tag:blogger.com,1999:blog-77635752768721992192017-12-16T08:47:06.877+00:00enigManiaonly the unfit evolveMartin Cookenoreply@blogger.comBlogger316125tag:blogger.com,1999:blog-7763575276872199219.post-33763411867456324782017-12-15T12:54:00.000+00:002017-12-15T15:30:28.813+00:00Crystallizing Out<blockquote class="tr_bq">There is a moment, recognisable to an experienced operative, when, after weeks of preparation and cultivation, months of effort, years even, an operation flickers into life, when the hard little bead of possibility breaks open to reveal the actual. A journalist knows the moment, too, that second when the shape of the story starts to show itself, its scope, its layers of meaning. The moment may come with the acquisition of a specific piece of information, or the making of a connection, or an event. Or it may be something far smaller, an inconsistency, a gesture, a look on someone's face that tells of a lie.</blockquote><br />Adam Brookes, <i>The Spy's Daughter</i>, page 162Martin Cookehttps://plus.google.com/117295543050000881085noreply@blogger.com0tag:blogger.com,1999:blog-7763575276872199219.post-18830849890441388252017-11-18T16:18:00.000+00:002017-12-06T09:24:31.104+00:00Do We Systematically Misunderstand Our Own Language?Suppose that God had created Adam and also, in an identical space-time, an exact copy of Adam. Such a God could swap Adam with that other person, then swap them back, and do that over and over, and it would make no difference, empirically: they have identical memories and everything. One difference it would make, though, is that any direct reference to Adam in this space-time would keep failing. And similarly, what if fundamental particles (or other substances) are constantly being replaced by identical particles (substances)? It would make no difference empirically, which is why we cannot rule it out, logically. We can of course <i>assume</i> that it does not occur. Consequently we can assume that reference is direct; but, surely language would work normally even if such replacements were occurring.Martin Cookehttps://plus.google.com/117295543050000881085noreply@blogger.com1tag:blogger.com,1999:blog-7763575276872199219.post-10711606181429069432017-11-03T10:19:00.002+00:002017-11-20T17:37:46.526+00:00The Trouble with TransportersIn Star Trek people are beamed from place to place using transporters (their molecules are converted into energy which is then beamed to another place where it is turned back into the original people), even though logic dictates that if so then people should not eat food, whereas in Star Trek they do eat food. The logic is as follows: When people eat they replace some of their molecules with ones from food, so that we can easily imagine that all their molecules are replaced, with the old ones being crapped out. If that crap was collected and its atoms rearranged into an exact copy of those people, then that would be just that: copies. So, if that is how things are, then transporters would kill people and create copies of them.Martin Cookehttps://plus.google.com/117295543050000881085noreply@blogger.com0tag:blogger.com,1999:blog-7763575276872199219.post-83138017518296254052017-10-19T17:36:00.002+01:002017-12-15T12:54:54.959+00:00Isserley's Feeling For Snow<blockquote class="tr_bq">The sensation of fresh snow crunching underfoot was deeply satisfying to Isserley. Just the idea of all that water vapour solidifying by the cloudful and fluttering to earth was miraculous. She couldn't quite believe it, even after all these years. It was a phenomenon of stupendous and unjustifiably useless extravagance. Yet here it lay, soft and powdery, edibly pure. Isserley scooped a handful off the ground and ate some. It was delicious.</blockquote><br />Michel Faber, <i>Under the Skin</i>, page 56Martin Cookehttps://plus.google.com/117295543050000881085noreply@blogger.com0tag:blogger.com,1999:blog-7763575276872199219.post-60503275400770243242017-10-09T21:15:00.001+01:002017-10-20T05:22:27.629+01:00The Bible Explained<span style="background-color: white; color: rgba(0 , 0 , 0 , 0.87); font-family: "roboto" , "robotodraft" , "helvetica" , "arial" , sans-serif; font-size: 14px; white-space: pre-wrap;">222111 is the number of The Royal Mint,</span><br /><span style="background-color: white; color: rgba(0 , 0 , 0 , 0.87); font-family: "roboto" , "robotodraft" , "helvetica" , "arial" , sans-serif; font-size: 14px; white-space: pre-wrap;">and it equals 1 + 2 + 3 + ... + 666, where</span><br /><span style="background-color: white; color: rgba(0 , 0 , 0 , 0.87); font-family: "roboto" , "robotodraft" , "helvetica" , "arial" , sans-serif; font-size: 14px; white-space: pre-wrap;">666 = 1 + 2 + 3 + ... + 36 is The Number</span><br /><span style="background-color: white; color: rgba(0 , 0 , 0 , 0.87); font-family: "roboto" , "robotodraft" , "helvetica" , "arial" , sans-serif; font-size: 14px; white-space: pre-wrap;">Of The Beast, which is Spooky, because</span><br /><span style="background-color: white; color: rgba(0 , 0 , 0 , 0.87); font-family: "roboto" , "robotodraft" , "helvetica" , "arial" , sans-serif; font-size: 14px; white-space: pre-wrap;">money is the root of all evil. </span><span style="background-color: white; color: rgba(0 , 0 , 0 , 0.87); font-family: "roboto" , "robotodraft" , "helvetica" , "arial" , sans-serif; font-size: 14px; white-space: pre-wrap;">36 = 1 + 2 + </span><br /><span style="background-color: white; color: rgba(0 , 0 , 0 , 0.87); font-family: "roboto" , "robotodraft" , "helvetica" , "arial" , sans-serif; font-size: 14px; white-space: pre-wrap;"><complete id="goog_952844100">+ </complete>3 + ... + 8, and 8 = 2 x 2 x 2 x 1 x 1 x 1</span>Martin Cookehttps://plus.google.com/117295543050000881085noreply@blogger.com0tag:blogger.com,1999:blog-7763575276872199219.post-23875625708548939652017-02-14T18:55:00.003+00:002017-12-05T14:06:08.304+00:00Easy as 1, 2, 3 (in base 5 + 5)<div class="wftCae" dir="ltr" jsname="EjRJtf"><br />12 = 3 <span style="font-family: "arial" , "helvetica" , sans-serif; font-size: x-small;">x</span> 4<br />56 = 7 <span style="font-family: "arial" , "helvetica" , sans-serif; font-size: x-small;">x</span> 8<br />90 = 360/4<br /><br /> 0 + 12 = 3 <span style="font-family: "arial" , "helvetica" , sans-serif; font-size: x-small;">x</span> 4<br /> 5 + 67 = 8 <span style="font-family: "arial" , "helvetica" , sans-serif; font-size: x-small;">x</span> 9 = 360/5<br /><br />(there are 60 = 360/6 seconds in a minute)<br /><br />4 <span style="font-family: "arial" , "helvetica" , sans-serif; font-size: x-small;">x</span> 5 <span style="font-family: "arial" , "helvetica" , sans-serif; font-size: x-small;">x</span> (6 + 6 + 6) = 360 = (5 + 5) <span style="font-family: "arial" , "helvetica" , sans-serif; font-size: x-small;">x</span> 6 <span style="font-family: "arial" , "helvetica" , sans-serif; font-size: x-small;">x</span> 6<br /><br /> 1 + 2 + 3 + 4 = 5 + 5<br />1 + 2 + 3 + ... + 8 = 9 <span style="font-family: "arial" , "helvetica" , sans-serif; font-size: x-small;">x</span> 4 = 6 <span style="font-family: "arial" , "helvetica" , sans-serif; font-size: x-small;">x</span> 6<br /><br /> 1 + 2 + 3 + ... + (5 + 5) = 55<br /> 1 + 2 + 3 + ... + 6 <span style="font-family: "arial" , "helvetica" , sans-serif; font-size: x-small;">x</span> 6 = 666</div>Martin Cookehttps://plus.google.com/117295543050000881085noreply@blogger.com0tag:blogger.com,1999:blog-7763575276872199219.post-76999862293618804942017-02-14T18:54:00.001+00:002017-10-18T15:48:49.978+01:00Paradox of ExpectationWhen you expect a lot of some promising event, thing or person, it tends to be more disappointing than it would have been had you not, so in order to maximize your pleasure you need to avoid expecting so much: If you expect to be disappointed, then you won't be disappointed!Martin Cookehttps://plus.google.com/117295543050000881085noreply@blogger.com0tag:blogger.com,1999:blog-7763575276872199219.post-66067254528689219262016-12-17T23:55:00.001+00:002016-12-17T23:56:18.331+00:00Is 'No' the Answer to this Question?<br /><div class="MsoNormal" style="margin: 0cm 0cm 10pt;"><span style="font-size: 12pt; line-height: 115%;"><span style="font-family: "calibri";">More precisely, is “No, it is not” a correct answer to this question?<o:p></o:p></span></span></div><br /><div class="MsoNormal" style="margin: 0cm 0cm 10pt;"><span style="font-size: 12pt; line-height: 115%;"><span style="font-family: "calibri";">If it is a correct answer, then by the meaning of “No, it is not” that answer is not a correct answer. And of course, it cannot be correct and not correct; the meaning of “not” rules that out. But, if it is not a correct answer, then “No, it is not” would be a correct answer to our question. Could it be the case that there is no correct answer? But then “No” would still be a correct answer to our question. We therefore need a correct answer. Now, if “No, it is not” was as correct as not, then it would be as incorrect as not, which would solve our problem; and since we have ruled out all the other sorts of answers, hence that does solve our problem. A good answer to our question is therefore: It is as correct as not.<o:p></o:p></span></span></div><br /><div class="MsoNormal" style="margin: 0cm 0cm 10pt;"><span style="font-size: 12pt; line-height: 115%;"><span style="font-family: "calibri";">You may be wondering: Can answers be as correct as not? Another reason why they must be able to be comes from the following question: Is “It is an apple” a correct answer to the question “What is A?” where A is originally an apple but has its molecules replaced one by one with molecules of beetroot? Originally it is a correct answer, but eventually it is not, and so if it must be either correct or else not, then an apple could be turned into beetroot by replacing just one of its molecules with a molecule of beetroot. But of course, that is not what “apple” means.</span></span></div>Martin Cookehttps://plus.google.com/117295543050000881085noreply@blogger.com0tag:blogger.com,1999:blog-7763575276872199219.post-91511221406893801662016-10-15T15:37:00.000+01:002016-10-30T18:33:21.615+00:00Telling the Truth<br /><div class="MsoNormal" style="line-height: 150%; margin: 0cm 0cm 0pt;"><span style="font-family: "arial" , "sans-serif"; font-size: 12pt; line-height: 150%;">The following sentence occurs in the preface of a book: “All the sentences in this book are true.” That sentence is saying that all the other sentences in that book are true, whence it is too. Were all the other sentences true, it would be silly to say that that one was false just because it was logically possible for it to be false (if it is false then not all the sentences are true), and so if the other sentences were all true, then that one would be too.<o:p></o:p></span></div><div class="MsoNormal" style="line-height: 150%; margin: 0cm 0cm 0pt; text-indent: 36pt;"><span style="font-family: "arial" , "sans-serif"; font-size: 12pt; line-height: 150%;">The Truth-teller is the self-referential bit of that sentence: “This sentence is true.”<o:p></o:p></span></div><div class="MsoNormal" style="line-height: 150%; margin: 0cm 0cm 0pt; text-indent: 36pt;"><span style="font-family: "arial" , "sans-serif"; font-size: 12pt; line-height: 150%;">The Truth-teller is saying only that what it is saying is true (which all sentences implicitly assert anyway), so it is not saying much, and so there is not much for it to be true or false about. It would be consistent for it to be true, and consistent for it to be false, but what could determine which it is? Maybe there is no fact of the matter, what it is. So, is that sentence neither true nor false? But then “This sentence is true” would clearly be false (and the fact that it would refutes the idea that it says nothing at all). Still, it is not saying much, and so it is not very true and not very false. It is therefore fairly false that it is true, and so what little it is saying – that it is true – is fairly false.<o:p></o:p></span></div><div class="MsoNormal" style="line-height: 150%; margin: 0cm 0cm 0pt; text-indent: 36pt;"><span style="font-family: "arial" , "sans-serif"; font-size: 12pt; line-height: 150%;">The Truth-teller is not saying much, but what it says is more false than true. It may therefore be the case that the Truth-teller is not very true and only about as false as not. To see why that might be possible, consider a man going bald: As he goes bald he will not, by the loss of just one or two hairs, become bald and so there might be an intermediate or overlap stage at which he is about as bald as not, when it would make sense for it to be about as true as not that he was bald, and about as false as not. There is a lot to be said for, and against, such a possibility; here it would be most apposite to look at the Truth-teller’s paradoxical companions.<o:p></o:p></span></div><div class="MsoNormal" style="line-height: 150%; margin: 0cm 0cm 0pt; text-indent: 36pt;"><span style="font-family: "arial" , "sans-serif"; font-size: 12pt; line-height: 150%;">The following sentence occurs in the preface of a work of fiction: “None of the sentences in this book are true.” If that sentence, say Sent, was true, then none of the sentences in that book would be true, and so Sent in particular would not be true; and that contradiction means, by <em>reductio ad absurdum</em>, that it is not the case that Sent is true. So either Sent is false – in which case at least one of the other sentences would have to be true – or else it is neither true nor false; and it could of course be the case that none of the other sentences are true, so Sent is neither true nor false. But that cannot be because Sent is meaningless, because we have just been reasoning logically with its meaning.<o:p></o:p></span></div><div class="MsoNormal" style="line-height: 150%; margin: 0cm 0cm 0pt; text-indent: 36pt;"><span style="font-family: "arial" , "sans-serif"; font-size: 12pt; line-height: 150%;">Sent does have two obvious meanings, though. As well as the one we have been working with (its literal meaning), it was clearly supposed to be saying that none of the other sentences in that book were true. And since it did express that latter meaning (which we might call its literary meaning) clearly enough for us to notice, hence it did also have that meaning. So, if none of the other sentences were true, then it would be true that none of them were true, and so in a sense Sent would be true (with the literary meaning) and not false; and it would false that there was not even that truth, and so in a sense Sent would not be true (applying the literal meaning) but would be false. It follows that Sent is false: If it is not false because one of the other sentences is true, then it is still false because it is in another sense true.<o:p></o:p></span></div><div class="MsoNormal" style="line-height: 150%; margin: 0cm 0cm 0pt; text-indent: 36pt;"><span style="font-family: "arial" , "sans-serif"; font-size: 12pt; line-height: 150%;">Working with only the literal meaning was paradoxical, though; it left us with something like a <em>reductio</em> of the logical presumption that sentences are either true or else not true. Logic, and language itself, suit veracity and falsity being black and white, but there is also vagueness; and we do want to think something veridical about paradoxical sentences. So, the actual <em>reductio</em> above should be replaced by: Insofar as Sent is true, Sent is not true. It follows that Sent, taken literally, is about as true as not. Still, it is more realistic to read it as being true if none of the other sentences are. So for simplicity, let us consider the paradoxical bit by itself: “This sentence is not true.”<o:p></o:p></span></div><div class="MsoNormal" style="line-height: 150%; margin: 0cm 0cm 0pt; text-indent: 36pt;"><span style="font-family: "arial" , "sans-serif"; font-size: 12pt; line-height: 150%;">That sentence (the Liar) is saying that what it is saying is not true. Unlike the Truth-teller, it is not just saying something that all sentences implicitly assert, so it does not seem to be saying nothing; and note that if it was saying nothing, then it would not be saying anything true, whence it would clearly be true. So, Liar is paradoxical; insofar as Liar is true, it is not true, and insofar as it is false it is true. It follows that Liar is about as true as not, and about as false as not: It is to some extent true, that it is not true, because it is only to some extent true; and it is not exactly false that it is not true, because it is to some extent false.<o:p></o:p></span></div><div class="MsoNormal" style="line-height: 150%; margin: 0cm 0cm 0pt; text-indent: 36pt;"><span style="font-family: "arial" , "sans-serif"; font-size: 12pt; line-height: 150%;">For a final complication: “This sentence is not true, and not even about as true as not.” If that sentence, say Even, is about as true as not, then Even is saying something false. Nevertheless, Even, by saying that Even is far from true, is thereby saying that it is far from true that Even is far from true. So although Even is saying something that is false, it is something that is also true, and about as true as not. Consequently Even can be about as true as not, and about as false as not.<o:p></o:p></span></div>Martin Cookehttps://plus.google.com/117295543050000881085noreply@blogger.com0tag:blogger.com,1999:blog-7763575276872199219.post-66902388846458173802016-09-09T13:28:00.000+01:002016-09-22T11:27:11.468+01:00Proof's Nearest Kin<br /><div class="MsoNormal" style="line-height: 150%; margin: 0cm 0cm 0pt;"><span style="font-family: "arial" , "sans-serif"; font-size: 12pt; line-height: 150%;">Paradoxes are akin to proofs: We have a paradox when we have a very good argument for something that is beyond belief, a proof when we have a logical argument for something not too odd. Many a paradox is therefore a proof by <i style="mso-bidi-font-style: normal;">reductio ad absurdum</i> of the negation of its weakest premise. Georg Cantor’s famous paradox of the 1890s was exceptional, being a logical argument for a contradiction, but it thereby proved that human reasoning is not perfectly logical. In response the twentieth century saw a proliferation of formal logics, but as we develop such calculi with mathematical precision we might easily forget that some illogicality is unavoidable in our reasoning. To remind us, then, the following is the essence of Cantor’s paradox.<o:p></o:p></span></div><div class="MsoNormal" style="line-height: 150%; margin: 0cm 0cm 0pt; text-indent: 36pt;"><span style="font-family: "arial" , "sans-serif"; font-size: 12pt; line-height: 150%;">Consider any 3 things, e.g. a chair, a plate and a fork. There are clearly 3 different ways of making a pair from those 3 things (e.g. the chair and the fork are, collectively, a pair), each of which derives from, and is defined by, the presence of 2 particular things in our original collection of 3 things: Given those 2 things, we have that way of making a pair. Now, making a pair is just one way of making a selection. There are 8 different ways of making selections from our original collection because there are 2<sup>3</sup> ways of assigning the labels “In” and “Out” to 3 things (e.g. the chair has “In,” the plate has “Out,” and the fork has “In”). Given our original collection, there are also those 8 combinatorial possibilities, those 8 ways of making selections, ways that are entirely grounded in our original things and which are therefore distinguished from each other whether there is a selector who can make those selections or not. Let us call them <i style="mso-bidi-font-style: normal;">possible selections</i>, from our original collection, and say that they are collectively the selection collection for our original collection. In general, for any natural number <i style="mso-bidi-font-style: normal;">n</i>, if there is a collection of <i style="mso-bidi-font-style: normal;">n </i>things, then there is also a selection collection of 2<i style="mso-bidi-font-style: normal;"><sup>n</sup></i> possible selections from it.<o:p></o:p></span></div><div class="MsoNormal" style="line-height: 150%; margin: 0cm 0cm 0pt; text-indent: 36pt;"><span style="font-family: "arial" , "sans-serif"; font-size: 12pt; line-height: 150%;">We can safely assume that there are 2 things (e.g. you and I are 2 people), so there is also the selection collection of 4 possible selections from those 2 things, and the selection-collection of 16 possible selections from those 4, and so on. All those possible selections are there already, intrinsically distinguished from each other, and so there are infinitely many things, which are certainly things in the weak sense that there are numbers of them, in the fairly weak sense of cardinal number. Two collections of things have the same cardinal number of things when there are 1-to-1 mappings from each collection onto the other. Cardinality is fairly weak, e.g. there are clearly fewer prime numbers than natural numbers in some stronger sense, but it is an equivalence relation – it is reflexive, symmetric and transitive – and so it partitions collections into equivalence classes. For any collection of things, T, there are possible selections from T – each corresponding to some combination of as many “In” and “Out” labels as there are things in T – even if T is infinite, and so there is a selection collection, S(T), of all the possible selections from T. And for the following reason (which is essentially Cantor’s diagonal argument) every selection collection is cardinally bigger than its original collection.<o:p></o:p></span></div><div class="MsoNormal" style="line-height: 150%; margin: 0cm 0cm 0pt; text-indent: 36pt;"><span style="font-family: "arial" , "sans-serif"; font-size: 12pt; line-height: 150%;">Suppose that S(T) has the same cardinality as T. There would then be 1-to-1 mappings from T onto all of S(T). So let M be one such mapping. We might then use M to specify D as follows: For each thing in T, if the possible selection that M maps that thing to includes that thing (in other words, if that thing has the label “In” in that possible selection) then D does not include it (i.e. it has the label “Out” in D), but otherwise D does; and there is nothing else in D. Since the only things in D are things in T, D should be in S(T); but according to its specification, D would differ from every possible selection that M maps the things in T to, and so D would differ from everything in S(T). D is therefore contradictory, and so there is no such M. Consequently S(T) does not have the same cardinality as T. And since S(T) contains at least one thing for each thing in T – e.g. the possible selection whose only “In” label is assigned to that thing – and cardinality is an equivalence relation, hence S(T) is bigger than T.<o:p></o:p></span></div><div class="MsoNormal" style="line-height: 150%; margin: 0cm 0cm 0pt; text-indent: 36pt;"><span style="font-family: "arial" , "sans-serif"; font-size: 12pt; line-height: 150%;">Given you and I, then, there is some infinitely big collection, say N, and so by the diagonal argument above with T = N there is also a bigger collection, S(N), and by the diagonal argument with T = S(N) there is the even bigger S(S(N)) = S<sup>2</sup>(N), and there is similarly S<sup>3</sup>(N), and so on. All the things in all those collections are collectively the union of those collections, U, which is bigger than each of those S<i style="mso-bidi-font-style: normal;"><sup>n</sup></i>(N), for natural numbers <i style="mso-bidi-font-style: normal;">n</i>, because it contains all the things in each S(S<i style="mso-bidi-font-style: normal;"><sup>n</sup></i>(N)). Furthermore S(U) is even bigger, and so on; so there is also the union, say V, of all the S<i style="mso-bidi-font-style: normal;"><sup>n</sup></i>(U) for natural numbers <i style="mso-bidi-font-style: normal;">n</i>. And again, S(V) is even bigger, and so on and so forth. Now, each of the possible selections that such endlessly reiterated selection collections and infinite unions would or could ever show to be there is already there, as a combinatorial possibility that is implicitly distinguished from all the others of that kind, and so they are collectively some collection, C, of all the possible selections of that kind. But by the diagonal argument, their selection collection, S(C), would contain even more things of that kind. That contradiction shows that we went wrong somewhere, but why should even highly evolved primates know where?<o:p></o:p></span></div>Martin Cookehttps://plus.google.com/117295543050000881085noreply@blogger.com0tag:blogger.com,1999:blog-7763575276872199219.post-68490242776629459302016-05-23T18:32:00.000+01:002016-05-30T20:55:15.962+01:00On the Famous Proof that the Natural Numbers are Indefinitely Extensible<span style="font-size: large;"></span><br /><span style="font-size: large;">There are clearly numbers of things in the world, e.g. you and I are two individuals. And to think of us in that way is essentially to think of us as the elements of a pair-set, {you, I}. So let us say that a natural set is any whole number of things. Note that {you, I} is also a subset, there being other people. And note that numbers and sets are themselves things in the sense that there are numbers and sets of them.</span><br /><span style="font-size: large;"></span><br /><span style="font-size: large;">Do mathematicians discover facts about such natural numbers as 2? If so, then Georg Cantor’s famous paradox of the 1890s was essentially a mathematical proof that the natural numbers (i.e. 0, 1, 2, …) are ever-growing in number, because what Cantor did was to obtain a contradiction from the assumption that there is a set of them all. I will go through the mathematical steps of the proof below; but to begin with, Cantor’s proof was paradoxical because each whole number is essentially the logical possibility of that many things, and if something is ever going to be possible, then it was never logically impossible.</span><br /><span style="font-size: large;"></span><br /><span style="font-size: large;">Cantor’s proof has therefore been taken to be a refutation of the assumption that mathematicians <em>discover facts about</em> such natural numbers: Most twentieth-century mathematicians <em>defined </em>the natural numbers, e.g. 0 is usually defined to be the empty set within an axiomatic set theory (usually ZFC), 1 to be {0} and so on. Axiomatic set theory is used because Cantor’s proof used a natural kind of set that has been blamed for the paradox (and called “naïve”). But such sets exist as clearly as natural numbers do and so, like the natural numbers, they should not be defined, but scientifically described.</span><br /><span style="font-size: large;"></span><br /><span style="font-size: large;">That is because there is at least one way in which the natural numbers could, possibly, be ever-growing in number, because logical possibilities can become more fine-grained over time. S</span><span style="font-size: large;">uppose that time is not so much like space that future events are already there (at future times), and consider any existing man. He was always possible, but it is only with hindsight that we can describe the logical possibility of his existing with such direct reference to him. Before he existed there was only the possibility of someone just like him, to whom we could not directly refer.</span><br /><span style="font-size: large;"></span><br /><span style="font-size: large;">The logical possibility of <em>n </em>things, for each natural number <em>n</em>, could, then, have originally been part of the logical possibility of numbers of things, only becoming the logical possibility of things in that number when that number was created, perhaps as part of the analysis of the concept of <em>a thing</em> by some creative power that exists primarily in a world of spiritual stuff (and which may therefore appear triune to us), thereby creating an abstract realm of sortal natural kinds and their associated numbers prior to the physical objects and incarnate creatures of this world. Note that what matters here is only that that is a logical possibility (not even Richard Dawkins claims that God is impossible, only that He almost certainly does not exist).</span><br /><span style="font-size: large;"></span><br /><span style="font-size: large;">Let us, then, assume that there is a natural set of all the natural numbers, N = {0, 1, 2, …}. Clearly the subset {0, 1, 2} is already part of N, as is every other subset; all the subsets of N are there implicitly, and so there is the set of all of them, P(N), the power set of N. Cantor showed that P(N) is cardinally bigger than N (two sets have the same cardinal number of elements when the elements of each set can all be paired up with those of the other) by way of a diagonal argument; and both of those steps generalise: Given any set, there are implicitly all of its subsets, so that there is also its power set, to which the following diagonal argument applies.</span><br /><span style="font-size: large;"></span><br /><span style="font-size: large;">Let S be any set, and let P(S) be its power set. If S and P(S) had the same cardinality, there would be one-to-one mappings from S onto all of P(S), so let us assume that they do and let <strong>m</strong> be one such mapping. Let a subset of S, say D, be specified as follows: For each member of S, if the subset that <strong>m</strong> maps it to contains it, then D does not contain it, and otherwise D does. Since D differs from every subset that <strong>m</strong> maps the members of S to, D differs from every subset of S, whereas D is by definition a subset of S. Consequently D is contradictory, and so there is no such <strong>m</strong>, and so S and P(S) do not have the same cardinality. And since P(S) contains a singleton for each element of S, hence P(S) is cardinally bigger than S.</span><br /><span style="font-size: large;"></span><br /><span style="font-size: large;">So as well as N, there is also P(N), and P(P(N)) and so forth, an infinite sequence of power sets. Consequently there is also the set of all the elements of all of those sets, U, their union. U is cardinally bigger than each of those power sets because it contains all the elements of the power set of each of them. And of course, P(U) is cardinally bigger than U. And so on (there is another infinite sequence of power sets, then another union, and eventually an infinite sequence of unions that we can also take the union of, and so on).</span><br /><span style="font-size: large;"></span><br /><span style="font-size: large;">There must be a set, T, of all that could possibly be found in that way (via power set and union), because all of it is already there to be found. But if T is a set, then P(T) contains cardinally more of precisely those sorts of elements; and that contradiction means that we went wrong somewhere. And from our assumption of N we made only logical moves, so it must have been that assumption that was false: The natural numbers are <em>certainly</em> ever-growing in number (in time that is not much like space).</span>Martin Cookehttps://plus.google.com/117295543050000881085noreply@blogger.com0tag:blogger.com,1999:blog-7763575276872199219.post-8272971720947296672016-05-10T19:48:00.002+01:002016-05-11T12:55:31.923+01:00What is Proof?Over a hundred years ago, Cantor proved that the natural numbers are temporal: Assume, with Plato and against Aristotle, that they are not temporal, so that they all coexist, insofar as numbers do exist (the main thing is that we can count them, e.g. {1, 2, 3} are three numbers). Since they all exist atemporally, so do all their subsets (e.g. {1, 2, 3}), and so there is a set (an atemporal collection) of all the subsets of that set. By a simple diagonal argument (which you can google) that set of subsets is of larger cardinality than the original set. (Two sets have the same cardinality when the elements of one of them can be put into some one-to-one correspondence with the elements of the other.) And the set of all of the subsets of that set of subsets is of even larger cardinality, because the diagonal argument applies quite generally to any set and the set of all its subsets. (This gives us three equivalence classes of infinite sets, associated with three infinite cardinalities.) So, we can get cardinally bigger and bigger sets in that way. And when there is an endless sequence of such sets, the union of all of them will also be an atemporal collection, because each of those sets was implicit in the previous set, and it will have a cardinality larger than any of those sets, because each is followed in that sequence by sets of larger cardinality. And from that union we can again consider the set of all its subsets, and so on. Now, all these atemporal collections are implicit with the set of natural numbers, so they all exist (insofar as such things do exist) atemporally; but, Cantor proved that they cannot all exist atemporally: Suppose they do. Then there is a set of them all. But implicit in them is the collection of all of their subsets, which would be cardinally more of them, whereas we have assumed that we had the set of them all. So, we have assumed that the natural numbers are not temporal, and obtained a contradiction; that is a classical mathematical proof of the temporality of the natural numbers. However, most people assume that numbers are timeless, and so Cantor took himself to have proved that the totality of the numbers was indeed contradictory (akin to human reasoning being inferior to religious insight), while most of his peers replaced the natural numbers with axiomatic structures that had not been shown to be contradictory. Axiomatic set theory has been the foundation of mathematics for nearly a hundred years, but why do mathematicians throw numbers away (why take number-words to be referring to axiomatic sets) just because of an inconvenient proof? We expect others to accept the conclusions of our proofs, when we have proofs...Martin Cookehttps://plus.google.com/117295543050000881085noreply@blogger.com0tag:blogger.com,1999:blog-7763575276872199219.post-27858650016550802682015-08-03T14:46:00.000+01:002015-08-07T12:05:36.865+01:00Thinking About Things<br /><div style="line-height: 200%; margin: 0cm 0cm 10pt;"><span style="font-size: large;"><span style="font-family: Calibri;">Imagine a rocket taking us away from the earth, a thousand miles away in the first half minute, another thousand in the next quarter, another in the next eighth, and the next sixteenth and so on, so that by the end of the minute every finite distance from the earth will have been surpassed: “At the end of the minute we find ourselves an infinite distance from the earth,” according to José Benardete (1964: Infinity: An Essay in Metaphysics, Oxford: Clarendon Press, p. 149). Accelerating beyond the speed of light is unrealistic, but not logically impossible: Benardete’s reasoning, about the nature of space, is not bad reasoning. So it is interesting that space as we naturally conceive of it does, as follows, need some such speed limit. The meaning of ‘space’ comes, in the first instance, from our experiences of such spaces as those inside rooms, and those of the surrounding landscapes, all parts of an apparently boundless space: We can easily imagine going further and further in any direction, from any conceivable place in space. And if we try to conceive of space as having a boundary, then we naturally wonder what is on the other side of that boundary; the thought of a boundary to space is essentially the same as the thought of an impenetrable object occupying the space beyond that boundary. And it is similarly easy to imagine an object going faster and faster. But where does that get us? Looking back towards the earth, from spatial infinity, we look through space that must have been traversed instantaneously at the end of that minute, because this space cannot be in that endless sequence of thousands of miles (if it was there, then it would be further away than any finite distance). Now, that sequence is a continuous stretch of space, with the earth at one end and some sort of endlessness facing us, and how could that endlessness possibly connect with the rest of the continuous stretch of space between us and earth? Clearly there can be no dividing line, because this sequence of elements of constant length cannot tend to one, and no final thousand miles was traversed. So, we cannot be an infinite distance from the earth. The infinite speed that we would have ended up with is relatively reasonable, because over those thousands of miles we would have covered an infinite distance in a finite time, so that our average speed was already in that sense infinite. But it is certainly strange that averaging over speeds that were so very far from infinite should have resulted in one that was infinite. And in reality there is a light speed limit in space; and note that the necessity for some such speed limit would be compatible with similar spaces having higher speed limits. So, is such a speed limit indicated, or is there a better resolution? Many believe that the rocket would instead vanish at the end of the minute. Vanishing at spatial infinity is not like vanishing into thin air, it is more like disappearing into the distance, cohering with intuitions about the unimportance of distant things. And if we centre coordinate axes on the earth, then the rocket will indeed have gone beyond their finite measures by the end of the minute, so that were we to think of space as all and only what is measured by such axes (as we may learn to do in mathematics) then it would indeed have vanished. But, if we centred coordinate axes on the rocket then it would instead be the earth that vanished; and it is of course absurd that the earth should vanish because it fired a rocket into outer space. It might be objected that the rocket, not the earth, is moving away, and so the rocket, not the earth, should vanish. The spaces most familiar to us (rooms, roads, fields) do contain things that tend to be at rest (relative to the walls, the buildings, the ground) unless forced to move, so such spaces do seem to be stationary. Such was the ancient view of space; but, those spaces are parts of the surface of the earth, which spins and revolves around the Sun, relative to the Sun, and in that more modern view our familiar spaces are moving relative to the Sun. Space is neither stationary nor moving; rather, it is a space (an absence) in which objects move relative to each other. Reference frames moving with constant speeds are privileged, so it might be objected that it is the rocket, not the earth, which is accelerating away. But in fact the earth is constantly accelerating around the Sun, which is similarly accelerating, while the rocket could have constant speeds almost all of the time. Furthermore, consider two identical objects moving apart in an otherwise empty space: Would they both vanish? But then, what if one of them had instead stopped and turned and followed the other at finite distances? Would both still vanish? That would only make sense if space was stationary. Would neither vanish? That would mean that the vanishing of one of them could depend on the motion of the other, after all. So our problem cannot be solved by having Benardete’s rocket vanish (or teleport) at spatial infinity. We are therefore left with a paradox: Space must, but also cannot, contain infinite distances, if objects can go at any speed; there is this informal logical need for a physical speed limit. In view of the elementary nature of the above, I am tempted to speculate that Einstein, given only nineteenth century physics, may have noticed such a need. But in any case, the space in which we evolved does seem to be such that the objects within it cannot accelerate beyond the speed of light. So it seems reasonable to conclude that when we think about logically possible objects we should assume some such speed limit, in the interests of coherence. </span></span></div>Martin Cookehttps://plus.google.com/117295543050000881085noreply@blogger.com0tag:blogger.com,1999:blog-7763575276872199219.post-25763485346212231012015-08-01T15:16:00.000+01:002015-08-03T16:41:55.635+01:00Having tired of writing, I spent the last year-and-a-half learning to photograph, mostly in the garden and around the village, and sharing my photos on Google+ while enjoying the other pictures on that magic magazine. I got a bit bored with photos too, recently, but am now dipping back into both writing and pictures, and I got rid of my old blogger profile (enigMan, a "Meaning"-full name) in case you were wondering...Martin Cookehttps://plus.google.com/117295543050000881085noreply@blogger.com0tag:blogger.com,1999:blog-7763575276872199219.post-53424020222825327622014-05-01T20:37:00.000+01:002014-05-01T20:44:53.377+01:00Vagueness and Objectivity<br /><div style="line-height: 200%; margin: 0cm 0cm 10pt;"><span style="font-size: large;"><span style="font-family: Calibri;">Vagueness is a well known problem in logic. Imagine, for example, a rough table-top being gently sanded flatter and flatter. Eventually it will become flat (i.e. flat enough to count as flat in some apposite context). However, since ‘flat’ is not so precisely defined that sanding away a few scratches could be enough to flatten the table-top, hence after each bit of sanding the table-top will still not be flat, from which it follows that it will never be flat. That contradiction is a problem that cannot be solved just by redefining ‘flat’ more precisely, because all the terms of natural languages are, in such ways, at least a little vague, and it is within such languages that we all reason. So, t</span><span style="font-family: Calibri;">here is a borderline, between the table-top being flat and it not being flat, that is more like a pencil line than a mathematical line – there are borderline cases of flatness – but, there is no region between the table-top being flat and it not being flat where it is neither flat nor not flat, because in such a region the table-top would not be flat and yet would be flat (which the meaning of ‘not’ rules out). Nevertheless, it is logically possible for the table-top to be about as flat as not. At such times it would not so much be false as <i style="mso-bidi-font-style: normal;">only about as false as not</i> to say that it was not flat, and similarly, a little later, to say that it was flat (which resolves our logical problem). </span><span style="font-family: Calibri;">At such times, we might be more likely to say that the table-top was getting flat, since that would be true. We reason best with descriptions that are either true or else not true (false, in classical logic). Of course, ‘getting flat’ is no less vague than ‘flat’, but its borderlines are in different places; and in general, while we cannot remove all the imprecision from our languages, we can always move the borderlines out of the way of our logical language-use. </span><span style="font-family: Calibri;">Our words are defined as precisely as our purposes have required them to be, with the two classical truth-values – ‘true’ and ‘false’ – meeting at a place where descriptions are described as well by ‘not true’ as by ‘true’. We do not have to do much with such descriptions, other than identify them as needing to be replaced with truer descriptions, and so we need only add the following definition to the classical definitions of ‘true’ and ‘false’: To say, of what is about as much the case as not, that it is the case, or that it is not the case, that is to say something that is about as true as not. </span><span style="font-family: Calibri;">A description that is much truer than not will be true enough to count as true (by definition of ‘much’), while one that is not much truer than not will be about as true as not (by definition of ‘about’); and if we need to make sharper distinctions than that, then we need to avoid borderline cases and use classical logic. We do not need a formal definition of ‘as true as not’ (in some non-classical logic), because mathematical precision is inapposite when the sharp distinction between something being the case and it not being the case is absent. </span><span style="font-family: Calibri;">It would, in particular, be wrong to model the idea that self-referential claims like ‘this claim is not true’ are <i style="mso-bidi-font-style: normal;">about as true as not</i> as such claims having truth-values of 0.5, as the fuzzy logicians do. Now, while there are similar resolutions of the other semantic paradoxes (see other posts of mine), the set-theoretic paradoxes have no such resolutions: Sets are essentially non-variable collections and it makes no sense to think of a collection as being about as variable as not. That distinction, between semantic and set-theoretic paradoxes, originates with Frank Ramsey, who was a mathematical constructivist; and quite a few mathematicians believe that the set-theoretic paradoxes show that there are too many numbers – too many possible sizes of sets – for them all to exist as distinct numbers. But, such constructivism seems to clash with the objectivity of arithmetic: How could 2 exist but not, say, 4? Four is just two twos. So, most mathematicians think that the set-theoretic paradoxes should be showing something else, which may have motivated formalising the borderline truth-value in a mathematics that would then apply, instead of classical logic, to those paradoxes. </span><span style="font-family: Calibri;">But in fact, although the existence of whole numbers, <i style="mso-bidi-font-style: normal;">n</i>, is essentially the possibility of sets of <i style="mso-bidi-font-style: normal;">n </i>objects, and although such possibilities are intuitively timeless, such possibilities can emerge as distinct possibilities from more general possibilities. To see that, consider how the possibility of <i style="mso-bidi-font-style: normal;">you </i>would have been, had you never existed, the possibility of <i style="mso-bidi-font-style: normal;">someone just like you</i>: Looking back now, there was always the possibility of <i style="mso-bidi-font-style: normal;">you yourself</i>, as well as that more general possibility; but, there could have been no such distinction had you never existed. </span><span style="font-family: Calibri;">It is, then, logically possible for distinct numbers to emerge in an unending stream from some more indistinct coexistence – as possibilities inherent in the concept of <i style="mso-bidi-font-style: normal;">a thing</i> – and so a coherent story can be told of 1 + 1 = 2 existing – via the concept of <i style="mso-bidi-font-style: normal;">another thing of the same kind</i> – and 2 + 1 = 3 existing, along with the question of what 2 + 2 is, and only then 2 + 2 = 2 + 1 + 1 = 3 + 1 = 4 existing. Note that such a story might be more plausible were the small natural numbers replaced by large transfinite numbers. Furthermore, if the concepts involved were divine conceptions, then such arithmetic would be as objective as anything. So the main reason why the set-theoretic paradoxes are paradoxical is the prevailing atheism within science (which is all but a <i style="mso-bidi-font-style: normal;">reductio ad absurdum</i> of atheism).</span></span></div>Martin Cookehttps://plus.google.com/117295543050000881085noreply@blogger.com0tag:blogger.com,1999:blog-7763575276872199219.post-87425562720881683992014-02-28T22:38:00.003+00:002014-03-01T12:32:18.043+00:00Who's Afraid of Veridical Wool?<br /><div style="line-height: 200%; margin: 0cm 0cm 10pt;"><span style="font-family: "Times New Roman","serif"; font-size: 12pt; line-height: 200%;">I have been taking an informal approach to the Liar paradox, for the following reasons. After much thought, I find self-descriptions like ‘<em>this is false</em>’ to be about as true as not. I am therefore beginning, with the following – previously posted – post, with the equally ancient paradoxes of vagueness. And my approach is informal because I find the precision of mathematical logic to be inapposite when there is no sharp division between <em>something being the case</em> and <em>it not being the case</em>. Although the literature on these paradoxes has become increasingly formal, following Bertrand Russell’s interest in Georg Cantor’s mathematics (at the start of the twentieth century), we do not need non-classical logic to resolve them, I think; rather, we need to focus on the context of classical logic, natural language, in which the paradoxes are expressed. Below, and temporally prior to, ‘<a href="http://enigmanically.blogspot.co.uk/2014/02/vagueness.html" target="_blank">Vagueness</a>’, I have posted ‘<a href="http://enigmanically.blogspot.co.uk/2014/02/liar-paradox.html" target="_blank">Liar Paradox</a>’ and ‘<a href="http://enigmanically.blogspot.co.uk/2014/02/cantor-and-russell.html" target="_blank">Cantor and Russell</a>’.</span></div><br /><div style="line-height: 200%; margin: 0cm 0cm 10pt;"><span style="font-family: "Times New Roman","serif"; font-size: 12pt; line-height: 200%;">It was via Russell that I came to consider the Liar paradox, having developed an interest in Cantor because of qualms about the fitness of the real number line as a model of actual continua, which developed as I did my MSc in Mathematics (at the end of the twentieth century). With this post I have come to the end of my journey; I am left wondering why our mathematics became set-theoretical, and then category-theoretical, and similarly, why our natural philosophy became the physicalism of Einstein <em>et al</em>, and then string-theoretical. How well, I wonder, will our democracies be able to regulate the biotechnical industries of this century? I have serious doubts, stemming from my research into physics, theoretical and empirical, and from the history of our regulation of financial industries (which are surely less complex). Still, in the absence of any interest in my research, I have been developing more aesthetic interests over on Google+ (see sidebar:)</span></div>Martin Cookehttps://plus.google.com/117295543050000881085noreply@blogger.com0tag:blogger.com,1999:blog-7763575276872199219.post-34292281305499211892014-02-28T22:09:00.002+00:002014-02-28T23:15:03.085+00:00Vagueness<br /><div style="line-height: 200%; margin: 0cm 0cm 10pt;"><span style="font-family: "Times New Roman","serif"; font-size: 12pt; line-height: 200%;">It is, of course, when our words describe the world that they are true. So for example, ‘Telly is bald’ was a true description of Aristotelis Savalas when he was a baby. (As he himself said, “We’re all born bald, baby.”) Now, Telly did not go from being a bald baby to not being bald by growing just a few hairs, because ‘bald’ has not got so precise a definition. So if, as seems possible, Telly did not suddenly grow a lot of hair, then he will only gradually have stopped being bald. There could, possibly, have been times when ‘Telly is bald’ was true, later times when ‘Telly is bald’ was not true, and times in between when something else was the case – or could there? If ‘Telly is bald’ was neither true nor untrue at those intermediate times, then ‘Telly is bald’ was not true and was true, which is ruled out by the meaning of ‘not’.</span></div><br /><div style="line-height: 200%; margin: 0cm 0cm 10pt;"><span style="font-family: "Times New Roman","serif"; font-size: 12pt; line-height: 200%;">So, such intermediate times seem to be logically impossible. And yet, we can hardly know <i style="mso-bidi-font-style: normal;">a priori</i> that Telly suddenly grew a lot of hair. And while we can introduce new terms that are less vague than ‘bald’ – e.g. 100 hairs or less and you are bald<sub>101</sub>, otherwise you are not – that would hardly solve our problem with ‘bald’. So let us assume, for the sake of argument, that Telly stopped being bald gradually: What was going on at the intermediate times? Well, some of those around Telly may have been thinking of him as bald, while others thought of him as not bald. And the vagueness of ‘bald’ gives us no reason to think that any of them were wrong. But, Telly was certainly not very bald at such times, and nor was he clearly not bald, so why not think of him as having been about as bald as not? Were ‘is bald’ about as true as not of Telly, ‘Telly is bald’ would not so much <i style="mso-bidi-font-style: normal;">not be true</i> as be only about as true as not, and it would not so much <i style="mso-bidi-font-style: normal;">not be untrue</i> as be about as true as not. So, that would solve our problem.</span></div><br /><div style="line-height: 200%; margin: 0cm 0cm 10pt;"><span style="font-family: "Times New Roman","serif"; font-size: 12pt; line-height: 200%;">We reason best with descriptions that are either true or else not true, but the words of natural languages are a little vague,<sup>1</sup> so the two classical truth-values, ‘true’ and ‘false’,<sup>2</sup> meet at a place – in logical space – where descriptions are described as well by ‘not true’ as by ‘true’. For another example, imagine a rough table-top being gently sanded flatter and flatter. Eventually it becomes flat enough to count as flat, in the usual contexts. But sanding away just a few scratches would hardly have flattened it, so the borderline between flat and not flat is more like a pencil line than a mathematical line. Our table-top will, briefly, be only vaguely flat, or about as flat as not. ‘Flat’ is not, in that sense, well defined: It is a vague predicate, not a definite predicate. But, there is a sense in which it is defined perfectly well: There are such things as tables, which are flat by design; and there are, similarly, bald men. Precisely redefining ‘flat’ and ‘bald’ – and ‘man’ and ‘table’ – in order to avoid the problem of vagueness would lose us some of our ability to refer to reality. Indeed, we would lose rather a lot of that basic function of language, because most of our words are to some extent vague.</span></div><br /><div style="line-height: 200%; margin: 0cm 0cm 10pt;"><span style="font-family: "Times New Roman","serif"; font-size: 12pt; line-height: 200%;">This also solves such puzzles as the Sorites: We might suppose, for example, that the truth-value of ‘the table-top is flat’ could not change with the sanding away of a single scratch. If so, then gently sanding a rough table-top for even a very long time could not make true ‘the table-top is flat’. But, while ‘not flat’ is contradicted by ‘flat’, it is not necessarily contradicted by ‘about as flat as not’. So as the table-top begins to be about as flat as not, we would not be wrong to call it ‘not flat’. Our calls could change from ‘not flat’ to ‘about as flat as not’ in the blink of an eye, with no sanding at all. (Our original supposition is less plausible when there is a borderline truth-value.)</span></div><br /><div style="line-height: 200%; margin: 0cm 0cm 10pt;"><span style="font-family: "Times New Roman","serif"; font-size: 12pt; line-height: 200%;">There seems to be a ubiquitous vagueness in natural language, but it is not really a problem. It is surprising, but only because it is so unproblematic that it usually goes unnoticed. Our words are defined as precisely as our purposes have required them to be, and the slight vagueness means that we can always make them more precise. When ‘Telly is bald’ becomes problematic, for example, ‘Telly is getting hairy’ will be more straightforwardly true. ‘Getting hairy’ is hardly less vague than ‘bald’, but its borderlines are in different places. We can usually move the borderlines out of the way, even though we cannot remove all the vagueness. And since we do not have to do much with descriptions that are about as true as not – other than identify them as needing to be replaced with truer descriptions – hence we need only adjoin ‘about as true as not’ to the classical truth-values. Indeed, we <i style="mso-bidi-font-style: normal;">should</i>only do that: The precision of formal logic is inapposite when we have left behind the sharp division between something being the case and it not being the case. A more formal definition could only be an inaccurate – if deceptively precise – mathematical model of the most natural definition.</span></div><br /><div style="line-height: 200%; margin: 0cm 0cm 10pt;"><span style="font-family: "Times New Roman","serif"; font-size: 12pt; line-height: 200%;">Following Aristotle, the classical definitions are as follows. To say of what is the case that it is the case, or of what is not the case that it is not the case, that is to speak truly. And to say of what is the case that it is not the case, or of what is not the case that it is the case, that is to speak falsely. So an adequate adjunct could be: To say of what is about as much the case as not that it is the case, or that it is not the case, that is to say something that is about as true as not. A description that is much truer than not will be true enough to count as true, by definition of ‘much’, while one that is not much truer than not will be about as true as not by definition of ‘about’. And if we need to make sharper distinctions, then we need to avoid borderline cases and use classical logic.<sup>3</sup></span></div><br /><div style="line-height: 200%; margin: 0cm 0cm 10pt;"><span style="font-family: "Times New Roman","serif"; font-size: 12pt; line-height: 200%;">Now, descriptions are normally of other things, but self-description is allowed – e.g. ‘this is in English’ is a true self-description – so consider this example: <i style="mso-bidi-font-style: normal;">This description is true.</i> Let us call that self-description ‘T’ (for Truth-teller). T says only that T is true, so it is certainly possible for T to be true; but another possibility is that T is false, because if T was false then it would follow from the meaning of T (that T is true) only that T was not true. And since there is no more to T than that – since T does nothing but describe itself (as true) – hence there is no reason why T should be true rather than not true, or false rather than not false. So it would make sense were T about as true as not.</span></div><div style="line-height: 200%; margin: 0cm 0cm 10pt;"><span style="font-family: "Times New Roman","serif"; font-size: 12pt; line-height: 200%;">Furthermore, some self-descriptions are paradoxical if they are not about as true as not (the post below concerns the <a href="http://enigmanically.blogspot.co.uk/2014/02/liar-paradox.html" target="_blank">Liar Paradox</a>).</span><span style="font-family: "Times New Roman","serif"; font-size: 12pt; line-height: 200%;"><br /></span></div><br /><div style="line-height: 200%; margin: 0cm 0cm 10pt;"><span style="font-family: "Times New Roman","serif"; font-size: 12pt; line-height: 200%;">Notes</span></div><br /><div style="line-height: 200%; margin: 0cm 0cm 10pt;"><span style="font-family: "Times New Roman","serif"; font-size: 12pt; line-height: 200%;">1. Bertrand Russell, ‘Vagueness’, <i style="mso-bidi-font-style: normal;">The Australasian Journal of Psychology and Philosophy</i> <b style="mso-bidi-font-weight: normal;">1</b> (1923), 84–92, reprinted in Rosanna Keefe and Peter Smith (eds.), <i style="mso-bidi-font-style: normal;">Vagueness: A Reader</i> (Cambridge, MA: MIT Press, 1997), 61–68. For the state of the art, see Richard Dietz and Sebastiano Moruzzi (eds.), <i style="mso-bidi-font-style: normal;">Cuts and Clouds: Vagueness, Its Nature and its Logic</i> (New York and Oxford: Oxford University Press, 2010).</span></div><br /><div style="line-height: 200%; margin: 0cm 0cm 10pt;"><span style="font-family: "Times New Roman","serif"; font-size: 12pt; line-height: 200%;">2. ‘“X is Y” is false’ just means that X is not Y, so in classical logic, where either X is Y or else X is not Y, ‘false’ and ‘not true’ are interchangeable.</span></div><br /><div style="line-height: 200%; margin: 0cm 0cm 10pt;"><span style="font-family: "Times New Roman","serif"; font-size: 12pt; line-height: 200%;">3. A good introduction to the mathematics of classical logic is Stewart Shapiro, <a href="http://plato.stanford.edu/entries/logic-classical/" target="_blank">Classical Logic</a>.</span></div>Martin Cookehttps://plus.google.com/117295543050000881085noreply@blogger.com0tag:blogger.com,1999:blog-7763575276872199219.post-89538220988224072812014-02-28T22:04:00.003+00:002014-02-28T22:46:25.102+00:00Liar Paradox<br /><div style="line-height: 200%; margin: 0cm 0cm 10pt;"><span style="font-family: "Times New Roman","serif"; font-size: 12pt; line-height: 200%;">The Liar paradox concerns such assertions as this: <i style="mso-bidi-font-style: normal;">The assertion that you are currently considering is not true.</i> Let us call that assertion ‘L’. L says that L is not true, so if what L says is the case, then L is not true. But statements are true if what they say is the case, so L would also be true. Does it follow from that contradiction that what L says is not the case? But if it is not the case that L is not true, then L is true. And if any statement is true, then what it says is the case. So in short, L is true if, and only if, L is not true.</span></div><br /><div style="line-height: 200%; margin: 0cm 0cm 10pt;"><span style="font-family: "Times New Roman","serif"; font-size: 12pt; line-height: 200%;">That is paradoxical because we expect L to be either true or else not true. But, if L was about as true as not, then it would follow – from the meaning of L (that L is not true) – only that L was about as untrue as not (about as true as not). And that is a general linguistic possibility (see <a href="http://enigmanically.blogspot.co.uk/2014/02/vagueness.html" target="_blank">Vagueness</a>). Now, since L asserts that <i style="mso-bidi-font-style: normal;">L</i> is not true, L asserts that it is not true <i style="mso-bidi-font-style: normal;">that L is not true</i>– i.e. it asserts that L is true – as well as that L is not true. And that is worrying, because ‘L is true’ would be the negation of ‘L is not true’ were ‘L’ naming a classical proposition; but, classical logic would not apply to L were L about as true as not. And while it would certainly be an unusual fact about such self-referential denials – that as they deny that they are true they thereby assert that they are – it is not too odd. On the contrary, it would help us solve the main problem facing any resolution, the so-called ‘revenge’ problem:</span></div><br /><div style="line-height: 200%; margin: 0cm 0cm 10pt;"><span style="font-family: "Times New Roman","serif"; font-size: 12pt; line-height: 200%;">Consider the following self-description (call it ‘R’): <i style="mso-bidi-font-style: normal;">The description that you are now reading is not at all true, not even about as true as not.</i> If R was about as true as not, then it would be false – not about as true as not – that R was not even about as true as not. But, R is the claim that it is not at all true that R is not at all true – i.e. that R is to some extent true – as well as that R is not at all true, so if R was about as true as not, then although it would be false that R was not even about as true as not, it would be true that R was to some extent true. R would appear to be, not so much false, as about as true as not. Or, would R rather seem to be both true and false? But R, like L, makes only one assertion – that it is <i style="mso-bidi-font-style: normal;">itself</i> untrue – the meaning of <i style="mso-bidi-font-style: normal;">which</i> includes it not being the case that it is not true.</span></div><br /><div style="line-height: 200%; margin: 0cm 0cm 10pt;"><span style="font-family: "Times New Roman","serif"; font-size: 12pt; line-height: 200%;">The thought that L is both true and false does not necessarily contradict the present resolution, though. If a description is about as true as not, then it is about as true as not that it is true, and it is about as true as not that it is false. Furthermore, since most philosophers think that L is certainly not true (whatever else it is), hence the fact that some philosophers – e.g. Graham Priest – think that it is true (and false) just adds to the plausibility of its being about as true as not. Still, there is only some truth to Priest’s resolution,<sup>1</sup> according to the present resolution. To see why, it may help to consider the following version of the paradox: <i style="mso-bidi-font-style: normal;">Is the answer to this question ‘no’?</i> Questions of the form ‘is X Y?’ want answers that are either ‘yes’ (X is Y) or else ‘no’ (X is not Y), but the answer to our question cannot be ‘yes’ (that would mean that it was ‘no’), and it cannot be ‘no’ (that would mean the answer was not ‘no’). It would be coherent to reply that the answer is to some extent ‘no’, because it is not just ‘no’, it is to some extent ‘yes’, because it is to some extent ‘no’. And it would be natural for us to shorten that to ‘yes and no’. But, that cannot mean that the answer is, and at the same time is not, ‘no’; it can only mean that the answer is to some extent ‘yes’ and is to some extent ‘no’.</span></div><br /><div style="line-height: 200%; margin: 0cm 0cm 10pt;"><span style="font-family: "Times New Roman","serif"; font-size: 12pt; line-height: 200%;">There is also some truth to the resolution that sentences like ‘this description is not true’ cannot be used to make assertions: They cannot be used to make classically logical assertions. But, there is surely only some truth to this resolution. I can say ‘what I am now saying is not true’ and mean by those eight words that what I am thereby saying is not true. Neither the fact that I am thereby saying that it is not true that what I am saying is not true, nor my belief that what I am saying is only about as true as not, stops me using those eight ordinary words to assert that what I am saying with them is not true.</span></div><br /><div style="line-height: 200%; margin: 0cm 0cm 10pt;"><span style="font-family: "Times New Roman","serif"; font-size: 12pt; line-height: 200%;">There is also some truth to the resolution that adds ‘neither true nor false’ to the classical truth-values (according to the present resolution), because when a description is about as true as not, it is neither true enough nor false enough for classical logic. But again, there is only some truth to that resolution. It is only about as true as not to say that it is not true, and only about as true as not to say that it is not false. A more sophisticated version replaces ‘true’ and ‘false’ with ‘certainly true’ and ‘certainly not true’, and then adjoins ‘possibly, but only possibly, true’ to those. But maybe those are more like belief-states than truth-values. A more formal approach models ‘true’ by 1 and ‘false’ by 0 – as in Boolean algebra – and then uses a continuum of numbers to bridge the gap – a so-called ‘fuzzy logic’<sup>2</sup> – but again, those are more like probabilities than truth-values.</span></div><br /><div style="line-height: 200%; margin: 0cm 0cm 10pt;"><span style="font-family: "Times New Roman","serif"; font-size: 12pt; line-height: 200%;">Still, the fuzzy logical resolution is not too odd: L being true insofar as it is not true does imply that L is as true as not, which is well modelled by a truth-value of 0.5. Nevertheless, if truth is not so much a matter of degree as a fundamentally black-and-white affair with an indistinctly grey boundary, then L being as true as not would not mean that L was exactly as true as not, so much as about as true as not. To see why, it may help to consider the following version of the paradox. According to Peter Eldridge-Smith,<sup>3</sup> there is a possible world in which Pinocchio’s nose grows if, and only if, he is saying something that is not true, but no such world in which he says ‘my nose is not growing’ because his nose would then be growing if, and only if, it was not growing. Our world is quantum mechanical, though. So it is possible for objects to be in entangled states, and so it is logically possible for Pinocchio’s nose to be as much growing as not. And such states are most accurately described with probabilities. But even if Pinocchio’s nose was growing exactly as much as not, his ‘my nose is not growing’ would have to have the borderline truth-value of the language of his ‘my nose is not growing’.</span></div><br /><div style="line-height: 200%; margin: 0cm 0cm 10pt;"><span style="font-family: "Times New Roman","serif"; font-size: 12pt; line-height: 200%;">Many resolutions of the Liar paradox have been investigated. But the explanatory power of the present resolution is only enhanced by those alternatives: If the present resolution is true, then as we have to some extent already seen, there is some truth to those alternatives, which goes some way towards explaining why each of them was suggested; and furthermore, most of them promise a way around a highly unattractive mathematical proof – a proof of the temporality of number (aka Cantor’s paradox) – which the present resolution does not. See post below, <a href="http://enigmanically.blogspot.co.uk/2014/02/cantor-and-russell.html" target="_blank">Cantor and Russell</a> (posted prior to this:)</span><span style="font-family: "Times New Roman","serif"; font-size: 12pt; line-height: 200%;"><br /></span></div><br /><div style="line-height: 200%; margin: 0cm 0cm 10pt;"><span style="font-family: "Times New Roman","serif"; font-size: 12pt; line-height: 200%;">Notes</span></div><br /><div style="line-height: 200%; margin: 0cm 0cm 10pt;"><span style="font-family: "Times New Roman","serif"; font-size: 12pt; line-height: 200%;">1. For Priest’s resolution, as one formal system amongst many, see §4.1.2 of J.C. Beall and Michael Glanzberg, <a href="http://plato.stanford.edu/entries/liar-paradox/" target="_blank">Liar Paradox</a>.</span></div><br /><div style="line-height: 200%; margin: 0cm 0cm 10pt;"><span style="font-family: "Times New Roman","serif"; font-size: 12pt; line-height: 200%;">2. Petr Hajek, <a href="http://plato.stanford.edu/entries/logic-fuzzy/" target="_blank">Fuzzy Logic</a>.</span></div><br /><div style="line-height: 200%; margin: 0cm 0cm 10pt;"><span style="font-family: "Times New Roman","serif"; font-size: 12pt; line-height: 200%;">3. Peter and Veronique Eldridge-Smith, ‘The Pinocchio Paradox’, <i style="mso-bidi-font-style: normal;">Analysis</i><b style="mso-bidi-font-weight: normal;">70</b> (2010), 212–215.</span></div>Martin Cookehttps://plus.google.com/117295543050000881085noreply@blogger.com0tag:blogger.com,1999:blog-7763575276872199219.post-38737356895575538932014-02-28T21:55:00.000+00:002014-02-28T22:22:08.131+00:00Cantor and Russell<br /><div style="line-height: 200%; margin: 0cm 0cm 10pt;"><span style="font-family: "Times New Roman","serif"; font-size: 12pt; line-height: 200%;">Georg Cantor was a brilliant nineteenth century mathematician whose discoveries led to the foundation of mathematics becoming axiomatic set theory.<sup>1</sup> Cantor’s paradox concerns the collection of all the sets. Now, a collection is just some things being referred to collectively, of course, and a set is basically a non-variable collection. (Sports clubs and political parties are variable collections, for example, while chess sets and sets of stamps are non-variable.) And numbers – non-negative whole numbers – are basically properties of sets. Cantor’s core result was an elegant proof that even infinite sets have more subsets than members (in the cardinal sense of ‘more’). It follows that if there was a set of all the other sets, then it would have more subsets than members, whence there would be more sets than there are sets – each subset being a set – which is impossible. And it follows that there is no set of all the other sets. T</span><span style="font-family: "Times New Roman","serif"; font-size: 12pt; line-height: 200%;">hat consequence is known as ‘Cantor’s paradox’; but, how paradoxical is it? Presumably {you} did not exist until <i style="mso-bidi-font-style: normal;">you</i> did, so why expect the collection of all the sets to be non-variable?</span></div><br /><div style="line-height: 200%; margin: 0cm 0cm 10pt;"><span style="font-family: "Times New Roman","serif"; font-size: 12pt; line-height: 200%;">A more paradoxical consequence is, I think, that there is no set of all the numbers – for a proof of that consequence, see section 3 of my earlier <a href="http://enigmanically.blogspot.co.uk/2013/11/whos-afraid-of-veridical-wool.html" target="_blank">Who's Afraid of Veridical Wool?</a> – which is paradoxical because we naturally think of numbers as timeless, whence their collection should be non-variable. To see the problem more clearly, suppose that 0, 1, 2 and 3 exist, but that as yet 4 does not; the problem is: How could 2 exist, but not two twos? The existence of <i style="mso-bidi-font-style: normal;">n</i> (where ‘<i style="mso-bidi-font-style: normal;">n</i>’ stands for any whole number) amounts to the existence of the possibility of <i style="mso-bidi-font-style: normal;">n</i>objects, e.g. <i style="mso-bidi-font-style: normal;">n</i> tables (were physics to allow so many), and possibilities are, intuitively, timeless: For anything that exists, it was always possible for it to exist.</span></div><br /><div style="line-height: 200%; margin: 0cm 0cm 10pt;"><span style="font-family: "Times New Roman","serif"; font-size: 12pt; line-height: 200%;">Nevertheless, if there are too many numbers for them all to exist as distinct numbers, perhaps they are forever emerging from a more indistinct coexistence. Possibilities are not necessarily timeless. You were always possible, for example, but that possibility would – had you never existed – have been the possibility of <i style="mso-bidi-font-style: normal;">someone just like you</i>. Looking back, there was always the possibility of <i style="mso-bidi-font-style: normal;">you yourself</i>, as well as that more general possibility; but had you not existed, there could have been no such distinction. Note that if the universe had bifurcated into two parallel universes, identical in all other respects, then the other person just like you would not have been you. And however many parallel universes there were, another would not appear to be logically impossible. So, it appears to be logically possible for apparently timeless possibilities – e.g. the possibility of you yourself – to emerge as distinct possibilities from more general possibilities.</span></div><br /><div style="line-height: 200%; margin: 0cm 0cm 10pt;"><span style="font-family: "Times New Roman","serif"; font-size: 12pt; line-height: 200%;">Those taking numbers to be timeless also have some explaining to do: They need to find a plausible lacuna in the Cantorian proof that numbers are not timeless. But, what they have found is more paradoxes akin to the Liar. Cantor’s paradox concerned the set of all the <i style="mso-bidi-font-style: normal;">other</i> sets because the set of all the sets would have had to contain itself as one of its own members, and we do not normally think of collections like that. But as Russell thought about Cantor’s counter-intuitive mathematics, he considered the collection of all the sets that do not belong to themselves: If that collection was a set, then it would belong to itself if, and only if, it did not belong to itself. That is basically Russell’s paradox. Like Cantor’s, it is not obviously paradoxical – it just means that there is no such set – but Russell thought of sets as the definite extensions of definite predicates, and predicate versions of his paradox are more obviously paradoxical. E.g. consider W.V.O. Quine’s version: ‘Is not true of itself’ is true of itself if, and only if, it is not true of itself. That is paradoxical because we naturally assume that ‘is not true of itself’ will either be true of itself, or else it will not. But if predicate expressions can be about as true as not of themselves, then it would follow from the meaning of ‘is not true of itself’ that insofar as ‘is not true of itself’ is true of itself it is not true of itself, and that insofar as it is not true of itself it is not the case that it is not true of itself. And it would follow that ‘is not true of itself’ is about as true as not of itself.</span></div><br /><div style="line-height: 200%; margin: 0cm 0cm 10pt;"><span style="font-family: "Times New Roman","serif"; font-size: 12pt; line-height: 200%;">Russell also thought of definite descriptions as names, and the English name for 111,777 – one hundred and eleven thousand, seven hundred and seventy seven – has nineteen syllables. According to Russell, 111,777 is the least integer not nameable in fewer than nineteen syllables, and Berry’s paradox is that ‘the least integer not nameable in fewer than nineteen syllables’ is a description of eighteen syllables.<sup>2</sup>Again, that is not very paradoxical; we can always use a false description as a name – cf. ‘Little John’ – and ‘John’ can name anything in one syllable. But consider the following two sentences.<sup>3</sup> <i style="mso-bidi-font-style: normal;">The number denoted by ‘1’. The sum of the finite numbers denoted by these two sentences. </i>The first sentence denotes 1, so if the second sentence denotes anything, then it denotes a finite number, say <i style="mso-bidi-font-style: normal;">x</i>, where 1 + <i style="mso-bidi-font-style: normal;">x</i> = <i style="mso-bidi-font-style: normal;">x</i>, and there is no such number. So if the second sentence denotes anything, then it does not denote anything. But it cannot simply fail to denote, because if it does not denote anything, then the sum of the finite numbers denoted by those two sentences is 1. Since the second sentence denotes 1 if, and only if, it denotes nothing, perhaps it denotes 1 as much as not. Cf. how ‘King Arthur’s Round Table’ began as a definite description and ended up referring more vaguely.</span></div><br /><div style="line-height: 200%; margin: 0cm 0cm 10pt;"><span style="font-family: "Times New Roman","serif"; font-size: 12pt; line-height: 200%;">In stark contrast, the set-theoretic paradoxes – e.g. Cantor’s – do not have resolutions akin to the present resolution of the Liar paradox: How could a collection of numbers be as variable as not? (Collections of numbers are not like collections of noses, so it could not be like Pinocchio’s nose.) Those paradoxes do have a fuzzy logical resolution, via fuzzy sets, though. And those taking L to be true and false can find it true and false that some collections belong to themselves. And those taking natural Liar sentences to be nonsensical often have a formalist take on infinite number. And of course, if the set-theoretic paradoxes have the same underlying cause as the semantic paradoxes – as Russell thought – then they should all be resolved in similar ways. But, if there are two kinds of paradox here – as Ramsey thought – then the inability of the present approach to resolve the set-theoretic paradoxes would hardly count against it. On the contrary, that inability would amount to some evidence for it, by helping it to explain the attractions of the major alternatives, especially the formal ones: A non-classical logic would be very useful were one trying to fly in the face of a mathematical proof.</span></div><br /><div style="line-height: 200%; margin: 0cm 0cm 10pt;"><span style="font-family: "Times New Roman","serif"; font-size: 12pt; line-height: 200%;">Notes</span></div><br /><div style="line-height: 200%; margin: 0cm 0cm 10pt;"><span style="font-family: "Times New Roman","serif"; font-size: 12pt; line-height: 200%;">1. For a detailed history, see Ivor Grattan-Guinness, <i style="mso-bidi-font-style: normal;">The Search for Mathematical Roots, 1870–1940: Logics, Set Theories and the Foundations of Mathematics from Cantor through Russell to Gödel</i> (Princeton and Oxford: Princeton University Press, 2000).</span></div><br /><div style="line-height: 200%; margin: 0cm 0cm 10pt;"><span style="font-family: "Times New Roman","serif"; font-size: 12pt; line-height: 200%;">2. Attributed to G.G. Berry by Bertrand Russell, ‘Mathematical Logic as based on the Theory of Types’, <i style="mso-bidi-font-style: normal;">American Journal of Mathematics</i><b style="mso-bidi-font-weight: normal;">30</b> (1908), 222–262.</span></div><br /><div style="line-height: 200%; margin: 0cm 0cm 10pt;"><span style="font-family: "Times New Roman","serif"; font-size: 12pt; line-height: 200%;">3. Based on Keith Simmons, ‘Reference and Paradox’, in J.C. Beall (ed.) <i style="mso-bidi-font-style: normal;">Liars and Heaps: New Essays on Paradox </i>(Oxford: Clarendon Press, 2003), 230–252. Simmons’ version was more complicated, and omitted the crucial word ‘finite’.</span></div>Martin Cookehttps://plus.google.com/117295543050000881085noreply@blogger.com0tag:blogger.com,1999:blog-7763575276872199219.post-47276475904203755742013-11-29T18:00:00.000+00:002013-12-12T17:39:38.110+00:00Who's Afraid of Veridical Wool?Do we need non-classical logic to resolve the Liar paradox? Or do we need to see that the natural context of classical logic – natural language – has a slight but ubiquitous vagueness? When something is as much the case as not, it is a borderline case; and similarly, self-descriptions like ‘this is false’ are about as true as not. And when there is no sharp division between something being the case and it not being the case, then the precision of any mathematical logic is inapposite.<br /><span style="color: #ffffcc;">......</span>The modern literature on the Liar paradox is very formal, but following Russell there has been a related effort to resolve Cantor’s mathematical paradoxes, which may well explain that. My analysis of the Liar paradox has 4 sections: <span style="color: maroon;"><em>Vagueness </em></span>(1,300 words), <span style="color: maroon;"><em>Liar Paradox</em></span> (1,300), <span style="color: maroon;"><em>Set-Theoretic Paradox</em> </span>(1,200), <span style="color: maroon;"><em>Semantic Paradox</em></span> (900), plus notes (700)...<br /><br /><span style="color: #ffffcc;">......</span><a href="https://docs.google.com/document/d/1Qc73ftFIKRBU5A8kT44Fqu_4aJNezSKLKOjo6r-M4wU/edit?usp=sharing">Who's Afraid of Veridical Wool?</a><br /><br /><span style="color: #ffffcc;">..........................</span><a href="https://drive.google.com/file/d/0B1U1ReO5LmOLamUydFJxRE9pdWs/edit?usp=sharing" target="_blank">PDF</a>Martin Cookehttps://plus.google.com/117295543050000881085noreply@blogger.com0tag:blogger.com,1999:blog-7763575276872199219.post-79409534783394035482013-11-18T16:54:00.002+00:002013-12-03T16:46:39.864+00:00I think, so I'm iffy"<span style="color: #900000;"><em>I deliberate, so the future is open,</em></span>" is, if you think about it, a pretty good description of a rational argument with one premise (a premise of which one can be certain). My making the effort to deliberate well (because I would blame myself if I did not) presupposes that there is, as yet, no fact of the matter of what I will be thinking.<br /><span style="color: #ffffcc;">......</span>To make such an effort is to force the future away from a state that it would otherwise be in, of course. And for me to think of that state as already <em><span style="color: maroon;">unreal </span></em>would undermine my motivation to make such an effort. And of course, for me to make no such effort would be for me to care little for the quality of my thoughts, which would be <em><span style="color: maroon;">irrational</span></em>.<br /><span style="color: #ffffcc;">......</span>That was a précis of my comments on <a href="http://alexanderpruss.blogspot.co.uk/2013/11/a-moorean-reason-not-to-believe-in-open.html" target="_blank">a Prussian post</a>, themselves inspired by <a href="http://www.classics.cam.ac.uk/directory/nick-denyer" target="_blank">Nicholas Denyer</a>'s 1981 defence of arguments like "<em><span style="color: maroon;">I deliberate, so my will is free.</span></em>"Martin Cookehttps://plus.google.com/117295543050000881085noreply@blogger.com0tag:blogger.com,1999:blog-7763575276872199219.post-26769792454618189322013-11-13T19:52:00.003+00:002013-12-14T09:40:14.985+00:00The Use of Brackets......to squirrel away, via RSPB blogs on <a href="http://www.rspb.org.uk/community/wildlife/b/notesonnature/archive/2013/10/21/monday-moment-precarious-fungi.aspx" target="_blank">21 Oct</a> and <a href="http://www.rspb.org.uk/community/ourwork/b/scotland/archive/2013/11/08/fungi-facts.aspx" target="_blank">8 Nov</a> :)Martin Cookehttps://plus.google.com/117295543050000881085noreply@blogger.com3tag:blogger.com,1999:blog-7763575276872199219.post-40725805727069162462013-07-16T13:55:00.002+01:002013-09-12T08:42:30.565+01:00All Men Are MenSuppose that you are thinking of having a child:<br /><span style="color: #ffffcc;">......</span>Your child will be like you, to some extent, and will to the same extent be like his or her father, just as half of your genes come from your father and half from your mother. So, your child's genes will be 50% your man's, 25% your father's, and 25% your mother's. And of course, what goes for you goes for your mother, and for hers, etc. So:<br /><span style="color: #ffffcc;">......</span>Your child's genes will be 50% your man's, 25% your father's, 12.5% your maternal grandfather's, 6.25% your maternal grandmother's father's, 3.125% your maternal grandmother's maternal grandfather's, etc.; i.e. they will be 50% male genes + 25% male genes + 12.5% male genes + 6.25% male genes + 3.125% male genes + ... = 100% male genes.<br /><span style="color: #ffffcc;">......</span>Everyone has a biological father and mother, and so we have a mathematical and, to some extent, empirical (and of course fallacious) argument that all men are men.Martin Cookehttps://plus.google.com/117295543050000881085noreply@blogger.com2tag:blogger.com,1999:blog-7763575276872199219.post-45488375215921323302013-07-08T15:42:00.003+01:002013-09-01T18:21:10.117+01:00A peculiarity of the Liar paradoxConsider the following sentence: “<span style="color: red;"><span style="color: #990000;">The self-referential statement expressed by this sentence</span> </span><span style="color: #990066;">is not true</span>.” Taking the phrase “<span style="color: #660044;">this sentence</span>” to refer, self-referentially, to that very sentence, the most obvious meaning of that sentence is that it is not the case (<span style="color: #990066;">is not true</span>) that the self-referential statement expressed by that sentence is not true. But that is just to say that the statement expressed by that sentence is true, which is the <em>negation</em> of the obvious meaning of that sentence.<br /><span style="color: #ffffcc;">......</span>Since the <em>statement</em> expressed by that sentence is both that <em>such and such is the case</em> and that <em>it is not the case</em>, which is self-contradictory, it may well follow that the statement in question is false, as suggested by Dale Jacquette (2007: ‘<a href="http://www.pjp.edu.pl/page22_2.htm" target="_blank">Denying the Liar</a>’, <em>Polish Journal of Philosophy</em> <strong>1</strong>, 91–8). But other philosophers – amongst whom I would once (<a href="https://docs.google.com/document/edit?id=14a4hqx4E-HroA-66lb78JekveizJ2v4pQsa4dC6CiZY&hl=en" target="_blank">five years ago</a>) have counted myself – think that because an assertion that such and such is the case is clearly different in meaning to an assertion that it is not the case, such Liar sentences do not express any proposition at all, but are rather meaningless nonsense.<br /><span style="color: #ffffcc;">......</span>However, I argued recently that Liar statements are in fact as true as not, and that the Liar paradox is, in that sense, a typical semantic paradox (for details see my <a href="https://docs.google.com/file/d/0B1U1ReO5LmOLY1pOcVRDczZ4bjQ" target="_blank">The Liar Paradox</a>, and my <a href="https://docs.google.com/file/d/0B1U1ReO5LmOLSFBvWG5OMUxRRzQ" target="_blank">On the Cause of the Unsatisfied Paradox</a>, in the April and June issues of this year's <em><a href="http://www.thereasoner.org/" target="_blank">The Reasoner</a></em> respectively); whereas, the problem above seems to be unique to the Liar paradox, e.g. it does not arise with Yablo’s paradox, in which there is no self-reference. So, I am wondering how else we might address this part of the Liar paradox.<br /><span style="color: #ffffcc;">......</span>Could the problem be due to substitution failure? Perhaps replacing “this sentence”, in the sentence in question, with a near-copy of the sentence itself – the only difference being that ‘that’ replaces ‘this – changed the proposition expressed by that sentence to its negation. Similar failures can occur with propositional attitude reports, e.g. consider the difference between “Lois believes that Clark is thirsty” and “Lois believes that Superman is thirsty”; for details see Jennifer Saul (2007: <a href="http://ukcatalogue.oup.com/product/9780199575640.do#.UdrIE_twbIU" target="_blank">Simple Sentences, Substitution, and Intuitions</a>, OUP). But then, Liar sentences are sentences of a very different kind; they need only involve a self-referential name, e.g. ‘<span style="color: #990000;">L</span>’, plus ‘<span style="color: #990066;">is</span>’, ‘<span style="color: #990066;">not</span>’ and ‘<span style="color: #990066;">true</span>’.<br /><span style="color: #ffffcc;">......</span>Another possibility is that Liar statements are identical to their negations. As a rule, the negation of a proposition is a different proposition, of course; but, propositions are either true or else false, as a rule, whereas we are now looking at propositions that are as true as not. Now, an elementary part of language is the subject-predicate description, “<span style="color: #990000;">S</span> <span style="color: #990066;">is P</span>” (e.g. “<span style="color: #990000;">that salmon</span> <span style="color: #990066;">is pink</span>”), and so a simple model of truth might use strips of paper with “<span style="color: #990000;">S</span> <span style="color: #990066;">is P</span>” on one side of the strip and “<span style="color: #990000;">S </span><span style="color: #990066;">is not P</span>” on the reverse side, for all S and P in some simple language: All the strips with non-fictional S get stuck onto the things of the world, with “<span style="color: #990000;">S</span> <span style="color: #990066;">is P</span>” uppermost if S is P and “<span style="color: #990000;">S</span> <span style="color: #990066;">is not P</span>” uppermost if S is not P. We might extend that model to include cases where S is as P as not by giving the strips a twist in the middle before sticking them down, and by including non-fictional strips with no worldly referent, such as “<span style="color: #990000;">100</span> <span style="color: #990066;">is a round number that is also a square</span>.” And then we might think of our Liar sentence as being like a <a href="http://weekendfisher.blogspot.co.uk/2007/07/mbius-logic-puzzles-that-cannot-reach.html" target="_blank">Möbius strip</a>, the twist due to its being as true as not, and the joining of its ends being due to its being self-referential.<br /><span style="color: #ffffcc;">......</span>In any case, this peculiarity of the Liar paradox gives us an easy answer to the Revenge problem for this resolution of the Liar paradox, which is as follows: If “<span style="color: #990000;">what I am saying</span> <span style="color: #990066;">is not true</span>” is as true as not, then what about “<span style="color: #990000;">what I am now saying</span> <span style="color: #990066;">is not only not true, it is not even as true as not</span>”? Were that about as true as not, what it said would seem false. But, what it said was that it was not at all true that what was said was not at all true, so it said not only that what was said was not at all true, but also that it was to some extent true. So if it was as true as not, then although it would indeed seem to have been false – false that what was said was not even as true as not – it should also, and to the same extent, appear true – true that what was said was to some extent true – whence it should seem to have been as true as not after all.Martin Cookehttps://plus.google.com/117295543050000881085noreply@blogger.com0tag:blogger.com,1999:blog-7763575276872199219.post-67214346117874583572013-05-29T16:00:00.000+01:002013-07-08T12:19:11.366+01:00The Set-theoretical ParadoxesI have another piece on semantic paradox in <em><a href="http://www.thereasoner.org/" target="_blank">The Reasoner</a></em> in June; but, what about the set-theoretical paradoxes? The seminal paradox of Bertrand Russell <span style="color: #741b47;">(1902: ‘Letter to Frege’, in 1967: Jean van Heijenoort, <em>From Frege to Gödel: A Source Book in Mathematical Logic, 1879–1931</em>, Harvard University Press, 124–5)</span>, for example, concerns the class of classes that do not belong to themselves. (In this context, classes are extensions of predicates: all and only the things that satisfy the predicate belong to the class.) Some classes – e.g. the class of humans – do not belong to themselves – the class of humans is a class, not a human – and the class of all such classes is paradoxical: it belongs to itself if, and only if, it does not. Russell conceived this paradox when thinking about the set-theoretical paradoxes, because a class is a kind of set; but, Russell’s paradox can also be expressed directly in terms of predicates:<br /><blockquote class="tr_bq">Let <em>w</em> be the predicate: to be a predicate that cannot be predicated of itself. Can <em>w</em> be predicated of itself? From each answer its opposite follows. <span style="color: #741b47;">(<em>Ibid</em>, 125)</span></blockquote>Note that “is a human” is a predicate expression, not a human, so it does not describe itself; the question is, what about “does not describe itself”? It describes itself if, and only if, it does not, which is paradoxical (<span style="color: #741b47;">it is widely known as </span><a href="http://enigmanically.blogspot.co.uk/2011/02/is-pretty-pretty.html" target="_blank">Grelling’s paradox</a>). But, we might as well say that “does not describe itself” describes itself insofar as it does not, from which it follows that it describes itself as much as it does not. So the question arises, could the class of classes that do not belong to themselves belong to itself as much as not? Classes can be like that, e.g. the class of all men would be like that if some hominids had been about as human as not. If we call one such hominid ‘Strider’, then it was about as true as not that Strider was human. Were there no such hominids, then some human would have had non-human parents.<br /><br />That – the <a href="http://en.wikipedia.org/wiki/Fuzzy_set" target="_blank">fuzzy set</a> – resolution of Russell’s paradox coheres rather well with my preferred resolutions of the semantic paradoxes – e.g. <a href="https://docs.google.com/file/d/0B1U1ReO5LmOLY1pOcVRDczZ4bjQ/edit?usp=sharing" target="_blank">The Liar Paradox</a><span style="color: #741b47;">, from <em>The Reasoner</em> <strong>7</strong>(4)</span> – but, the set-theoretical paradoxes originally arose from the mathematics of Georg Cantor, and they concerned, not classes of classes, but numbers of numbers. And of course, numbers are far from fuzzy. You and I, for example, are two people, and there is surely no doubt that we know what is meant by ‘two’ <span style="color: #741b47;">(for all the uncertainty over Strider's personhood)</span>. So, let us begin with 0, 1, 2, 3 and so forth, the products of the process of adding 1 to the previous number, starting with 0. Rather trivially, the collection of all those numbers is all of them, referred to collectively; and while some collections – e.g. stamp collections – are variable, if a collection is non-variable then we can say that it is a set <span style="color: #741b47;">(as in “a set of stamps”)</span>. On this conception, a set is some particular number of logical objects. To include the numbers 0 and 1, and so make this conception more like the standard conception <span style="color: #741b47;">(and also simplify proofs)</span>, let us also include logical objects that can play the role of singletons – sets with a single element – and Ø, the empty set. So, given that we have a set {0, 1, 2 …}, it contains some definite number of numbers, say א <span style="color: #741b47;">(aleph)</span> of them.<br /><span style="color: #ffffcc;">......</span>Cantor showed that every set has more subsets than it has elements, in the cardinal sense of ‘more’. <span style="color: #741b47;">(Two sets have the same cardinal number of elements when the elements of each set can all be paired up with those of the other (cf.</span> <a href="http://en.wikipedia.org/wiki/Hume's_principle" target="_blank">Hume's principle</a><span style="color: #741b47;">).)</span><br /><blockquote class="tr_bq">Let S be any set, and let P <span style="color: #741b47;">(for ‘powerset’)</span> be the set of all its subsets <span style="color: #741b47;">(including Ø and S)</span>. If S and P had the same cardinality, then there would be one-to-one mappings from S onto all of P, so let M be one such mapping. Let a subset of S, say D, be specified as follows: For each member of S, if the subset that M maps it to contains it, then D does not contain it, and otherwise D does. The problem is that since D differs from every subset that M maps the members of S to, D differs from every subset of S, whereas D is by definition a subset of S. So, D is contradictory, and so there is no such M. So S and P do not have the same cardinality, and since P contains a singleton for each element of S, P is bigger than S.</blockquote>So, {0, 1, 2 …} has <a href="http://en.wikipedia.org/wiki/Beth_number" target="_blank">beth-one</a> subsets, where beth-one is bigger than aleph, and the set of all those sets has beth-two subsets, and so on. If that endless sequence of bigger and bigger sets is a non-variable sequence, then there is a union – a set of the elements – of all those sets, which is even bigger, with ב<span style="font-size: xx-small;">ω</span> <span style="color: #741b47;">(beth-omega)</span> sets. (<span style="color: #741b47;">Omega is the ordinal number of the sequence 1, 2, 3 and so forth.</span>) And that union has ב<span style="font-size: xx-small;">ω + 1</span> subsets, and so on: for any such set there is the set of its subsets, and for any endless sequence of such sets there is, if it is a non-variable sequence, its union. In total, there is a sequence of sets – and a corresponding sequence of numbers, the sizes of those sets – which must be variable; were it not, we would have moved on from that ordered set of sets to its union, and thence to the subsets of that union (and so on). But of course, it is paradoxical that our total sequence of numbers is variable – is of necessity growing forever – because few of us think that numbers that do not already exist could suddenly appear. Suppose, for example, that the number 101 had not always existed; would that not mean that there was once a time when there were no such possibilities as, for example, the possibility of 101 Dalmatians? And note that this paradox cannot be resolved as Russell’s paradox was resolved above, because the idea of something being as variable as not is nonsensical.<br /><br />Nevertheless, the intuition that numbers are atemporal is not unquestionable, because new possibilities can be constructed out of more general possibilities. You were always possible, for example, and yet the possibility of you in particular was only distinct from the more general possibility of people just like you once you existed <span style="color: #741b47;">(to be directly referred to)</span>. And it is not too odd to think of arithmetic as constructed from such logical concepts as those of <em>possibility </em>and <em>class</em>. E.g. the obvious meaning of “2 + 2 = 4” is that if we had two things of some kind, then if we got another two of that kind we would have four. So, it is conceivable that, while 101 Dalmatians were always possible, there was once a time when that possibility only existed as part of a more general possibility (of bigger numbers). Such constructivism can be defended atheistically – e.g. see George Lakoff and Rafael E. Núñez <span style="color: #741b47;">(2000: <em>Where Mathematics Comes From: How the Embodied Mind Brings Mathematics into Being</em>, New York: Basic Books)</span> – and theistically, e.g. see Paul Copan and William Lane Craig <span style="color: #741b47;">(2004: <em>Creation out of Nothing: A Biblical, Philosophical, and Scientific Exploration</em>, Grand Rapids, MI: Baker Academic).</span><br /><span style="color: #ffffcc;">......</span>Whether we are atheists who believe that the human brain evolved in a finite world, or theists who entertain divine ineffability and infinitude, we would have such reasons to doubt that we could ever be justifiably sure about the nature of infinity, though. And another reason why we should keep an open mind about this is that, while it is clearly counter-intuitive to think of the finite cardinal numbers as temporal, it is, if you think about it, no less counter-intuitive to think of them as atemporal. E.g. the arithmetic of such numbers as א and ω is very different to that of the finite cardinal numbers, whence the theoretical behaviour of that many objects is counter-intuitive. Hilbert’s famous Hotel can be built upon <a href="http://en.wikipedia.org/wiki/Galileo's_paradox" target="_blank">Galileo’s paradox</a>, for example. And the difference between cardinal and ordinal arithmetic gives rise to the counter-intuitive behaviour of my quasi-supertask <span style="color: #741b47;">(2003:</span> ‘<a href="https://docs.google.com/document/edit?id=1D86gx8yjYXVBTBNEbtPCe4VEQdso6bwAA9ot8sYEY4M&hl=en" target="_blank">Infinite Sequences, Finitist Consequence</a><span style="color: #741b47;">’, <em>British Journal for the Philosophy of Science</em> <strong>54</strong>, 591–9)</span>. And the infinite set of the finite cardinal numbers covers the whole range of the finite (in units), and yet every one of those numbers is infinitely far from infinite, whence <a href="https://docs.google.com/document/edit?id=1FhHuySBffI7ONozPfBxYzEBZjE7YHAurZW898Ke9iu4&hl=en" target="_blank">Lévy’s paradox</a>. For more examples, see José Benardete <span style="color: #741b47;">(1964: <em>Infinity: An Essay in Metaphysics</em>, Oxford: Clarendon Press)</span>, and Peter Fletcher <span style="color: #741b47;">(2007: ‘Infinity’, in Dale Jacquette, <em>Philosophy of Logic</em>, Amsterdam: Elsevier, 523–585).</span><br /><span style="color: #ffffcc;">......</span>Intuitively, numbers are timeless; but while it is certainly possible that there is a set of all the finite cardinal numbers, it is also possible that there is not. Both possibilities are counter-intuitive, so both can be supported in ways that would seem compelling were it not for that ‘both’. So, one might think that modern mathematics would have been based on results that follow, not just from one, but from both possibilities. However, such is not the case. Now, the ubiquity of the standard real number line might be explained by its being easy to use, simple and familiar, but there is a similar bias towards assuming that there is a non-variable collection {0, 1, 2 …} in such fundamental research areas as theoretical physics and pure mathematics, which is puzzling. For clues, see Ivor Grattan-Guinness <span style="color: #741b47;">(2000: <em>The Search for Mathematical Roots, 1870–1940: Logics, Set Theories and the Foundations of Mathematics from Cantor through Russell to Gödel</em>, Princeton University Press),</span> and Peter Markie <span style="color: #741b47;">(2013:</span> ‘<a href="http://plato.stanford.edu/entries/rationalism-empiricism/" target="_blank">Rationalism vs. Empiricism</a><span style="color: #741b47;">’, in Edward N. Zalta, <em>The Stanford Encyclopedia of Philosophy</em>)</span>.<br /><br />It might be objected that there is no real puzzle because {0, 1, 2 …} is not an informal set in pure mathematics, but is an axiomatic set defined by means of a <a href="http://plato.stanford.edu/entries/logic-classical/" target="_blank">formal logic</a>. However, that would be to ignore, not to explain, the mystery. We know perfectly well what the cardinal numbers 0, 1, 2, 3 and so forth are; if we had some axioms that did not describe them, we would not throw those numbers away and start using those axioms instead, however nice their formal properties were. To do so would hardly be scientific.<br /><span style="color: #ffffcc;">......</span>Perhaps I should add that we do not get a third kind of set-theoretical paradox from the axiomatic conception. Paradoxes arise when we have contradictory beliefs, and formal structures have no intrinsic meaning; formal axiomatic sets only give us mathematical models of set-theoretical paradoxes. So, while it is true that paradoxes can be avoided if we use formal sets, we did not really resolve the set-theoretical paradoxes by moving from naïve set theory to axiomatic set theory.Martin Cookehttps://plus.google.com/117295543050000881085noreply@blogger.com0