Babel, tower or otherwise

[From Bruce Abbott (960825.1120 EST)]

Bill Powers (960825.0745 MDT) --

Bruce Abbott and Martin Taylor seem to agree that a "model of the
environment" is any feature of a system that is somehow related to
properties of the environment. . . .

I'm in somewhat the predicament of a physicist who is told that "mass"
doesn't mean just the ratio of force to acceleration, but also means
"size" and "weight" and "crowd of people" and "religious observance" and
"the process of brewing tea."

And at the time I referred to this distinction between "models" I was in
somewhat the predicament of a physicist who needs to distinguish between the
heat-content of a material and the relationship between heat gain/loss and
change in temperature that is a characteristic of that material. The
physicist calls the one, "heat" and the other, "specific heat." For some
reason this distinction does not seem to have contributed to a Tower of
Babel in physics.

Rather than contribute your own term to the Tower ("formal analog"), why not
just use "model" (without the modifier) to mean "model" as you've always
understood it to mean. If anyone wants to refer to the properties of a
system that take account of the properties of the environment as a kind of
model of the environment, they can add the modifier "implicit." In the
context where both are being talked about, the usual kind of model can be
identified as "explicit" if necessary to preserve clarity, but otherwise
this would not be necessary. No babel, no tower, no confusion.

Regards,

Bruce