Competition LO17982

Leslie Lax (
Mon, 4 May 1998 14:46:26 -0700

Replying to LO17875 --

Ben, and other LO'ers

Apologies for the delay in replying....

>It sounds like what you're describing is a conceptual breakdown.

It could also be seen as a conceptual breakthrough.

Now, let me be clear that I am not an expositional expert at fuzzy logic.
I found the book rather compelling in parts and intuitively liked the
breadth it afforded some of my thinking. What struck a chord with me was
a slightly different look at being. [At, I am trying to weave some of the
essentialities into this - could well be off the mark]

Typically when looking at probabilities, we say that A has an x%
probability of being 100% A at any given time. My read of fuzzy logic
puts it a little differently. The interpretation may be read to say that
A has a 100% probability of being x% of A at any given time. Then, for
emergence to occur, A will have 100% probability of being 100% A. This is
a special case. However, we could not preclude the possibility that A
could have 100% probablility of being 0% A. Also a special case.
[immergence, At?]

>The more clearly we can conceptually define an object, the better we are
>able to properly categorise it, and integrate it with other concepts. This
>process allows us to see varying degrees of similarity between one or more
>objects, while still making the distinctions that bring clarity and allow
>intelligent integration (by intelligent integration I mean integrating
>concepts in such a way that there are no conflicts between them).

Now, if we break things up into smaller and smaller parts, so that we have
fully reduced each and every possible aspect of being, we would have a
situation where A is A and not NOT A. This level of reductionism is
impractical given the apparent depth of knowledge within science and
society. Each and every subatomic particle would need to be understood in
relation to each and every other particle etc. To avoid this kind of
reductionism we generally use models, pointers to recognition, that help
us cope with the enormous complexity.

>It sounds like you're proposing a type of thinking that moves away from
>the categorization and integration approach, and seeking for some middle
>ground. That's an interesting idea. . .but I don't see, right off the top
>of my head, how such an approach increases either the clarity with which I
>interpret the world, or how it improves my ability to interact with that
>world on a day to day basis.

So what does this mean for the LO? Well, since we are so efficient at
categorising things, we sometimes forget the breadth of chaos that our
models hide, to make living and thinking more manageable. And, this
allows us to ignore the fuzziness in our initial categorisation. We begin
to believe in the exactness of our definitions, and so create wonderful
dichotomies, that are much easier to cope with. If A has 100% probability
of being 100% A, then we *know* A. Perhaps what we really know is our own
construction of A, and perhaps this makes us unwilling to accept that
other less definite constructions of A are possible. This approach does
not make it easier to interact on a day to day basis. But, if ease of
interaction were a critical criterion for conceptual improvement, I
believe we would have lost much of our learning as human beings.

I hope this helps. I'm still exploring.



"Leslie Lax" <>

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