April 16, 2013

1. About what I wrote - 1 - Descartes
About ME/CFS


As before, my writing style changed a bit, in that I write about what I wrote, rather than about ME/CFS or what is in the news, though I will return to that, but not just now.

The present series started yesterday, and today I consider Descartes' "Meditations" with my notes. And in case this does not really interest you: There is an endnote, where I promise there will be another kind of Nederlog tomorrow.

1. About what I wrote - 1 - Descartes

I am not certain, but I think my edition + my notes
are the oldest - if one considers what is on my site, and if one also abstracts from - relatively small - parts of my comments to the Tractatus, that go all the way back to 1967.

It is not really important: Either the editions + comments on Leibniz or on Descartes or on Russell was the first, and they certainly were on my site all three by 1998, that is, for about 15 years.

Also, it is difficult to say because I don't think there is any copy left from 1998.

In any case, none of the three was much changed since 1998, though all have gone through changes of format & formatting. This means, in either case, that all of it was changed quite a few times, until it settled around 2004, but hardly any or indeed no textual changes were made. (What changed was mostly the format and size of the letters, and of the textbox.)

What I have done today is:
  • Changed the color of most of the tables of the notes to #CCCCFF (as in the present Nederlog), to have something I can more or less easily stare at, which I can't do with stark white tables. (It's better than it was, but even so.)
  • Added a separator like the following

    to separate the notes.
  • Added three notes to section VI.
  • Made a few words bold; added two links; and made a few very superficial corrections.
All of this has been uploaded, and it turns out that my notes are almost but not quite as large as the text they annotate.

Finally, here is one note, namely note 1 to chapter 3 - and I enclose it between two horizontal lines, because it is fairly long and may look a bit technical. The technicalities are mainly notational and do get explained, and this is my main note, and it is about
propositional attitudes:

In fact, continuing the trend of my last remark, there is the following specification of what makes a statement of propositional attitude and its contained proposition true:

(1) ("a")("A")("p")("aAp & p" is True iff
     ("a"S'a' & "A"S'A' & "p"S'p' &
       'a'RM & 'A'RA & 'p'Rp &
       Mea & aeW & AeM &
       'aAp'eA & "aAp"eW &

This may be read thus:

A propositional attitude "aAp & p" is true iff there are a world W, a body a, a fact p, a mind M, an attitude A, an idea of a person 'a', an idea of an attitude 'A', an idea of a fact 'p' such that "a" symbolizes the idea of a person 'a', "A" symbolizes the idea of an attitude 'A', "p" symbolizes the idea of a fact 'p', the idea of a person 'a' represents the mind M, the idea of an attitude 'A' represents the attitude A, the idea of a fact 'p' represents the fact p, the mind M is in the body a, the body a is in the world W, the attitude A is in the mind M, the idea that 'a has A to p' is in the attitude, the expression "aAp" is in the world, and the fact p is in the world.

Here is a picture in a form of a table to show the relations of containment: 




 'a'  'A 'p'



The following remarks need to be made

  • The relation (S) or symbolizes is a map from language L to meanings M
  • The relation (R) or represents is as explained below
  • It is assumed that if "aAp" is in a world, so are "a", "A" and "p"
  • It is assumed that if 'aAp' is in a mind, so are 'a', 'A' and 'p'
  • That the idea of a person represents a mind seems most natural
  • That the idea of a fact represents a fact does not entail the fact exists:
  • If a represented fact does not exist what 'p' represents is 'p', else it is p
  • That the mind is in the body does not necessarily entail it is a part of it, and
  • The same holds for the elements of a mind viz. its attitudes and ideas
  • Apart from the fact p being in W, all the rest is required for understanding "aAp"

The argument about the Cogito I gave in my comments to the previous Cartesian Meditation holds, with some suitable re-wording, and nothing that is said in the present note proves materialism or physicalism, since that depends on how one fleshes out the hypothesis of a mind.

But as the picture shows, one may take W which includes a and p as common sense reality with bodies and facts, and take M as a hypothetical theoretical term or as something that is inside a and not open to inspection in the common sense world. And indeed, one may take M as - part of - the brain of a.

It is most natural to say that the idea of a person represents its mind (which is in or at least of a body), and that a mind is made up of memories and capacities to abstract and combine ideas.

Also, the hypothesis of a mind is based in part on the supposed fact that experiences are private (and in some sense 'in' or 'of' bodies), and in part on the allowance to introduce theoretical entities that account for experienced facts - which is much like assuming a backside and an inside when one sees a front side of something.

And it is helpful in the above to introduce 'b(a)' for 'body of a', to distinguish it from 'a' for 'mind of body of a'.

Finally, there is a type of propositional attitude that differs from the standard ones that allow that either aAp & p or aAp & ~p, and which is self-validating in a way, namely feelings:

(2) f(b(a)) iff aF(f(b(a)))

That is: there are states of the body of a person that the person feels iff the states exist (provided the person's mind works properly - which is not the case, for example, in cases of pains in - amputated - phantom limbs).

The explanation of 'Represents' is as follows, in terms of set-theory and the additional notion of an index of a class (which is essentially a mapping of the class to a subset of the class), and supposing that the class X is a class of structures that are represented as n-ary relations:

Let X be a class, then j:X* is an index of X iff X* is a subset of X and j:X=>X* with dom(j)=X and ran(j)=X*. Now suppose j:X* is an index of X. Then

j:X* represents X iff
(ReX)(x1eX)...(xneX)((R(x1,..,xn)eX iff j(R)(j(x1),...,j(xn))) e X*.

Note that X is in fact supposed to be a class of relations or structures. Also, j(R) and j(xi) are in j:X* by definition. And so j:X* r X iff (x)(R) [ j(R)(..j(x)..)eX* iff R(..x..)eX ].

A related notion is a valuation by an index class: If the index class j:X* is such that X*={0,{X}} and j:X* r X iff (x)(R) [ j[R(..x)..)]=X iff R(..x..)eX ]. This represents negation iff j:X* r X iff (x)(R) [ j[not R(..x)..)]=X iff ~(R(..x..)eX) ]. Note a valuation is not from the structures of X to a subset of structures of X but to a subset of its powerset.

Also, with the above understanding my reconstruction of Descartes' "Cogito" remains valid, but can be seen to be rather trivial: When propositional attitudes are used, minds of persons and experiences of ideas are presumed in some way, as hypothetical theoretical entities that may be fleshed out in several different ways.

This seems to me much clearer that what Descartes offers.

The problem with Descartes is that he seems to have painted himself in a very small corner, with only unreliable mental experiences and language. Also, the "me" he takes his perceptions and imaginations to reside in is mysterious.

Endnote: I do not know how many people are going to enjoy this, but the above seems to be what Descartes should have done. (Or so I think.)

There will be tomorrow another file, almost certainly, but it will probably not be "About what I wrote", and the reason to avoid that for the third time in sequence  is to keep Nederlog varied.

About ME/CFS (that I prefer to call M.E.: The "/CFS" is added to facilitate
search machines) which is a disease I have since 1.1.1979:
1. Anthony Komaroff

Ten discoveries about the biology of CFS(pdf)

3. Hillary Johnson

The Why  (currently not available)

4. Consensus (many M.D.s) Canadian Consensus Government Report on ME (pdf - version 2003)
5. Consensus (many M.D.s) Canadian Consensus Government Report on ME (pdf - version 2011)
6. Eleanor Stein

Clinical Guidelines for Psychiatrists (pdf)

7. William Clifford The Ethics of Belief
8. Malcolm Hooper Magical Medicine (pdf)
Maarten Maartensz
Resources about ME/CFS
(more resources, by many)

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