but people who value their reputations will honor the contract.
In any case, the physical things that have the causal effect
are the neural patterns in somebody's brain.    (05)

> I don't know if there is any consistent typing of economic
> intangibles, but it's clear that the whole matter of intangibles
> what is needing all attention.    (06)

Peirce devoted years of concentrated attention to such issues,
and he solved them.  I recommend his writings.    (07)

> How do intangibles have tangible effect?  Not sure I know,
> I suspect it has something to do with behavior.    (08)

More precisely, it has something to do with minds implemented
in physical neurons that contain tokens of the sign types.
Those tokens have physical effects that are manifest in behavior
-- e.g., somebody honoring the contract.    (09)

> If I were to represent a contract as the signed piece of paper,
> how would this piece of paper in a filing cabinet have impact
> on physical objects in a different space and time? This seems
> at least as magical.    (010)

The piece of paper is just one token of the type.  That token
by itself can't do anything.  Brains are physical interpreters
of sign tokens.  The interpretation of the physical token on
paper is a neural token in the brain.  That token can trigger
processes that result in appropriate behavior.    (011)

John    (012)

Message Archives: http://ontolog.cim3.net/forum/ontolog-forum/  
Config Subscr: http://ontolog.cim3.net/mailman/listinfo/ontolog-forum/  
Unsubscribe: mailto:ontolog-forum-leave@xxxxxxxxxxxxxxxx
Shared Files: http://ontolog.cim3.net/file/
Community Wiki: http://ontolog.cim3.net/wiki/ 
To join: http://ontolog.cim3.net/cgi-bin/wiki.pl?WikiHomePage#nid1J    (013)

<Prev in Thread] Current Thread [Next in Thread>