Re: virus: Discoveries and Inventions
Fri, 7 Feb 1997 11:19:19 -0600 (CST)

On Tue, 4 Feb 1997, Wade T. Smith wrote:

> >But, you see, semantic relativism is the whole point of my question...again
> >(and I myself do this all thie time) you are implicitly insisting that
> >there are some basic meanings that are involate, axioms if you will.
> >Reed
> I am in agreement with you, I think....
> Although I have no difficulty with the word 'create', and don't at all have
> any sense of a god mixed up with it, but do think it tends towards the
> arts, since creation is a new thing, sometimes wonderfully so.
> But- 'invention' is not so far off as a synonym, just more comfortable in a
> technical setting.
> John Cage certainly 'invented' aleatory notation, but 'created' the music....
> The fact we have used 'electron' to mean these forms of sub-atomic forces
> explained by the term in no way allows us to turn around and declare it
> irreal.
> We created (invented) the word 'electron' to explain the discoveries of the
> forces and behaviors of the little beastie....
> And yes, there are basic meanings which _must be enforced_ before any
> reasoned discussion can take place. Language is too slippery, and the
> politics of meaning too varied.
> Science is, in many ways, the supplier of these basic meanings. I had
> hoped, futilely as it so far appears, that memetics may have provided some
> tad of a supply of basic meanings....
> And I do not feel that some arbitrary mathematical structure placed upon
> meaning is the answer. Communication through language requires a common
> lexicon.

It *is* insufficient, in a purely mathematical sense. The functions that
let you *forget* the differences in meaning, in various circumstances,
are *critical* to understanding the objects mathematics is about.

/ Towards the conversion of data into information....
/ Kenneth Boyd