Saturday, January 30, 2016

Example of Truism 8 [NOT!]

My back is better but still a little bit off.
Update: I have been toying with whether the relation of 'healing' to 'healed' is a factoid or an example of Truism 8. It makes me think Truism 8 needs another sub-version for events with expected outcomes that are not the result of a person acting - not the result of will but of the definition of the process that is invoked. "To heal' is a process.
But then I am wondering if, the extent to which we expect an outcome to have value could be contingent on the extent to which we think the event was a willful process?

ARGH! It is hard to analyze these things. I think it is fair to say that a bad back is implicit in the  statement "my back is better". So we could write (back_/good)* followed (according to T7) by back_/good. However, the back being bad is only implicit, hence it becoming explicit is actually the Hybrid Truism 6-7.
Before getting carried away by the idea of 'process' , note that it is a version of implicit information that includes sequence. Hence T6 and 7 apply]

Thursday, January 28, 2016

Competitiveness, paranoia, etc?

Since starting to think in terms of narrative patterns, I have gotten to know some of my basic urges better. I have a better understanding, specifically, of impatience and the energy behind the motivation to fix what is missing/incomplete/wrong - as per Truism 7.

I sense a similar energy behind competitiveness, where I don't want to let someone pass me while driving, or I do want to pass someone else. Or when I am next to someone at two-lane red light and I have an urge to be the "first out of the gate". So if competitive energy springs from a different source than incompleteness (Truism 7) energy, then what is it? Does it count as a narrative pattern? Does it have a linguistic form?

Come to mention it, paranoia is yet a further distinct "feeling" (maybe not exactly an 'urge'). But again, one wonders if paranoia is a narrative pattern and if it has a linguistic form.

I know I am using the same hammer whenever I sense a nail.

Sunday, January 24, 2016

Zebra Stripes - what are they for?

A bunch of stories about how zebra stripes do not provide camouflage as had been thought - so the purpose of the stripes is unclear. My two cents are: it is hard to look at a zebra and very difficult to judge where the edge of it is because normal visual edge detection is (if nothing else is) seriously disrupted when the object with "edges" has stripes that match the back of the eye/cortical zone striping - there is a resonance that is painful. Since it is hard to see the edge of a zebra, it is hard to jump on the right part of it, during the hunt. So: stripes fool strikes.
Update: not much excuse for failure to identify zebra stripes as matching visual cortical striping.

Saturday, January 23, 2016

Launched my boat again

Jan 23, 2016. Re wrote the introduction and re submitted Truisms and the Elements of Narrative to the "Linguistics and Philosophy" Journal. Maybe this time it will actually get reviewed rather than rejected for content mismatch.

Thursday, January 21, 2016

Sighing and disappointment sounds

Have I written here about the non-verbal narratives like sighs and the two-note descending minor 3rd of disappointment? The latter is present in the "Ha Ha" of Nelson on The Simpsons, and words like "sorry", "uh oh", "too bad", and in the top-hat cymbal combo after a joke falls flat.

My question is: is the sound of sighing the same narrative as the sound of disappointment? More generally, how would you establish boundaries between one meaning and another, for non-verbal entities?

Tuesday, January 19, 2016

"Wild Improvisation"

(from a letter to a friend)
Speaking of improvs, a few years ago I was trying to play the keyboard - which I can barely do. My ideas can tumble out much faster than I can produce realistically on the keyboard. But I learned to proceed regardless of the incompetence of my fingers. Sometimes I just pound the keyboard with both fists, following roughly the rhythm and phrasing that I have in mind and I discovered that this works. With the philosophy that "phrasing is everything" I came to be more comfortable with what I now call "wild improvisation". If you maintain phrasing you can almost entirely ignore which actual notes get hit. It is fun and, I dare say, it is probably interesting on occasion.

Tuesday, January 12, 2016

"Yada Yada..."

An adjective of 'story' noun type.

It is interesting cuz it is often used as a editorializing comment to skip ahead in a story.

Is this the scenario: we are in a narrative, go meta and turn it into a noun of type 'story' while commenting on skipping ahead ("yada yada"), then revert back into the narrative? 

Thursday, January 7, 2016

Assumptions of symmetry...another truism?

Something is wrong. I am finding too many new truisms. Consider: "I was nice to her but she was not nice to me". What is the underlying truism?
NO: it is Truism 4 applied to a known relation like "nice to".
Update: Hun? This example is a challenge.
Point #1: subjects have factoid structure and when factoids are violated it warrants using "but". So for example "I went to watch the sunset but it was cloudy".
Point #2 is that the symmetry of a relation is not a factoid but something else. You could spin it as an example of Truism #4C, where there friendship between two people is regarded as a single entity with two attributes being connected by that truism. One attribute of the friendship is the "nice to" in one direction; the other attribute is the "nice to" in the other direction. In this case the symmetry is the assumption on similarity of two different attributes of the friendship.
NO! Truism 4 says relationships remain the same, the "nice" relationship is an example, where we are swapping the 'from'/'to' roles in the two mentions of the relationship.

Wednesday, January 6, 2016

About the unanswered phone - More truisms?

I hope not, as I already submitted, with 8. Anyway, this could be #9:

Expectation 9
When we expect a person to act in a certain way, it embodies an assumption of a circumstance that will be changed. 
person->H::H* ????

I believe these are truisms of literature (i.e. in the context of the 'story' noun type) but they could be ones of language or even of plain psychology (to which we proto semantic notation applies easily enough). I haven't found sentences with this format but consider the following explanation of the 'unanswered phone': We expect a person to answer a ringing phone. We expect the ringing to stop.

What about a person next to a cute puppy? Do we expect the person to pat the puppy? The theory seems to hinge on whether any such expectation would have to be accompanied by a change in the circumstances that produce the expectation - but of course, patting a puppy does changes the circumstances significantly.

So we'll give this some thought.

My uncertainty as to whether this is language, literature, or psychology, shows a weakness in reasoning. I can easily construct a sentence like "The light turned green but the cars did not make it through", or "The phone rang and he didn't answer." These are just Truism 7.  Here, in E9, a person is involved and responsible for causing the relief.
Update: I begin to think there are principles involved in projecting our wants and behaviors onto any other person acting in the scene. This, combined with the slipperiness of the "story"-type of noun means it is not going to be easy to figure out.
What about, for narrative N()
N( person->[Z], A* ) :: A

The Unanswered Phone

In the first episode of the comedy The IT Crowd, we watch a character sitting in a room when a phone starts ringing. The character sits there, reading the paper and ignoring the phone, while we become more and more uncomfortable. 

Why is it unpleasant? I think because an expectation of contrast is frustrated. See next post.

There are a couple of side issues.
 - One is our reaction to a room that is empty except for the phone. If it rings it may cause more or less discomfort. I am told there is a Tom Stoppard play where characters appear from the side lines to answer the phone. This, in turn, leads to several jokes (mostly from Bob Berger) using permutations of an empty stage and actors, all of whom could have additional cell phones in there pockets. My joke is that when the character finally answers the phone, suppose it goes on ringing?

Tuesday, January 5, 2016

Does this work as a joke?

A guys sits next to the phone reading. The phone starts to ring and he ignores it. It goes on...until we get uncomfortable, then he picks up the phone and says "hello". But the phone keeps ringing.

Sunday, January 3, 2016

Russell on Kant - a critique

In "Principles of Mathematics" Russell repeatedly critiques Kant's theory of a priori intuitions as a foundational principle for mathematics [eg p.5, p.158 of The Norton Library version] . As far as I can make out, Russell's basic argument contains these premises:
  • Kant thought a priori intuitions were the foundation of mathematical belief [my own term].
  • Kant's idea of belief was equivalent to Russell's idea of mathematical truth.
  • Non-Euclidean geometry was discovered (after Kant) and proved that Euclidean propositions could not be considered true, as they have alternatives.
  • THEREFORE: the foundation of mathematics cannot be a priori intuitions.
I think this is terrible sloppy as well as slippery reasoning. So here are some critiques:
  1. Russell seems (at least briefly) to confuse mathematical truth with general truth. While mutually exclusive propositions from Euclidean and non-Euclidean geometry do show the impossibility of such propositions having a general truth, there is no requirement that both propositions be believed simultaneously in the middle of a mathematical proof.
  2. Russell seems, almost disingenuously, to be ignoring the viability of alternative a priori intuitions. I see no reason why an intuition of parellelism (in Euclid) cannot be replaced by an alternative intuition of -say- null parallelism (in spherical geometry). We can have either intuitions, as long as we do not try to hold both intuitions in mind simultaneously.
  3. Ultimately, everything Russell concludes is based on the fallacy that intuitions must be equivalent to general truth. By connecting these two things, insisting that they go together, and refuting 'truth', he pretends to refute 'intuitions'.  This is called a straw man argument. 
I suspect that Kant considered a priori intuitions as relevant to a particular type of mathematical reasoning and did not confuse that with what was generally true in the universe. I suspect Russell was not confused either, except temporarily when he was trying to justify the claim that all mathematics followed from logic, without need for intuitions.