[Hans Blom, 960201]

(Bill Powers (960131.0800 MST))

... The only word that has caused trouble is "control," so that is
the word I have changed to spontefaction (I thought you were
rejecting "retro" as being too trendy). Spontefaction comes from the
Latin root "sponte" meaning "of one's free will; voluntarily" and
giving rise to "spontaneous;" and "facere," to make or do, giving
rise to such terms as factory and facile.

So you are serious about the name change after all? This is really
confusing. I thought -- "knew" -- that you were joking. I certainly
was. Do you really think that a simple interchange of words can solve
any of our problems? Would a rose by any other name be something

Assume that the word "spontefaction" has become so popular that it is
as familiar as the word "control" is now. Do you think that the same
questions that arise now concerning the concept of control will _not_
arise concerning the concept of spontefaction or whatever else you
would want to call it (you've tried alternatives before, and _they_
didn't work)? That strikes me as incredibly naive.

All words have connotations -- are linked to other concepts in the
neural network of our brains. Some of those links may be considered
"superstitious" -- by others. There's simply no escaping that, given
that humans -- and brains -- are what they are, and that learning is
what it is. But it seems pretty certain to me that on a simple change
of words the same connotations will arise.

A more basic issue is, maybe, that we need "models" (neural connect-
ions; parameter settings in a PCT model) at all levels of the hierar-
chy, and that the higher level "models" are necessarily more inclus-
ive, hence more abstract and fuzzier. Given fuzzy boundaries around a
concept, it is doubtful that there will be no inter-individual diffe-
rences in "understanding" a certain concept.

That is easy to demonstrate. Provide a subject with a range of colors
varying from green to blue through all sorts of blue-green or green-
blue, and ask him/her to classify the colors into either blue or
green. You're certain to find differences. And you'll probably find
the same thing in all other types of classifications. And basically
any word is just that: a classification.

We will have to live with our misunderstandings, I suppose, regret-
table as it may be. The only (partial) solution to that problem seems
to be to explain, time and again, what you mean. But now I'm not
telling you anything new, am I?