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Re: Date's First Great Blunder

From: Anthony W. Youngman <>
Date: Sat, 24 Apr 2004 15:44:14 +0100
Message-ID: <>

In message <M0fic.1385$>, Senny <> writes
>> When a logic
>> starts making exceptions (ie unless X or Y has the special values
>> "UNAVAILABLE/UNKOWN" or Mercury in Newton's case), it is a red flag
>> that the model may not be entirely correct or has a limited scope (and
>> probably every model is limited, just to different degrees).
>Boolean is the limited model, not Larsenian. When a model claims that there
>are only two possibilities, it prevents you from asking many real-life
>questions. The classical logician loves to say "You asked a bullshit
>question" when you ask something that cannot resolve to TRUE or FALSE. It
>would be convenient if the universe did not have bullshit questions, but it
>does--lots of them, even. The Larsenian system I mentioned gives an answer
>to all possible predicates; Boolean logic does not. The fact that
>Larsenian answers are uncomfortable to many does not make it an improper
>system; the fact that Boolean logic does not let you ask many questions
>means it's an incomplete system.

"Will this plutonium atom decay tomorrow?"

There's your real-world question, with its answer of UNKNOWN (sorry for those folks sick of quantum :-)

Throw in Chaos - "the end result from two almost identical starting points may bear no resemblance whatever to each other".

For most people, even one answer of the form "there is no answer" is one too many. Unfortunately, in real life, such an answer more often than not is the correct one.

Hence me irritating everyone on this newsgroup by me asking questions, and questioning why they haven't been asked before :-) It's human nature not to ask, if you suspect you won't like the answer.


Anthony W. Youngman - wol at thewolery dot demon dot co dot uk
HEX wondered how much he should tell the Wizards. He felt it would not be a
good idea to burden them with too much input. Hex always thought of his reports
as Lies-to-People.
The Science of Discworld : (c) Terry Pratchett 1999
Received on Sat Apr 24 2004 - 09:44:14 CDT

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