[FRIAM] the role of metaphor in scientific thought

Vladimyr vburach at shaw.ca
Mon Jul 17 23:22:41 EDT 2017

To Nick Thompson,


I may have made an error when trying to reply with my Outlook email software not 

so unusual in this heat and with my condition. I apologize for confusion.

I have been wrestling with your questions. Honestly.


I asked myself essentially the same some time ago so I seem to have struck off on my own.

Not my first time in the wilderness feeling naked.


The  congregation ruckus has rekindled the fire under my arse. So here is my unholy

mixture of math and hidden philosophy



you may have to wait for a moment to download . I would like to volunteer to help you

with your efforts but can no longer travel. Glen Ropella most assuredly plays a major role in asking 

difficult questions which act as pivot points to redirect lines of inquiry. My own efforts are seemingly 

at some distance but when forced to think philosophically. I see we have much in common, I have even

provided some evidence of layers or levels in another guise. Name as of yet unknown… You both appear to have been

correct in some ways.


The object I work with is convenient but in no way obligated/entitled to importance. I could just as easily work with

a section of a millipede or a wind turbine. 

This thread should be maintained even though it seems to be rather dormant.

I am well aware that my offer also hides self interest but we can discuss that after this heat passes.




From: Friam [mailto:friam-bounces at redfish.com] On Behalf Of Nick Thompson
Sent: June-23-17 4:31 PM
To: 'The Friday Morning Applied Complexity Coffee Group'
Subject: Re: [FRIAM] the role of metaphor in scientific thought


Thank you, Frank.  A really important point.


So bachelor implies unmarried, but unmarried does not imply bachelor.  Your message also contained some additional correspondence which, for some reason, I have never seen.  I have no quick answer to any of it.  I still think that there is an important peril in explanations of the form “A is the explanation for A” but I am way less confident of my ability to identify pernicious extensions of that form.  And it still seems significant to me that you complexitists have not identified and agreed upon a target for your explanatory efforts.  (Please remind me, I if I am wrong about that).  So, unless I have gone dozy, we have two outstanding questions:


1.       When complexitists speak of complexity, to what phenomenon are they referring? 

2.       What are the conditions that predict the occurrence of such phenomena.  

3.       Does anybody on this list believe that it is fair to include parts of your answer to question #1 in your answer to question #2


One more thing.  Back in the email midden several days ago, I said something to Glen that was inadvertently tactless and overtly stupid.  Glen responded with kindness, generosity,  and indefatigable focus on the main issues.   This is to announce my gratitude to Glen for being … well … Glen.  I am honored that you-guys let me sit on the edge of your pool and dangle my feet in it.  That’s a metaphor.  



Nicholas S. Thompson

Emeritus Professor of Psychology and Biology

Clark University

 <http://home.earthlink.net/~nickthompson/naturaldesigns/> http://home.earthlink.net/~nickthompson/naturaldesigns/


From: Friam [mailto:friam-bounces at redfish.com] On Behalf Of Frank Wimberly
Sent: Friday, June 23, 2017 9:52 AM
To: The Friday Morning Applied Complexity Coffee Group <friam at redfish.com>
Subject: Re: [FRIAM] the role of metaphor in scientific thought


Has anybody mentioned that there are lot of unmarried men that you usually wouldn't call bachelors?  There are widowers, priests, and nineteen year-olds, for example.  I learned the word because my father's brother was a thirty-five year old Major in the Air Force with no wife. He eventually got married and had children. Late bloomer?



Frank Wimberly
Phone (505) 670-9918


On Jun 22, 2017 11:34 PM, "gepr ⛧" <gepropella at gmail.com> wrote:

But the difference isn't merely rhetorical. If we take the setup seriously, that the unmarried patient really doesn't know the other names by which his condition is known, then there are all sorts of different side effects that might obtain. E.g. if the doctor tells him he's a bachelor, he might google that and discover bachelor parties. But if the doctor tells him he is "single", he might discover single's night at the local pub.

My point was not only the evocation of various ideas, but also the side effects of various (computational) paths.

On June 22, 2017 7:00:55 PM PDT, Eric Charles <eric.phillip.charles at gmail.com> wrote:
>Glen said: "So, the loop of unmarried <=> bachelor has information in
>even if the only information is (as in your example), the guy learns
>because the condition has another name, perhaps there are other ways of
>thinking about it ... other _circles_ to use."
>This reminds me that, in another context, Nick complained to me quite a
>about Peirce's asserting that that any concept was simply a collection
>conceived "practical" consequences. He felt that the term "practical"
>unnecessary, and lead to confusions. I think this is a good example of
>Peirce used that term, and felt it necessary.
>Perice would point out that the practical consequences of being
>are identical to the practical consequences of being "a bachelor."
>though the spellings be different, there is only one idea at play there
>Peirce-land... if we are thinking clearly). This is the tautology that
>is pointing at, and he isn't wrong.
>And yet, Glen is still clearly correct that using one term or the other
>more readily invoke certain ideas in a listener. Those aren't practical
>differences in Peirce's sense- they are not differences in practice
>would achieve if one tested the unique implications of one label or the
>other (as there are no contrasting unique implications). The value of
>having the multiple terms is rhetorical, not logical.
>What to do with such differences..............


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