virus: Certainty Theory (encoding, patterns, symbols, translation)

Brett Lane Robertson (
Mon, 17 Nov 1997 02:13:38 -0500


Sorry, this is kind of long. Also, Wade may think that it is too
theoretical. Nontheless, it is a followup on an idea that I presented
before that an object might encode justification for
posting it: (a) it supports the idea of a meme being able to encode traits
(as compared to a gene which exemplifies them), (b) it speaks to the
compression and decompression of patterns and streams of information in two
types of situations...the one I might call a "pattern", the other I might
call a "symbol" (which was relevent at one time as regards *translation*)...

Exploring "a man is" and "one man exists" in reference to "man", "is", and
"exists" was my original task. To this end, I have explored the
*relationship* between the two examples--their predication (their expansion
and/or compression--their degree of presencing from that which presents
itself). I have examined man's "is-ness", his "existence", and his "being".
I have used Zalta's treatment of fictitious and real objects to make a
comparison between: "man" and "object", "is" and "encodes/exemplifies". I
have stated that--similar to Zalta--man as an object (a stream of
information, a datum?) might either exist/exemplify or be/encode; so that if
we assume that man=man (he is an object) but that he might either presence
as "a man exists" or "a man is", then we might assume that he "exists" so as
to encode and he "is" so as to exemplify.

Finally, we can say that a man who encodes is similar to a man who
exemplifies by saying encoding is *similar* to exemplification as regards
man. And I say that this relates to Zalta's claim that encoding may be
compared to exemplification as regards "possible worlds" and "world" (man in
the first case is a "possible" the second case "real"--as "man" might
be an object similar to "world" in the two cases); that is, a man is a
possible world if he is defined by how he is rather than what he is.

"We can think of possible worlds as abstract objects. Take the actual world,
for example. It is not identified just by the objects in spacetime, but by
what goes on---what properties those objects have and how they are related
to other objects. The world, to quote early Wittgenstein, is all that is the
case. We can identify the actual world as an abstract object as follows:
take each true proposition p; consider the property of being such that p;
now take the actual world to be that abstract object that encodes all and
only the properties of this sort constructed out of true propositions. The
other possible worlds can be identified in a similar manner." (Zalta, good math here which explores

I say that man is a possible world.

Next, we might determine if man encodes or exemplifies. If we say that a
man--as a possible world--encodes being and existence, then the examples can
be inferred to say that "a man is" is the same as "one man exists" even
though existence and being might not be the same. On the other hand, if we
say that a man exemplifies existence and being (that is that a man is only a
"real" object) then to say that man=man, we must say that existence is the
same as being. I argue that, using Zalta's reasoning, we cannot say that
existence=being if man is viewed as a possible world because to do so we
must say that man does not equal man. I see this as confirming the original
assertion--that is, since man DOES equal man, man must be a possible world.
And I reiterated the original in a self-evident fashion.

I say man encodes the properties of existence and being.

If man is a possible world, and man encodes the properties of existence and
being, then perhaps existence does not equal being. An argument against this
might include the principle of contradiction such that the man which encodes
existence must be different than the man which encodes being, should they be
different. Even though it might be obvious that in cases where we are
talking about the same man this man must be "the same" in each case;
specifically addressing this problem, Heiddeger is interpreted to say that
perhaps a man might not be the same in two cases if we do not limit a man to
his doing but also view man by his being:

"Heidegger does not strive to show that the contradictory can be, but rather
that approaching beings (and Being) with the principle of contradiction
vastly limits their possibilities by placing them in a framework derived
from only a single facet (their presence) of their original overwhelming
emergence from concealment." (from Brian A.Bard,

I say existence does not equal being*

* My "Certainty Theory": Existence as an object and being as a motion are
uncertain; but that a "man" (for example) can be the same in the two cases
suggests a 3rd case in which a man who exists and a man who is being is a
(single) abstract object in the sense that it encodes both objective
existence and subjective being (or motion).

The axioms of "Certainty Theory":

A. Man is a possible world.

B. Man encodes existence and being.

C. Existence does not equal being.



A countryman between two lawyers is like a fish between two
cats. -- Ben Franklin