Re: System Measurability LO3617
Fri, 3 Nov 1995 07:23:07 -0500

Replying to LO3590 --

I have seen frequent reference to "the ladder of inference" on this list.

The graphical isomorph (is there such a word) for structures of inference
is the digraph, which, in general, is not isomorphic to a ladder.

On the contrary, digraphs fall between two prototypical extremes: at one
extreme, a hierarchy (which can consist of separate parts, each of which
is a hierarchy), and at the other extreme, a cycle, in which everything is
related to everything else.

About 98% of the structures of inference produced using Interactive
Management in the last 20 years are neither hierarchies nor cycles, but
are hybrids, having hierarchical substructures and cyclic substructures.

For the architects on the list, you will recall that Christopher Alexander
at one time thought that cities were structured like tree graphs, but
later on decided that they were more like lattices. If he had gone one
more step he would have reached the hybrid structural type.

If there's something here that has an implication for higher education, I
think it is that many of the very best philosophers started out as
mathematicians or lawyers, both being very sensitive to language; and very
few of them started out as sociologists.


I highly recommend stealing (sorry, borrowing) ideas from professional philosophers and adapting them to individual circumstances. You can hardly find more valuable products at lower market prices.