Marks and Remarks
Food for the Mind and Eye

No. 0042, March 21, 2015


Kinds of Differences III

Copyright 2015 by S. W. Paul Wyszkowski

     "What has Montserrat got to do with kinds of differences?" Prickles wants to know. Actually it illustrates several kinds of differences, but never mind. Let me just present my case, OK? "Go ahead," she says.

     As you remember ("Don't count on it," she says) we established that we can tell thing A from thing B because there is a difference distinguishing them. And since it seems evident that differences between different sets of things are different, we asked, well, what different kinds of differences can there be? Seems like a reasonable question to ask. "Seems like doubletalk," Prickles observes. Shush, no snark until I'm done.

     For starters we noted two different kinds of differences: measured ("objective") differences and experienced ("felt", or "subjective") differences. Any robot or computer (or, for that matter, organism) can observe objective differences and report what had been observed but only conscious organisms can experience the observation and they can't report the subjective experience, at least not in rational, logically analyseable terms. So that's two different kinds of differences. And there's a bunch more, distinguished by the way they are measured or experienced. For example there is the kind of difference which is measured by comparing weights of thing A and thing B. Then there is one measured by comparing their temperatures. Another one measured by comparing their radioactivity, if any (this one we can't experience directly because we are blind and insensitive to radioactivity, at least in the short term). Yet another one is observed by measuring relative velocity of thing A with respect to thing B. Etc., etc.

     In fact, there are as many different kinds of differences as there are "fields" or "forces". The current model of the universe recognizes four fundamental kinds of forces: the electromagnetic, the "weak", the "strong" and the gravitational, with many variations due to interactions among them. But as our first two kinds of difference (measured and experienced) suggest, there is a fifth field in play: the consciousness field. And there we shall leave it for now, without so much as even a mention of the probability field. "OK by me, " says Prickles.

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