A specialist and a generalist were having an argument. The specialist exclaimed:
- Your problem is that you know a bit about everything but profoundly about nothing!
To which the generalist replied:
- Well, you in turn know one field profoundly but understand little about the whole.
The basic problem between their fight is in how they view knowledge as an accumulating substance; this view lacks the vividness of the consciousness approach in which knowledge always builds the individual – no matter whether it’s special or general knowledge.
The question should not be: should one specialize or “generalize”, but what are the most efficient ways to do both things. Too much specialization in education causes one to lose the sense of proportion and without specialization no direction for life can be clarified. Somewhere in between there is fertile ground for interdisciplinarity and synthesis.
Continuing on these ideas: Can language be thought as collapsing the state?
Wave function collapse (also called collapse of the state vector or reduction of the wave packet) is the phenomenon in which a wave function—initially in a superposition of several different possible eigenstates—appears to reduce to a single one of those states after interaction with an observer.
So the question is: Can the cat can be alive and dead at the same time?
The Copenhagen interpretation of quantum mechanics implies that after a while, the cat is simultaneously alive and dead. Yet, when we look in the box, we see the cat either alive or dead, not both alive and dead.
The problem here is both 1) the definition of death and 2) the observer’s attempt to understand activity by means of the categories of vision. It is indeed interesting: why does the writer talk about “we” looking in the box? Why is the setting built so that “we see the cat either alive or dead” is stated as unquestionably true?
I can think of several questions that makes the setting all the more fuzzy:
- At what moment precisely is the cat considered dead? What organ needs to stop functioning? Can we “see” when it happens?
- What if the person looking at the cat has gotten the wrong impression? What if the cat is faking it?
These questions inevitably lead to the conclusion that the cat’s death is first and foremost a state of the observer’s consciousness. To clarify this, let’s have another thought experiment:
A newspaper reports that Schrödinger’s cat is dead. Fans of the cat start their mourning period. Couple of days later, however, it reads that it was all a hoax and the cat is actually all well.
In this case, the cat was dead for the fans until the actual state was reported. It was not dead, however, for the person who looks after the cat. The cat didn’t even exist for people who didn’t know about it.
To sum up: it all depends from what perspective the situation is approached and what presuppositions are made. These are guided by the objectives of the actor.
The correspondence theory of truth states that the truth or falsity of a statement is determined only by how it relates to the world, and whether it accurately describes (i.e., corresponds with) that world. The theory is opposed to the coherence theory of truth which holds that the truth or falsity of a statement is determined by its relations to other statements rather than its relation to the world.
Correspondence theories claim that true beliefs and true statements correspond to the actual state of affairs. This type of theory attempts to posit a relationship between thoughts or statements on the one hand, and things or facts on the other.
The problem with this theory is that it does not take into account the nature of language as an emergent phenomenon that doesn’t exist “outside” the world.
So, what is the “actual state of affairs”, and how does it relate to the concept of discourse? This thought gets more concrete when it is approached through the concept of media. Does media represent the actual state of affairs? It seems enough to consider Marcuse’s One-Dimensional Man to understand the picture behind this.
In everyday life one encounters this actual state of affairs in statements such as “I am not that kind of person” or “this is who I am”. In fact, what kind of person one is is constructed precisely in such sentences.
To conclude: the world is chaotic, and each statement and belief of its actual state is an (initial) approximation. To state or believe that X is “true” is just saying that X corresponds with my conception of what is “true”.
The approximation of reality gets more accurate through rational discourse. The product of this process is consciousness, which is then transformed into action.