# OKSIMO APPLICATIONS – Simple Examples – Citizens of a County – Example 2

eJournal: uffmm.org ISSN 2567-6458

30.March 2022 – 31.March 2022, 11:55h
Email: info@uffmm.org
Author: Gerd Doeben-Henisch
Email: gerd@doeben-henisch.de

### BLOG-CONTEXT

This post is part of the Oksimo Application theme which is part of the uffmm blog.

### PREFACE

This post shows a continuation from the simple simulation example in the preceding post. It points to an implicit problem of the demographic modeling of the Main-Kinzig County (German: Main-Kinzig Kreis [MKK]) only using the official numbers available in the World Wide Web from the Hessian statistical office. Some questions arise without giving an answer in this post.

### A REAL SIMULATION

The following example has been run with Oksimo v2.0 (Pre-Release) (c972). Hopefully we can finish the pre-release to a full release the next few days.

### STRUCTURE OF THE SIMULATION

The structure of the simulation follows the schema of an empirical theory as follows:

1. A ‘given situation’ will be described which is assumed to be ’empirically sound’ by the authors.
2. A ‘state in the future’ (‘vision’, ‘goal’ ‘forecast’) is given for benchmarking.
3. At least one ‘change rule’ is given representing an ‘inference rule’ for everyday experience.
4. The ‘inference engine’ for making a ‘logical deduction’ is ‘hidden’ in the ‘simulator’, which is doing the job of applying the change rules to a given situation.

Here the concrete definitions:

##### VISION

Name: vmkkdemo1

Expressions:

The Main-Kinzig County exists.

Math expressions:

YEAR>2032

##### GIVEN STATE

Name: smkkDemo1

Expressions:

The Main-Kinzig County exists.

The number of citizens is known.

Based on preceding years a growth rate could be computed.

A growth rate has two components: natural increase and net migration.

The component natural increase has again two components: the rates of births and deaths.

The net migration is based on rates for immigration and emigrations.

The number for a population in a year t+1 is the product of the population of the preceding year t enriched with the natural increase and the net migration.

Math expressions:

IMMIGRATION=18000Amount

EMIGRATION=15900Amount

NETMIGR=0Number

BIRTHS=59400Amount

DEATHS=70000Amount

NATINCREASE=0Number

CITIZENS=421689Amount

YEAR=2020Number

##### CHANGE RULE (Inference Rule)

(Attention: There can be arbitrary many rules; here only one is used)

Rule name: rworld1

Probability: 1.0

Conditions:

The Main-Kinzig County exists.

Math conditions:

YEAR>=0

Effects plus:

Effects minus:

Effects math:

YEAR=YEAR+1

NETMIGR=IMMIGRATION-EMIGRATION

NATINCREASE=BIRTHS-DEATHS

CITIZENS=CITIZENS+NATINCREASE+NETMIGR

##### SIMULATION

simmkkDemo2

Selected visions:

vmkkdemo1

Selected states:

smkkDemo1

Selected rules:

rworld1

GRAPH CITIZENS

GRAPH NETMIGR NATINCREASE

Here the log protocol from simulation cycles 12-13:

```Round 12

State rules:
rworld1 applied  (Prob: 100 Rand: 11/100)
Math applied:
CITIZENS=CITIZENS+NATINCREASE+NETMIGR
NATINCREASE=BIRTHS-DEATHS
YEAR=YEAR+1
NETMIGR=IMMIGRATION-EMIGRATION
Vision rules:
Current states: The number of citizens is known.,The component natural increase has again two components: the rates of births and deaths.,The net migration is based on rates for immigration and emigrations.,The Main-Kinzig County exists.,A growth rate has two components: natural increase and net migration.,The number for a population in a year t+1 is the product of the population of the preceding year t enriched with the natural increase and the net migration.,Based on preceding years a growth rate could be computed.
Current visions: The Main-Kinzig County exists.
Current values:
IMMIGRATION: 18000Amount
NETMIGR: 2100Number
BIRTHS: 59400Amount
DEATHS: 70000Amount
NATINCREASE: -10600Number
CITIZENS: 328189Amount
YEAR: 2032Number
EMIGRATION: 15900Amount

50.00 percent of your vision was achieved by reaching the following states:
The Main-Kinzig County exists.,
And the following math visions:
None

Round 13

State rules:
rworld1 applied  (Prob: 100 Rand: 63/100)
Math applied:
CITIZENS=CITIZENS+NATINCREASE+NETMIGR
NATINCREASE=BIRTHS-DEATHS
YEAR=YEAR+1
NETMIGR=IMMIGRATION-EMIGRATION
Vision rules:
Current states: The number of citizens is known.,The component natural increase has again two com
ponents: the rates of births and deaths.,The net migration is based on rates for immigration and
emigrations.,The Main-Kinzig County exists.,A growth rate has two components: natural increase an
d net migration.,The number for a population in a year t+1 is the product of the population of th
e preceding year t enriched with the natural increase and the net migration.,Based on preceding y
ears a growth rate could be computed.
Current visions: The Main-Kinzig County exists.
Current values:
IMMIGRATION: 18000Amount
NETMIGR: 2100Number
BIRTHS: 59400Amount
DEATHS: 70000Amount
NATINCREASE: -10600Number
CITIZENS: 319689Amount
YEAR: 2033Number
EMIGRATION: 15900Amount

100.00 percent of your vision was achieved by reaching the following states:
The Main-Kinzig County exists.,
And the following math visions:
YEAR>2032
```

One can see here that the simulator announces a 100% satisfaction of the goal because the year 2032 has been passed and the Main-Kinzig County still exists.

### DISCUSSION

Although the shown simulation is still extremely simple it points to a hidden problem of the official demographic data. The hessian statistical office computes a forecast for the MKK in 2040 with 420443 citizens starting with the year 2018. [3] Comparing these numbers with those from the demographic changes between 1.January 2021 and 30.June 2021 [2] then one gets a real difference: NATINCREASE -7.7 becomes -0.15% and NETMIGR 8.0 becomes 0.21%. This results in a 6-month fraction of about -736 to -635 for NATINCREASE and of about 764 to 889 for NETMIGR.

These observations point (i) to the general problem of getting ‘good data’ and (ii) at the same time how fragile the data are. With rather constant rates in births and deaths the migration data can change a lot. For 2020-2021 we have with 2.107 a NETMIGR rate of about 0.5%. [1] What now are the ‘real data’?

### A DIFFERENT SIMULATION

Until now we have only data from single points of time (2018, 2021 (2040)) or of a small time window (1.January 2021, 30.June 2021). If we would take the data from the time window (Jan 2021, Jun 2021) and if we take the change rates from these data as percentage of the final value of citizens, then we are producing another graph knowing, that this clearly will not represent ‘the empirical reality’ sufficiently well. Nevertheless it can help to get some ‘awareness’ that the real numbers deserve more research, especially related to their ‘dynamics’ which is embedded in rather complex clusters of different factors interacting with each other.[4]

### STRUCTURE OF SIMULATION

GIVEN SITUATION

TEXT

Name: smkkDemo2

The Main-Kinzig County exists.

The number of citizens is known.

Based on preceding years a growth rate could be computed.

A growth rate has two components: natural increase and net migration.

The component natural increase has again two components: the rates of births and deaths.

The net migration is based on rates for immigration and emigrations.

The number for a population in a year t+1 is the product of the population of the preced

ing year t enriched with the natural increase and the net migration.

Math:

NETMIGR=0Number

NATINCREASE=0Number

YEAR=2020Number

IMMIGRATION=0Amount

EMIGRATION=0Amount

BIRTHS=0Amount

DEATHS=0Amount

CITIZENS=421689Amount

POSSIBLE VISION (GOAL)

TEXT

Name: vmkkdemo1

Expressions:

The Main-Kinzig County exists.

Math expressions:

YEAR>2040

CHANGE RULES

Rule name: rworld2

Probability: 1.0

Conditions:

The Main-Kinzig County exists.

Math conditions:

YEAR>=0

Effects plus:

Effects minus:

Effects math:

YEAR=YEAR+1

BIRTHS=CITIZENS*0.0046

DEATHS=CITIZENS*0.006

EMIGRATION=CITIZENS*0.029

IMMIGRATION=CITIZENS*0.03

Rule name: rworld2b

Probability: 1.0

Conditions:

The Main-Kinzig County exists.

Math conditions:

YEAR>=0

Effects plus:

Effects minus:

Effects math:

NATINCREASE=BIRTHS-DEATHS

NETMIGR=IMMIGRATION-EMIGRATION

Rule name: rworld3

Probability: 1.0

Conditions:

The Main-Kinzig County exists.

Math conditions:

YEAR>=0

Effects plus:

Effects minus:

Effects math:

CITIZENS=CITIZENS+NATINCREASE+NETMIGR

SIMULATION

simmkkDemo3

Selected visions:

vmkkdemo1

Selected states:

smkkDemo2

Selected rules:

rworld2

rworld2b

rworld3

GRAPH CITIZENS

GRAPH NATINCR and NETMIGR

Here cycles 1-2 from the simulation log:

```Round 1

State rules:
rworld2 applied  (Prob: 100 Rand: 40/100)
Math applied:
IMMIGRATION=CITIZENS*0.03
YEAR=YEAR+1
DEATHS=CITIZENS*0.006
BIRTHS=CITIZENS*0.0046
EMIGRATION=CITIZENS*0.029
rworld3 applied  (Prob: 0 Rand: 58/100)
Math applied:
CITIZENS=CITIZENS+NATINCREASE+NETMIGR
rworld2b applied  (Prob: 100 Rand: 6/100)
Math applied:
NATINCREASE=BIRTHS-DEATHS
NETMIGR=IMMIGRATION-EMIGRATION
Vision rules:
Current states: The number for a population in a year t+1 is the product of the population of the preceding year t enriched with the natural increase and the net migration.,The net migration is based on rates for immigration and emigrations.,The component natural increase has again two components: the rates of births and deaths.,The Main-Kinzig County exists.,A growth rate has two components: natural increase and net migration.,Based on preceding years a growth rate could be computed.,The number of citizens is known.
Current visions: The Main-Kinzig County exists.
Current values:
NETMIGR: 421.6890000000003Number
NATINCREASE: -590.3646000000001Number
YEAR: 2021Number
IMMIGRATION: 12650.67Amount
EMIGRATION: 12228.981Amount
BIRTHS: 1939.7694Amount
DEATHS: 2530.134Amount
CITIZENS: 421689Amount

50.00 percent of your vision was achieved by reaching the following states:
The Main-Kinzig County exists.,
And the following math visions:
None

Round 2

State rules:
rworld3 applied  (Prob: 0 Rand: 95/100)
Math applied:
CITIZENS=CITIZENS+NATINCREASE+NETMIGR
rworld2 applied  (Prob: 100 Rand: 22/100)
Math applied:
IMMIGRATION=CITIZENS*0.03
YEAR=YEAR+1
DEATHS=CITIZENS*0.006
BIRTHS=CITIZENS*0.0046
EMIGRATION=CITIZENS*0.029
rworld2b applied  (Prob: 100 Rand: 32/100)
Math applied:
NATINCREASE=BIRTHS-DEATHS
NETMIGR=IMMIGRATION-EMIGRATION
Vision rules:
Current states: The number for a population in a year t+1 is the product of the population of the preceding year t enriched with the natural increase and the net migration.,The net migration is based on rates for immigration and emigrations.,The component natural increase has again two components: the rates of births and deaths.,The Main-Kinzig County exists.,A growth rate has two components: natural increase and net migration.,Based on preceding years a growth rate could be computed.,The number of citizens is known.
Current visions: The Main-Kinzig County exists.
Current values:
NETMIGR: 421.5203243999986Number
NATINCREASE: -590.1284541600003Number
YEAR: 2022Number
IMMIGRATION: 12645.609732Amount
EMIGRATION: 12224.089407600002Amount
BIRTHS: 1938.9934922400003Amount
DEATHS: 2529.1219464000005Amount
CITIZENS: 421520.32440000004Amount

50.00 percent of your vision was achieved by reaching the following states:
The Main-Kinzig County exists.,
And the following math visions:
None
```

And here the the cycles 20-21 showing 100% success

```Round 20

State rules:
rworld2b applied  (Prob: 100 Rand: 78/100)
Math applied:
NATINCREASE=BIRTHS-DEATHS
NETMIGR=IMMIGRATION-EMIGRATION
rworld3 applied  (Prob: 0 Rand: 90/100)
Math applied:
CITIZENS=CITIZENS+NATINCREASE+NETMIGR
rworld2 applied  (Prob: 100 Rand: 20/100)
Math applied:
IMMIGRATION=CITIZENS*0.03
YEAR=YEAR+1
DEATHS=CITIZENS*0.006
BIRTHS=CITIZENS*0.0046
EMIGRATION=CITIZENS*0.029
Vision rules:
Current states: The number for a population in a year t+1 is the product of the population of the preceding year t enriched with the natural increase and the net migration.,The net migration is based on rates for immigration and emigrations.,The component natural increase has again two components: the rates of births and deaths.,The Main-Kinzig County exists.,A growth rate has two components: natural increase and net migration.,Based on preceding years a growth rate could be computed.,The number of citizens is known.
Current visions: The Main-Kinzig County exists.
Current values:
NETMIGR: 418.83020290706736Number
NATINCREASE: -586.3622840698965Number
YEAR: 2040Number
IMMIGRATION: 12554.852151152843Amount
EMIGRATION: 12136.35707944775Amount
BIRTHS: 1925.077329843436Amount
DEATHS: 2510.9704302305686Amount
CITIZENS: 418495.0717050948Amount

50.00 percent of your vision was achieved by reaching the following states:
The Main-Kinzig County exists.,
And the following math visions:
None

Round 21

State rules:
rworld2 applied  (Prob: 100 Rand: 16/100)
Math applied:
IMMIGRATION=CITIZENS*0.03
YEAR=YEAR+1
DEATHS=CITIZENS*0.006
BIRTHS=CITIZENS*0.0046
EMIGRATION=CITIZENS*0.029
rworld2b applied  (Prob: 100 Rand: 28/100)
Math applied:
NATINCREASE=BIRTHS-DEATHS
NETMIGR=IMMIGRATION-EMIGRATION
rworld3 applied  (Prob: 0 Rand: 41/100)
Math applied:
CITIZENS=CITIZENS+NATINCREASE+NETMIGR
Vision rules:
Current states: The number for a population in a year t+1 is the product of the population of the preceding year t enriched with the natural increase and the net migration.,The net migration is based on rates for immigration and emigrations.,The component natural increase has again two components: the rates of births and deaths.,The Main-Kinzig County exists.,A growth rate has two components: natural increase and net migration.,Based on preceding years a growth rate could be computed.,The number of citizens is known.
Current visions: The Main-Kinzig County exists.
Current values:
NETMIGR: 418.49507170509423Number
NATINCREASE: -585.8931003871326Number
YEAR: 2041Number
IMMIGRATION: 12554.852151152843Amount
EMIGRATION: 12136.35707944775Amount
BIRTHS: 1925.077329843436Amount
DEATHS: 2510.9704302305686Amount
CITIZENS: 418327.6736764127Amount

100.00 percent of your vision was achieved by reaching the following states:
The Main-Kinzig County exists.,
And the following math visions:
YEAR>2040,```

### Special Comments to the Software

As mentioned in the beginning the version of the software used here is not yet the final one. We are still in an ‘experimental phase’. A feature we detected dealing with this simulation is that the simulator takes all ‘elements’ of the ‘effect part’ of a rules as ‘equal’, not applying some order for the execution. In the case of math expressions which have ‘internally’ some ‘logical order’ in the sense, that an expression A presupposes an expression B to be computed ‘before’ the expression A has to be computed (which is in this simulation clearly the case), one can handle this only if one locates all math expressions which belong to ‘the same logical level’ into a separate rule. We have to have a look to this. In such a case ‘theory’ is interacting with ‘implementation details’ which follow a quite different logic.

[1] Matrix of the Immigration and Emigration of citizens between the different cities and counties of the state of Hessen in 2020, Hess.Statistisches Landesamt: https://statistik.hessen.de/zahlen-fakten/bevoelkerung-gebiet-haushalte-familien/bevoelkerung/tabellen

[2] Demographic Changes between 1.January 2021 and 1.June 2021 for the MKK county, in: https://statistik.hessen.de/sites/statistik.hessen.de/files/AI2_AII_AIII_AV_21-1hj.pdf. p.7

[3] Demographic Forecast for the years 2040, Hess.Statistisches Landesamt: https://statistik.hessen.de/zahlen-fakten/bevoelkerung-gebiet-haushalte-familien/bevoelkerung/tabellen

[4] In the first paper of the small booklet from Karl Popper, „A World of Propensities“, Thoemmes Press, Bristol, (1990, repr. 1995), he develops the idea of associating an observable phenomenon with some part of the real world which has to be assumed as necessary environment for a phenomenon to be able to appear. And this presupposed empirical environment is always a complex cluster of different empirical factors interacting with each other and thereby are ‘causing’ phenomena which are not traceable to only one factor in a deterministic way but to ‘many’. ‘Chance’ is therefore a ‘product’ of reality not an isolated single event.

# OKSIMO APPLICATIONS – Simple Examples – Citizens of a County

eJournal: uffmm.org ISSN 2567-6458

27.March 2022 – 27.March 2022
Email: info@uffmm.org
Author: Gerd Doeben-Henisch
Email: gerd@doeben-henisch.de

### BLOG-CONTEXT

This post is part of the Oksimo Application theme which is part of the uffmm blog.

### PREFACE

This post shows a simple simulation example with the beta-version of the new Version 2 of the oksimo programming environment. This example shall illustrate the concept of an ‘Everyday Empirical Theory‘ as described in this blog 11 days before. It is intentionally as ‘simple as possible’. Probably some more examples will be shown.

### FROM THEORY TO AN APPLICATION

To apply a theory concept in an everyday world there are many formats possible. In this text it will be shown how such an application would look like if one is applying the oksimo programming environment. Until now there exists only a German Blog (oksimo.org) describing the oksimo paradigm a little bit. But the examples there are written with oksimo version 1, which didn’t allow to use math. In version 2 this is possible, accompanied by some visual graph features.

### SOME MORE FEATURES

The basic schema of the oksimo paradigm assumes the following components:

1. The description of a ‘given situation’ as a ‘start state’.
2. The description of a ‘vision’ functioning as a ‘goal’ which allows a basic ‘Benchmarking’.
3. A list of ‘change rules’ which describe the assumed possible changes
4. An ‘inference engine’ called ‘simulator’: Depending from the number of wanted ‘simulation cycles’ (‘inferences’) the simulator applies the change rules onto a given state S and thereby it is producing a ‘follow up state’ S*, which becomes the new given state. The series of generated states represents the ‘history’ of a simulation. Every follow up state is an ‘inference’ and by definition also a ‘forecast’.

All these features (1) – (4) together constitute a full empirical theory in the sense of the mentioned theory post before.

Let us look to a real simulation.

### A REAL SIMULATION

The following example has been run with Oksimo v2.0 (Pre-Release) (353e5). Hopefully we can finish the pre-release to a full release the next few weeks.

#### A VISION

Name: v2026

Expressions:

The Main-Kinzig County exists.

Math expressions:

YEAR>2025 and YEAR<2027

This simple goal assumes the existence of the Main-Kinzig County for the year 2026.

#### GIVEN START STATE

Name: StartSimple1

Expressions:

The Main-Kinzig County exists.

The number of citizens is known.

Comparing the number of different years one has computed a growth rate.

Math expressions:

YEAR=2018Number

CITIZENS=418950Amount

GROWTH=0.0023Percentage

The start state makes some simple statements which are assumed to be ‘valid’ in a ‘real given situation’ by the participating natural experts.

#### CHANGE RULES

In this example there is only one change rules (In principle there can be as many change rules as wanted).

Rule name: Growth1

Probability: 1.0

Conditions:

The Main-Kinzig County exists.

Math conditions:

CITIZENS < 450000

Effects plus:

Effects minus:

Effects math:

CITIZENS=CITIZENS+(CITIZENS*GROWTH)

YEAR=YEAR+1

This change rules is rather simple. It looks only to the fact whether the Main-Kinzig County exists and wether the number of citizens is still below 450000. If this is the case, then the year will be incremented and the number of citizens will be incremented according to an extremely simple formula.

For every named quantity in this simulation (YEAR, GROWTH, CITIZENS) the values are collected for every simulation cycle and therefore can be used for evaluations. In this simple case only the quantities of YEAR and CITIZENS have changes:

Here the quick log of simulation cycle round 7 – 9:

```Round 7

State rules:
Vision rules:
Current states: The number of citizens is known.,Comparing the number of different years one has computed a growth rate.,The Main-Kinzig County exists.
Current visions: The Main-Kinzig County exists.
Current values:
YEAR: 2025Number
CITIZENS: 425741.8149741673Amount
GROWTH: 0.0023Percentage

50.00 percent of your vision was achieved by reaching the following states:
The Main-Kinzig County exists.,
And the following math visions:
None

Round 8

State rules:
Vision rules:
Current states: The number of citizens is known.,Comparing the number of different years one has computed a growth rate.,The Main-Kinzig County exists.
Current visions: The Main-Kinzig County exists.
Current values:
YEAR: 2026Number
CITIZENS: 426721.0211486079Amount
GROWTH: 0.0023Percentage

100.00 percent of your vision was achieved by reaching the following states:
The Main-Kinzig County exists.,
And the following math visions:
YEAR>2025 and YEAR<2027,

Round 9

State rules:
Vision rules:
Current states: The number of citizens is known.,Comparing the number of different years one has computed a growth rate.,The Main-Kinzig County exists.
Current visions: The Main-Kinzig County exists.
Current values:
YEAR: 2027Number
CITIZENS: 427702.4794972497Amount
GROWTH: 0.0023Percentage

50.00 percent of your vision was achieved by reaching the following states:
The Main-Kinzig County exists.,
And the following math visions:
None
```

In round 8 one can see, that the simulation announces:

100.00 percent of your vision was achieved by reaching the following states: The Main-Kinzig County exists., And the following math visions: YEAR>2025 and YEAR<2027

From this the natural expert can conclude that his requirements given in the vision are ‘fulfilled’/’satisfied’.

### WHAT COMES NEXT?

In a loosely order more examples will follow. Here you find the next one.

# Pierre Lévy : Collective Intelligence – Chapter 7 – The Four Spaces

eJournal: uffmm.org, ISSN 2567-6458,
24.March 2022 – 6.April 2022, 08:04 h
Email: info@uffmm.org
Author: Gerd Doeben-Henisch
Email: gerd@doeben-henisch.de

### SCOPE

In the uffmm review section the different papers and books are discussed from the point of view of the oksimo paradigm. [1] In the following text the author discusses chapter 7 of the book “Collective Intelligence. mankind’s emerging world in cyberspace” by Pierre Lévy (translated by Robert Bonono),1997 (French: 1994)[2]

### CONTEXT

In a proceeding post the general idea of the book of Lévy has been discussed. The final impression was, that Lévy’s vision of collective intelligence embedded in the development of human culture shows a high agreement with the oksimo paradigm of the author of this text. Reading continuous with some more chapters of the book. It starts with chapter 7, the beginning of Part II of the book

## Chapter 7: The Four Spaces

#### POSITION LÉVY

In this chapter Lévy is bringing back some ideas of chapter 1, pp.5-10, where he did a partitioning of the timeline of the development of life on earth according to some criteria. The main topics are ‘Earth’, ‘Territory’, ‘Commodity Space’, and ‘Knowledge Space’.

###### Earth

Beginning his selected timeline with the advent of humanity on earth Lévy describes in a short but highly dense text (cf. p.131f) his view of the interaction of humankind with the earth, which appears for him as an all embracing permanence, without origin, not a small ecological niche, but a ‘cosmos’ with stars, imagined gods, freely envisioned ancestors, continuously re-creating the experience of the earth with signs, languages, tales, rituals, and tools. The realness of the earth is mixed up with human emotions, dreams and fantasies and thereby allowing some transcendence being an inner dimension of the all embracing earth-humankind experience.

###### Territory

Whenever humanity appeared in the history of life on this planet, for the last 12.000 years Lévy sees for these times a phenomenon called ‘territory’.(cf. p.133) The unbounded experience of an unlimited ‘cosmos’ reverberating in every human individual becomes ‘structured’ by a more organized environment by ‘real things’ and ‘new forms of the social bond’. Here ‘civilization’ begins: “… rearing of animals, agriculture, the city and state, writing, the strict social division of labor, ..”(p.133) Although one can say that the territory “dominates, confines, encloses, describes, and measures it [the earth?]”(p.134), the unconfined earth has not disappeared, it always strikes back providing an ever continuing conflict.(cf. p.134) During this Neolithic period [3] the new reality reverberated not only to the individual, but “to the great social machine, to the state.”(p.134) In this time the majority of humanity “were peasants who inhabited the territory.”(p.135)

###### Commodity Space

After ‘earth’ and ‘territory’ as as form-factors of society and the reverberating mind Lévy sees then a next big modification in the cultural patterns of humanity which he circumscribes as ‘commodity space’ [4].(cf. pp.135-138) He characterizes this new mode by a statement like this: “… but a new world built from the incessant circulation of money in an ever tightening, ever quickening loop.”(p.135) And he continuous: “Crossing borders, upsetting territorial hierarchies, the dance of money brought in its wake an accelerated movement, a rising tide of objects, signs, and individuals.”(p.136) And Lévy sees a close relationship between this new commodity space and ‘capitalism’, which “draws everything in its orbit” (p.136) Associated with the wake of science, technology and the flux of signs everything is becoming changeable by reinterpretation, constructible by technology, and exchangeable by money. The old Neolithic territory is mixing up with these new forms of interactions and transactions making Capitalism with industry and commerce the “principal engines driving the evolution of human societies.”(p.137) For Lévy is capitalism the main factor: “… the great cybernetic machine of capital … seems invincible, inexhaustible. Capitalism is irreversible. It is economy and has made economy the permanent dimension of human existence.”(p.137)

###### Knowledge Space

In this chapter the imaginative power of Lévy’s language which encloses the reader all the time comes to an intensity wich is hardly to surpass. Between statements like “The knowledge space doesn’t exist” (p.138) and “The knowledge space has always existed” (p.139) he is practicing a kind of ‘conjuring up’ something, which is there and is not, not in the usual sense. For Lévy ‘knowledge’ is “not simply scientific knowledge” (p.139) and it “can’t be reduced to so-called rational discourse.” (p.139)

The knowledge conjured up here is something which “qualifies our species, Homo sapiens.”(p.139) It “is a knowledge-of-living, a living-in-knowledge, one that is coextensive with life. It is part of a cosmopolitan and borderless space of relations and qualities, a space for the metamorphosis of relationships and the emergence of ways of being, a space in which the processes of individual and collective subjectivization come together.” (p.139) This knowledge follows a “virtual emergence”. (p.139) But, as such, the knowledge space “is not a return to earth, but a return of the earth to itself, an overflight of the earth by itself at the speed of light, an uncontrolled cosmic diversification.”(p.141)

Here some comments on the position of Lévy.

Already in this short text of Lévy, in his mental reconstruction of a time which has passed long ago, one can ‘sense’ a basic dynamic structure which allows a permanent interaction of human actors, human populations with the real earth and with each other. But this richness of behavior, these varieties of effects are only indicators of a fascinating ‘inner structure’ of human actors, which does not appear as a ‘dead object’ but as some new kind of living: the impressions of the world are becoming ‘transformed’ in multiple ways individually but also by social entanglements. The symbolic spaces function as a medium, like a catalyst, allowing transformations in the mental-cognitive space, which are steering the public behavior and by resonance they feed back into this inner dynamics of a symbolically mediated world-mind. There is a continuing process of the real world interacting with a distributed mind world. And this distributedness of a real world by a minded world is not fixed to one individual human actor alone but is present in all the members of a group, a population by understanding, by talking, by acting. This distributed manifestation of a symbolic mind world enables a ‘new reality’, a ‘cognitively mediated real world’, a true ‘virtual world’ as the primary world in the inner dynamics of every human actor.

Lévy continues with his dense descriptions of the changing behaviors and social patterns manifested by humanity spreading over the surface of the earth. The growing number of members of groups, tribes which are using more and more the advantages of special territories, of special tools and procedures, of new formats of social bonds. But he does not dig into the ‘inner reality’ of individual and distributed minds, which function as the ‘soul’ of these new social machines, the new ‘states’. With the ‘change’ in the format of the environment perception, mwithemorizing, thinking inevitably is changing too. And the connecting language with their adapted meanings is mimicking these changes in many details. Thus the changes of the ‘outer environment’ are reverberating inside and inducing an inner cognitive-mental world, a ‘true virtual reality’, which functions as the ‘primary picture of the world’, a ‘distributed’ one. If some individual ‘fails’, if it ‘dies away’, the ‘distributed inner world’ will not change: it ‘preserves itself’ and ‘feeds back’ to all individuals of the society as the ‘given norm’. The real world is touching us as a ‘particular’ experience, but the ‘distributed inner world’ is a ‘network of associations’, an ‘informed whole picture’, giving ‘sense to each part by this inner connectedness’. The writing is an invaluable tool to support parts of this distributed inner world to be kept, be memorized.

As the environmental ‘properties and structures’ are being transformed into new social-cultural patterns and the distributed thinking is ‘absorbing’ these, then the ‘distributed inner pictures’ will ‘overwrite’ the world ‘behind the daily experiences’. Humankind in a city has no longer an idea of a world without a city. Collective intelligence generates its own ‘mental gravity’. Negatively this is a kind of a ‘locked-in syndrome’. If the ‘distributed mental models’ enable some more ‘deep-sighted’ or ‘far-sighted’ perspectives supporting ‘survival in the future’ then it can be ‘positive’, a ‘constructive locked-in syndrome’. But this variety of a ‘locked-in collective intelligence’ is constantly in danger to ‘believe more in itself’ than to the ‘world talking by partial experience’.

The suggestive spirit of Lévy’s description of the commodity space is strong. Indeed, it looks like a hidden power which moves everything in new combinations, new orders, new interpretations, mostly associated with money and power. The installation of new forms of interactions and transactions crossing classical borders of territories like birds in the air appears to transcend the old world of territories. Values seem now to be able to live everywhere, owned by everybody, changing everything.

Comparing these cultural patterns to those of non-human biological species reveals that these new phenomena are indeed not ‘in the air’, they are rooted in the special capabilities of human persons and their new forms of cooperation by communication, enabling the spreading of new ideas rooted in the brains of individual bodies. Cutting the communication would disable ideas of being spread, would enclose ideas ‘in itself’, nothing would be possible.

Modern societies which systematically are suppressing public communication supporting only special opinions practicing a modified form of cutting communication and they show weak forms of disintegration of knowledge and cultural behavior.

Thus ‘capitalism’ and associated forms of ‘economy’ are not complete ‘autonomous phenomena’ but are presupposing certain kinds of communication mediating certain kinds of ideas which influence the behavior. And this ‘behavior of individuals’ is driven by different kinds of ideas, emotions, and desires. Those ideas which seem to ‘support’ capitalism and associated forms of economy are not ‘absolute’ ideas, not ‘inborn’ ideas; therefore these ideas can be changed, can be ‘improved’ and thereby they can — in principle — change behavior and thereby they can change the whole culture. And, besides this, the reality of the cosmos, of the planet earth and the biosphere, which is a ‘given’ reality, follows its own ‘independent logic’ and can lead to a ‘crash’ with a culture, which is ‘too far away’ from this empirical reality.

As stated above, Lévy’s language is impressive, dense, poetic. To some extend this is triggered by the kind of appearance how the knowledge space is given and not given. He stresses several times that the other mentioned anthropological spaces — Earth, Territory, and Commodities — are not vanishing; they are still there, stay in existence with all their real power, but the knowledge space is somehow different, somehow new, is nevertheless also there, ‘not unreal’, ‘virtual’, ‘in between’, subjective but at the same time ‘collective’.

As mentioned in preceding comments what is – in my understanding — missing in Lévy’s wonderful tale is the ‘anatomy of the virtual in realness’. As we know from an individual homo sapiens exemplar it has a ‘real body’, but inside this body there are ‘inner processes’ which as processes are still ‘real’, but these processes are constituting a complex network of inner states which are ‘mapping each other to each other’. Small parts of this ‘self-mapping’ are know as ‘consciousness’, and ‘self-consciousness’. Real structures (neurons, brain) are setting up relations which as such are again ‘mapped’ to other structures and thereby building up an ‘inner semantic space’ which allows the ‘re-imagination’ of signals from the ‘outer world’ which we assume as ‘real’ like our own body.

This inner semantic space of a single brain already commands ‘now’ and ‘past’, concrete versus abstract, associations, arrangements, playing with combinations, embedded always in emotions, feelings, drives. The ‘virtual’ compared to the assumed outer world is here ‘the real’, that, what is going on.

And already with the presence of the homo sapiens population with interactions there exists between homo sapiens exemplars a communication, enriched with symbolic languages, which makes every individual to a ‘part of a whole’, which is reverberating also in the inner spaces of everybody. This ‘being part of a whole’ being reflected in the individual inner spaces induces a ‘knowledge space’ right from the beginning which is (virtually) real but not real like the surrounding bodies; the knowledge space is part of oneself (part of the own ‘identity’), but it is not a real-real object but a real-virtual one.

With the emergence of new cultural technologies — writing, books, libraries, computers, computer networks, etc. — it is possible that a human population extends its symbolic space into a partially mechanized symbolic space with new kinds of ‘processes’ dealing with symbols. From the outside it can be (miss)understood as if the semantic space has been de-coupled from the individual members of the knowledge space and can be processed without the individual members. The vision of ‘intelligent machines’ is rising with wild fantasies that this kind of machines can overtake the role of humankind in the long run.

A simple closer look to the ‘anatomy of the virtual being real’ can show that the ‘power of a common language’ is completely rooted in the machinery of a brain in a body. All kinds of ‘meaning’ exist only in these ‘inner mappings’ of neurons onto neurons, where one part of the neurons delivers ‘signals of the outer body world and the own body’ and the other part of the neurons is processing these signals in complex dynamics structures representing somehow the implicit structures of the ‘primary signals’. Because these mapping-processes, this kind of ‘encoding’, is not deterministic but radically ‘adaptive’ in a non-deterministic way, it is completely impossible to substitute this multidimensional dynamic space of possible meanings by secondary processes bounded to symbols alone. What these so-called data-driven artificial machine-learning processes can ‘grasp’ as ‘meaning’ are only some ‘shadows of meaning’ implicitly causing some ‘orders’ in the set of symbols. But ‘some order’ is not ‘meaning’ in the original sense.

Thus a further development of the knowledge space rooted in the huge set of brains coupled by communication and reinforced by virtual echoes of the whole in the individual can only improve if the mechanization of the symbol space by machines keeps a close contact to the original meanings located in the individual brains. Such a ‘contact’ must be ‘real’, must be entangled with the human interactions in a way, which enables a new symbiosis of human mind and mechanized symbol spaces. The today man-machine interfaces are mainly wrong because their design is not guided by a true vision of the human rooted knowledge space but by simple machine metaphors which do not match with a truly knowledge space.

The wonderful picture of Lévy, given in the idea that the knowledge space “is not a return to earth, but a return of the earth to itself” is true in the light of the paradigm of the biosphere which by evolution has ‘brought into being’ biological structures of ‘internal self-mappings’ which allow a biological system, a ‘system of life’, to ‘think virtually’ about alternatives of the now, to think virtually about appearing ‘patterns of the real’, about ‘what it is what there is’ and much more. In this sense is humankind the maximum action of life itself onto life, onto earth, onto the whole universe. But, again, this new dimension of life, the true knowledge space, is not something ‘in the air’, it is a ‘radically real process’ which only can work if the ‘real conditions’ are satisfied. We have to do a ‘real job’ to become more ‘universal’.

[1] Gerd Doeben-Henisch,The general idea of the oksimo paradigm: https://www.uffmm.org/2022/01/24/newsletter/, January 2022

[2] Pierre Lévy in wkp-en: https://en.wikipedia.org/wiki/Pierre_L%C3%A9vy

[3] Neolithic period in wkp-en: https://en.wikipedia.org/wiki/Neolithic

[4] Commodity in wkp-en: https://en.wikipedia.org/wiki/Commodity

# Pierre Lévy : Collective Intelligence –Footnote: Knowledge Tree

eJournal: uffmm.org, ISSN 2567-6458, 18.March 2022 – 18.March 2022
Email: info@uffmm.org
Author: Gerd Doeben-Henisch
Email: gerd@doeben-henisch.de

### SCOPE

In the uffmm review section the different papers and books are discussed from the point of view of the oksimo paradigm. [1] In this text the author has a small comment to a footnote in the introduction of the book “Collective Intelligence. mankind’s emerging world in cyberspace” by Pierre Lévy (translated by Robert Bonono),1997 (French: 1994)[2]

### Footnote: Knowledge Tree and ‘A Blog, not a Book’

The starting page of the uffmm-Blog begins with some philosophical remarks titled ‘A Blog – Not Book’.

At the time of writing these remarks about the character of Blog-Writing the author did not yet know the wonderful book of Pierre Lévy about ‘Collective Intelligence’. Although the whole book can be related to the special idea of Blog-Writing, the author encountered during his reading of the book an interesting footnote no.5 in the introduction of the book.

The basic idea sees a group of experts with different skills, resulting from different learning processes, which can be projected in real-time into a dynamic knowledge tree showing the individual profiles as well as the landscape of a whole group. This allows many interesting evaluations serving as a constant feedback to improve the individual skills.

[1] Gerd Doeben-Henisch,The general idea of the oksimo paradigm: https://www.uffmm.org/2022/01/24/newsletter/, January 2022

[2] Pierre Lévy in wkp-en: https://en.wikipedia.org/wiki/Pierre_L%C3%A9vy

# Pierre Lévy : Collective Intelligence – Chapter 1 – Introduction

eJournal: uffmm.org, ISSN 2567-6458, 17.March 2022 – 22.March 2022, 8:40
Email: info@uffmm.org
Author: Gerd Doeben-Henisch
Email: gerd@doeben-henisch.de

### SCOPE

In the uffmm review section the different papers and books are discussed from the point of view of the oksimo paradigm. [1] In the following text the author discusses some aspects of the book “Collective Intelligence. mankind’s emerging world in cyberspace” by Pierre Lévy (translated by Robert Bonono),1997 (French: 1994)[2]

### PREVIEW

Before starting a more complete review here a notice in advance.

Only these days I started reading this book of Pierre Lévy after working more than 4 years intensively with the problem of an open knowledge space for everybody as genuine part of the cyberspace. I have approached the problem from several disciplines culminating in a new theory concept which has additionally a direct manifestation in a new kind of software too. While I am now are just testing version 2 of this software and having in parallel worked through several papers of the early, the middle, and the late Karl Popper [3], I detected this book of Lévy [*] and was completely impressed by the preface of this book. His view of mankind and cyberspace is intellectual deep and a real piece of art. I had the feeling that this text could be without compromise a direct preview of our software paradigm although I didn’t know about him before.

Looking to know more about him I detected some more interesting books but especially also his blog intlekt – metadata [4], where he develops his vision of a new language for a new ‘collective intelligence’ being practiced in the cyberspace. While his ideas about ‘collective intelligence’ associated with the ‘cyberspace’ are fascinating, it appears to me that his ideas about a new language are strongly embedded in ‘classical’ concepts of language, semiotics, and computer, concepts which — in my view — are not sufficient for a new language enabling collective intelligence.

Thus it can become an exciting reading with continuous reflections about the conditions about ‘collective intelligence’ and the ‘role of language’ within this.

## Chapter 1: Introduction

#### Position lévy

The following description of the position of Lévy described in his 1st chapter is clearly an ‘interpretation’ from the ‘viewpoint’ of the writer at this time. This is more or less ‘inevitable’. [5]

A good starting point for the project of ‘understanding the book’ seems to be the historical outline which Lévy gives on the pages 5-10. Starting with the appearance of the homo sapiens he characterizes different periods of time with different cultural patterns triggered by the homo sapiens. In the last period, which is still lasting, knowledge takes radical new ‘forms’; one central feature is the appearance of the ‘cyberspace’.

Primarily the cyberspace is ‘machine-based’, some material structure, enhanced with a certain type of dynamics enabled by algorithms working in the machine. But as part of the cultural life of the homo sapiens the cyberspace is also a cultural reality increasingly interacting directly with individuals, groups, institutions, companies, industry, nature, and even more. And in this space enabled by interactions the homo sapiens does not only encounter with technical entities alone, but also with effects/ events/ artifacts produced by other homo sapiens companions.

Lévy calls this a “re-creation of the social bond based on reciprocal apprenticeship, shared skills, imagination, and collective intelligence.” (p.10) And he adds as a supplement that “collective intelligence is not a purely cognitive object.” (p.10)

Looking into the future Lévy assumes two main axes: “The renewal of the social bond through our relation to knowledge and collective intelligence itself.” (p.11)

Important seems to be that ‘knowledge’ is also not be confined to ‘facts alone’ but it ‘lives’ in the reziproke interactions of human actors and thereby knowledge is a dynamic process.(cf. p.11) Humans as part of such knowledge processes receive their ‘identities’ from this flow. (cf. p.12) One consequence from this is “… the other remains enigmatic, becomes a desirable being in every respect.”(p.12) With some further comment: “No one knows everything, everyone knows something, all knowledge resides in humanity. There is no transcendent store of knowledge and knowledge is simply the sum of what we know.”(p.13f)

‘Collective intelligence’ dwells nearby to dynamic knowledge: “The basis and goal of collective intelligence is the mutual recognition and enrichment of individuals rather than the cult of fetishized or hypostatized communities.”(p.13) Thus Lévy can state that collective intelligence “is born with culture and growth with it.”(p.16) And making it more concrete with a direct embedding in a community: “In an intelligent community the specific objective is to permanently negotiate the order of things, language, the role of the individual, the identification and definition of objects, the reinterpretation of memory. Nothing is fixed.”(p.17)

These different aspects are accumulating in the vision of “a new humanism that incorporates and enlarges the scope of self knowledge into a form of group knowledge and collective thought. … [the] process of collective intelligence [is] leading to the creation of a distinct sense of community.”(p.17)

One side effect of such a new humanism could be “new forms of democracy, better suited to the complexity of contemporary problems…”.(p.18)

At this point I will give only some few comments, waiting with more general and final thoughts until the end of the reading of the whole text.

###### Shortened Timeline – Wrong Picture

The timeline which Lévy is using is helpful, but this timeline is ‘incomplete’. What is missing is the whole time ‘before’ the advent of the homo sapiens within the biological evolution. And this ‘absence’ hides the understanding of one, if not ‘the’, most important concept of all life, including the homo sapiens and its cultural process.

This central concept is today called ‘sustainable development’. It points to a ‘dynamical structure’, which is capable of ‘adapting to an ever changing environment’. Life on the planet earth is only possible from the very beginning on account of this fundamental capability starting with the first cells and being kept strongly alive through all the 3.5 Billion years (10^9) in all the following fascinating developments.

This capability to be able to ‘adapt to an ever changing environment’ implies the ability to change the ‘working structure, the body’ in a way, that the structure can change to respond in new ways, if the environment changes. Such a change has two sides: (i) the real ‘production’ of the working structures of a living system, and (ii) the ‘knowledge’, which is necessary to ‘inform’ the processes of formation and keeping an organism ‘in action’. And these basic mechanisms have additionally (iii) to be ‘distributed in a whole population’, whose sheer number gives enough redundancy to compensate for ‘wrong proposals’.

Knowing this the appearance of the homo sapiens life form manifests a qualitative shift in the structure of the adaption so far: surely prepared by several Millions of years the body of the homo sapiens with an unusual brain enabled new forms of ‘understanding the world’ in close connection with new forms of ‘communication’ and ‘cooperation’. With the homo sapiens the brains became capable to talk — mediated by their body and the surrounding body world — with other brains hidden in other bodies in a way, which enabled the sharing of ‘meaning’ rooted in the body world as well in the own body. This capability created by communication a ‘network of distributed knowledge’ encoded in the shared meaning of individual meaning functions. As long as communication with a certain meaning function with the shared meanings ‘works’, as long does this distributed knowledge’ exist. If the shared meaning weakens or breaks down this distributed knowledge is ‘gone’.

Thus, a homo sapiens population has not to wait for another generation until new varieties of their body structures could show up and compete with the changing environment. A homo sapiens population has the capability to perceive the environment — and itself — in a way, that allows additionally new forms of ‘transformations of the perceptions’ in a way, that ‘cognitive varieties of perceived environments’ can be ‘internally produced’ and being ‘communicated’ and being used for ‘sequences of coordinated actions’ which can change the environment and the homo sapiens them self.

The cultural history then shows — as Lévy has outlined shortly on his pages 5-10 — that the homo sapiens population (distributed in many competing smaller sub-populations) ‘invented’ more and more ‘behavior pattern’, ‘social rules’ and a rich ‘diversity of tools’ to improve communication and to improve the representation and processing of knowledge, which in turn helped for even more complex ‘sequences of coordinated actions’.

###### Sustainability & Collective Intelligence

Although until today there are no commonly accepted definitions of ‘intelligence’ and of ‘knowledge’ available [6], it makes some sense to locate ‘knowledge’ and ‘intelligence’ in this ‘communication based space of mutual coordinated actions’. And this embedding implies to think about knowledge and intelligence as a property of a population, which ‘collectively’ is learning, is understanding, is planning, is modifying its environment as well as them self.

And having this distributed capability a population has all the basics to enable a ‘sustainable development’.

Therefore the capability for a sustainable development is an emergent capability based on the processes enabled by a distributed knowledge enabled by a collective intelligence.

Having sketched out this then all the wonderful statements of Lévy seem to be ‘true’ in that they describe a dynamic reality which is provided by biological life as such.

###### A truly Open Space with Real Boundaries

Looking from the outside onto this biological mystery of sustainable processes based on collective intelligence using distributed knowledge one can identify incredible spaces of possible continuations. In principle these spaces are ‘open spaces’.

Looking to the details of this machinery — because we are ‘part of it’ — we know by historical and everyday experience that these processes can fail every minute, even every second.

To ‘improve’ a given situation one needs (i) not only a criterion which enables a judgment about something to be classified as being ‘not good’ (e.g. the given situation), one needs further (ii) some ‘minimal vision’ of a ‘different situation’, which can be classified by a criterion as being ‘better’. And, finally, one needs (iii) a minimal ‘knowledge’ about possible ‘actions’ which can change the given situation in successive steps to transform it into the envisioned ‘new better situation’ functioning as a ‘goal’.

Looking around, looking back, everybody has surely experiences from everyday life that these three tasks are far from being trivial. To judge something to be ‘not good’ or ‘not good enough’ presupposes a minimum of ‘knowledge’ which should be sufficiently evenly be ‘distributed’ in the ‘brains of all participants’. Without a sufficient agreement no common judgment will be possible. At the time of this writing it seems that there is plenty of knowledge around, but it is not working as a coherent knowledge space accepted by all participants. Knowledge battles against knowledge. The same is effective for the tasks (ii) and (iii).

There are many reasons why it is no working. While especially the ‘big challenges’ are of ‘global nature’ and are following a certain time schedule there is not too much time available to ‘synchronize’ the necessary knowledge between all. Mankind has until now supportet predominantly the sheer amount of knowledge and ‘individual specialized solutions’, but did miss the challenge to develop at the same time new and better ‘common processes’ of ‘shared knowledge’. The invention of computer, networks of computer, and then the multi-faceted cyberspace is a great and important invention, but is not really helpful as long as the cyberspace has not become a ‘genuin human-like’ tool for ‘distributed human knowledge’ and ‘distributed collective human-machine intelligence’.

###### Truth

One of the most important challenges for all kinds of knowledge is the ability to enable a ‘knowledge inspired view’ of the environment — including the actor — which is ‘in agreement with the reality of the environment’; otherwise the actions will not be able to support life in the long run. [7] Such an ‘agreement’ is a challenge, especially if the ‘real processes’ are ‘complex’ , ‘distributed’ and are happening in ‘large time frames’. As all human societies today demonstrate, this fundamental ability to use ’empirically valid knowledge’ is partially well developed, but in many other cases it seems to be nearly not in existence. There is a strong — inborn ! — tendency of human persons to think that the ‘pictures in their heads’ represent ‘automatically’ such a knowledge what is in agreement with the real world. It isn’t. Thus ‘dreams’ are ruling the everyday world of societies. And the proportion of brains with such ‘dreams’ seems to grow. In a certain sense this is a kind of ‘illness’: invisible, but strongly effective and highly infectious. Science alone seems to be not a sufficient remedy, but it is a substantial condition for a remedy.

[*] The decisive hint for this book came from Athene Sorokowsky, who is member of my research group.

[1] Gerd Doeben-Henisch,The general idea of the oksimo paradigm: https://www.uffmm.org/2022/01/24/newsletter/, January 2022

[2] Pierre Lévy in wkp-en: https://en.wikipedia.org/wiki/Pierre_L%C3%A9vy

[3] Karl Popper in wkp-en: https://en.wikipedia.org/wiki/Karl_Popper. One of the papers I have written commenting on Popper can be found HERE.

[4] Pierre Lévy, intlekt – metadata, see: https://intlekt.io/blog/

[5] Who wants to know, what Lévy ‘really’ has written has to go back to the text of Lévy directly. … then the reader will read the text of Lévy with ‘his own point of view’ … indeed, even then the reader will not know with certainty, whether he did really understand Lévy ‘right’. … reading a text is always a ‘dialogue’ .. .

[6] Not in Philosophie, not in the so-called ‘Humanities’, not in the Social Sciences, not in the Empirical Sciences, and not in Computer Science!

[7] The ‘long run’ can be very short if you misjudge in the traffic a situation, or a medical doctor makes a mistake or a nuclear reactor has the wrong sensors or ….

See HERE.

# POPPER and EMPIRICAL THEORY. A conceptual Experiment

eJournal: uffmm.org
ISSN 2567-6458, 12.March 22 – 16.March 2022, 11:20 h
Email: info@uffmm.org
Author: Gerd Doeben-Henisch
Email: gerd@doeben-henisch.de

##### BLOG-CONTEXT

This post is part of the Philosophy of Science theme which is part of the uffmm blog.

##### PREFACE

In a preceding post I have outline the concept of an empirical theory based on a text from Popper 1971. In his article Popper points to a minimal structure of what he is calling an empirical theory. A closer investigation of his texts reveals many questions which should be clarified for a more concrete application of his concept of an empirical theory.

In this post it will be attempted to elaborate the concept of an empirical theory more concretely from a theoretical point of view as well as from an application point of view.

## A Minimal Concept of an Empirical Theory

### Empirical Basis

As starting point as well as a reference for testing does Popper assume an ’empirical basis’. The question arises what this means.

In the texts examined so far from Popper this is not well described. Thus in this text some ‘assumptions/ hypotheses’ will be formulated to describe some framework which should be able to ‘explain’ what an empirical basis is and how it works.

###### Experts

Those, who usually are building theories, are scientists, are experts. For a general concept of an ’empirical theory’ it is assumed here that every citizen is a ‘natural expert’.

###### Environment

Natural experts are living in ‘natural environments’ as part of the planet earth, as part of the solar system, as part of the whole universe.

###### Language

Experts ‘cooperate’ by using some ‘common language’. Here the ‘English language’ is used; many hundreds of other languages are possible.

###### Shared Goal (Changes, Time, Measuring, Successive States)

For cooperation it is necessary to have a ‘shared goal’. A ‘goal’ is an ‘idea’ about a possible state in the ‘future’ which is ‘somehow different’ to the given actual situation. Such a future state can be approached by some ‘process’, a series of possible ‘states’, which usually are characterized by ‘changes’ manifested by ‘differences’ between successive states. The concept of a ‘process’, a ‘sequence of states’, implies some concept of ‘time’. And time needs a concept of ‘measuring time’. ‘Measuring’ means basically to ‘compare something to be measured’ (the target) with ‘some given standard’ (the measuring unit). Thus to measure the height of a body one can compare it with some object called a ‘meter’ and then one states that the target (the height of the body) is 1,8 times as large as the given standard (the meter object). In case of time it was during many thousand years customary to use the ‘cycles of the sun’ to define the concept (‘unit’) of a ‘day’ and a ‘night’. Based on this one could ‘count’ the days as one day, two days, etc. and one could introduce further units like a ‘week’ by defining ‘One week compares to seven days’, or ‘one month compares to 30 days’, etc. This reveals that one needs some more concepts like ‘counting’, and associated with this implicitly then the concept of a ‘number’ (like ‘1’, ‘2’, …, ’12’, …) . Later the measuring of time has been delegated to ‘time machines’ (called ‘clocks’) producing mechanically ‘time units’ and then one could be ‘more precise’. But having more than one clock generates the need for ‘synchronizing’ different clocks at different locations. This challenge continues until today. Having a time machine called ‘clock’ one can define a ‘state’ only by relating the state to an ‘agreed time window’ = (t1,t2), which allows the description of states in a successive timely order: the state in the time-window (t1,t2) is ‘before’ the time-window (t2,t3). Then one can try to describe the properties of a given natural environment correlated with a certain time-window, e.g. saying that the ‘observed’ height of a body in time-window w1 was 1.8 m, in a later time window w6 the height was still 1.8 m. In this case no changes could be observed. If one would have observed at w6 1.9 m, then a difference is occurring by comparing two successive states.

###### Example: A County

Here we will assume as an example for a natural environment a ‘county’ in Germany called ‘Main-Kinzig Kreis’ (‘Kreis’ = ‘county’), abbreviated ‘MKK’. We are interested in the ‘number of citizens’ which are living in this county during a certain time-window, here the year 2018 = (1.January 2018, 31.December 2018). According to the statistical office of the state of Hessen, to which the MKK county belongs, the number of citizens in the MKK during 2018 was ‘418.950’.(cf. [2])

###### Observing the Number of Citizens

One can ask in which sense the number ‘418.950’ can be understood as an ‘observation statement’? If we understand ‘observation’ as the everyday expression for ‘measuring’, then we are looking for a ‘procedure’ which allows us to ‘produce’ this number ‘418.950’ associated with the unit ‘number of citizens during a year’. As everybody can immediately realize no single person can simply observe all citizens of that county. To ‘count’ all citizens in the county one had to ‘travel’ to all places in the county where citizens are living and count every person. Such a travelling would need some time. This can easily need more than 40 years working 24 hours a day. Thus, this procedure would not work. A different approach could be to find citizens in every of the 24 cities in the MKK [1] to help in this counting-procedure. To manage this and enable some ‘quality’ for the counting, this could perhaps work. An interesting experiment. Here we ‘believe’ in the number of citizens delivered by the statistical office of the state of Hessen [2], but keeping some reservation for the question how ‘good’ this number really is. Thus our ‘observation statement’ would be: “In the year 2018 418.950 citizens have been counted in the MKK (according to the information of the statistical office of the state of Hessen)” This observation statement lacks a complete account of the procedure, how this counting really happened.

###### Concrete and Abstract Words

There are interesting details in this observation statement. In this observation statement we notice words like ‘citizen’ and ‘MKK’. To talk about ‘citizens’ is not a talk about some objects in the direct environment. What we can directly observe are concrete bodies which we have learned to ‘classify’ as ‘humans’, enriched for example with ‘properties’ like ‘man’, ‘woman’, ‘child’, ‘elderly person’, neighbor’ and the like. Bu to classify someone as a ‘citizen’ deserves knowledge about some official procedure of ‘registering as a citizen’ at a municipal administration recorded in some certified document. Thus the word ‘citizen’ has a ‘meaning’ which needs some ‘concrete procedure to get the needed information’. Thus ‘citizen’ is not a ‘simple word’ but a ‘more abstract word’ with regard to the associated meaning. The same holds for the word ‘MKK’ short for ‘Main-Kinzig Kreis’. At a first glance ‘MKK’ appears as a ‘name’ for some entity. But this entity cannot directly be observed too. One component of the ‘meaning’ of the name ‘MKK’ is a ‘real geographical region’, whose exact geographic extensions have been ‘measured’ by official institutions marked in an ‘official map’ of the state of Hessen. This region is associated with an official document of the state of Hessen telling, that this geographical region has to be understood s a ‘county’ with the name MKK. There exist more official documents defining what is meant with the word ‘county’. Thus the word ‘MKK’ has a rather complex meaning which to understand and to check, whether everything is ‘true’, isn’t easy. The author of this post is living in the MKK and he would not be able to tell all the details of the complete meaning of the name ‘MKK’.

###### First Lessons Learned

Thus one can learn from these first considerations, that we as citizens are living in a natural environment where we are using observation statements which are using words with potentially rather complex meanings, which to ‘check’ deserves some serious amount of clarification.

### Conjectures – Hypotheses

###### Changes

The above text shows that ‘observations as such’ show nothing of interest. Different numbers of citizens in different years have no ‘message’. But as soon as one arranges the years in a ‘time line’ according to some ‘time model’ the scene is changing: if the numbers of two consecutive years are ‘different’ then this ‘difference in numbers’ can be interpreted as a ‘change’ in the environment, but only if one ‘assumes’ that the observed phenomena (the number of counted citizens) are associated with some real entities (the citizens) whose ‘quantity’ is ‘represented’ in these numbers.[5]

And again, the ‘difference between consecutive numbers’ in a time line cannot be observed or measured directly. It is a ‘second order property’ derived from given measurements in time. Such a 2nd order property presupposes a relationship between different observations: they ‘show up’ in the expressions (here numbers), but they are connected back in the light of the agreed ‘meaning’ to some ‘real entities’ with the property ‘overall quantity’ which can change in the ‘real setting’ of these real entities called ‘citizens’.

In the example of the MKK the statistical office of the state of Hessen computed a difference between two consecutive years which has been represented as a ‘growth factor’ of 0,4%. This means that the number of citizens in the year 2018 will increase until the year 2019 as follows: number-citizens(2019) = number-citizens(2018) + (number of citizens(2018) * growth-factor). This means number-citizens(2019) =418.950 + (418.950 * 0.004) = 418.950 + 1.675,8 = 420.625,8

###### Applying change repeatedly

If one could assume that the ‘growth rate’ would stay constant through the time then one could apply the growth rate again and again onto the actual number of citizens in the MKK every year. This would yield the following simple table:

As we know from reality an assumption of a fixed growth rate for complex dynamic systems is not very probable.

### Theory

Continuing the previous considerations one has to ask the question, how the layout of a ‘complete empirical theory’ would look like?

As I commented in the preceding post about Popper’s 1971 article about ‘objective knowledge’ there exists today no one single accepted framework for a formalized empirical theory. Therefore I will stay here with a ‘bottom-up’ approach using elements taken from everyday reasoning.

What we have until now is the following:

1. Before the beginning of a theory building process one needs a group of experts being part of a natural environment using the same language which share a common goal which they want to enable.
2. The assumed natural environment is assumed from the experts as being a ‘process’ of consecutive states in time. The ‘granularity’ of the process depends from the used ‘time model’.
3. As a starting point they collect a set of statements talking about those aspects of a ‘selected state’ at some time t which they are interested in.
4. This set of statements describes a set of ‘observable properties’ of the selected state which is understood as a ‘subset’ of the properties of the natural environment.
5. Every statement is understood by the experts as being ‘true’ in the sense, that the ‘known meaning’ of a statement has an ‘observable counterpart’ in the situation, which can be ‘confirmed’ by each expert.
6. For each pair of consecutive states it holds that the set of statements of each state can be ‘equal’ or ‘can show ‘differences’.
7. A ‘difference’ between sets of statements can be interpreted as pointing to a ‘change in the real environment’.[5]
8. Observed differences can be described by special statements called ‘change statements’ or simply ‘rules’.
9. A change statement has the format ‘IF a set of statements ST* is a subset of the statements ST of a given state S, THEN with probability p, a set of statements ST+ will be added to the actual state S and a set of statements ST- will be removed from the statements ST of a given state S. This will result in a new succeeding state S* with the representing statements ST – (ST-) + (ST+) depending from the assumed probability p.
10. The list of change statements is an ‘open set’ according to the assumption, that an actual state is only a ‘subset’ of the real environment.
11. Until now we have an assumed state S, an assumed goal V, and an open set of change statements X.
12. Applying change statements to a given state S will generate a new state S*. Thus the application of a subset X’ of the open set of change statements X onto a given state S will here be called ‘generating a new state by a procedure’. Such a state-generating-procedure can be understood as an ‘inference’ (like in logic) oder as a ‘simulation’ (like in engineering).[6]
13. To write this in a more condensed format we can introduce some signs —– S,V ⊩ ∑ X S‘ —– saying: If I have some state S and a goal V then the simulator will according to the change statements X generate a new state S’. In such a setting the newly generated state S’ can be understood as a ‘theorem’ which has been derived from the set of statements in the state S which are assumed to be ‘true’. And because the derived new state is assumed to happen in some ‘future’ ‘after’ the ‘actual state S’ this derived state can also be understood as a ‘forecast’.
14. Because the experts can change all the time all parts ‘at will’ such a ‘natural empirical theory’ is an ‘open entity’ living in an ongoing ‘communication process’.
###### Second Lessons Learned

It is interestingly to know that from the set of statements in state S, which are assumed to be empirically true, together with some change statements X, whose proposed changes are also assumed to be ‘true’, and which have some probability P in the domain [0,1], one can forecast a set of statements in the state S* which shall be true, with a certainty being dependent from the preceding probability P and the overall uncertainty of the whole natural environment.

### Confirmation – Non-Confirmation

###### A Theory with Forecasts

Having reached the formulation of an ordinary empirical theory T with the ingredients <S,V,X,⊩ > and the derivation concept S,V ⊩ ∑ X S‘ it is possible to generate theorems as forecasts. A forecast here is not a single statement st* but a whole state S* consisting of a finite set of statements ST* which ‘designate’ according to the ‘agreed meaning’ a set of ‘intended properties’ which need a set of ‘occurring empirical properties’ which can be observed by the experts. These observations are usually associated with ‘agreed procedures of measurement’, which generate as results ‘observation statements’/ ‘measurement statements’.

###### Within Time

Experts which are cooperating by ‘building’ an ordinary empirical theory are themselves part of a process in time. Thus making observations in the time-window (t1,t2) they have a state S describing some aspects of the world at ‘that time’ (t1,t2). When they then derive a forecast S* with their theory this forecast describes — with some probability P — a ‘possible state of the natural environment’ which is assumed to happen in the ‘future’. The precision of the predicted time when the forecasted statements in S* should happen depends from the assumptions in S.

To ‘check’ the ‘validity’ of such a forecast it is necessary that the overall natural process reaches a ‘point in time’ — or a time window — indicated by the used ‘time model’, where the ‘actual point in time’ is measured by an agreed time machine (mechanical clock). Because there is no observable time without a time machine the classification of a certain situation S* being ‘now’ at the predicted point of time depends completely from the used time machine.[7]

Given this the following can happen: According to the used theory a certain set of statements ST* is predicted to be ‘true’ — with some probability — either ‘at some time in the future’ or in the time-window (t1,t2) or at a certain point in time t*.

###### Validating Forecasts

If one of these cases would ‘happen’ then the experts would have the statements ST* of their forecast and a real situation in their natural environment which enables observations ‘Obs’ which are ‘translated’ into appropriate ‘observation statements’ STObs. The experts with their predicted statements ST* know a learned agreed meaning M* of their predicted statements ST* as intended-properties M* of ST*. The experts have also learned how they relate the intended meaning M* to the meaning MObs from the observation statements STobs. If the observed meaning MObs ‘agrees sufficiently well’ with the intended meaning M* then the experts would agree in a statement, that the intended meaning M* is ‘fulfilled’/ ‘satisfied’/ ‘confirmed’ by the observed meaning MObs. If not then it would stated that it is ‘not fulfilled’/ ‘not satisfied’/ ‘not confirmed’.

The ‘sufficient fulfillment’ of the intended meaning M* of a set of statements ST* is usually translated in a statement like “The statements ST* are ‘true'”. In the case of ‘no fulfillment’ it is unclear: this can be interpreted as ‘being false’ or as ‘being unclear’: No clear case of ‘being true’ and no clear case of ‘being false’.

###### Forecasting the Number of Citizens

In the used simple example we have the MKK county with an observed number of citizens in 2018 with 418950. The simple theory used a change statement with a growth factor of 0.4% per year. This resulted in the forecast with the number 420.625 citizens for the year 2019.

If the newly counting of the number of citizens in the years 2019 would yield 420.625, then there would be a perfect match, which could be interpreted as a ‘confirmation’ saying that the forecasted statement and the observed statement are ‘equal’ and therefore the theory seems to match the natural environment through the time. One could even say that the theory is ‘true for the observed time’. Nothing would follow from this for the unknown future. Thus the ‘truth’ of the theory is not an ‘absolute’ truth but a truth ‘within defined limits’.

We know from experience that in the case of forecasting numbers of citizens for some region — here a county — it is usually not so clear as it has been shown in this example.

This begins with the process of counting. Because it is very expensive to count the citizens of all cities of a county this happens only about every 20 years. In between the statistical office is applying the method of ‘forecasting projection’.[9] The state statistical office collects every year ‘electronically’ the numbers of ‘birth’, ‘death’, ‘outflow’, and ‘inflow’ from the individual cities and modifies with these numbers the last real census. In the case of the state of Hessen this was the year 2011. The next census in Germany will happen May 2022.[10] For such a census the data will be collected directly from the registration offices from the cities supported by a control survey of 10% of the population.

Because there are data from the statistical office of the state of Hessen for June 2021 [8:p.9] with saying that the MKK county had 421 936 citizens at 30. June 2021 we can compare this number with the theory forecast for the year 2021 with 423 997. This shows a difference in the numbers. The theory forecast is ‘higher’ than the observed forecast. What does this mean?

Purely arithmetically the forecast is ‘wrong’. The responsible growth factor is too large. If one would ‘adjust’ it in a simplified linear way to ‘0.24%’ then the theory could get a forecast for 2021 with 421 973 (observed: 421 936), but then the forecast for 2019 would be 419 955 (instead of 420 625).

This shows at least the following aspects:

1. The empirical observations as such can vary ‘a little bit’. One had to clarify which degree of ‘variance’ is due to the method of measurement and therefore this variance should be taken into account for the evaluation of a theoretical forecast.
2. As mentioned by the statistical office [9] there are four ‘factors’ which influence the final number of citizens in a region: ‘birth’, ‘death’, ‘outflow’, and ‘inflow’. These factors can change in time. Under ‘normal conditions’ the birth-rate and the death-rate are rather ‘stable’, but in case of an epidemic situation or even war this can change a lot. Outflow and inflow are very dynamic depending from many factors. Thus this can influence the growth factor a lot and these factors are difficult to forecast.
###### Third lessons Learned

Evaluating the ‘relatedness’ of some forecast F of an empirical theory T to the observations O in a given real natural environment is not a ‘clear-cut’ case. The ‘precision’ of such a relatedness depends from many factors where each of these factors has some ‘fuzziness’. Nevertheless as experience shows it can work in a limited way. And, this ‘limited way’ is the maximum we can get. The most helpful contribution of an ‘ordinary empirical theory’ seems to be the forecast of ‘What will happen if we have a certain set of assumptions’. Using such a forecast in the process of the experts this can help to improve to get some ‘informed guesses’ for planning.

### Forecast

The next post will show, how this concept of an ordinary empirical theory can be used by applying the oksimo paradigm to a concrete case. See HERE.

[1] Cities of the MKK-county: 24, see: https://www.wegweiser-kommune.de/kommunen/main-kinzig-kreis-lk

[2] Forecast for development of the number of citizens in the MMK starting with 2018, See: the https://statistik.hessen.de/zahlen-fakten/bevoelkerung-gebiet-haushalte-familien/bevoelkerung/tabellen

[3] Karl Popper, „A World of Propensities“,(1988) and „Towards an Evolutionary Theory of Knowledge“, (1989) in: Karl Popper, „A World of Propensities“, Thoemmes Press, Bristol, (1990, repr. 1995)

[4] Karl Popper, „All Life is Problem Solving“, original a lecture 1991 in German, the first tome published (in German) „Alles Leben ist Problemlösen“ (1994), then in the book „All Life is Problem Solving“, 1999, Routledge, Taylor & Francis Group, London – New York

[5] This points to the concept of ‘propensity’ which the late Popper has discussed in the papers [3] and [4].

[6] This concept of a ‘generator’ or an ‘inference’ reminds to the general concept of Popper and the main stream philosophy of a logical derivation concept where a ‘set of logical rules’ defines a ‘derivation concept’ which allows the ‘derivation/ inference’ of a statement s* as a ‘theorem’ from an assumed set of statements S assumed to be true.

[7] The clock-based time is in the real world correlated with certain constellations of the real universe, but this — as a whole — is ‘changing’!

[8] Hessisches Statistisches Landesamt, “Die Bevölkerung der hessischen
Gemeinden am 30. Juni 2021. Fortschreibungsergebnisse Basis Zensus 09. Mai 2011″, Okt. 2021, Wiesbaden, URL: https://statistik.hessen.de/sites/statistik.hessen.de/files/AI2_AII_AIII_AV_21-1hj.pdf

[9] Method of the forward projection of the statistical office of the State of Hessen: “Bevölkerung: Die Bevölkerungszahlen sind Fortschreibungsergebnisse, die auf den bei der Zensuszählung 2011
ermittelten Bevölkerungszahlen basieren. Durch Auswertung von elektronisch übermittelten Daten für Geburten und Sterbefälle durch die Standesämter, sowie der Zu- und Fortzüge der Meldebehörden, werden diese nach einer bundeseinheitlichen Fortschreibungsmethode festgestellt. Die Zuordnung der Personen zur Bevölkerung einer Gemeinde erfolgt nach dem Hauptwohnungsprinzip (Bevölkerung am Ort der alleinigen oder der Hauptwohnung).”([8:p.2]

[10] Statistical Office state of Hessen, Next census 2022: https://statistik.hessen.de/zahlen-fakten/zensus/zensus-2022/zensus-2022-kurz-erklaert

# POPPER – Objective Knowledge (1971). Summary, Comments, how to develope further

eJournal: uffmm.org
ISSN 2567-6458, 07.March 22 – 12.March 2022, 10:55h
Email: info@uffmm.org
Author: Gerd Doeben-Henisch
Email: gerd@doeben-henisch.de

##### BLOG-CONTEXT

This post is part of the Philosophy of Science theme which is part of the uffmm blog.

##### PREFACE

In this post a short summary of Poppers view of an empirical theory is outlined as he describes it in his article “Conjectural Knowledge: My Solution of the Problem of Induction” from 1971.[1] The view of Popper will be commented and the relationsship to the oksimo paradigm of the author will be outlined.

## Empirical Theory according to Popper in a Nutshell

#### POPPER’S POSITION 1971

In this article from 1971 Popper discusses several positions. Finally he offers the following ‘demarcation’ between only two cases: ‘Pseudo Science’ and ‘Empirical Science’.(See p.29) In doing so this triggers the question how it is possible to declare something as an ‘objective empirical theory’ without claiming to have some ‘absolute truth’?

Although Popper denies to have some kind of absolute truth he will “not give up the search for truth”, which finally leads to a “true explanatory theory”.(cf. p.29) “Truth” plays the “role of a regulative idea”.(cf. p.30) Thus according to Popper one can “guess for truth” and some of the hypotheses “may well be true”.(cf.p.30)

In Popper’s view finally ‘observation’ shows up as that behaviour which enables the production of ‘statements’ as the ’empirical basis’ for all arguments.(cf.p.30) Empirical statements are a ‘function of the used language’.(cf. p.31)

This dimension of language leads Popper to the concept of ‘deductive logic’ which describes formal mechanisms to derive from a set of statements — which are assumed to be true — those statements, which are ‘true’ by logical deduction only. If statements are ‘logically false’ then this can be used to classify the set of assumed statements as ‘logically not consistent’. (cf. p.31)

#### comments on popper’s 1971-position 50 years later

The preceding outline of Popper’s position reveals a minimalist account of the ingredients of an ‘objective empirical theory’. But we as the readers of these ideas are living 50 years later. Our minds are shaped differently. The author of this text thinks that Popper is basically ‘true’, although there are some points in Popper’s argument, which deserve some comments.

##### Subjective – Absolute

Popper is moving between two boundaries: One boundary is the so called ‘subjective believe’ which can support any idea, and which thereby can include pure nonsense; the other boundary is ‘absolute truth’, which is requiring to hold all the time at all places although the ‘known world’ is evidently showing a steady change.

##### Empirical Basis

In searching for a possible position between these boundaries, which would allow a minimum of ‘rationality’, he is looking for an ’empirical Basis’ as a point of reference for a ‘rational theory’. He is locating such an empirical basis in ‘observation statements’ which can be used for ‘testing a theory’.

In his view a ‘rational empirical theory’ has to have a ‘set of statements’ (often called ‘assumptions’ of the theory or ‘axioms’) which are assumed to ‘describe the observable world’ in a way that these statements should be able to be ‘confirmed’ or be ‘falsified’.

##### Confirmation – Falsification

A ‘confirmation’ does not imply that the confirmed statement is ‘absolutely true’ (his basic conviction); but one can experience that a confirmed statement can function as a ‘hypothesis/ conjecture’ which ‘workes in the actual observation’. This does not exclude that it perhaps will not work in a future test. The pragmatical difference between ‘interesting conjectures’ and those which are of less interest is that a ‘repeated confirmation’ increases the ‘probability’, that such a confirmation can happen again. An ‘increasing probability’ can induce an ‘increased expectation’. Nevertheless, increased probabilities and associated increased expectations are no substitutes for ‘truth’.

A test which shows ‘no confirmation’ for a logically derived statement from the theory is difficult to interpret:

Case (i): A theory is claiming that a statement S refers to a proposition A to be ‘true in a certain experiment’, but in the real experiment the observation reveals a proposition B which translates to non-A which can interpreted as ‘the opposite to A is being the case’ (= being ‘true’). This outcome will be interpreted in the way that the proposition B interpreted as ‘non-A’ contradicts ‘A’ and this will be interpreted further in the way, that the statement S of the theory represents a partial contradiction to the observable world.

Case (ii): A theory is claiming that a statement S refers to a proposition A to be ‘true in a certain experiment’, but in the real experiment the observation reveals a proposition B ‘being the case’ (= being ‘true’) which shows a different proposition. And this outcome cannot be related to the proposition ‘A’ which is forecasted by the theory. If the statement ‘can not be interpreted sufficiently well’ then the situation is neither ‘true’ nor ‘false’; it is ‘undefined’.

Discussion: Case (ii) reveals that there exist an observable (empirical) fact which is not related to a certain ‘logically derived’ statement with proposition A. There can be many circumstances why the observation did not generate the ‘expected proposition A’. If one would assume that the observation is related to an ‘agreed process of generating an outcome M’, which can be ‘repeated at will’ from ‘everybody’, then the observed fact of a ‘proposition B distinguished from proposition A’ could be interpreted in the way, that the expectation of the theory cannot be reproduced with the agreed procedure M. This lets the question open, whether there could eventually exist another procedure M’ producing an outcome ‘A’. This case is for the actors which are running the procedure M with regard to the logically derived statement S talking about proposition A ‘unclear’, ‘not defined’, a ‘non-confirmation’. Otherwise it is at the same time no confirmation either.

Discussion: Case (i) seems — at a first glance — to be more ‘clear’ in its interpretation. Assuming here too that the observation is associated with an agreed procedure M producing the proposition B which can be interpreted as non-A (B = non-A). If everybody accepts this ‘classification’ of B as ‘non-A’, then by ‘purely logical reasons’ (depending from the assumed concept of logic !) ‘non-A’ contradicts ‘A’. But in the ‘real world’ with ‘real observations’ things are usually not as ‘clear-cut’ as a theory may assume. The observable outcome B of an agreed procedure M can show a broad spectrum of ‘similarities’ with proposition A varying between 100% and less. Even if one repeats the agreed procedure M several times it can show a ‘sequence of propositions <B1, B2, …, Bn>’ which all are not exactly 100% similar to proposition A. To speak in such a case (the normal case!), of a logical contradiction it is difficult if not impossible. The idea of Popper-1971 with a possible ‘falsification’ of a theory would then become difficult to interpret. A possible remedy for this situation could be to modify a theory in the way that a theory does forecast only statements with a proposition A which is represented as a ‘field of possible instances A = <a1, a2, …, am>’, where every ‘ai‘ represents some kind of a variation. In that modified case it would be ‘more probable’ to judge a non-confirmation between A as <a1, a2, …, am> and B as <B1, B2, …, Bn>, if one would take into account the ‘variability’ of a proposition.[3]

Having discussed the case of ‘non-confirmation’ in the described modified way this leads back again to the case of ‘confirmation’: The ‘fuzziness’ of observable facts even in the context of agreed procedures M of observation, which are repeatable by everyone (usually called measurement) requires for a broader concept of ‘similarity’ between ‘derived propositions’ and ‘observed propositions’. This is since long a hot debated point in the philosophy of science (see e.g. [4]). Until now does no general accepted solution exist for this problem.

Thus the clear idea of Popper to associate a theory candidate with a minimum of rationality by relating the theory in an agreed way to empirical observations becomes in the ‘dust of reality’ a difficult case. It is interesting that the ‘late Popper’ (1988-1991) has modified his view onto this subject a little bit more into the direction of the interpretation of observable events (cf. [5])

##### Logic as an Organon

In the discussion of the possible confirmation or falsification of a theory Popper uses two different perspectives: (i) in a more broader sense he is talking about the ‘process of justification’ of the theoretical statements with regard to an empirical basis relying on the ‘regulative idea of truth’, and (ii) in a more specialized sense he is talking about ‘deductive logic as an organon of criticism’. These two perspectives demand for more clarification.

While the meaning of the concept ‘theory’ is rather vague (statements, which have to be confirmed or falsified with respect to observational statements), the concept ‘deductive logic as an organon’ isn’t really clearer.

Until today we have two big paradigms of logic: (i) the ‘classical logic’ inspired by Aristotle (with many variants) and (ii) ‘modern formal logic’ (cf. [6]) in combination with modern mathematics (cf. [7],[8]). Both paradigms represent a whole universe of different variants, whose combinations into concrete formal empirical theories shows more than one paradigm.(cf. [4], [8], [10])

As outlined in the figure above the principal idea of logic in general follows the following schema: one has a set of expressions of some language L for which one assumes at least, that these expressions are classified as ‘true expressions’. According to an agreed procedure of ‘derivation’ one can derive (deduce, infer, …) other expressions of the language which are assumed to be classified as ‘true’ if the assumptions hold.[11]

The important point here is, that the modern concept of logic does not explain, what ‘true’ means nor exists there an explanation, how exactly a procedure looks like which enables the classification of an expression as ‘being true’. Logic works with the minimalist assumption that the ‘user of logic’ is using statements which he assumes to be ‘true’ independent of how this classification came into being. This frees the user of logic to deal with the cumbersome process of clarifying the meaning and the existence of something which makes a statement ‘true’, but on the other side the user of modern logic has no real control whether his ‘concept of derivation’ makes any sense in a real world, from which observation statements are generated claiming to be ’empirically true’, and that the relationships between these observational statements are appropriately ‘represented’ by the formal derivation concept. Until today there exists no ‘meta-theory’ which explains the relationship between the derivation concept of formal logic (there are many such concepts!) and the ‘dynamics of real events’.

Thus, if Popper mentions formal logic as a tool for the handling of assumed true statements of a theory, it is not really clear whether such a formal logical derivation really is appropriate to explain the ‘relationships between assumed true statements’ without knowing, which kind of reality is ‘designated’/ ‘referred to’ by such statements and their relationships between each other.

##### (Formalized) Theory and Logic

In his paper Popper does not explain too much what he is concretely mean with a (formalized) theory. Today there exist many different proposals of formalized theories for the usage as ’empirical theories’, but there is no commonly agreed final ‘template’ of a ‘formal empirical theory’.

Nevertheless we need some minimal conception to be able to discuss some of the properties of a theory more concretely. I will address this problem in another post accompanied with concrete applications.

[1] Karl R.Popper, Conjectural Knowledge: My Solution of the Problem of Induction, in: [2], pp.1-31

[2] Karl R.Popper, Objective Knowledge. An Evolutionary Approach, Oxford University Press, London, 1972 (reprint with corrections 1973)

[3] In our everyday use of our ‘normal’ language it is the ‘normal’ case that a statement S like ‘There s a cup on the table’ can be interpreted in many different ways depending which concrete thing (= proposition B of the above examples) called a ‘cup’ or called ‘table’ can be observed.

[4] F. Suppe, Ed., The Structure of Scientific Theories, University of
Illinois Press, Urbana, 2nd edition, 1979.

[5] Gerd Doeben-Henisch, 2022,(SPÄTER) POPPER – WISSENSCHAFT – PHILOSOPHIE – OKSIMO-DISKURSRAUM, in: eJournal: Philosophie Jetzt – Menschenbild, ISSN 2365-5062, 22.-23.Februar 2022,

[6] William Kneale and Martha Kneale, The development of logic, Oxford University Press, Oxford, 1962 with several corrections and reprints 1986.

[7] Jean Dieudonnè, Geschichte der Mathematik 1700-1900, Friedrich Viehweg & Sohn, Braunschweig – Wiesbaden, 1985 (From the French edition “Abrégé d’histoire des mathématique 1700-1900, Hermann, Paris, 1978)

[8] Philip J.Davis & Reuben Hersh, The Mathematical Experience, Houghton Mifflin Company, Boston, 1981

[9] Nicolas Bourbaki, Elements of Mathematics. Theory of Sets, Springer-Verlag, Berlin, 1968

[10] Wolfgang Balzer, C.Ulises Moulines, Joseph D.Sneed, An Architectonic for Science. The Structuralist Program,D.Reidel Publ. Company, Dordrecht -Boston – Lancaster – Tokyo, 1987

[11] The usage of the terms ‘expression’, ‘proposition’, and ‘statement’ is in this text as follows: An ‘expression‘ is a string of signs from some alphabet A and which is accepted as ‘well formed expression’ of some language L. A ‘statement‘ is an utterance of some actor using expressions of the language L to talk ‘about’ some ‘experience’ — from the world of bodies or from his consciousness –, which is understood as the ‘meaning‘ of the statement. The relationship between the expressions of the statement and the meaning is located ‘in the actor’ and has been ‘learned’ by interactions with the world and himself. This hypothetical relationship is here called ‘meaning function  φ’. A ‘proposition‘ is (i) the inner construct of the meaning of a statement (here called ‘intended proposition’) and (ii) that part of the experience, which is correlated with the inner construct of the stated meaning (here called ‘occurring proposition’). The special relationship between the intended proposition and the occurring proposition is often expressed as ‘referring to’ or ‘designate’. A statement is called to ‘hold’/ to be ‘true’ or ‘being the case’ if there exists an occurring proposition which is ‘similar enough’ to the intended proposition of the statement. If such an occurring proposition is lacking then the designation of the statement is ‘undefined’ or ‘non confirming’ the expectation.

## Follow-up Post

For a follow-up post see here.