[unrev-II] Thinking with machines -- Augmentation

From: Jack Park (jackpark@thinkalong.com)
Date: Fri Apr 27 2001 - 11:34:00 PDT

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    I may have mentioned this many moons back.
    htm <http://www.door.net/arisbe/menu/library/aboutcsp/skagesta/thinking.htm>

    The paper "Thinking with machines" by Peter Skagestad, ties Peirce, Popper,
    Engelbart, and others up into one paper.

    Brief quote:
    "What brings the sign into connection with its object is some material
    quality it possesses, which enables it to represent its object in a
    particular way. A picture signifies by means of an association that connects
    it, in the interpreter's brain, with its object (the picture resembles the
    object in some way). A weathervane or a tally signifies simply by being
    physically connected with its object by a chain of causation. Words,
    finally, can function as signs only because they are capable of being
    connected into sentences by means of a copula (what we would call an
    abstract or convention-based connection).(62) Later, Peirce was to classify
    all signs as: icons, which signify by virtue of resemblance, indices, which
    signify by virtue of a physical connection with the object, and symbols,
    which signify by virtue of the existence of a rule governing their

    The exact physical embodiment of symbols is of course largely, but not
    entirely, a matter of convention. The choice of Roman versus Old English
    lettering may be purely conventional, but that is certainly not the case
    with one's preference for Arabic over Roman numerals for the purpose of
    performing long division -- a point also made by Peirce, and later by
    Engelbart(64). The important observation Peirce made in 1868, and was later
    to develop in depth, as we shall see below, is that the existence of symbols
    depends crucially on the existence of a notation that is capable of symbolic
    interpretation, and moreover that our thinking is facilitated or impeded by
    the specific physical features of our notation."

    Notice that the paper is embedded at a web site that covers C.S. Peirce.

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