Tuesday, March 02, 2010

Work In Progress: In Which Ideas Man Pretends to be An Analytic Philosopher (Revealing in the Process How Little He Knows About Analytic Philosophy)


I am inviting you to play a game with me called Blueprint.  Reading the previous sentence will have been construed as your tacit acceptance of my invitation.  But then, I suspect that you've already been playing Blueprint, though you might have called it something else and you may have not been playing it with me.  I am happy that that has changed and will do what I can to make it worth it to play with me.

Perhaps I should mention something else.  If you are playing Blueprint with me, it means that you have also already been engaged in another game.  I will call this game Sentience.  To play Sentience, it is necessary that you have a sensorimotor system.  It is unclear whether this is sufficient.  It is probably true that this is not enough to play Blueprint, but it is certainly a minimum requirement.  And because you are already playing Blueprint, you must have a sensorimotor system.  Let me be the first to congratulate you.

Here is a quick word about the relationship between Blueprint and Sentience.  The rules of the game in both Blueprint and Sentience are initially identical, though both can change.  In Sentience, the rules of the game are always implicit.  In Blueprint, the rules of the game can become explicit, although they are not always called "rules."  Moreover, sometimes the rules described in Blueprint are really rules in Sentience.  Sometimes they are rules in Blueprint.  Sometimes they are rules in both games.  It is not always clear which is which.


This requires a brief clarification of why I am calling this game Blueprint, which will also require a brief word about modelling.  An initial hypothesis about Blueprint might be that Blueprint models Sentience.  Because people often confuse the game of Sentience with the game of Being, another initial hypothesis about Blueprint might be that Blueprint models Being or, if you prefer, Reality.  When you model something, you stand outside of the thing that you model. And you create something that, despite some fundamental difference from the thing being modeled, you can assert to have an isomorphic relationship to the thing being modeled.  The extent to which you are warranted in making that assertion depends on a variety of factors.  Two that are particularly worth pointing out are: credit and technology.  I'm not quite ready to explain what these factors mean, but let me give you an example.  In the early 21st century, Frank Gehry is warranted in drawing a free-form sketch and asserting that it will bear an isomorphic relation to the building he is being commissioned to design.  On the other hand when Filippo Brunelleschi modeled the dome for Florence's Duomo, it was necessary that he first work out the engineering problems required for it to work before he was warranted in asserting this isomorphic relation.

I will return to this example later, but first we need to consider the weird sort of model Blueprint is.  Whether we end up connecting Blueprint to Sentience, to Being or to Reality, we run into the ancient problem of the relationship between part and whole, which fundamentally alters the conceptual relationship between model and thing being modeled.  In models that are a part of the thing being modeled, the model cannot be seen as being separate from the thing being modeled.  This does not make the model impossible, as anyone who has seen a model of the solar system knows.  But it does force us to make the abstraction inherent in asserting an isomorphic relationship between the model and the thing being modeled to the foreground.  A model that is part of the thing being modeled must select specific discernible attributes to "represent." --- In the case of the solar-system model this might be relative size, basic color, orbital paths and maybe even relative motion but not, for example, material composition, energy emitted or atmospheric changes.  Compare how this kind of model works to the way that, for example, a model models a line of clothing a designer would like you to wear.

We could continue with these problems for some time.  We have already touched on some of the most thorny aspects that have been brought up in the 2400 year length of that version of the game blueprint that goes by the name Metaphysics.

How to Play:  First Explicit Pass

So let's start over, bearing in mind (as we'll see soon enough) that starting over by no means erases the old moves that have already been made.

0.  Blueprint begins at what I will call the null-point.

1.  To play Blueprint it is necessary to have a sensorimotor system.

2.  The primary move in Blueprint consists in making names.

2A.  Some names describe sensory input.  This need not be all that they do.

2B.  Some names prescribe motorial actions.  This need not be all that they do.

2C.  Some names appear to do neither.  It may be that in fact they do one or the other, or both, but this does not need to be decided yet.

2D.  For the sake of convenience, we will call whatever action names do "naming."

For the sake of clarity, we will imagine that each of these moves moves us away from the null-point.

3.  It is necessary to play Blueprint with someone else.

3A.  Blueprint can in principle be played with any player of Sentience.

3B.  A player of Blueprint must invite a player of Sentience to play Blueprint with them.

3C.  One player invites another player to play by making a move.  Once that move is comprehended, the game has begun.

3C1.  The player who invites the other player does so by trying to reenact the sensory input or motorial action the that the name originally named.

3C2.  There will always be a partial gap between the original name and the repetition of the name.

A brief note:  astute readers will notice that if rule 3 is enforced, then there can be no "original" name before the invitation.  This means that the repetition of the name will in fact be the initial move.  A good deal more could be said about this problem.  Some of the confusion that this no doubt evinces will be cleared up by later rules.  Unfortunately, more confusion will no doubt ensue.

3C3.  What constitutes comprehension must itself be negotiated.  It is up to the players who are involved to determine the conditions that satisfy the negatiations.

        2C1.  I forgot to mention that another kind of naming is called negotiating.  For now, we'll say that this kind of name prescribes norms.  It is unclear whether or not norms are motorial actions.

3D.  Once one or more players are playing Blueprint together then all rules and names involved in the game are in principle enforced.  At is at this point, that we can say that the game of Blueprint has properly begun.

4A.  New moves in a game of Blueprint can be made on the basis of earlier moves.

For the sake of clarity, we will imagine that these moves move away from the previous move.  So that it does not appear that these moves can move us back to the null point, we will imagine each successive move as moving upwards.  Consequently, we will imagine Blueprint (for now) as a three-dimensional model.

4B.  New moves in a game of Blueprint can also be made on the basis of the null-point.

As described up to this point, it appears that we will have to imagine these rules as moving out from the null point at a diagonal line that can be imagined as changing the values of the x, y and z axes.  It is unclear whether or not any of these axes other than the z axis has an significance.

4C.  New moves in a game of Blueprint can give rise to new kinds of names.

4CA. For example, new moves can result it in a new kind of naming that I will call predication.  Predication involves connecting two names up to one another.

4CA1.  Predication gives rise to a fundamentally new intergame interpretive problem, which I will call ambiguity.  This seems to be a problem that has to do with how we describe the game that we are playing, the game that I am calling Blueprint.  Given the way the game has been described thus far, would it be better to imagine predication as moving between two already established names or to imagine predication as moving from both names to some third name.  Let's call the first interpretation analytic and say that it asserts an identity between the two names.  Let's call the second interpretation synthetic and say that it posits a relation between the two names.  Lest I be forced to choose prematurely which interpretation is "better" (without yet having even established what better would mean), let's imagine movements of predication taking place along a 4th axis, lets call it the w- axis.  It might be that the kind of sensorimotor equipment we happen to have has made it difficult for us to imagine this sort of move.  That is unfortunate.

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Benjamin said...

Is there only one sensory input or motorial action that each name can name? (from 3C1, 2C1, 4A, 4B)


Ideas Man, Ph.D. said...

A good question --- Right now I would say we are still at the level of common sense (so we haven't divided up the sensory sphere) and common motorial action (an analogy to common sense)

Ideas Man, Ph.D. said...

Also, we will soon learn that we are all already involved in multiple games of Blueprint.

Benjamin said...

"we are all already involved in multiple games of Blueprint"

This makes sense to me, especially given that once I read the invitation, I tacitly accepted it--comprehended the move.

The Jar said...

Oo, Oo, can I play too?

I've always found it more fun to start another game than to finish one I already started.