... and on!!

From Greg Williams (930331)

Bill Powers (930330.2000 MST)

Perhaps there is a simple question I should have asked
originally, if I failed to do so: what kind of "understanding"
would be satisfactory to you?

A kind which is not based solely on my introspective assessment that
you have "correctly" identified the appropriate subset of my
motivations. I believe that such a kind is possible in theory,
although it might be very difficult (challenging?) to come up with in
practice in some (many? most?) cases. If I were really motivated to
perceive X, then if you applied disturbances in an attempt to make me
NOT perceive X, I would attempt to correct for those disturbances, and
such attempted corrections would constitute evidence for my REAL
motivations, independent of what I THINK my motivations are.

Am I aiming at a moving target, or any target at all?

I think the target is moving, if at all, rather slowly. But that's
only my (honest) impression.

Is there any substance in your challenge?

I believe that there is.

It has crossed my mind that you are mainly defending against
being understood. That would certainly explain a great deal. I
seem to recall a time at one of our miniconferences when you
announced that nobody could understand you if you didn't want
them to. I recall, I hope correctly, your description of a
strategy that would always make the Test fail: simply change your
mind continually about the nature of the goal. Of course if this
strategy were detected, it would reveal the aim of preventing the
Test from working, in which case the Test would succeed.

I DON'T have the impression that I am "mainly defending against being
understood." And I honestly don't remember anything about such a
discussion at a miniconference, though it is entirely possible that
you are correct about it.

This leads to an interesting impasse. Suppose I were to announce
that I have discovered your purpose, which is to show that the
Test can't work on you. To demonstrate this, all I have to do is
use the Test to search for signs of a controlled variable, and
show that every time the Test appears to succeed for a moment, it
ceases to work. Is this evidence that the Test isn't working, or
that it is?

We are speaking hypothetically (unless I am deluded or intentionally
deluding you regarding my introspective assessment that I'm not
defending against being understood). If it were true that I am
defending against being understood, and you used the Test to show that
I was controlling for the perception of your not being able to
understand, then I would accept that you had met the challenge.
Applying the Test with respect to the PARTICULAR perception of your
not being able to understand would not lead to an impasse: the Test
would either succeed or fail; applying the Test to (at least some)
OTHER kinds of perception could, as you suggest, lead to an impasse.



I'll put BURN and UNBURN on Silvert's Server, but didn't you and
Pat have a version that could be transmitted in ASCII and then
converted using a debug script, also in ASCII? People who can't
use ftp won't have much use for your programs if they can be
accessed only through ftp, and if they have access to ftp they
can probably download binaries. It would make the most sense to
publish the ASCII-accessible version on the net. Then I could
send SIMCONZ1.ASH directly to them, on request.

I have a program (from PC MAGAZINE) to convert binary files to ASCII
script files which can be used with MS-DOS's DEBUG program
(reasonably clear instructions for doing this are embedded in the
script files) to convert back to binary. To save money, I'll send you
a disk with the script files for BURN and UNBURN; then you can upload
them to the net.

As ever,