[hist-analytic] 'Wobbly'

Landspeedrecord landspeedrecord at gmail.com
Thu Dec 23 21:39:22 EST 2010


Hi again,

Sally failing a test was meant to be an example of a propensity of Sally,
and not a disposition of Sally.  Saying that a property is dispositional
directly implies that the property is intrinsic to the object in question.

Perhaps Sally is stupid.  This causes her to fail tests.  This is analogous
to one leg being shorter on a table than the others.  Perhaps all her
teachers hate her and rig the tests so that she will fail.  This is
analogous to the floor being uneven.  Or something in between, where maybe
Sally isn't stupid but she is just in a bit over her head academically and
has to work a full time job etc...  Regardless of her underlying
circumstances, you could say that she is 'fail-y'.  I was just making up a
term that worked functionally the same as 'wobbly' to show that the only
thing that was unusual about 'wobbly' was simply that there aren't many
terms that are like it - I had to construct one to even make a comparison.
 Again, the remarkable thing to me is that there are not more adjectival
terms like 'wobbly' in the English language - where it is ambiguous and
irrelevant as to whether the adjective is describing a property that is
internal or external to the object to which it is applied.

As for what I mean by 'emergent' - I do NOT mean the term in the way it is
used in cognitive science / philosophy of the mind, where it implies a
property that cannot be reduced to the components or parts from which it
'emerges' (e.g. consciousness).  I mean it in a more naturalist sense.  Like
this:
http://en.wikipedia.org/wiki/Emergence

<http://en.wikipedia.org/wiki/Emergence>That is to say, for me a conditional
emergent property is merely some abstract element or pattern that occurs
when a system evolves over time.  Take for instance, falcons... some breeds,
as they spiral inwards (and down) towards their prey, do so in accordance
with the irrational number phi.  Phi is not a property that resides in the
falcons, it is a property of the flight pattern of the falcon, something
that can be viewed as an evolving system involving the falcon and air and
motivation for spiralling (prey), etc..

As for "mental properties", I do not understand why they would be brought up
in a discussion of wobbiliness.  Unless you are speaking of mind-invoking
properties, for instance the notion that a book inherently involves minds -
a random growth on a distant planet that looked exactly like an earth book
but was in fact a plant would not be considered to be a book in that it
wasn't written by a mind and wasn't created to be interpreted by a mind and
so the plant that resembled the book, would not be considered to actually be
a book, that it literally (no pun intended) lacked the property of
bookishness or whatever name you would want to give to distinguish between
objects that contained genuinely mind-invoking properties and those that
merely structural dopplegangers of objects with mind-invoking
items/properties.  I do not subscribe to this notion of mind-invoking
properties, just trying to be clear.  Although I am a big fan of Jorge
Borge's "Pierre Menard, Author of *Don* Quixote" - the point of which was, I
think, to place the idea of the mind-invoking properties of the
intentionality of writing in paradoxical juxtaposition with the tautologous
identification of two sets of texts (two books being the same when they are
both the same tokens - using the type/token distinction).  The idea being
that two books had different "mental properties" due to the differing
intentions of the two authors, despite all the books being the same token of
one type, i.e. that the same book could have two separate authors.

I tried to find "the problem of 'wobbles' in puter programming" on the
internet and couldn't find anything... can you elaborate or provide a link?
 It sounds interesting.

On Sun, Dec 19, 2010 at 7:24 PM, <Baynesr at comcast.net> wrote:

> Before I could agree or disagree with your initial take on 'wobbly', I'd
> have to know more precisely what you mean by 'emergent'. So I'm leaving that
> alone, for now.
>
> I do have a couple of more or less casual remarks on you Sally case. I
> think Sally can fail a test without having any disposition to fail a test. I
> believe the dispositional analysis of, e.g., psychological predicates has
> gained us very little since Ryle. In addition, there are problems with how
> to analyse many dispositions; e.g. "finkish" dispositions; problems with
> counterfactual analyses, etc.
>
> You remark:
>
>  '"A mental property is a property that depends on the there being minds" -
> What do you mean by that?'
>
> I mean, merely, that mental properties do not exist in mindless worlds.
>
> Emergence is an interesting topic in itself; much to involved for this
> note; but if you care to an expansion on what you take this to mean and what
> you would do with it would be interesting to know.
>
> Regards
>
> Steve
>
>
>
>
> ----- Original Message -----
> From: "Landspeedrecord" <landspeedrecord at gmail.com>
> To: "steve bayne" <baynesrb at yahoo.com>
> Cc: hist-analytic at simplelists.com
> Sent: Sunday, December 19, 2010 1:25:22 AM
> Subject: Re: 'Wobbly'
>
> To me, 'wobble' is not the same as 'wobbly'.  Beyond the fact that the
> former is a verb and the latter is an adjective, of course.  The former is
> an event and the latter is a property of an object for the propensity of an
> event to occur given that object and a specific context - it is a
> conditional emergent property.  One could ask the same questions about other
> conditional emergent properties, we just don't usually have specific words
> for them.  Any object that undergoes the emergent behavior can be described
> using the verb, form while only objects with the propensity to exhibit the
> behavior can have the adjectival property.  For instance, I could say that
> 'Sally failed the test', but there is no adjective for having the propensity
> to fail tests, being 'fail-y' as in 'Sally is sooooo fail-y'.  Perhaps I am
> being a dumbass and overlooking an obvious adjective though, but I don't
> think so.
>
> Here is a fun list, with nothing that even comes close to "fail-y":
>
> short <http://thesaurus.com/browse/short>, abortive, addle, aground, all
> up with, atfault, bankrupt, befooled, bootless, borne down,broken<http://thesaurus.com/browse/broken>
> , broken down, capsized, cast away,crossed, dashed, dead beat, defeated<http://thesaurus.com/browse/defeated>
> , deficient <http://thesaurus.com/browse/deficient>,destroyed<http://thesaurus.com/browse/destroyed>
> , disconcerted <http://thesaurus.com/browse/disconcerted>, dished, done
> for, doneup, downtrodden, failing <http://thesaurus.com/browse/failing>,
> flambe, foiled,foundered, fruitless<http://thesaurus.com/browse/fruitless>
> , frustrated <http://thesaurus.com/browse/frustrated>, grounded,hobbling,
> hoist on with one's own petard, in asorry plight, ineffective<http://thesaurus.com/browse/ineffective>
> , ineffectual <http://thesaurus.com/browse/ineffectual>, inefficacious,
> inefficient <http://thesaurus.com/browse/inefficient>, insufficient<http://thesaurus.com/browse/insufficient>
> , knocked on the head,lame <http://thesaurus.com/browse/lame>, left in the
>  lurch, lost <http://thesaurus.com/browse/lost>, minus, nonsuited,
> oligophrenic, out of depth, out of one'sreckoning, overborne, overwhelmed<http://thesaurus.com/browse/overwhelmed>
> , perfunctory <http://thesaurus.com/browse/perfunctory>,played out, ruined<http://thesaurus.com/browse/ruined>
> , ruined root and branch,sacrificed, shipwrecked, short of, still<http://thesaurus.com/browse/still>
> , struckdown, stultified, successless, swamped, thrownaway, thrown off
> one's balance, thrown on one'sback, thrown on one's beam ends, tripping,
> unattained, unavailing, uncompleted, undone,unfortunate<http://thesaurus.com/browse/unfortunate>
> , unhinged, unhorsed, unreached,unsuccessful<http://thesaurus.com/browse/unsuccessful>
> , victimized, wide of the mark,wrecked.
>
> What is interesting and surprising to me is, given our society's love of
> neologisms, that more words like 'wobbly' are not coined on a regular basis
> - especially in light of the fact that so much of our socially mediated
> reality includes so many emergent properties.
>
> I should add that objects with a propensity to do something don't have to
> be the source of that propensity.  People with their heads in guillotines
> have a propensity for having their heads chopped off but they are not the
> causal source of the beheading.  Likewise a table need not be wobbly to
> wobble (as when the floor is uneven).  If only 'beheading-y' was a word, I
> could make a joke about the French now.
>
> One of my current fascinations is wondering if there is a logic to why some
> concepts are recursive (meta) and others are not (the ontology of
> recursion?) and this is a good example... is it possible to have a
> conditionally emergent conditional emergent property?  Off-hand I am
> guessing no although I can't give any logical reason why this should be so.
>
> Lastly, "A mental property is a property that depends on the there being
> minds" - What do you mean by that?  Or rather, are you speaking of qualia or
> are you raising the "mind-invoking" vs. "mind-involving" distinction?  Also,
> do you really take "good" to be a property?  For me things that are "good"
> are merely things that I personally judge to be so, and as such the
> "property" is not in them, but in my propensity to use the words to describe
> various objects - not that I am saying I am an emotivist.
>
> --
> Pentabarf #5: A Discordian is Prohibited from Believing What he reads.
>  45000
>



-- 
Pentabarf #5: A Discordian is Prohibited from Believing What he reads.
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