[Corpora-List] QM analogy and grammatical incompleteness

Dominic Widdows widdows at maya.com
Wed Dec 21 15:17:01 CET 2005



> Try a simple thought experiment, Yuval. Try to line up a random group

> of

> people according to their height and their IQ (golf score, etc.) You

> will

> find you get a sort of uncertainty principle. The group cannot be

> perfectly

> ordered with respect to both at the same time.


Hi Rob,

This sort of distributional complexity is perfectly classical, it is
not a version of the Uncertainty Principle. In your thought experiment,
the fact that you've ordered people by IQ has no effect on your ability
to go up to people with a tape measure and measure their height.

It would only be an Uncertainly Principle if giving someone an IQ test
made a tape measure wobble and go fuzzy whenever you tried to measure
their height.

I believe that this is the warning that John correctly pointed out
earlier. My suggestion that there are versions of "knowledge
incompleteness" in classical physics and linguistics should not be
confused with the Uncertainty Principle, which is much stronger and
more bizarre.

Best wishes,
Dominic






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