iSoul In the beginning is reality

Marriage and semi-marriage

In abstract algebra, a semiring is an algebraic structure similar to a ring, but without the requirement that each element must have an additive inverse.

Analogously, what could be called a semi-marriage is like a marriage, but without the requirement that the persons be of opposite sex. (Compare here.) How would this work?

First, a marriage is also a semi-marriage so the legal requirements that apply to a semi-marriage apply to a marriage as well. For example, age requirements for semi-marriages would apply to marriages also.

Second, a semi-marriage is not necessarily a marriage so one cannot assume that every property of a marriage is also a property of a semi-marriage. Each property of a marriage must be evaluated to determine if it applies to a semi-marriage. For example, a business that offers services for marriage ceremonies may not need to offer the same services to semi-marriage ceremonies.

The law may focus on semi-marriage rather than marriage because semi-marriage has a larger extent. Yet it would be possible for some laws to apply to marriages but not semi-marriages. The decision as to which way to go is up to the political process.

In the U.S. since the Obergefell decision, civil marriage is semi-marriage.

Four space and time dimensions

Since the development of relativity theory, space and time have been combined in a four-dimensional continuum. Because the speed of light is an absolute value in relativity theory, it acts as a conversion factor between space and time. Accordingly, the four dimensions may be understood as any combination of space and time:

4 + 0: Four dimensions of space and none of time. The invariant spacetime interval is commonly expressed in spatial terms only as s² = x² + y² + z² – ct²  with signature (+++–). The opposite signature is also used (+–––). The factor c converts the time coordinate into a distance coordinate. Note that there is an implicit 1-3 split in dimensions.

3 + 1: Three dimensions of space and one of time. This has been the common conception of space and time for centuries.

2 + 2: Two dimensions of space and two of time. This was discussed in the previous post here. It is a pictorial representation of four dimensions, two at a time.

1 + 3: One dimension of space and three of time. This has been discussed in many posts such as here. It may have been the ancient conception.

0 + 4: No dimension of space and four of time. This is the invariant spacetime interval expressed in temporal terms only as τ² = t² – x²/c² – y²/c² – z²/c². There is an implicit 1-3 split in dimensions.

The above should be understood in the context of an implicit six-dimensionality, as was discussed here. As soon as rates are considered, three dimensions of either space or time must be compressed to one so that only four dimensions remain.

2D space + 2D time

I’ve written that the perspective of 1D space + 3D time is just as legitimate as the usual 3D space + 1D time. Is there an intermediate perspective of 2D space + 2D time? In a sense, Yes. This is the perspective of 2D images.

Maps are usually 2D images of space but they may represent other variables. Travel time may be represented on a map (see here) or a timetable. This is 2D time.

The motion of circular clocks are also 2D (see here). Although this is usually taken as a 1D angle, the point of a clock hand could be taken as having x and y coordinates in 2D.

The individual frames of a motion picture on film represent 2D space. Even though the camera or the action may have an implicit third dimension, the image always shows only 2D.

Event-structure metaphors

This continues the posts here and here and here based on George Lakoff and Mark Johnson’s book Philosophy in the Flesh (Basic Books, 1999).

The Location Event-Structure Metaphor
Locations → States
Movements → Changes
Forces → Causes
Forced Movement → Causation
Self-propelled Movements → Actions
Destinations → Purposes
Paths (to destinations) → Means
Impediments to Motion → Difficulties
Lack of Impediments to Motion → Freedom of Action
Large, Moving Objects (that exert force) → External Events
Journeys → Long-term, Purposeful Activities

The States are Locations metaphor has a dual, the Attributes are Possessions metaphor, in which attributes are seen as objects one possesses. The difference is a figure-ground shift. Grounds are stationary and figures are moveable relative to them. The Attributes are Possessions metaphor combines with Changes are Movements and Causes are Forces to form a dual Event-Structure system.

The Object Event-Structure Metaphor
Possessions → Attributes
Movements of Possessions (gains or losses) → Changes
Transfer of Possessions (giving or taking) → Causation
Desired Objects → Purposes
Acquiring a Desired Object → Achieving a Purpose

Perception requires a figure-ground choice. Necker cubes show that figure-ground organization is a separable dimension of cognition.

Necker cube

Figure and ground are aspects of human cognition. They are not features of objective, mind-independent reality. [p.198]

Location metaphor: Causation is the Forced Movement of an (Affected) Entity to a New Location (the Effect. Causation as Forced Movement of an Affected Entity to an Effect.

Object metaphor: Causation is the Transfer of a Possible Object (the Effect) to or from an (Affected) Entity. Causation as Transfer of an Effect to an Affected Entity.

In the Location metaphor, the affected entity is the figure; it moves to a new location (ground). In the Object metaphor, the effect is the figure; it moves to the affected party (ground).

What this means is that there is no conceptualization of causation that is neutral between these two! [p.199]

The Moving-Activity Metaphor
Things That Move → Activities
Reaching a Destination → Completion of the Activity
Locations → States
Forces → Causes
Forced Movement (or Prevention of Movement) → Causation
Impediments to Motion → Difficulties

The Action-Location Metaphor
Being in a Location → An Action
Forces → Causes
Destinations → Purposes
Closeness to a Location → “Closeness” to an Action
Forcing Movement to a Location → Causing an Action
Stopping a Traveler from Reaching a Location → Preventing an Action

The Existence (or Life) as Location Metaphor
Coming Here → Becoming
Going Away → Ceasing to Exist
Forced Movement Here → Causing to Exist
Forced Movement Away → Causing to Cease to Exist

The Causal Path Metaphor
Self-Propelled Motion → Action
Traveler → Actor
Locations → States
A Lone Path → A Natural Course of Action
Being on the Path → Natural Causation
Leading To → Results In
The End of the Path → The Resulting Final State

Each particular theory of causation picks one or more of our ordinary types of causation and insists that real causation only consists of that type or types. [p.226]

Ordinary vs. scientific perspectives: It is not that one is objectively true while the other is not. Both are human perspectives. One, the nonscientific one, is literal relative to human, body-based conceptual systems. The other, the scientific one, is metaphorical relative to human, body-based conceptual systems. [p.232]

What remains [after eliminating simpleminded realism] is an embodied realism that recognizes that human language and thought are structured by, and bound to, embodied experience. In the case of physics, there is certainly a mind-independent world. But in order to conceptualize and describe it, we must use embodied human concepts and human language. [p.233]

Modern metaphors

This continues the posts here and here based on George Lakoff and Mark Johnson’s book Philosophy in the Flesh (Basic Books, 1999).

Modern metaphors begin with René Descartes.

Knowing is seeing:
Visual Domain → Knowledge Domain
Object Seen → Idea
Seeing an Object Clearly → Knowing an Idea
Person Who Sees → Person Who Knows
Light → “Light” of Reason
Visual Focusing → Mental Attention
Visual Acuity → Mental Acuity
Physical Viewpoint → Mental Viewpoint
Visual Obstruction → Impediment to Knowing

The mind can know its own ideas with absolute certainty.
All thought is conscious.
The structure of the mind is directly accessible to itself.
No empirical research is necessary to establish certain knowledge of the mind.
The mind is disembodied. It consists of mental substance, while the body consists of physical substance.
The essence, and only essence, of human beings is the ability to reason.
Imagination is not essential to human nature.
Emotion is not essential to human nature.

Thinking is Mathematical Calculation
Mathematical Calculation → Thinking
Numbers → Ideas
Equations → Propositions
Adding → Putting Ideas Together
Sum → Conclusion

Faculty psychology:

  1. The world consists of an external realm of material objects and an internal, mental realm containing ideas, sensations, feelings, and emotions. The external realm is the objective world; the internal realm is the subjective world.
  2. The internal, mental realm contains a Society of Mind with at least seven members, the faculties: perception, imagination, feeling, will, understanding, memory, and reason.
  3. Each faculty is like a person with a particular personality.
  4. Perception is methodical and mostly reliable.
  5. Imagination is typically a reliable craftsman, who can be unpredictable at times.
  6. Feeling is undisciplined, volatile, and sometimes out of control.
  7. Understanding is always calm, sober, predictable, under control, reliable, and functions as a judge.
  8. Perception receives sense impressions from the outside and passes them to imagination, which combines them into images and passes them on to understanding, who judges how those images are to be assigned to concepts and thus produces propositions (judgments) and passes them on to reason.
  9. Reason has good judgment, is cool, controlled, wise, utterly reliable, and follows procedures explicitly.
  10. Memory is usually methodical and is expected to be reliable, though isn’t always, and functions as a warehouse keeper.
  11. Will is the only person in the society who can move the body to action. Will gets orders from reason and is subject to feeling. Reason and feeling struggle for control of the will.

Like time, events, and causation, the mind can only be comprehended metaphorically. [p.414]

Willard Van Orman Quine wanted to keep the “ontological furniture of the universe” to a minimum. “To be is to be the value of a variable.” The proper logic for philosophy is first-order logic. Logic should be extensional, rather than intentional.

Löwenheim-Skolem theorem: If a class of quantificational schemata is consistent, all its members come out true under some interpretation in the universe of positive integers.

Meaning holism: the arbitrary symbols of a formal language can only be meaningfully interpreted in an ultimately fixed way as a whole all at once, not one or a number at a time.

Consequence 1 – Ontological Relativity: Philosophical ontologies are relativized to the way that reference is fixed for an entire language.

Consequence 2 – There is no analytic-synthetic distinction. No sentences can be true just be virtue of the meanings of the terms in those sentences alone.

Consequence 3 – No part of a scientific theory can be confirmed or disconfirmed; only the theory as a whole can be confirmed or disconfirmed.

Consequence 4 – Translation is indeterminate.

Quinean formalist philosophy leads to an internal contradiction: It presupposes a correspondence theory of truth but, due to meaning holism, it leads to a coherence theory of truth.

Lakoff: The embodiment of meaning, as empirically required by second-generation cognitive science, locates meaning in the body and in the unconscious conceptual system.

Poststructuralist Philosophy makes four claims:

  1. The pairing between signifiers (signs) and signifieds (concepts) is completely arbitrary.
  2. Meaning is located in systems of binary oppositions among free-floating signifiers (différence).
  3. Meaning is historically contingent.
  4. Concepts are relative.

Cognitive science has shown all of these views about the nature of language to be empirically incorrect.

Lakoff: Most of language, however, is neither completely arbitrary nor completely predictable, but rather “motivated” to some degree. [p.464] Irony is possible (contrary to #2). Universals and meanings are widespread across cultures, but there is also significant relativism. [p.467]

Where Frege sought absolute, timeless universals of meaning, the poststructuralists … went to the opposite extreme, assuming that any account of meaning that was not timeless and universal had to be arbitrary and ever subject to change. [p.468]

Cognitive Semantics:

  • Concepts arise from, and are understood through, the body, the brain, and experience in the world. Concepts get their meaning through embodiment, especially via perceptual and motor capacities.
  • Concepts crucially make use of imaginative aspects of mind: frames, metaphor, metonymy, prototypes, radial categories, mental spaces, and conceptual blending. Abstract concepts arise via metaphorical projections from more directly embodied concepts. The metaphor system is not arbitrary, but is grounded in experience.

Syntax is the study of symbolization – the pairing of meaning with linguistic expressions. Each symbolization relation is bipolar: it links a conceptual pole with an expression pole (phonological forms).

Embodied truth: A person takes a sentence as true of a situation if what he or she understands the sentence as expressing accords with what he or she understand the situation to be. [p.510]

Discrete democracy

Direct democracy is an idealized concept in which the people vote on all political matters. Besides being impractical, it assumes the people have sufficient time and information to consider every matter. Such a continuous democracy would be like the weekly polls published by the news media, except they would result in real decisions – and no doubt poor decisions. Instead, representative democracy is a two-tiered system in which the people elect representatives, who in turn vote on all political matters.

Representatives are elected from particular districts for a particular term of office. So representative democracies have a spatial and temporal character. There are various terms of office. Those such as the U.S. have fixed periods of two, four, and six years. Others place limits such as five years within which an election must take place. In either case, there is a period of time in which elected (and appointed) officials have their authority.

The land area or region of elections also vary. The main region is the nation but within every nation there are geographic divisions of various kinds, from districts or subdivisions of the central government to semi-independent states or provinces. Elections take place within these regions as well, and are either related to or independent of national elections.

The relative size or population of the divisions varies from small to large. There may be an attempt to make the populations of each division similar, as with the Congressional districts of the U.S. states. It may happen that some divisions cover a large area and have a small population (e.g., Alaska), while other divisions cover a small area but have a large population (e.g., New Jersey).

These divisions usually make sense as natural, cultural, and/or historic geographic regions. In the U.S. there is a flagrant practice known as gerrymandering, in which the boundaries of a voting district are set for the purpose of giving advantage to one political party. Independent commissions are used to minimize such practices.

Modern democracies are not simply “demo” (people) + “-cracy” (rule). The period of time and area of coverage are part of the political system. Such discrete democracy could be called a “geodemocracy”, or more precisely a “periodemocracy”, which is “perio-” from the Greek periodos (period) and perioche (region) + democracy. Both time and place are part of the ruling concept: the people during a particular period who are living in a particular region.

“One person, one vote” is the principle that all citizens, regardless of where they reside, are entitled to equal legislative representation. The U.S. Supreme Court enunciated this principle in Reynolds v. Sims (1964) as it ruled that a state’s apportionment plan for seats in both houses of a bicameral state legislature must allocate seats on a population basis. This principle is consistent with democracy but contrary to discrete democracy, which takes into account the natural, cultural, and/or historic geography of the districts.

Space and time standards

The value of an independent variable may be selected first, and so is arbitrary, even subjective. One may select anything or everything within its range. A graph normally covers a whole range of the independent variable.

Given an independent time interval, different travel rates result in different travel distances or, the other way around, different travel distances have different average rates. Similarly, given an independent space interval, different travel rates result in different travel times or different travel times have different average rates. These are shown on an event map, which is either events projected on a geographic map or shown graphically with a consistent time-scale.

Boston T Map with Time-Scale

Time is measured by a clock, which moves at a standard rate: the hour hand at one revolution per hour, the minute hand at one revolution per minute. A monthly calendar is updated at a rate of once per month, with the day updated once per day.

In space-time, time is measured by rotating or oscillating motion, which is independent of the surrounding space; space is measured by linear motion. In time-space, space is measured by rotating or oscillating motion, which is independent of the surrounding time; time is measured by linear motion.

If the travel rate is the speed of light, then distances and durations are proportional. Distance can be defined in terms of duration or vice versa. The difference between time and space then is only how they are measured. Light is the standard mode for modern physics.

For transportation the expected rate of travel in each mode is the standard, the modal rate. This is either determined by management, as with scheduled transport services, or empirically, as with measurement or experience. For physics, the modal rate is measured or determined from theory.

The modal rate is a standard for the mode; it reflects the mode rather than any particular travel in the mode (although a set of travel data may be used to estimate it). It is used to understand the past or to set expectations for the future. In transportation, trip planning and system management are the main applications. There are many applications in physics.

News and opinion

The low end of the news business makes little or no attempt to separate news and opinion. The better news outlets attempt to separate news and opinion, but are failing. What are the reasons for this?

Let’s take it that news reports ought to consist of factual information about the world, rather than opinion. Granted that there is some editorial influence in every reporter’s story, from what goes into the header to what sources to use and what gets left out. But that’s old news.

Consider a well-reasoned news analysis or opinion piece. These tie together facts in an insightful way, and present a case for the best way to think about them. Certainly there should be facts in an opinion piece. But all to often it happens that these facts are never presented separately as news, usually because by themselves they are details or technical matters that don’t rise to the level of being newsworthy.

Then to reference such facts buried in an opinion piece, one must reference an opinion. That weakens these facts and gives the impression that they only matter to those who hold a certain position. It would be better to list the facts separately and give references for them. That way, the facts and the opinions would not be intertwined.

Consider the many news stories that quote spin and opinions by leaders and insiders about the news. It may be important to publish them but are they news themselves? So-and-so says this or that, but gives nothing more than an opinion, not a factual report or an announcement of any action. They are opinions about the news and attempts to get people to look at the news in a certain way.

All spin and opinions about the news would be better placed under opinion, where there is no question what they are. The news should be kept to factual information.

Greater efforts are needed to separate news and opinion. Meanwhile, news consumers beware!

Space and time from the beginning

Space is measured from a specified point, which is called an origin or zero point in space. The spatial location of all other points in space are relative to this zero point. The zero point may represent “here” from which other locations near and far are measured. Or the zero point may be a beginning point from which there are trajectories toward ending points or destinations. If the same zero point is used by many people, it may be said to be the origin for a region or a chorography (a description or map of a region).

Time is measured from a specified event point (or point event), which is called an origin or a zero point in time. The temporal location of all other points in time are relative to this zero point. The zero point may be a now-point or present from which other times past and future are measured. Or the zero point may be a beginning point from which there is a trajectory toward an ending point or destination. If the same zero point is used by many people, it may be said to be the origin for an era or a chronography (a description or record of past time, a history).

isoline – a curve or polygon representing equal measures on a map or graphic.
isodistance – an isoline representing equal travel distance from a given spatial point.
isochrone – an isoline representing equal travel time from a given temporal point.

The Euclidean distance from the zero point of a point in space, symbolized by r, is the magnitude of the spatial location vector of the point. It is called the distance of the point from the zero point in space. This distance is the same for all points on its associated isodistance (or isomacron) curve.

The Euclidean distance from the zero point of a point in time, symbolized by t, is the magnitude of the temporal location vector of the point. It is called the duration of the point from the zero point in time. It is also called time, which may be confusing. This duration is the same for all points on its associated isochron curve.

The displacement is the vector representing a change in spatial location from one point to another. The relative distance of one point in space to another point is the magnitude of the displacement vector between them. The average spatial direction of a motion is the direction of its displacement.

The distimement is the vector representing a change in temporal location from one point to another. The relative duration of one point in time to another point is the magnitude of the distimement vector between them. The average temporal direction of motion is the direction of its distimement.

In space-time the full 3D space is used plus 1D time from the travel time. Velocity is the displacement vector divided by the travel time.

In time-space the full 3D time is used plus 1D space from the travel length. Legerity is the distimement vector divided by the travel length.

A modal signal, if it exists, is the rate of a signal or reference motion that travels with maximum mobility through the mode. If a modal signal exists, then the space and time coordinates of a space-time (or time-space) vector may be converted into each other. This conversion is a formal relationship rather than a material one. It represents the motion of the modal signal for the same distance or duration.

Schools of thought

A school of thought is an approach to a discipline by a group of people, especially one that develops its own vocabulary and intellectual tradition. There are many schools of thought in the humanities and soft sciences, including historical sciences. There are fewer schools of thought in the hard sciences, but they exist there, too (e.g., Bayesianism and Frequentism in statistics).

Examples of major schools of thought:

Biology: Creationism, Evolutionism

Economics: Classical, Keynesian, Marxism, Monetarism, Rational Expectations

Geology: Catastrophism, Uniformitarianism

History (historiography): Cyclical, Christian, Marxism, Historicism, Progressivism, Postmodernism

Literary Criticism: Pragmatism, Formalism, Marxism, Psychoanalysis, New Criticism, Structuralism, Deconstruction, Post-modernism, Post-Structuralism, Post-colonialism, Feminist Theory, Queer Theory, New Historicism, Cultural Studies, Reader Response

Philosophy: Idealism, Materialism/Pragmatism, Postmodernism, Realism

Psychology: Behaviorism, Cognitivism, Functionalism, Humanistic/Gestalt, Psychoanalytic, Systems psychology

Sociology: Structural Functionalism, Conflict Theory, Symbolic Interactionism, Feminist Theory

Statistics: Bayesianism, Frequentism

Theology (Christian): Orthodoxy, Catholicism, Evangelicalism, Pentecostalism.

Schools of thought can and do co-exist. As their traditions develop over decades and centuries, it can be more difficult for inter-school dialogue because their terminology and concepts are different.

It’s often not appreciated that creationism and evolutionism are schools of thought. They have their own terms, concepts, and intellectual traditions. They deal with historical events, which makes them soft sciences. And all science is still a branch of philosophy, in which schools of thought abound.

Creationism and evolutionism have been mainstream modern science at different times: creationism up to the late 19th century, evolutionism since the late 19th century. Evolutionism began development while it was a minority view in the 18th and 19th centuries. Creationism has continued development while it is a minority view. Among the best-known evolutionists are Charles Darwin, Thomas H Huxley, and Alfred R Wallace. Among the best-known creationists are Carolus Linnaeus, Gregor Mendel, and Louis Pasteur.

Creationism and evolutionism can and should be taught as two schools of thought. Teaching them in universities should be no more controversial than teaching Marxist, feminist, or post-modernist schools of thought, which have been taught in universities for years.