Re: The Tipping Point

From: Robin Faichney (
Date: Sun Apr 15 2001 - 14:49:28 BST

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    Date: Sun, 15 Apr 2001 14:49:28 +0100
    Subject: Re: The Tipping Point
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    In-Reply-To: <3AD891ED.20672.5777E8@localhost>; from on Sat, Apr 14, 2001 at 06:07:41PM -0500
    From: Robin Faichney <>
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    On Sat, Apr 14, 2001 at 06:07:41PM -0500, wrote:
    > On 14 Apr 2001, at 9:46, Robin Faichney wrote:
    > > The tipping point phenomenon occurs at the level of the pile,
    > > obviously. Individual grains don't have tipping points, and nobody
    > > claims they do. But you claim that, through "top-down causation", the
    > > tipping point exerts an influence on the individual grain, while I
    > > say, at that level, what is happening is simply interaction between
    > > individual grains (and gravity etc.). Nothing in that paragraph (or
    > > in anything else you've written that I've seen) supports your claim.
    > >
    > Those 'individual grains' of yours are supported by other grains,
    > which are supported by others, eventually involving the entire pile.

    And how, exactly, does that statement of the obvious support your claim
    that individual grains are affected by the tipping point?

    > > > Next, you're gonna be
    > > > telling me that you can take the components of a TV apart and still
    > > > watch BBC. What happens to those signals depends upon a global
    > > > interrelation between those electronic components, and changing even
    > > > one of them can alter the system beyond the point of signal
    > > > receptivity.
    > >
    > > You're confusing scepticism regarding vertical causation with
    > > reductionism. I've said several times that I regard the tipping
    > > point phenomenon as being just as real as are the individual grains.
    > > I'm not a reductionist. I also think a TV show is as real as a
    > > resistor. But what you're saying is that the individual components of
    > > the TV are affected by the type of program that's on.
    > >
    > Actually, they are; the received signal tells the electron gun where
    > to aim its beams to produce the picture, and what frequencies, in
    > what proportions relative to each other, issue from the speakers
    > (absolute volume and brightness are, of course, locally controlled).
    > Do you mean to tell me that your TV doesn't work that way?

    There is a very clear train of causation, not only in the TV itself, but
    even in your description, from internal components to picture and sound.
    NOT vice versa! I think you'd be wise to drop this metaphor, Joe.

    Robin Faichney
    Get your Meta-Information from
    (CAUTION: contains philosophy, may cause heads to spin)

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