Re: virus: Question

Robin Faichney (
Mon, 9 Jun 1997 13:06:00 +0100

Chitren Nursinghdass wrote:
>Robin :
>>Logic was done with natural language centuries before a
>>formal language was developed for it. That doesn't seem
>>to connect with the proposition that memetics can help
>>in the comparison of natural and formal languages.
>Of course it helps, here's a meme : "formal languages and
>natural languages are similar"

Don't confuse the use of memes (or their use of you)
with memetics, which is the study of memes as such.
(I know confusion can lead to creation but it can't be
relied upon to do so.)

>>Yes. Please explain to this stupid person how "I really
>>think the universe is self-similar" connects with the use
>>of memetics in comparing natural & formal languages.
>In using your memeset, you're using logic, but you're also
>using your natural language to explain to other people,
>or to yourself, the way you reach your conclusions or why you
>think this is correct and that is correct.
>Now memes are thoughts or ideas which have words associated to them.
>Or else how could you transmit memes orally ?

See above.

>In effect, formal and natural language are the same, as you say so
>in this email. You weren't agreeing with yourself in a previous
>email when you were saying "there's a world of difference between
>formal and natural languages".
>Otherwise how could you explain that we can teach formal
>languages to each other via natural language ?
>There must be more than just a fleeting resemblance, don't
>you think ?

We can teach the use of a chainsaw to each other using
natural language. So there must be more than a fleeting
resemblance between the use of natural language, and
the use of a chainsaw?

This is actually a demonstration of the difference (or one
of them) between formal and natural languages. Formal
languages, related more-or-less closely to logic and
mathematics, can generally be viewed as all one. But
most of the meaning of natural languages relates to
real-world practicalities like using chainsaws. Sure,
you can insist that chainsaw use is, at bottom, nothing
but logic and/or maths, but if you test that hypothesis
in the real world, you're liable to find yourself missing
a limb. And testing matters, does it not? Or are we
all "pure" theorists here?

>It's all the same.

If you seek understanding, the recognition of differences
is neither more nor less important than the recognition of
similarities. To neglect either is to lose the way.

>"formal" or "artificial" language, "natural" language, meme logic,

What's "meme logic"?

>All is one. When "artificial" is modelled on "natural", where is the
>"artifice" ?

In the modelling.