ThoughtStorms Wiki

OK, this page is flakier than usual. Nevertheless, I want to try grouping some things and see if it's interesting. Today's topic is "surfaces"

  • 1) I've been reading another book on software design patterns with continuous emphasis on DesignToInterfaces not classes.
  • 2) On AgainstFinishedness I bemoan the problem of supermarkets which produce / package food in such a way that it's optimized for the buying decision, but may be inferior in nutritional value. May even be unhealthy due to pesticides etc.
  • 5) Another bout of my ongoing philosophical argument with HilanBensusan about HumanNature. I'm trying to press the point that the structure of the brain / body must place some constraints on the content we are able to entertain in our minds. He suggests this isn't so. I suggest this means that in principle any mind can learn to think any thought. He thinks that sounds right. So I push for thinking about how this would work in a concrete example. As the argument continues I realize that he's thinking like this :

: When we say John has a thought t, what this means is that he is competent with a set of behaviours such as making accurate reports about t, acting according to t, making inferences from t etc. There's nothing more to having t than this. So, if I can't really think P(x) maybe I can learn to "fake" it. Or at least, fake it sufficiently for the community.

: (NB: this last explanation is filtered through the fact that I can't believe this position. Maybe someone who believes it could explain better and more convincingly)

A better argument does it the other way around: The idea that there are contents which we cannot entertain is incoherent, since it requires us (on some questionable assumptions akin to verificationism) to be able to conceive of something which is, ex hypothesi, inconceivable by us. This is a form of AntiRealism, and is related to Davidson's claim that there is only one ConceptualScheme.


  • 6) Maybe this last reminds me of AndyClark's different CompetenceTheories. The question is at what level we can say two things are the "same" or "equivalent". When are two functionally defined black-boxes the same? The intension of the function or the extension?
  • 7) Maybe we're just back to abstraction again. (OnAbstraction). When can you abstract the same quality from two instances? Although surfaces are just one kind of abstractable quality. Maybe there's more to them than that.

See also :

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