Re: virus: isosemanticity

David McFadzean (
Mon, 29 Sep 1997 15:46:53 -0600

At 02:15 PM 9/29/97 -0700, Eva-Lise Carlstrom wrote:

>David, your post about mapping points from different coordinate systems
>onto each other presented an excellent example of how translation between
>different systems can work. However, it also allows me to provide an
>example of how it can fail. If I (using a polar map) tell you I'm
>standing at the North Pole, you (using a Cartesian map) will not find that
>a clear locative. For any two systems, there may well be many statements
>that can be translated, and survive the process retaining their meaning
>and truth value, but there may be other statements that cannot be phrased
>in one system or the other, or which become meaningless, or change their
>truth value, in the process.

Good example. The Cartesian people will initially be confused about the
claim that the Polar guy is standing at the North Pole because it appears
to be a very long line to them. They may ask, where exactly on the North
Pole, and the reply will confuse them further: "What do you mean where?
Right on it, I'm stepping on it now." If the Cartesian people aren't aware
of other mapping systems, they may just say "rubbish, this guy's obviously
loony". However, if they are fortunate enough to learn of the Discipline
of Translation, they may exchange queries with the Polar person long enough
to figure that the entire top edge of their map is actually a single point.
So the contradiction was only apparent, it was a difference is the way they
looked at things, not in the way things actually are.

David McFadzean       
Memetic Engineer      
Church of Virus