Disciplinary Matrix

Beliefs, Models, and Analogies

Go Definition
  1   There is no Riddle to Existence
2 One's Own View of Reality as the Only Reality is the Most Dangerous of all Delusions
3 Order and Chaos are not Objective, they are Determined by the Perspective of the Observer
4 The World is Four-Dimensional
5 Even if All Scientific Questions can be Answered, the Problems of Life have still not been Touched
6 Man Exists in a Broad, Complex, and Private Relation to Life
7 Man Never Ceases to Seek Knowledge
8 Man's Quest for Understanding of the Meaning of his Existence is an Attempt at Formalization
9 Existential Despair is the Painful Discrepancy Between What Is and What Should Be
10 General Systems Theory as a Model for Human Interaction
11 Paradox as a Model for Communication Disorders in Psychotherapy
12 Theoretical Game Model for Concept of Interdependence
13 Feedback and Circulatory as a Model for Interaction
14 Mathematical Function and the Concept of Relationship in Communication
15 Communication as Metamathematics
16 Theory of Levels of Language and Theory of Logical Types
17 The Concept of Calculus in Metamathematics as an Analogy for Metacommunication

1. There is No Riddle to Existence

"But the solution to the riddle of life and space and time lies outside space and time. For, as it should be abundantly clear by now, nothing inside a frame can state, or even ask, anything about that frame. The solution, then, is not the finding of an answer to the riddle of existence, but the realization that there is no riddle. This is the essence of the beautiful, almost Zen Buddhist closing sentences of the Tracticus:
For an answer which cannot be expressed the question too cannot be expressed. The riddle does not exist..."

2. One's Own View of Reality as the Only Reality is the Most Dangerous of All Delusions.

"As I have already said, the belief that one's own view of reality is the only reality is the most dangerous or all delusions. It becomes still more dangerous if it is coupled with the missionary zeal to enlighten the rest of the world, whether the rest of the world wishes to be enlightened or not. To refuse to embrace wholeheartedly a particular definition of reality (e.g. an ideology), to dare to see the world differently can become a think crime' in a truly Orwellian sense as we get steadily closer to 1984."

3. Order and Chaos are Not Objective, They are Determined by the Observer.

"With this we have-re-entered, through a rear door, the field of communication--probably just at the moment the reader was beginning to wonder what all this had to do with the subject of this book. For once it is understood that contrary to general belief, order and chaos are not objective truths, but--like so many other things in life--determined by the perspective of the observer, it becomes possible to look at communication and certain disturbances of communication from a new vantage point."

4. Our World is Four-Dimensional

"Time is not, as it is sometimes believed to be, merely a dimension of the human mind, a necessary delusion of consciousness. And indeed, physics has found evidence of this. Einstein's and Minkowski's space-time continuum is the most modern and precise representation of our physical reality yet presented, and it leaves no doubt that our universe is four-dimensionan at least appreciate that four types of measurements are needed to define the location of an event in our world, its spatial coordinates (e.g., longitude, latitude, and elevation) and its point in time."

5. Even If All Scientific Questions Can Be Answered, the Problems of Life Have Not Been Touched

"We feel that even if all possible scientific questions be answered, the problems of life have still not been touched at all. Of course there is then no question left, and just this is the answer."

6. Man Exists in a Broad, Complex, and Private Relation to Life

"In a sense, then this chapter is a statement of faith: the belief that man exists in a broad, complex, and private relation to life."

7. Man Never Ceases to Seek Knowledge

"Man never ceases to seek knowledge about the objects of his experiences, to understand their meaning for his existence and to react to them according to his understanding. Finally, out of the sum total of the meanings that he has deduced from his contacts with numerous single objects of his environment there grows a unified view of the world into which he finds himself "throw" (to use an existentialist term again) and this view is of the third order."

8. Man's Quest for Understanding of the Meaning of Existence is an Attempt at Formalization

"If we have dwelled on Goedel's work at some length, is it because we see it in the mathematical analogy of what we would call the the ultimate paradox of man's existence. Man is ultimately subject and object of his quest. While the question whether the mind can be considered to be anything life a formalized system, as defined in the preceding paragraph, is probably unanswerable, his quest for an understanding of the meaning of his existence is an attempt at formalization

9. Existential Despair is the Painful Discrepancy Between What Is and What Should Be

"If we search our subjective experience in comparable situation, we find that we are likely to assume the actions of a secret experimenter' behind the vicissitudes of our lives. The loss or the absence of a meaning in life is perhaps the most common denominator or all forms of emotional distress; it is especially the much-commented-on modern' illness. Pain, disease, loss, failure, despair, disappointment, the fear of death, or merely boredom--all lead to the feeling that life is meaningless. It seems to us that in its most basic definition, existential despair is the painful discrepancy between what is, and what should be, between one's perceptions and one's third-order premises."

10. General Systems Theory as a Model for Interaction

"Interaction can be considered as a system, and the general theory of systems gives insight into the nature of interactional systems. General Systems Theory is not only a theory of biological, economic, or engineering systems. Despite their widely varying subject matter, these theories of particular systems have so many common conceptions that a more general theory has evolved which structures the similarities into formal isomorphism. ...'The isomorphy we have mentioned is a consequence of the fact that in certain aspects, corresponding abstractions and conceptual models can be applied to different phenomena. It is only in view of these aspects that system laws will apply.'

"Finally, one of the most significant characteristics of open systems is found in equifinal behavior, especially in contrast to the closed-system model. The final state of the closed system is completely determined by initial circumstances that can therefore be said to be the best explanation' of that system; in the case of the open system, however, organizational characteristics of the system can operate to achieve even the extreme case of total independence of initial conditions. The system is then its own best explanation, and the study of its present organization the appropriate methodology.

"Human interaction is described as a communication system, characterized by the properties of general systems: time as a variable, system-subsystem relations, wholeness, feedback, and equifinality. Ongoing interactional systems are seen as the natural focus for study of the long-term pragmatic impact of communicational phenomena. Limitation in general and the development of family rules in particular lead to a definition and illustration of the family as a rule-governed system."

11. Paradox as a Model for Communication Disorders in Psychotherapy

"In summary, there are three types of paradoxes:
  1. logico-mathematical paradoxes (antinomies)
  2. paradoxical definitions (semantical antinomies)
  3. pragmatic paradoxes, (paradoxical injunctions and paradoxical predictions.)
clearly corresponding within the framework of the theory of human communication, to the three main areas of this theory--the first type to logical syntax, the second to semantics, and the third to pragmatics."

12. Theoretical Game Model for Concept of Interdependence

"The concept of interdependence is perhaps best introduced by the game-theoretical model of the Prisoner's Dilemma, formulated and named by Albert W. Tucker, a professor of mathematics at Princeton. In its original version, a district attorney is holding two men suspected of armed robbery. There is not enough evidence to take the case to court, so he has the two men brought to his office. He tells them that in order to have them convicted, he needs a confession; without them he can charge them only with illegal possession of firearms, which carries a penalty of six months in jail. Of they both confess, he promises them the minimum sentence for armed robbery, which is two-years. If, however, only one confesses, he will be considered a state witness and go free, while the other will get twenty years, the maximum sentence. Then, without giving them a chance to arrive at a joint decision, he has them locked up in separate cells from which they cannot communicate with each other....

This is their dilemma, and it has no solution. Even if the prisoners somehow succeeded in communicating with each other and reach a joint decision, their fate will still depend on whether each feels he can trust the other to stick to the decision--if not, the vicious circle will start all over again."

13. Feedback and Circulatory as a Model for Interaction

"If the parts of a system are not summatively or unilaterally related, then in what manner are they united? Having rejected these two classified conceptual models, we would then seem to be left with what in the nineteenth and early twentieth centuries were their disreputable alternatives -- vague, vitalistic, and metaphysical notions which, since they did not fit the doctrine of determinism, were branded teleological. However, as already shown... the conceptual shift from energy (and matter) to information has finally led us away from the sterile choice between deterministic and teleological casual schemes. Since the advent of cybernetics and the discovery' of feedback, it has been seen that circular and highly complex relatedness is a markedly different but no less scientific phenomena than simpler and more orthodox casual notions. Feedback and circularity, as described in detail in Chapter 1 and as illustrated repeatedly in Chapters 2 and 3, are the appropriate causal model for a theory of interactional systems. The specific nature of a feedback process is of much greater interest than original and, frequently, outcome."

14. Mathematic Function and the Concept of Relationship in Communication

"There exists a suggestive parallelism between the emergence of the mathematical concept of function and the awakening of psychology to the concept of relationship."

15. Communication as Metamathematics

"When we no longer use communication to communicate but to communicate about communication, as we inevitably must in communication research, then we use conceptualizations that are not part of but about communication. In analogy to metamathematics, this is called metacommunication. Compared with metamathematics, research in metacommunication is at two significant disadvantages. This first is that in the field of human communication there exists as yet nothing comparable to the formal system of a calculus.... The second difficulty is closely related to the first: while metamathematics posses two languages (numbers and algebraic symbols to express mathematics, and natural language for the expressions of metamathematics), we are mainly restricted to natural language as a vehicle for both communications and metacommunications. This problem will arise again and again in the course of our consideration."

16. Theory of Levels of Language and the Theory of Logical Types

"Perhaps the most famous of all semantical antinomies is that of the man who says of himself, I am lying.' On following this statement to its logical conclusion, we find again that it is true only if it is not true; in other words, the man is lying only if he is telling the truth, and vice-versa, truthful when he is lying. In this case, the theory of logical types cannot be used to eliminate the antimony, for words or combinations of words do not have a logico-type hierarchy. To the best of our knowledge, it was again Bertran Russell who first though of a solution. In the last paragraph of his introduction of Wittgenstein's Tracticus Logico-Philosophicus he suggests in an almost identical fashion, that every language has, as Mr. Wittegenstein says, a structure concerning which, in the language, nothing can be said, but that there may be another language dealing with the structure, and that to this hierarchy, of languages, there may be no limit'. This suggestion was developed, mainly be Carnap and by Tarski, into what is now known as the theory of levels of language. In analogy to the theory of logical types, this theory safeguards against the confusion of levels."

17. A Game Like Chess and a Formalized Mathematical Calculus

"...general meta-chess' theorems can be established whose proof involves only a finite number of permissible configurations on the board. The metachess' theorem about the number of possible opening moves for white can be established in this way; and so can the meta-chess' theorem that if white has only two Knights and the King, and black only his King, it is impossible for white to force black into a mate.

"We have quoted this analogy at length because it illustrates the concept of calculus not only in metamathematics but also in metacommunication. For if we expand the analogy to include the two players we are no longer studying an abstract game but, rather, sequences of human interaction that are strictly governed by a complex body of rules."


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