Re: shades of grey --> black & white, small worlds, coalgebras?

Date view Thread view Subject view Author view

From: Jeff Bone (
Date: Fri May 18 2001 - 20:06:16 PDT

Dave Long wrote:

> Note however that Tom doesn't face this problem:
> he is willing to let (insists that?) the greys be
> greys. There is nothing inconsistent with saying
> both that life can be defined simply, and with
> saying that right and wrong can't be evaluated
> simply, because he hasn't assumed that there is
> a simple function generating right-values given
> the life-values.

Nor am I assuming this. I have no problem letting grey be grey in life and in personal decisions. IMO, though, it's a mistake to
legislate things that can't be translated from grey to black or white, for all practical purposes, in a generally acceptable way.
(And that's "generally acceptable when subjected to intense critical / ethical / logical scrutiny," not "generally acceptable due to
the total disenfranchisement of the governed.")

> I suppose that's what judges are for in legal
> systems -- law and precedent give a dithering
> of blacks and whites, against which the judge
> can compare the grey of the current situation.
> Law is, after all, about justice, and justice
> is rarely a matter of logical either/or.

Legislators, juries, judges: define, apply, eval. Still, these are today highly (and disconcertingly) subjective functions. Surely
we can do better; the very subjectivity of such functions should point to the areas where the pain is most acute in our law, and
hint at areas where the law inappropriately seeks to exert itself to compensate for lack of common sense. Those painful areas need
to be recognized as areas that any "fair and equitable" system should avoid.

> -Dave
> while I'm faux math geeking:
> > [4] Small Worlds: The Dynamics of Networks Between Order and Randomness by
> > Watts

It's a great book. Did I post something about this a coupla weeks ago? It's one of the most thought-provoking things I've read in a
long, long time. That and _What Is Random?_ are two of my top math reads of the last year, along with the mind-numbing but
instructive crawls I've been doing through Church and Curry.


Date view Thread view Subject view Author view

This archive was generated by hypermail 2b29 : Fri May 18 2001 - 20:23:52 PDT