ken's work

NMF nm_fournier at ns.sympatico.ca
Mon Mar 15 21:17:48 EST 2004


Matt,

I think Ken's ideas have unique insight and I totally agree with your
comments regarding the difficulty with his approach in generalization to
different discourses. As I have stated earlier, to bring such vague
non-measurable constructs that possess great distance between the discourses
being described can lead to erroneous conclusions.  Some phenomena do not
lend themselves well to being discussed from the prespectives of other
models.  For example, assessing biological function of the cell at the
subatomic level brings interesting insight into aspects of the functionality
of the cell, however, the methods, models, measurements, and conceptual
frameworks employed in these situations are so different between these two
types of phenomena that the translation and interconnection between the
discourses ultimately take the form of descriptive tactics rather than
quantitative comparisons.  This has been the trend I have seen in Ken's
posts.  They are insightful, creative, interesting, and compelling - yet
they remain as analogies.  And as I stated before, "The entire theory lies
heavily upon metaphor and qualitative comparisons, a procedure that allows
just about all sets of general phenomena to be associated in a  superficial
manner."

I'm not saying that anolgies between known phenomena and new or
unestablished processes are negative, quite the contrary.  But what I am
saying is that as long the probationary nature of the comparisons are
maintained such approaches are valid.  Let me give you an example,
comparisons of human memory to the domains of ferromagnetic materials and
hysteresis loops can be beneficial to determine not only the limitations of
a model but also to evaluate extrapolations derived from quantifiable and
validated data (magnetism) to more vague processes (memory).  However, any
relationship between these two processes must be considered correlational,
otherwise the ultimate conclusion is that human memory is ferromagnetic
crystal domains.  From this logic, we could conclude that an apple is an
orange simply because they similar characteristics, i.e. seeds, a core, and
a skin.

I find Ken's work quite refreshing and interesting.  And my comments are not
to be taken as a direct attack against him or his work.  In any case, could
you please send me a copy of this 'infamous' text.

Thanks.







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