RE: "Retarding the Progress" - A Call for Specifics

Aaron Lynch (
Tue, 02 Mar 1999 15:14:34 -0600

Message-Id: <>
Date: Tue, 02 Mar 1999 15:14:34 -0600
From: Aaron Lynch <>
Subject: RE: "Retarding the Progress" - A Call for Specifics
In-Reply-To: <2CDFE2C8F598D21197C800C04F911B200CAEAB@DELTA.newhouse.akzo

At 09:31 AM 3/2/99 +0100, Gatherer, D. (Derek) wrote:
>> -----Original Message-----
>> From: Aaron Lynch []
>> Sent: Monday, March 01, 1999 11:14 PM
>> To:
>> Subject: RE: "Retarding the Progress" - A Call for Specifics
> Derek:
>> At 09:13 AM 3/1/99 +0100, Derek Gatherer wrote:
>> >Aaron, the calculus of mnemon instantiations leads to paradoxes
>> >involving the finite storage capacity of the mind (as I have already
>> >shown - blah blah, must I repeat myself?????). Language statements
>> >cannot be stored as memory instantiations. Chomsky demonstrated this
>> >back in the mid-50s. You are either a) not aware of this (I'm sure
>> you
>> >were aware of this, and if you weren't you must be by now because
>> I've
>> >talked about it ad nauseam), or b) choose to ignore it. I conclude
>> you
>> >have chosen to ignore it. Therefore you have disregarded
>> linguistics.
>> >Simple as that.
> Aaron:
>> I will take this as a general objection rather than a demonstration of
>> how
>> using "the thought contagion metaphor" involved harmful disregard of
>> linguistics or cognitive science in discussing the growth or decline
>> of a
>> specific movement in which "the thought contagion metaphor" has been
>> applied.
> Derek:
> Okay, then. You have generally disregarded linguistics, as
>above. In your 1998 paper, you present calculus of mnemon instantiation
>diagrams referring to the Hutterites. Therefore you confuse the
>analysis of this specific case with your speculations concerning their
>memory contents. Specific enough for you? I thought Paul had been as
>specific as one could wish for already.

I was not asking for an example of a movement to which I did not apply
linguistics, rather, an example of a movement where the analysis of growth
or decline was adversely affected by not applying linguistics.

> Aaron:
>> Like it or not, anyone who attempts to
>> discuss internally stored information will use language to do so. So I
>> use
>> language when I refer to "knowledge of how to play baseball." Yet when
>> I
>> use this abstraction as an attribute of a specific person, it does not
>> mean
>> that I think the phrase "knowledge of how to play baseball" exists
>> anywhere
>> inside that person's head.
> Derek:
> Oh please Aaron! If you do not think that the knowledge of how
>to play baseball exists in the head, then why do you have a calculus of
>memeory instantiations at all? Why indeed do you have a thought
>contagion metaphor?


We seem to be sliding back into a pattern in which I perceive that
assertions are being misattributed to me. Therefore, I think we should
again set our argument aside in order to avoid the furious futility we
experienced before. (I do think that the knowledge of baseball exists in
the head even if this does not involve the phrase "knowledge of how to play
baseball" being stored or in any fashion in the head.)

--Aaron Lynch

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