Re: To have a mnemon

Aaron Lynch (
Mon, 08 Jun 1998 11:28:09 -0500

Message-Id: <>
Date: Mon, 08 Jun 1998 11:28:09 -0500
From: Aaron Lynch <>
Subject: Re: To have a mnemon
In-Reply-To: <>


>> This hypothetical situation presumes that A --> ~A never happens. By the
>> time you have derived the 100,000th mnemon, you might have forgotten the
>> 32,768th one. Nothing about the word "mnemon" implies infinite memory
>> capacity. Given the finite actual capacity of the brain, you will start
>> forgetting them. I would think that you will probably also tend to forget
>> arbitrary and nonsensical mnemons faster.
>But if one is familiar with (or aware of) the proposition 'duck pollen
>invigorates', then surely one is aware of any proposition of the form
>'x pollen invigorates'.

No, one can be aware of the form "x pollen invigorates" without having the
infinite number of substitutions for x stored in the brain. And being aware
that the nuber of possible substitutions is infinite does not mean that you
even know all the words in the dictionary, for instance.

>One may be uncertain what x is, as in a
>proposition such as 'slimy tove pollen invigorates', but on hearing
>that the automatic reposnse is that it is just another 'x pollen
>invigorates'-class proposition.

>When I sit generating infinite propositions of this type, I don't store
>them up, forgetting eventually the 32,657th one and remembering the
>23,487th one and so on, thus being A with respect to the latter and ~A
>with respect to the former. I just generate them. That's what
>transformational grammar enables us to do. From the infinite
>generative power of the grammar, speech acts are produced. There is no
>host-concept relationship.
>> If you embark on a life-long course of generating mnemons about the
>> invigorating effects of various kinds of pollen, I cannot say just which
>> ones you will forget faster. After all, this is not among the main
>> phenomena I concern myself with. I don't claim to know which mnemons you
>> will invent, or which ones you will forget fastest, so I don't know which
>> ones you will have left (continue to host) by the age of 100 or so.
>So you are implying that I will host all that I can remember? But even
>if I cannot remember exactly what I said, I can just apply the 'x
>pollen invigorates' program in my grammar organ, and out come another
>load of similar propositions - many of which will be the same as the
>forgotten ones. Am I now once more a host to them?

You only host at time t all that you actually *DO* remember at time t. I
have no problem with you becoming host of awareness of the proposition that
duck pollen invigorates mnemon, then becoming non-host by way of
forgetting, then becoming host again later on--even if by way of your handy
"x pollen invigorates" formula.

Some day, you will get sick and discover to your horror that an entire
field of "quack" medicine has sprung up around an awareness of the
proposition that duck pollen invigorates. Then you will regret having ever
started it!

>> I'd advise caution about the word "duality," too--but that's another
>> discussion. When used with care, the word "mnemon" does not lead to
>> infinities or contradictions.
>In that case you will have to specify that propositions are not
>mnemons, since we are not hosts to vast (if not infinite) hordes of
>propositions. We do have memory of course, and if you want a unit of
>memory, then why not a mnemon. There is nothing wrong with mnemons per
>se (except that we can't really quantify them), but your insistence
>that individual conceptual statements are mnemons constructs a link
>between memory and language that is contrary to most of what we know
>about these two things. It's certainly contrary to all that Chomsky
>says about language generation.

I've been talking about being host of awareness of propositions and belief
in propositions, rather than being host of propositions per se.

--Aaron Lynch

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