[hist-analytic] OOPS

Danny Frederick danny.frederick at btinternet.com
Thu Nov 19 08:32:35 EST 2009

Hi Bruce/Steve,


I have a mountain of emails from hist-analytic that I have not looked at
yet, including one from Roger that is addressed to me. I will get around to
them eventually. But this little exchange caught my attention.


I am very familiar with Bruce's situation; in fact I have been so for years.
And, at least in my case (though I feel sure it is universal), it is not
just in fast-moving email exchanges that I find unaccountable errors
creeping in. I say 'unaccountable' because they are the sorts of errors that
should never have been made (presumably, like Bruce's 'and only' clause),
given that I knew full well it was an error when I made it, so it baffles me
how I came to make it. If it was only in fast-moving exchanges that this
happened, it would not be (so) baffling. But it happens even in carefully
composed and long-thought-over pieces that I have left alone for a while
precisely so that, when I return to them, I will be more likely to see the
silly mistakes - and I still don't! Actually, I usually spot them as soon as
I send off the piece of work to wherever it needs to go.


This is not just a philosophical thing. Until just over three years ago I
was an accountant, and I had this problem in connection with management
reports or proposals or complex spreadsheets. It seemed like a curse. There
was almost invariably some minor blemish that I somehow failed to see,
despite taking great care to get things right. A Cartesian demon sitting on
the shoulder is an apt metaphor! I think it tells us something about the
human condition.


Best wishes,





From: hist-analytic-manager at simplelists.com
[mailto:hist-analytic-manager at simplelists.com] On Behalf Of steve bayne
Sent: 19 November 2009 12:42
To: hist-analytic at simplelists.com
Subject: Re: OOPS


 "A Cartesian demon seems to sit on my shoulder as a write and introduce
errors.  I can't escape them."




It's just the nature of the medium. This is a fast moving method

of exchange and mistakes are unavoidable. The only option is

to stay out of the discussion. This is the approach of a lot of

people who would rather ride their reputation than do what they

see as "putting it on the line." You are one of a very few that

prefers the exchange despite the risk (which is largely imaginary).


I  finding my bearings after a few days of interupted angling

within an entirely different domain of discourse. Your post

was useful. It changes a bit the way I see things. Meaning

postulates will figure in here. When we get to analyticity etc.

this will be more of a factor, I supppose.






--- On Thu, 11/19/09, Bruce Aune <aune at philos.umass.edu> wrote:

From: Bruce Aune <aune at philos.umass.edu>
Subject: OOPS
To: hist-analytic at simplelists.com
Date: Thursday, November 19, 2009, 6:40 AM

In my last post to simplelists the clause "and only C" should be deleted
from the second sentence in my paragraph 5; it doesn't belong there.  A
Cartesian demon seems to sit on my shoulder as a write and introduce errors.
I can't escape them.



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