[FRIAM] abduction and casuistry

Gillian Densmore gil.densmore at gmail.com
Thu Aug 22 21:51:03 EDT 2019


On Thu, Aug 22, 2019 at 7:47 PM Gillian Densmore <gil.densmore at gmail.com>

> [image: image.png]
> [image: image.png]
> In light of over thinking, and taking a yet another thread into some as
> yet found mirror universe- I less than subtly discrupt with silly memes, as
> a not so subtle hint that somethings aint worth over thinking
> ^Said in a John Clease tone because I haven't a clue how to spell that
> amazing mans name
> On Thu, Aug 22, 2019 at 7:26 PM Nick Thompson <nickthompson at earthlink.net>
> wrote:
>> Hi, Glen,
>> This is one of those moments when Steve Smith may be able to rescue my
>> ability to participate further in this conversation by making a
>> translation.   Steve?  Can you help here?
>> By the way, I am still puzzled by how one makes inferences or
>> explanations without categories and/or principles?  Can you give me an
>> example from everyday life?
>> So, the way into my basement requires passing through a low doorway.
>> Every year, in the first week we come here, I go down there and ram my head
>> on the top of the door.   Ok, so the next time I go down, as soon as I
>> enter the passageway leading to the door, I feel uneasy ...."This is like
>> the time I bumped my head" ... and, unless I am demented by haste, I duck
>> my head.  Simple as this example is, still it involves (on my account,
>> anyway), the application of a principle to a category.
>> Which suggests to me that when you seem to talk about rule-less thinking
>> (unruly thinking?), you actually talking about choosing among different
>> sorts of rules and categories, how we decide amongst them, when we decide
>> to give up on one and employ another.
>>  Perhaps this is a way of asking the same question:  As you understand
>> "deontological" thought, how is it different from plain-old logical
>> thought?
>> Nick
>> Nicholas S. Thompson
>> Emeritus Professor of Psychology and Biology
>> Clark University
>> http://home.earthlink.net/~nickthompson/naturaldesigns/
>> -----Original Message-----
>> From: Friam [mailto:friam-bounces at redfish.com] On Behalf Of u?l? ?
>> Sent: Thursday, August 22, 2019 1:49 PM
>> To: friam at redfish.com
>> Subject: Re: [FRIAM] abduction and casuistry
>> Maybe to give context to my hand-wavey colloquial nonsense below, I
>> *really* like Gabbay and Woods' [†] formulation of an "abductive schema":
>> > Let Δ=(A_1,…,A_n) be a *database* of some kind. It could be a theory or
>> an inventory of beliefs, for example. Let ⊢ be a *yielding relation*, or,
>> in the widest possible sense, a consequence relation. Let Τ be a given wff
>> (well-formulated formula) representing, e.g., a fact, a true proposition,
>> known state of affairs, etc. And let A_(n+j), j=1,…,k be wffs. Then
>> <Δ,⊢,Τ,A_(n+j)> is an abductive resolution if and only if the following
>> conditions hold.
>> >
>> > 1. Δ⋃{A_(n+j)} ⊢ Τ
>> > 2. Δ⋃{A_(n+j)} is a consistent set
>> > 3. Δ ⊬ Τ
>> > 4. {A_(n+j)} ⊬ Τ
>> >
>> > The generality of this schema allows for variable interpretations of ⊢.
>> In standard AI approaches to abduction there is a tendency to treat ⊢ as a
>> classical deductive consequence. But, as we have seen, this is
>> unrealistically restrictive.
>> (Emphasis is theirs, at least in the draft copy I have.) They go on to
>> assert:
>> > ⊢ can be treated as a relation which gives with respect to Τ *whatever*
>> property the investigator (the abducer) is interested in Τ's having, and
>> which is not delivered by Δ alone or by {A_(n+j)} alone.
>> In my colloquial description, Δ is the collection of old dots there at
>> the start of the process and Τ is the new dot. It's open whether or not the
>> set of wffs (A) are also dots or part of the connections drawn between
>> them, depending on how you feel about *dot composition* (e.g. subsets of
>> dots that are all very close together, so we just draw them as one big dot
>> or somesuch) and scale/resolution. Rule (2) is *clearly* a rule for how the
>> dots can be connected. In general, consistency is also an ambiguous concept.
>> As always, I'm probably wrong about whatever it is Gabbay and Woods are
>> saying. Any errors are mine. But maybe their words above can give some
>> context for how I feel about "reasoning from particulars".
>> [†] https://www.powells.com/book/-9780444517913
>> On 8/22/19 8:26 AM, glen∈ℂ wrote:
>> > First, did you miss Dave's contribution?  It was more on-topic than
>> mine!
>> >
>> > On Rigor: Yes, there's quite a bit of what you say I can agree with.
>> But only if I modify *my* understanding of "rigor". I think rigor is any
>> methodical, systematic behavior to which one adheres to strictly. It is the
>> fidelity, the strict adherence that defines "rigor", not the underlying
>> structure of the method or system. And in that sense, one can be rigorously
>> anti-method. Rigorously pro-method means adhering to that method and never
>> making exceptions. Rigorously anti-method means *never* following a method
>> and paying (infinite) attention to all exceptions, i.e. treating everything
>> as a single instance particular, an exception. I grant that "methodical
>> anti-method" is a paradox... but only that, not a contradiction.
>> >
>> > On monism vs. monotheism: The simple answer is "no". I'm not confusing
>> the two. By reducing every-stuff to one-stuff, *and* talking about types of
>> inference like ab-, in-, and de-duction, you are being (at least in my
>> view) axiomatic, with a formal system based on 1 ur-element. Everything
>> else in the formal system has to be derived from that ur-element via rules.
>> To boot, your attempt to classify casuistry and abduction (same or
>> different is irrelevant, it's the classification effort that matters)
>> argues for some sort of formalization of them. A/The formalization of
>> abduction is an active research topic. My use of the word "deontological"
>> was intended to refer to this rule-based, axiomatic way of thinking. I'm
>> sorry if that lead to a red herring off into moral philosophy land.
>> >
>> > On inferring from particulars: While it's true that induction builds a
>> predicate around a particular, it is a "closed" set. (Scare quotes because
>> "closed" can mean so much.) Abduction doesn't build predicates and any
>> explanation it does build is "open" in some sense. So, I would agree with
>> you that one can't really *argue* from a particular using abduction. I tend
>> to think of it more like brain storming, in a kindasorta Popperian, open
>> way. Any proto-hypothesis can be brought to bear on the abductive target.
>> And the best we can do is play around with the abductive target to see if
>> it might kindasorta *fit* into that open set of proto-hypotheses. Once you
>> land on a set of proto-hypotheses that's small enough to be feasibly
>> formulated into testable hypotheses, then you reason by induction over
>> those hypotheses.
>> >
>> > In some ways, this would be very like what I, in my ignorance, think
>> casuistry is. I'd argue that an experimentalist's focus on putting data
>> taking in 1st priority and hypothesis formulation in 2nd priority falls in
>> the same camp. So, I agree that casuistry looks a lot like abduction. But I
>> don't think that that criminologist was doing either of them.
>> >
>> > On ontology vs. rules *and* reasoning from particulars: The
>> proto-hypotheses I mention above do not have to take the form of "rules to
>> apply" to the abductive target. Think of the game "connect the dots", where
>> the dots are particulars and they are/can be interpolated and/or
>> extrapolated by an infinite number of lines between them. On the one hand,
>> more dots can make it more difficult to find a pattern that includes the
>> *new* dot, but perhaps only when you're already pre-biased with a set of
>> lines that connect the old dots. On the other hand, if you're rule-free
>> when you look at the old set of dots *and* rule-free when you look at them
>> with the new dot included, you're open to any set of connecting lines.
>> >
>> > Of course, in science, we do have an ur-rule ... that *all* the dots
>> must be connected. So, that constrains the set of lines that connect the
>> dots. And the more dots, the fewer ways there are to connect them. But
>> practicality demands that we doubt at least some dots. So, we're allowed to
>> throw out the weakest dots if that allows us to form more interesting
>> connective patterns.
>> >
>> > So, in this scenario, the proto-hypotheses are really just collections
>> of old dots in which the new dot must sit.  We're not reasoning from *one*
>> particular to testable hypotheses. We're reasoning from the addition of
>> that particular to collections of other particulars.
>> --
>> ☣ uǝlƃ
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