Archive for August, 2010

Here is my post about defining words as the molecular building blocks in the creation and meaning of ideas. However, considering the confusion caused by the term semantics and the unwanted association to linguistics and the semantic web, I think I have to first provide a theory explaining how people correlate and interpret their interpersonal reality: The semantics of semiosis in the interdependent reality of being human, i.e.: the semantics of our humanity.

There is a Representational Theory of Mind (RTM) that is a controversial though sensible and practical theory taken up by many but not all computer scientists and AI engineers. I wish to take up and raise the power of this theory. RTM (cf. Field 1978, 37; Fodor 1987, 17). Fodor and Field developed this representational theory of thought out of Fodor’s Language of Thought Hypothesis (cf. Foder, 1975) and this goes back to James (1890). The theory recognizes thoughts as actions paraphrased thus:

For each biological or psychological act (inference/intention/disposition/resolution, etc.) A, one recognizes and partakes of (commits to) a distinct (i.e. a dedicated) physical affordance R to operate on one or more physical processes selected by subject S. S Acts to influence, or by influence of experience E or (to partake of) process P.

Logically, S bears a relation R to experience E and to physical process P.

Experience with this logical formula induces a cenoscopic type of knowledge that comes from the systematic realization of predictable consequences. These are implied by the way the first-order logic takes “reality” in its aspect to the induction or deduction of such logical relations. The scare quotes around “reality” are needed. Really! The subject S bearing the relation R has a limited range of experience E contending with undefined, yet potential actions or constraints R on one or more indefinite processes P of which one must partake to make an interpretation or create an idea.

A problem arises because whether any variable introduced into this logic actually coincides or correlates with life or with any particularly objective reality is not really questioned by those who apply the logic. This is where human beings and direct experience isn’t of much avail. If one does not know which humanistic affordance offers the most advantage and which humanistic process P to select, or is to be selected, to create a sustainable idea or manifest a suitable and realistic humane thought, how can any idea be measured against any other?

While RTM makes sense, being inductive of cenoscopic knowledge, followers have so far failed to identify the distinct sort of physical affordance R that humanity shares, that a subject S commits to, or; the operations, objects or functions subject S recognizes to act on or interpret their experience E. They have failed to properly characterize any process P in which subject S partakes to create ideas. There is folk-psychological doctrine and there is talk about beliefs – that is the sum of it. Since its inception: neither, the author’s of the theory of RTM proper nor proponents of the doctrines that have embraced it, has been successful in helping adherents identify key objects, operations, procedures and processes.

In his Essay on Human Understanding (1823/1963, p. 174), Locke (1690) wrote:

“All that can fall within the compass of human understanding, being either, first, the nature of things, as they are in themselves, their relations, and their manner of operation: or, secondly, that which man himself ought to do, as a rational and voluntary agent, for the attainment of any end, especially happiness: or, thirdly, the ways and means whereby the knowledge of both the one and the other of these is attained and communicated; I think science may be divided properly into these three sorts.”

From my perspective as a layman, I can see that modern computer and social sciences and philosophy have failed humanity in two of the three divisions of science. The RTM referenced above is science of the second division: what man ought to do as a rational voluntary agent to attain one’s own ends (whatsoever they may be). Because there is no focused definition of humanism, the actions of the agent are not committed to being humane, or even rational, at all. Without a requirement for humanity, whatever rationality exists arises from either irrational desire or rage; neither is appealing nor cultured. It seems to me that, in the case of raising the culture of human understanding, the first commitment one must make is to the humanity from whence biophysical affordance R emerges and rationality follows.

Computer, cognitive and social sciences, particularly linguistics and natural language engineering have failed humanity in both the first and second divisions of science. They have not developed ideoscopic knowledge of the nature of things, or of objects as they are in themselves, in their relations, and their manner of operation. They have not developed ideoscopic knowledge of what man himself, or woman herself, ought to do, as a rational and voluntary agent, for the attainment of a humane end. Finally and thirdly because they have failed to attain to an articulation of ideoscopic knowledge of both divisions one and two, the knowledge being communicated is cenoscopic knowledge, which; while it may often be necessary as excogitated minutia, is grossly insufficient and inadequate to formulating a workable theory of thought and a complete knowledge of both the first and second divisions of science.

Ideoscopic knowledge is knowledge that cannot be arrived at or verified without experimentation –like knowing how to swim, for example. We have ideoscopic knowledge of swimming that is shareable. You can verify this claim by looking up the definition of “to swim” or Google define: swim for the WordNet definition. Then look up the definition of the verb “fly” or Google define: fly. You may notice the difference. Many of us do have ideoscopic knowledge of the states of swimming and flying.

In the case of flying; that ideoscopic knowledge has not yet been attained or recognized by the scientists at Google or by the WordNet authority at Princeton University, and therefore, it is not being communicated. In the area of the humanity of thought and thinking, ideoscopic knowledge has to do with the humanistic use of signs and the correlative distinctions humans make or create between objects and things within the semiotic process, or semosis, carried out in a human mind.

Introducing a Semiotic Theory of Thought:

Mental processing, thinking in particular, takes the form of a triadic system of (supervening) power with relations between a) things (in the lebenwelt; in life) and b) objects in one’s own peculiar objective reality (one’s umwelt). In linguistics, words are signs of things that presuppose objects. According to the RTM, we have a) the subject or signifier S, and; b) the signified, that being the object signified or presupposed of existential sense data E, and; c) the supervening power (process) P and relationships R to which each of us, as human beings, commit ourselves in order to attain to the imputed cause, judgment or interpretation of creation as experienced by S.

That is the static view with experience resting on judgment; here is the dynamic view:

The domain of experience clearly has the potential to become interpreted. The powerful and dynamic relations of this system can be formalized (represented) as an algebraic formula – a recipe – taking creative power P as the main ingredient (the referent) to psychological processes of objectification and condensation. The subject S (the signifying processor) partakes of (selects from) the process P of creation, the distinct ability and specific affordance R necessary to distinguish and symbolize existential findings – the things of E (of the lebenwelt, such as P and R and things (sensible sights, sounds) in and among themselves) as objects — in a world of experience (umwelt) — and; in a state of being (the signified), subject to human being or human signification.

Therewith are the means by which the things and appearances of the outer life, outside self-existence, (lebenwelt) are objectified and condensed into the true and correlative objects of the world of experience (umwelt) by way of the functions (operations) in the domain and range of perception, creativity, imagination and cognitive activity (of one’s innenwelt). The formulable essence enveloping the three dimensions of one’s personal though objective reality is a semantic field of thought whereby thoughts are a function f of the interpretive system enformed by the process P of creation, hastened, constrained or halted, as needs be, by the affordance or potential of action according to the selection or choice of relationship R.

So, in the sense that every act of S bears R to E and partakes of P; we propose these commitments:

f ( P x R ): We define P and R according to Adi’s theory of semantics, whereby:

There is a universal set of psychosomatic objects: G={self,other}, with a potential for engagement and attraction;

there is a universal set of biophysiological objects: T={open,closed}, a potential for inhibition and boundary, and;


R = T x G = { r(j) | j = 1 to 4 } =

{(closed, self),(open, self),(closed, others),(open, others)}, and;

there is process P to creation, whereby;

P= { p(i) | i = 1, 2, 3 } = {assignment, manifestation, containment}

The large scale distribution of ideas depends on ideoscopic knowledge of and command over this subtle and creative process or power P of creation: the ability to compare and confer status being part of the creative power of thought, e.g., A=A. Plato knew this. He railed against people to think for themselves. Each person has the power and authority to assign a value (e.g., equality); both command of the process P of creation and the liberty to exercise this ability, together with a mental and linguistic aptitude to manifest or create such an assignment for oneself.

Over the century of the self, people have lost their power and misplaced their values, now, kings and governments vie to be the only authority with the power to confer status. Click the link and watch the videos for an uncommon look at how human thirst for happiness has been used against you to rob you of your humanity.  The people who have given up or have lost their humanity to the false powers have misplaced values as well.  When people restore their humanity they will find the power they need to confer the status of being humane.

Below is a matrix (PxR) that symbolizes the variable functions of a sign system (English) as a unified semiotic field – derived from these definitions. Each cell has an atomic weight (not shown). In this table, each cell is an atomic unity that generates a state of thought; expanding in time and space. It shows the confluence of power and conditions generating the peculiar essence to each listed word/idea. Words can be defined as the molecular building blocks of a language – the molecular particulates needed to construct ideas. All ideas are themselves dependent upon the power P of creation and the potentiality of the relationships R that people have and are committed to. Speech acts are signs of that commitment.

At the top: the objects self and other symbolize psychosomatic relationships that afford a set of engagement conditions. The objects open and closed symbolize physical relationships that afford a set of boundary conditions. Together, they form a universal affordance, formalizing biophysiological boundary and engagement conditions. These relationships R embody the separation of the objects in space time; open and closed, self and other, in the various types of interdependently unifying configurations. They represent natural relationships R by symbolizing the valence of biophysiological influences on life; such as the fact that opposites attract and inhibitors inhibit among other interesting features of objects, things and their states of being.

Semiotic Field of Thought

This table demonstrates how the process P of creation (defined as a power set and listed vertically down the left-hand column) is objectified and expressed as the initial conditions in the creation or formation of objects in the world of experience; such as those listed. This biophysiological and psychosomatic potential orients the function f of each speech act, each word; the selected affordance determines the input function, domain and range for one’s own judgment. Consider the making or breaking of bonds in the ideas that are symbolized by the two symmetrical columns in the right-side of this matrix.

As you may surmise, the phonetic alphabet is in itself a physical symbol system (albeit one comprised of atomic particulates) that symbolizes and condenses these powers and conditions into the range of one’s own composure; the affordance of which is pragmatically acquired while learning motor and social skills.  Yet, because modern philosophy has failed to develop just this sort of ideoscopic knowledge, the connection is not pointed by instruction and demonstration, it is left to the imagination of each succeeding generation of children.  Many older children often miss the connection and thereby lack grounded concepts.  This creates adults with many doubts and few anchors in their world of experience.

As a basis for a language like English, anyone can now see how this system evolves coherent states of being that we already know about (and routinely refer to). Any word in existence, from any language, can potentially refute this theory. Because every term of every language can be defined in this way, there have been plenty of chances produced. Falsification is a property of a valid scientific theory. So, I invite others to try and refute this theory, I welcome their attention and trial.

Please let me know, with your comments, how it goes.  Until someone does refute this theory, let us regain our humanity and insist on humanism in all science:  the belief in a thinking human being that is capable of partaking of the power of creation: A human being who knows what creative power is, and becomes a willing participator, thereby (in that ideoscopic knowledge), in the process of creation.  Let him or her then be one of those human beings that attends to hastening and accommodating rather than obstructing and destroying the creative process for the Good of our humanity.

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I know I said in my last post that I would continue with some examples of the molecular structure of signs, I have decided to postpone that demonstration.

I do this because a fellow empiricist sent me Rudolf Carnap’s paper “Empiricism, Semantics, and Ontology” available here, all but accusing me of violating the basic principles of empiricism and leading back to a metaphysical ontology of the Platonic kind.  Nothing could be further from the truth.  In later conversation, my friend assured me that he was not accusing me, however, he did mistake the subject matter of my semantics from within a framework of linguistic (lexical or functional) semantics. It occurred to me that others are doing that as well.

It is difficult to speak about any sort of meaning in any context because much of modern society, including societies of professionals, have been covertly driven to and infected by mediocracy.

Google was the flag bearer of mediocracy onto the Internet when they further distorted the value of quantity over quality and pursued their business plan of monopolizing content irrespective of any judgments over any sort of quality, such as: harmlessness, lawfulness, fit, utility, relevance, truthfulness, trust, etc.  Why did Google announce “they would do no evil”?  (NOTE:  This is not intended as defamatory, rather, it is stated as a matter of fact.) The announcement means that the object called evil was presupposed in the mind of the speaker.  This speaks to the process of semosis and to the fact that all public signs presuppose their objects.

Young people who expect to succeed in the future had better abandon any ideological, nominalist, secular or doctrinal and linguistic presuppositions they have about semantics and learn about semiosis.  That is best done by viewing a video skit that is the very best introduction I have ever come across in my thirty years of practice.  I dare say I could have not done a better job than John Deely in explaining this subject matter: the subject matter of semiotics.  The video is in five parts for easier viewing.  One should listen to all five in order to form complete picture of semiotics and what it is semiosis is all about (at least in the sense that I have come to know it and what I have in mind when I refer to objectivity, meaning, relevance, semantic objects and structures, truth, etc.).

Here is the introduction and part one.

A sign, as ordinarily understood, is simply something that suggests the presence or existence of something else, a perceptible indication of something not immediately apparent. What’s so difficult about that? Why should that require the development of a whole new perspective on reality and experience, as so-called “semiotics”, as the study of the way signs works, claims? This video, a dialogue between a semiotician and a proponent of “realist” philosophy, addresses directly the question of what is the difference semiotics makes for our understanding of what is a sign. (by John Deely)

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