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2015 Easter Day
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Order and Logic

Logic

A number of academic philosophers have tried to make the case (against all evidence to the contrary) that human thought was based on logic and involved the manipulation of symbols of a high-level, rich complexity. While that idea may have described the thoughts of those academics, it is patently not the case for the bulk of humanity, the customers of the most widely deployed evidence of artificial intelligence, the world wide web. Even the most quotidian tasks of programing content for the web, we find a constant stream of bugs introduced into the web by practitioners who must deal with logic problems as a part of their daily grind to push out ever more complex content. Simply put, rigid logic is incompatible with the human condition. If you continue to have any doubt about that statement just listen to lawyers arguing a case before a judge for a few hours, that exercise will disabuse you of any thought that logic has much to do with human activity.

Conscious Thought

Anyone can observe the house cat tracking the activity of a bird, a bug or even a spot of reflected light on the floor. It should be immediately clear that the animal is forming some mental image of the action of that target of their attention with the goal of pouncing on the target. This is play in the case of a kitten, but an object of self-preservation in the case of a hungry feral cat. Physiologists have recently discovered that this capability is formed by a specific structure in the brain of "mirror neurons" which mimic the parts of the prey that are important to the predator. Likewise the prey can tell with high certainty when they are being tracked by the predator's gazed fixed upon them. The importance of causality to survival in the wild is the apparent source of this adaption by animals. For the purposes of this exposition, conscious thought is merely the insertion of the subject into a causality chain of the past (learning) or the future (planning).

Dualism of Philosophy

Many philosophers believe that if you grant real existence to consciousness, you will be forced to some version of "dualism," the view that there are two metaphysically different kinds of phenomena in the universe, the mental and the physical. Indeed, for many authors, the very definition of dualism implies that if you accept, in addition to such "physical" phenomena as mountains, "mental" phenomena such as pains, you are a dualist. But dualism as traditionally conceived seems a hopeless theory because, having made a strict distinction between the mental and the physical, it cannot then make the relation of the two intelligible. It seems that to accept dualism is to give up the entire scientific world-view that we have spent nearly four centuries to attain. So that are we to do? (John R. Searle "The Mystery of Consciousness" 1997 ISBN 0-940322-06-04)

Strong Artificial Intelligence

In the same book referenced above in Dualism, John Searle repeats his oft made false dichotomy of the "Chinese Room". Where he claims that any algorithm (sequence of operations) cannot give knowledge to a computer. If an algorithm is used by a roomful of people ignorant of Chinese for answering questions posed in Chinese, then the roomful of people cannot be said to understand Chinese. He goes on to express astonishment that some people do not get his argument which he summarizes as;

  • Programs are entirely syntactical
  • Minds have a semantics
  • Syntax is not the same as, nor by itself sufficient for, semantics
  • Therefore programs are not minds (QED)
It is certainly nice to be able to create a simple-minded taxonomy of concepts like syntax and semantics. It is quite another thing to claim that the taxonomy is representative of the real-world, which is a much harder process, which Searle never convincingly performed.

Information

Searle did get one correct idea about information when he stated (p205) that "Information does not name a real physical feature of the real world." -- "in the way that neuron firings, and for that matter 'consciousness', are real physical features of the world." And that "Information is relative to an observer."

Language

Talleyrand, Napolean's secretary of state, explained that language was given to man to disguise his thoughts. Wittgenstein was slightly more generous in describing "language games" as the process that one human uses to share the state of their very private internal thought process with others. Whatever view is most useful, the one unassailable fact is that some speech is more effective than others at achieving its intended purpose.

There are these concepts in expressed human thought:

web part - should be able to come & go somehow Pythagoras started a religious community that seems to have shifted over time to creating a logical explanation and even a symbolic representation for a triangle. His community understood what is now called the pythagorean theorem for right angles. Before Charles Darwin made his discoveries that lead him to "The Origin of Species", he studied under William Paley whose "Natural Theology" made the case that the very complexity of natural order implied divine origin. After millennia of working to create order, mankind has come to the realization that their premeditated designs never rise to the level of quick "trial and error" which is just another way of saying natural selection works better than planning at creating order in our world. He claimed that complex design implied a designer. What we have learned is that complexity in nature implies that there is no design at all at work.
  • Revealed or mystical explanations for real world phenomena in human language
  • Logical explanations for real world phenomena in human language
  • Symbolic expression language that may help expand human knowledge without ambiguity

Order

Order has been notice by humans since they first began to wring down receipts for farm output, or in Hammurabi's code that defined the liabilities of the builders in his empire. Aristotle in Poetics expressed a rather gloomy view that tragedy is rooted in the fundamental order of the universe, which creates a cause-and-effect chain that clearly reveals what may happen at any time or place because that is the way the world operates. Or as Paul Simon wrote "From the moment of my birth to the instant of my death there are patterns I must follow just as I must breathe each breath Like a rat in a maze, the path before me lies; and the pattern never alters until the rat dies."

A neutral view of order comes from source of the English word in the Latin phrase "ord iri" which was used to describe the beginning of a weaving, especially to lay down the warp, or pattern that the entire rest of the fabric follows. This leads us naturally to the Jacquard loom, first demonstrated in 1801 which used punched cards that controlled the visible pattern of the fabric. The pattern was abstracted into a representation which computer programmers easily recognize as the programs and data that are fed into a computational processor.

Physical Order

William Thompson made the leap from engine efficiency discoveries of his time to the ultimate "heat death" of the universe that was the inevitable result of the second law of thermodynamics. This was the first appearance of time ir-reversibility in any scientific discussion. The most efficient system was seen to be that system that had the least exchange of energy from one form to another. From the time of Rudolf Clausius order has been measured by entropy. And from the time of Ludwig Boltzmann order has been bound to the most probable state of nature. For a physicist the ultimate order is the complete absence of heat (or temperature). Ultimate order is only achieved at absolute zero temperature.

Information

Shortly after Claude Shannon created the study of information as a separate discipline some wag noted that the probability calculations for information and entropy were the same, which seemed to imply some sort of linkage. What a grand distraction that turned out to be.

Natural Order

The first thing to understand about what people call natural order is the difference to physical order, which most people consider to be utterly unnatural. Pauli famously said "If you think"

Imposed Order

Implicate Order