First Causes

Alex Green dralexgreen at yahoo.co.uk
Wed Sep 15 06:54:32 EST 2004

lesterDELzick at worldnet.att.net (Lester Zick) wrote in message news:<41470a1e.36876126 at netnews.att.net>...
> On 14 Sep 2004 03:19:01 -0700, dralexgreen at yahoo.co.uk (Alex Green) in
> comp.ai.philosophy wrote:
> >lesterDELzick at worldnet.att.net (Lester Zick) wrote in message news:<4144695e.8291314 at netnews.att.net>...
> >> On Sat, 11 Sep 2004 16:47:32 GMT, Paul Victor Birke
> >> <nonlinear at rogers.com> in comp.ai.philosophy wrote:
> >> 
> >> >OK Lester, slowly absorbing your comments!
> >> >
> >> >thanks
> >> >
> >> >Paul
> >> >
> >> >PS  If I could just say you are arguing that a change is by definition a 
> >> >difference and the first change as it were must therefore be a delta or 
> >> >difference in its essential form.  If this too crude a summary?
> >> >
> >> >Paul
> >> 
> >> Hi Paul -
> >> 
> >> It's hard to agree or disagree. Differences certainly result in change
> >> and all change originates in differences. But if we rely on change in
> >> conventional terms to define differences, we may well exclude other
> >> aspects of differences which do not necessarily result in change. I'm
> >> thinking here of apparently static differences which define space, for
> >> example.
> >> 
> >
> >Asserting that space can only be defined by differences is equivalent
> >to stating that all information must be encoded. ie: a location of one
> >point is taken then a location of another point is taken and an output
> >1 is made if they are different. This is actually equivalent to
> >building in an assumption that information systems theory (and pre
> >twentieth century physics) applies to all phenomena.
> I have no idea what you mean by encoded or the other terms you use
> here. 

Let me explain. The use of the concept 'DifferAnce' and your related
concept arose first in linguistics and was then extended generally by
Derrida et al. Language is a flow of information in a single
communication channel which is why an information systems description
of the world appears self evident to these philosophers.

Your 'difference' was applied by yourself in a particular case as

"I'm thinking here of apparently static differences which define
space, for example."

I pointed out HOW such a spatial difference might be determined:
"a location of one point is taken then a location of another point is
taken and an output 1 is made if they are different".
Such a determination involves encoding location data. This encoded
data is 'information' and the 'difference' is the output of an
information system.
(Encoding is performed by changing the state of a carrier so that it
can convey data about a property of a form).

If you maintain that 'difference' just exists this seems to be
identical to saying that things are arranged in space and time.  Are
you sure that you are not merging two concepts here, the existence of
things and the determination of the existence of things?  The first is
a phenomenon, the second is an operation.

> What you have in terms of universally demonstrable first causes
> are differences, and differences between differences, and the results
> of those differences are whatever they are. If certain results coexist
> with respect to one another and yet differ from each other, they are
> said to exist in space. 

Surely it makes as much sense to say that things exist in space and
that it is also possible to perform an OPERATION called 'difference'
to determine whether there are 1 thing or 2 things in this space. If
your 'difference' is not an operation then it is equivalent to the
statement 'space-time and things exist' -in which case why not just
say this?

Space-time is a much richer concept than 'difference', difference is
just a comparison between things (an operation) whereas space-time has
a metric that gives it a wide range of properties.

> There is no other way to know space or time or
> anything else, for that matter, except in terms of differences and
> differences between differences and that principle compounded in terms
> of itself because there is no other first cause other than differences
> applicable to anything. (The phrase differences between differences is
> not the same as the self contradictory alternative different from
> differences.)

You have not shown that there is no other way. If difference is an
operation and it is the first cause then you are implicitly assuming
that only information theory occurs in the world.

If your 'difference' is a phenomenon then it is things themselves
arranged in space-time and a highly misleading label for this. If it
is an operation then it has a meaning that is similar to the ordinary
meaning of the term and it involves the encoding and transformation of

Is 'difference' an operation? If not how does it operate?(!)

> >See: http://www.users.globalnet.co.uk/~lka/strongai.htm
> >
> >It is evident from the homunculus argument that somewhere in the brain
> >the state or form of brain activity takes over from simple encoding.
> As noted in my collateral reply nothing in what I suggest has anything
> to do with computationalism as far as the mechanical implementation of
> sentience or machine or artificial intelligence is concerned except
> with respect to modeling.

Best Wishes

Alex Green

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