Analytical Articles – Trails of Reason Blog

For those of you who are interested, I have created another blog (“Trails of Reason”) specifically devoted to more prose and analysis. The current blog you are reading is more of an encyclopedia/dictionary, which will continue to be updated from time to time but not as likely as often.

The original purpose of this blog was, in fact, creating an encyclopedia of my mind because I see the world in such a connected way. Unfortunately, it makes it harder to write for. Furthermore, I have wanted to write more analytical articles that touch on a broader spectrum of topics, all the while being related to the fundamentals of my view of reality.

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Escaping the Liar’s Paradox

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The liar’s paradox, regardless of whatever label it is given, can be reduced to either of these two forms:

  1. The next statement is true. The previous statement is false.
  2. This statement is false.

If you attempt to seek some solution to this as though it were a problem, then any attempt to restrain yourself to the prescribed confines of language will leave you baffled. In short, don’t try to “solve” it. If you want to make a conjecture about the “truth” or “validity” of any such statement, you first must understand the entirety of the setup.

First of all, the spontaneous approach relies on a few underlying false assumptions. The first false assumption is that the words of a language directly correlate to some real idea. They do not. A word is nothing more than associated sounds and letters that are used to call to mind a particular idea or ideas. The sounds for “no”, for example, mean two different things depending on the language of reference. There is no reason why “no” cannot have multiple associations because “no” isn’t bound to any one of them. Likewise, words “truth” and “false” are not bound to the the ideas they reference, nor are those ideas bound to the words. To phrase this in more practical terms: “You can’t make something true by saying so.” However, even knowing this, we cannot yet make a conjecture about the truth or validity of the paradox in question (even though this explanation does explain many other paradoxes).

The next false assumption is that the statement must make some kind of statement about truth. I am not disregarding this: That if the paradox is declared false, it then makes itself true, and if it is declared true, it then makes itself false. Instead, it is false to assume that any conjecture of the truth or validity of the paradox can be made at all! There is no reason why the statement must be recognized as true or false.

To better understand why this is the correct answer, a third false assumption must also be addressed. This assumption is that the paradox actually gives a real idea. The truth or validity of a statement is completely meaningless. For example, in English, “Red is blue” is naturally false based on the ideas associated with “red” and “blue”. However, if “blue” were to be “red” in some hypothetical language, then in such a language, “Red is blue” would be a perfectly true expression of reality. Therefore, the statement alone (“Red is blue”) has no particular inherent measure of truth. Analysis of truthfulness or validity can only be made when the statements as a whole invoke an idea. “Red” invokes the idea of a color, a comprehensible reality (a reality that can be imagined). But since the paradox in question (the Liar’s Paradox) invokes no comprehensible idea of reality, there is no sense in discussing whether that idea even applies to reality.

All lies share the common aspect that something about them does not apply to reality. If we knew all the facts, then the claim by the lie would be inconceivable. Thus all lies in some way relate back to the same issue with the Liar’s Paradox that I have discussed here. The difference is that usually things involved are more complex and thus allow for some modification or distortion of their definitions that makes it seem as though they would apply to reality.

For example, consider the following claim: “A banana is orange”. The concept of “banana” entails both a shape and a color. Since the shape is usually the primary association with “banana”, it is possible to conceive of both the banana shape enveloped in the color of orange. However, if the definition (and, in turn, the concept) of “banana” required that the “banana” have the color of yellow, then it would be inconceivable for a “banana” to be “orange”. The statement “A banana is orange” would be false – that is, inapplicable to reality.

From this analysis, we could say for certain that in the first structure of Liar’s Paradox (“The next statement is true. The previous statement is false.”), the entire claim as a whole is meaningless and should not be analyzed as two separate components. That says nothing about its applicability to reality. In fact, if we are to say anything about the system, we can say the entire system is “false”, or in other words, inapplicable to reality.

We could try to associate some fact with one of the statements. For example, we could say “The sun shines and the second statement is true. The first statement is false.” But even here, we can treat the parts (“the sun shines” and “the second statement is true”) separately and come to the conclusion that the latter part is still inapplicable to reality.

Paradoxical and ironic as it may seem, if we say that the system as a whole is false, then we should certainly admit that both statements in the system are false. “The second statement is true” and “The first statement is false” are both false. Neither is applicable to reality.

The important fact is that words and statements themselves don’t make something valid or true. They are merely supposed to be descriptors of reality.

If you try to find where such a problem might exist in reality, then the problem might be analogous to two mirrors reflecting the image of each other. Tracing the image back to the first mirror seems impossible, but the fact is, one mirror was hit with light first. Just because there is an apparent dependency does not mean there was no beginning.

If we are to take this analogy literally, we might (incorrectly) conclude that the statements alternate in their truthfulness and falseness as each is analyzed. In the case of the basic system – “This statement is false” – we could say that it is not false until completed, in which case it becomes true about itself and then goes back to being false in alternating manner. But this is what drives people crazy with this problem, and it’s better to stick with the truth: that the paradox is inapplicable to reality and therefore false.

On a related note, there may arise a situation in which (when reduced to its fundamental argument) one person claims a certain other person is always a liar and the other person claims that the first person is always honest. I’ve discussed the definition of a lie, and it hopefully it is evident that the liar is still a liar. Since lying is aimed at providing an idea other than the truth, it is clear that such a claim of “all honesty” is meant to counter the claim of “always a liar” and therefore distort the truth, which is an indirect way of providing an idea that is wrong. I say this as a hypothetical situation, assuming that one person is always honest and the other person is always lying, but the analysis is applicable regardless and could also be used to in the scenario where both people have lied or both people have always (before this point) been honest. The purpose in my pointing this out is that such scenarios, while related to the topic of the liar’s paradox, are not entirely the same.

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Where Brain Signals Go

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The brain itself is not an endpoint for its own signals. To demonstrate this point, consider a storm cloud. At some point in time, the storm cloud may have the same electrical composition and organization as the brain. Obviously, storms are larger than brains, but we can consider the relative positions of electrons and some small isolated region of a storm cloud. It doesn’t particularly matter, since both the storm and the brain are both physical entities and thus limited to the realm of the physical. Due to this physical limitation, the storm cloud and the brain are comparable in this regard. Like the brain, the storm cloud sends and receives electrical changes, forcing its electrons around. Unlike the brain, however, the storm cloud can dissolve and perhaps reform somewhere else. These acts of dissolution and reformation make it absurd to believe that the storm cloud itself has some “consciousness” in its physical limitations. Perhaps if some extra-dimensional conscious being happened to be created or go to wherever storm clouds formed, there would be a consciousness present, but regardless, the cloud itself would not be the conscious. Likewise, it is peculiar to believe that the brain, which begins its existence by being formed from a single cell, is its own consciousness.

To be more specific, by consciousness, I refer to that in which can nowlos. Nowlos has to be somewhere, as evidence from experience. Perhaps I am the only person who can nowlos, but even if it were just me, there still must exist some endpoint outside of the brain. It is this endpoint of the electrical signals (interpreted as “knowledge”) (where such signals become nowlos) that I call the “soul“, wherever it happens to be. Undoubtedly, however, it cannot be in the physical world.

The mechanisms by which the brain signals become consciousness are unknown. It is my sneaking suspicion, however, that electrons entering the brain could become entangled (in position) with entities in other worlds and dimensions. This should not seem such a bizarre idea since nothing in particular hinders such interaction. Perhaps within the interior of the brain, there is generated some sort of field, which, supposing it could be tampered or amplified, may make telepathy possible.

Addendum:

The comparison between the brain and storm clouds is made because storm clouds are “unorganized”. But “organization” is subject entirely to interpretation. If by “organization”, we mean that storm clouds are simply not systematic, this can be contested on the basis that the follow the laws of physics, just as the brain does. They merely don’t have an identifiable structure. But again, all of this is meaningless. On top of this, a point must be made that computers themselves will never gain a “consciousness”, no matter how much “information” they are given, since knowledge itself is subject to interpretation and the existence of a conscious nature is not.

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Definition of “Possibility”

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Possibilities are the results of reality that share an identified collection of facts. A possibility is one such result.

For example, suppose a person enters a building with three rooms. Without considering other information, there is a possibility that the person entered any one of the three rooms because they all share the common fact that “entering the building” is a means for a person to occupy one of the rooms.

It may be difficult to describe what “possibility” is in a singular nature because “possibility” often implies there are more possibilities.

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“For example…”

This phrase – and the word “example” – is used in various locations here. It always applies to systems, but while in general, it may apply to generic systems, it will also be used to speak of cases where I (or we) assume a system of reality identical to our expectations (that is, a reality where the “example” speaks of “truth”, according to a definition of truth).

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Probability and Scientific Causation

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First, a little opinion: For around 100 years or more, the scientific community has been bottled up on the philosophical problem that can be summarized by the notion that the complexity of an abstract concept can somehow supersede its realm of existence and establish the existence of something in a world outside of itself. This problem can occur in many ways, but one way in particular that comes to mind is the issue of probability. This beautifully large word seems to have the same logic-numbing effect on scientists as words such as “professional” and “quality” have on the amateur – somehow something amazing is to be expected; the power seems to be enhanced as a result of the abstracting of the composing principle. It’s as if one could expect a dolphin to be born of a deer by virtue of them both being mammals. While that does not mean the our initial impression of the absurdity somehow nixes a reality – if it is a reality – it does mean that, if the idea is a reality, we should (in theory) eventually be able to give some reasonable explanation for it to be called “science” and not just philosophy.

The intention of science is to make observations of phenomenon and find some reliable pattern. This pattern is then to be expected every time. We call this “determinism” because it means we usually can “determine” the result by knowing all of the details. If we maintain this intention of science, then it is absurd to end at the conclusion that determinism is false, especially since, after many experiments and observations, we have found such consistent patterns, which lead us to conclude things are deterministic. All that is not to say that all of the mechanics of the universe (and beyond) can be discovered nor does it mean that there are not things in the universe that are non-deterministic (that is to say, they don’t have an expected pattern of existence). But if there are non-deterministic things, they ought to be labeled as “non-deterministic”, not bundled with the idea of “probability”, which implies many other things. Here’s why:

Suppose I were to hide a marble under one of three cups. The deterministic conclusion is that the marble exists under one cup – or at least can only be observed under one cup (taking note of the idea that the particles composing the marble may actually extend across all of space). The probabilistic conclusion of the observer who does not know where I put the marble says that there is a 1/3 likelihood of the marble being under each cup. (And in fact, if we are to take the existentialist approach, there is a 1/infinite chance of the marble being under each cup because the “observable marble” may have moved or been moved or destroyed after being placed under a cup.) However, if all three cups are raised to reveal the observable marble, and the marble had, in fact, not moved, then the probability was not perfectly descriptive of the actual reality, for neither of the other cups (nor any other cup in the universe), had contained the marble. To me, however, the probability that the marble was under the cup I put it under would be 1/1. It would be the correct probability. The only difference in the accuracy of these two probabilities – the 1/3 and the 1/1 – is the observer, and this is an important point.

Probability is nothing more than a description of the knowledge of the observer, though it is an interesting description for it says something accurate about the observer and not necessarily about what is being observed. As I already pointed out, the existentialist viewpoint is that there is a 1 in infinite chance of an observable marble being under a cup. This isn’t because of some bizarre physics about the universe – though the universe may very well work by some bizarre physics – but because of some lack of understanding about how the universe works. If there is any lack in an understanding or information, there is infinite lack, because it is that “last piece” that could be infinite in one way or more. Concerning the observer who expects a 1/3 probability, we can say this observer expects a more or less deterministic outcome. That is, they expect a number of limitations on the universe such that the outcomes can be filtered down to expecting a 1/3 probability. And this is the normal expectation of science, hence the great effort of scientists to control the variables in an experiment. In my example above, the scenario in which I hide the marbles could have been with me at a small table with two other people – the person making the guess and some external observer who can verify that I didn’t place the marble anywhere but in one of the three cups. I believe this experiment has been performed time and time again with the same results, assuming that the setup and execution has gone as expected.

Hence, since probability is about the observer, it should be obvious that the reality cannot be effected by it, unless there is some means by which lack of information or a presupposition about reality is translated into reality. (For example, someone (this person being the “means”) may have the observer make a guess at a probability and use that guess to determine the outcome. Notably, though, the guess in this case is what is stated by the observer, not necessarily a personal conviction.) Assuming no translation occurs, there is obviously no translation. Thus, the lack of information (which leads to the observer making a statement about probability) does not, by virtue of being “lack of knowledge”, effect reality. It may effect reality as a result of being represented by the presence or absence of electrons in a brain, but not by being what we identify as a lack of information or understanding.

All that said – and this is the important part of this article – that “probability” is not a basis of existence. Just because something is possible does not mean it is. What is quite interesting is that – from a perspective of psychology – accepting a probability can cause the disregard of reliable deterministic “facts”. While this is certainly acceptable from a philosophical perspective, it is absurd from a scientific perspective, where great pains may be taken to identify such facts. That is not to say scientific “facts” are always correct, but there are certainly cases where even the phenomenon that have always performed the same way are brought into question. For example, accepting the possibility that a ball may roll up hill may lead a person to conclude that the ball will eventually roll uphill, even without some identifiable reason. A layman’s example would be believing you will find a tribe of natives on any island you happen to sail to.

I mention this because it will be important when discussing scientific theories, some of which may disregard what I think even the greatest skeptics can see are observable facts (that is, patterns that have “always” been observed) or confuse the idea of “non-determinism” (description of reality) with “probability” (description of the conclusion based on psychological analysis).

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Idea Definitions in Terms of Senses

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Most ideas probably involve some level of abstraction, but those ideas that are directly related to reality (for example, ideas of tangible objects and experiences) may be merely assemblies of simpler ideas that are explainable in terms of what can be experienced. Two types of these ideas can be spoken of: perfectly precise definition ideas and nebulous definition ideas.

In order to understand the derivation of these ideas, it is necessary to first consider the inputs involved in their construction and, secondly, how these inputs are accepted. This can be done by examining the senses themselves, but rather than speaking directly of the senses initially, I will first abstract the idea of these inputs.

Consider three different types of input sensors, labeled “A”, “B”, and “C”. I speak of input “sensors” rather than inputs because we know only what we sense and not the origin of what we sense. For the sake of simplicity, these input sensors will be limited to detecting values ranging from 0 to 1. That which is detectable by “A” is in units of “a”. That which is detectable by “B” is in units of “b”. Supposing that the mechanisms of the mind cause overlap between certain input sensors, we presume “C” can contribute something to the detection of units of “b” as well as detecting things in units of “c”.

To chart this:

  • A = 0 a units to 1 a units
  • B = 0 b units to 1 b units
  • C = 0 c units to 1 c unit + unknown b units to unknown b units

The first thing that can be said about this system is that neither A, B, nor C can detect units of “d” if “d” is measurable in some way. This means that there may be attributes of a system that are unobservable by A, B, and C, even when those input sensors are utilized in unison.

The second thing that can be said about this system is that neither A, B, nor C can detect all of the possible values even of things with attributes describable in terms of units “a”, “b”, and/or “c”.

Thirdly, nowlos itself does not directly correlate to a input sensor since input sensors themselves may overlap in the types of things they can detect. This necessitates the view of there being two levels of input sensors – one directly connected with nowlos and one directly connected with the mind. The chain of information would then be as follows:

Information > input sensor level 1 > mind > input sensor level2 > nowlos

Notice, I have not specified the location of the existence of the mind or of the sensors.

Considering these things, let us presume that the mind formulates ideas and alters the information that comes from the input sensors. Hence, what is actually sent to the innermost sensors (the level 2 sensors) does not necessarily relate directly to reality (from the outermost input sensors; the level 1 sensors).

Reconsidering the system of A, B, and C presented above, then, A, B, and C are level 1 sensors because C can detect things in units of “b” and not just units of “c”. This has direct consequences on the formulation of ideas because it results in overlapping dependencies. It is therefore introduces an element of redundancy in cases where B and C detect things in “b” units. To deny this overlap results in falsity, but it nevertheless may be within the capacity of the human mind. (I said “may be” only in remembrance of the possibility that this fact might be wrong, even though I don’t believe it is. That is, you can deny the possibility of redundancy because I might be wrong.)

Let us turn our considerations to the system of A, B, and C and, in particular, the range of values. In speaking about ideas, we can only speak about both the innermost input sensors truthfully because that is all we are able to nowlos. However, we can speak about the outermost sensors theoretically because we presume the mind uses information from those sensors. (I abstracted the concept of these input sensors to allow for inputs not customarily recognized – that is, sensors not related to the standard 5 senses – sight, hearing, taste, feeling, and smell – and to allow for overlap between them.)

The range of values from the input sensors is limited, but can be grouped. In mathematical terms, we might group them like coordinates in space, or in this case in terms of what is detectable. (Note that the outermost input sensors do not necessarily detect in terms of differences in base properties. I say nothing of the innermost input sensors.) i.e. A set of values could be represented by (a units, b units, c units), ex: (0.2, 0.8, 0.45). This works when describing perfectly precise idea definitions that are tailored to our discussion.

Ideas that are defined as perfectly precise have a strict set of base properties. Since we can only speak of a, b, and c units and not base properties, let the definition of “perfectly precise ideas” speak of detectable units instead of base properties (even though the assembly of base properties results in something detectable). Notably, this makes it susceptible to fallacy, but gives it the element of practicality in this case. In the mathematical terms described above, a perfectly precise definition would be a single set of values from sensors A, B, and C, or at least a mental perception of values A, B, and C even if such values were never detected by A, B, and C.

The benefit of such ideas is obvious – they refer to a specific set of detected properties, which would be the first step in allowing us to examine the exact state of something and decide if it fulfilled the definition of the idea (and thus we could say if something “was” or “was not” what the idea specified). It provides an exact representation of truth from the standpoint of relating ideas back to the reality they originated from.

Even still, a great number of errors can arise with perfectly precise ideas from the standpoint of practicality. First and foremost, the mind itself is not a guaranteed static storage location for ideas. Hence, it is possible that the accuracy and preciseness of the idea may be lost in the course of time. It is also possible that the idea may be changed to account for new information, thus resulting in the reinterpretation of previous experiences whose identity, definition, or accuracy relied upon the constant nature of the idea in question.

That said, nebulous ideas tend to be more possible in addition to being more practical (assuming that we make the same alteration to the definition as done with perfectly precise definitions: they describe detected values and not simply base properties). However, they are not so easy to describe in mathematical terms. Furthermore, they do not allow for direct comparisons with reality to come to a definitive conclusion. That is, they only allow us to say if something is “more” or “less” in fulfillment of the definition of an idea. (A simple example of this would be the drawing of a straight line segment. No artist I know can draw a line segment perfectly straight without faults, as would be required to fulfill a perfectly precise idea definition. But with a nebulous idea of “straight” from a practical sense, we can declare a line as “more” or “less” “straight”.)

In relation to the input sensors, a nebulous idea would be a collection of ranges and fluctuations in those ranges. For example, the values detected by A might range from 0 to 1, but the values of B might be allowed to range only from 0 to 0.1 in order for whatever_was_detected to fulfill a particular definition of an idea. Notably, it is important that “nebulous ideas” have some restrictions placed upon them from practical purposes. i.e. Something becomes “less” in fulfillment of a particular definition by changing along a certain dimension (that is, in certain units, “a”, “b”, and/or “c”), such that certain sets of values are deemed as being not in fulfillment of a definition.

A number of potential errors arise with nebulous ideas. For instance, it is possible that certain sets of values detectable by the input sensors A, B, and C are not even realistically possible yet deemed as inclusive in a definition. If such a definition includes realistic things, it then seems to imply the realism of such unrealistic things. This, amongst other reasons, is why nebulous ideas cannot accurately and precisely describe reality when they are too inclusive. The broader the definition, the more useful it may become, but the more likely it is to contain falsity and unrealistic things.

Throughout this article, I refer primarily to ideas that reference realities, as opposed to abstractions that are not meant to refer to any kind of reality but may be used for other purposes, such as analyses of hypothetical things and scenarios.

Note: I may add more to this article later.

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