Received: by alpheratz.cpm.aca.mmu.ac.uk id WAA15168 (8.6.9/5.3[ref email@example.com] for cpm.aca.mmu.ac.uk from firstname.lastname@example.org); Thu, 19 Apr 2001 22:37:15 +0100 From: <email@example.com> To: firstname.lastname@example.org Date: Thu, 19 Apr 2001 16:39:48 -0500 Content-type: text/plain; charset=US-ASCII Content-transfer-encoding: 7BIT Subject: Re: The Tipping Point Message-ID: <3ADF14D4.22259.23982B@localhost> In-reply-to: <20010419115318.A1156@ii01.org> References: <3ADDAD89.28068.549B02@localhost>; from email@example.com on Wed, Apr 18, 2001 at 03:06:49PM -0500 X-mailer: Pegasus Mail for Win32 (v3.12c) Sender: firstname.lastname@example.org Precedence: bulk Reply-To: email@example.com
On 19 Apr 2001, at 11:53, Robin Faichney wrote:
> On Wed, Apr 18, 2001 at 03:06:49PM -0500, firstname.lastname@example.org wrote:
> > On 18 Apr 2001, at 11:05, Robin Faichney wrote: > > > On Tue, Apr
> 17, 2001 at 02:51:14PM -0500, email@example.com wrote: > > > On 17
> Apr 2001, at 15:13, Robin Faichney wrote: > > > > That > > TV/camera
> dynamic can also be made to feedback, (and change the > > > > >
> picture sent to it), by pointing the camera at the monitor. > > > > >
> Controlling the 'tipping points' of luminosity and color can result >
> > > > > in some rather beautifully kinetic images. > > > > True. I've
> > > done that myself. But does that makes it a better analogy > > in
> this > > case? > > > Of course it does, though still not perfect, as
> the camera > > and the > TV cannot decide where on the screen to
> focus; this requires > > the > freely willed choice of one of us human
> causal nexi. > > > > In other words, it misses the central issue. > >
> > Well, a grain of sand, or a pile of it, doesn't have free choice,
> either, > but the pile DOES possess a structure which is greater than
> the > sum of its parts ( all the interrelationships between them must
> be > considered).
> "Greater than the sum of its parts" is extremely vague. If you look
> at it that way, every molecule, every cell, every entity that's not at
> the very lowest level of description (whatever that is) is greater
> than the sum of its parts. As you're so fond of saying yourself, a
> statement that applies to everything is not a useful statement.
Thw whole equals the sum of its parts plus their interrelationships.
> And "must be considered" begs the question: for which purposes?
In order to have a more complete, hence more correct, conception
of the system as a whole.
> > In fact, the genesis of the tipping point idea came
> > about with catastrophe theory (CATASTROPHE THEORY by V. I.
> > Arnold, pub.1986 by Springer-Verlag is a good source), and
> > informed the SDIC (Sensitive Dependence on Initial Conditions) so-
> > called 'Butterfly Effect" found in chaos and complexity theory.
> The "genesis of the tipping point idea" is too vague to be useful. I
> believe that, historically, sensitivity to initial conditions was
> first noticed in computer simulations of either weather or a simple
> pendulum-type arrangement. This is in one of the Complexity titles,
> but both of mine are currently out on loan. In any case, it's not
> relevant here -- the tipping point is certainly an example of it, but
> top-down causation plays no part in it.
So you would define the event of the straw breaking the camel's
back in terms of the straw alone, and not consider the weight
already loaded, or its distribution, or the condition of the camel's
vertebrae, or their discal interconnections.
> > > > Surely the support given by the rest of the grains in an
> > > > interrelated pile of them is significant; along with the
> > > > gravitational coefficient that both knits them together as a
> > > > gestalt and establishes the slope of the tipping point, indeed,
> > > > the MOST significant.
> > >
> > > Tell us just what it is, in the behaviour of any one grain, that
> > > cannot be fully explained by its own properties and the
> > > interactions with its immediate neighbours and gravity.
> > >
> > Why those immediate naighbors are in the positions that they are in
> > to influence the target grain the way they do. That has to do with
> > the grains surrounding THEM, and so on, to involve the whole pile.
> > Lines of gravity-induced potential energy suffuse the whole
> > structure.
> You would be perfectly correct if the question had been "what are the
> factors that contribute to the emergence of the tipping point
> phenomenon?" But it wasn't. Of course, to explain the tipping point,
> all that must be considered, but your claim is that the tipping point
> has a causal influence on individual grains, and you've yet to
> demonstrate that.
Sure I have. If the grains were not in a pile, the next grain to fall
would not make first contact as soon, and would not either stand or
roll depending upon the slope of the pile, for slope would nor exist.
> In fact, to do so is impossible, because the tipping point emerges out
> of the behaviour of the individual grains, and you can't say that two
> things both cause each other.
I can say that cause and effect, if understood linearly, are not the
proper terms to use to describe such a recursive feedback system
where the grains comprise the pile yet the properties of the pile as
a whole decide the course of the next grains to fall.
>Or you can, but not without stretching
> the meaning of "cause" beyond breaking point. Of course, you've
> already demonstrated that's something you're very happy to do. I'm a
> little more conservative in that regard: I prefer my concepts to be
But not at the cost of correctly reflecting the situation they purport
to represent; of course when that happens, as it frequently does,
their (the concepts') purported usefulness is itself an illusion.
> "Causation" implies a temporal sequence, so, until someone
> invents a time machine, it's a one-way relationship.
As I have stated before, the only temporality involved in causation
has to do with the pre- and post-event history; at the instant of
interrelation, the involved entities affect each other, and none of
them can be considered as either pure cause or pure effect.
> Actually, in
> this case, it's not operating either way, because what's happening is
> emergence. My point is that, even if you do confuse causation with
> emergence, there is still no need in the case of the tipping point to
> invoke the top-down variety.
Unless you want to explain why grain W falling upon a pile with
slope X sits, but grain Y falling upon a pile with slope Z rolls.
> > > > Can't have that; that'd be unsuperdeterministic. Everything is
> > > > always ordered in a superdeterministic universe; the shackles of
> > > > causality imprison forever <snicker>.
> > >
> > > The prison's in your mind, Joe, not mine.
> > >
> > I'm no superdeterminist; I was lampooning it. You must be willfully
> > obtuse not to pick up that fact, or pettily malevolent to recognize
> > yet ignore it.
> If you say there's a prison in my mind, then that prison is
> necessarily in your's, whether or not you're right and there's also
> one in mine. In this case, you're wrong, and there's none in mine (or
> none of that sort, anyway). I'm as free as you are. Freer, in fact,
> because I'm not bound by my ego to philosophical positions that I've
> gotten all mixed up with my self-image. Or not to the same extent,
> anyway! :-)
To deny your prison is to be even further bound by it, just as fish do
not perceive their surrpounding water, or many of us the
surrounding air. As to the extent to which you feel compelled to
attempt to philosophically justify and memetically spread your
particular version of Buddhist dogma, I will leave it to those on the
list who've been here a while to weigh relative extents. If what you
are saying is that you reject superdeterminism also, such a
rejection is simply the consequence of being honest concerning
the ramifications of your own experience.
> > > > Then you repudiate the Buddhist doctrine of co-dependent
> > > > origination, which asserts precisely what you just denied. If
> > > > one tosses a whole ball, all of the ball's parts tend to tag
> > > > along, even if you weren't touching them during your toss.
> > >
> > > That's because they're tied together, Joe. No magic required!
> > > :-)
> > >
> > Aren't all those dynamically recursive pattern configurations tied
> > to the substrate from which they emerge? Why, yepperz! And just
> > like the whole ball travels when you just touch a part in your toss,
> > the emergent configurational part can decide to move attention and
> > the neural pathways in the material substrate will register same.
> Emergence is not separation, and only separate entities can affect
> each other. An emergent phenomenon is a pattern in the activity of
> lower level phenomena. If we make the common mistake of confusing
> emergence with causation, then we say this is bottom-up causation. But
> there is no temporal sequence, so it's not causation of any kind.
Emergent phenomena are in interrelation with their aubstrates, and
causation proceeds through interrelation. Do you have any
counterexamples of nonrelational entities in causal relations?
> If only you'd acknowledge the significance of subjectivity, you'd see
> there's no need for all these contortions, that willpower and even
> your self are perfectly safe without them. But you won't. Ho hum...
Acknowledge it's significance? It's all we know and experience in
our concrete lived real world. Objectivity is an abstract ideal
construct adopting a nonexistent god's eye view; human
subjectivity and intersubjectivity are the only -jectivities actually
> Robin Faichney
> Get your Meta-Information from http://www.ii01.org
> (CAUTION: contains philosophy, may cause heads to spin)
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