Previous Title Page Contents Site Index

Noology: Time, Memory, Knowledge
and Information Technology

Andreas Goppold
Prof. a.D., Dr. Phil., Dipl. Inform., MSc. Ing. UCSB

The Noo-Series: Vol II

Preview of Vol II of the Noology - Series

What is Noology ?

The word Noology derives from the greek words "noos" or "nous" and "logos". [1] The meaning of both is quite similar. "Noos" is a term roughly covering the semantic field of the present colloquial words:
{"know/ing/ledge" [2] / mind / understanding / intelligence / thinking}.
The word "logos" has a very similar semantic field, but with a slight bent towards systematics and ordering. For this reason, all the names of present-day sciences are constructed by using some field indicator like "psycho-" with the appendage "-logy". The meaning of "logos" is further defined by its relation to the latin term "ratio" which today re-appears in the word "rational/ity". [3] The main aspect which distinguishes "logos" from "noos" is this admixture of "ratio" which also means proportion, measure. But that is more due to present-day usage, and was not quite that distinct in the times of ancient Greece when those people lived whom we identify as the founding fathers of philosophy: Thales, Anaximandros, Anaximenes, Anaxagoras, Heraklitos, Parmenides, Sokrates, Platon, and Aristoteles. [4] That was between ca. 500 BC and 300 BC.

Noo-logy thus outlines a systematic study and (attempt at) organization of everything dealing with knowing and knowledge. Of course there are already quite a few philosophical and scientific schools dealing with these matters, like Epistemology, Knowledge Organization, Classification, Library Science, and Mind Sciences. What is the use of this special term, and what can be offered with it? I am certainly not proposing to build up an entirely new scientific and philosophical enterprise from scratch. One main reason for using some special vocabulary is simply a necessity of dictionary ordering or rather, dictionary confusion. Everyone who has some experience with the history of philosophy realizes that the terms used throughout the ages have seen a quite large variation of meaning such that it is very difficult to really outline the semantic field of any of them clearly. Of course this is partly due to the matter itself: mind, intelligence, understanding, etc. are still quite elusive subjects, even after 2500 years of philosophical examination. The other reason why I use some special terms (more will soon come) is that they cannot easily be mis-translated. When I read english translations of german philosophical texts, and vice versa, I am often appalled by the wide gap between the renderings of german terms like "gedächtnis", "geist", "vernunft", etc. with some english counterparts like "memory", "spirit", "mind", "reason", intelligence, intellect, etc. This has in the past given much difficulty for the understanding between german and anglo schools of philosophy. Especially with works by Hegel, Schelling, Fichte (the idealist school) and later, the works of Heidegger.

The other reason why I use this specific term is to indicate a certain orientation on which I want to focus:
"Time, Memory, Knowledge and Information Technology".
Part of this enterprise may be called philosophical, but another important part deals with technical information matters. I have a background in computer science and I have done quite a bit of programming myself. I have also dealt with philosophy, cultural anthropology, semiotics, and a few other fields like (paleo-)linguistics, neuro sciences, and pre-history of civilization and culture. This is a specific background of knowledge for which I have not found any useful reference in any of the scientific and philosophical schools that I have encountered. So I am forced in some way to "roll my own". Noology thus indicates that I put a strong emphasis on the "living" memory aspect of knowledge, and its interrelation with time, and the phenomenological aspects of time, ie. reminiscence and forgetting. In my opinion, these aspects have been dealt with inadequately by the physicalistic oriented natural sciences. More on this later.

LaKnowledge or LhWissen: Time, Memory, Knowledge and Information Technology

The terms "LaKnowledge" or "LhWissen" are a shorthand for this specific orientation on "Time, Memory, Knowledge and Information Technology". It is my impression that there is some kind of a "missing link" between the hard sciences and technologies dealing with Information Machinery, and the "softball" approaches of philosophy when it comes to matters of knowledge, thinking, memory, time, and Information. This missing link shows up most distinctly in the role of human memory. No scientific or other endeavor would be possible without human memory, but this is hardly ever found in any scientific text dealing with time and information. [5] The other gap which seems problematic for me is the frequent confusion of knowledge and information. With this I will deal now:

Information, Real-Life Action, and Time
Probably everyone dealing seriously with knowledge and information matters will already know that the mathematical Shannon definition of information and its many interesting applications in concurrent information technology have little relevance as to matters of knowledge in real-life or real-business application situations. As opposed to the mathematical information concept, application of knowledge in real-life situations is something much harder to define, since it is essentially a human-factors affair. Among the many efforts to brindge that gap between "information" and "knowledge" I believe that a valuable approach was presented by Rainer Kuhlen who has coined the adage: "information is knowledge in action" (Information ist Wissen in Aktion). Of course this is not a definition in formal terms and therefore the mathematically oriented computer science and computer information community could not make very much use of this. But it introduces the notion of action. Action belongs to the domain of the "real world" because "facts" are created by "actions". And every action has to take place in some measure of time, and as we all know, time is always too short, especially when some kind of action is required quickly. Therefore it is often so that (no action = false action). This introduces at least one stringent formal requirement for information technology, that the necessary information required for any action has to be delivered quick or "asap" := "as soon as possible", "at your fingertips", as so many information technology advertisements claim.

I am not trying here for "yaaardi" (yet another approach at re-defining information) for the purposes of action in in real-life or real-business application situations. For now I will just coin that special word, which I introduced as "LaKnowledge" or "LhWissen" which means "real-Life application Knowledge" or "Lebenspraktisches handlungsrelevantes Wissen".

The one crucial factor of LaKnowledge was already mentioned: Time matters. Any answer to a problem not found in the crucial time given, is no anwer.

The crucial factor of human memory
The other crucial factor of LaKnowledge is human memory. Again, there is a lot of confusion around memory going around in the information industry, because someone at some unfortunate moment decided to reference the various computer storage technologies as "memory" like RAM, while it is nothing but "data storage". Human memory must by no means be confused with computer data storage. This misunderstanding has served to render much of concurrent information technology pretty much mis-informing. In some respect, this is also due to a congential deformation of the mathematical foundations of computer science (Informatics in computerese). All the while computing is crucially dependent on time factors, its mathematical foundation is pretty oblivious of time. This can be demonstrated with a very simple, striking example. Let us take any programming code line like this:
$variable = $variable +1 ;
This is actually mathematically false, since (A =/= A + 1) as everyone has learned in school. By the identity axiom, A must at all times be equal to A. The requirement "at all times" can also mean "without regard for time" and this can be called the Platonic foundation of mathematics, and without it, mathematics would be senseless. The proposition (A=A) is so to say the cornerstone of all mathematics and with it, of all exact sciences. Of course, there is the "t" factor for time in mathematics. Properly written, the above code line would have to be:
$variable[t+1] = $variable[t0] +1 ;
This indicates that a time step of computer processing lies in between the right and the left hand side of the program statement. The first example above is just a shorthand, but it (introduces / indicates) a kind of obliviousness towards time factors in computer science since the engineers always assume that some later generation of computers will overcome any computational time barriers that may exist now.

Computers, Programming, Memory, and Time
In a certain respect, computers are "time machines", meaning that computer programs formulate strictly and rigrorously highly complex sequences of time-step-actions. On closer examination, one of the main sources of programming errors is that no real good formal means exist to ensure that a mis-matching of time steps is prevented. That is: It is in practical programming usage very hard to ensure that a variable or more general, an area of data storage, has been properly initialized or declared, before it is referenced. Conversely, this means that one part of a program expects some data value, which has not yet been produced (or something different than expected by the program was produced) by some different part of the program. While the control structure of the program is a formal mathematical affair that can be validated by a compiler, the sequencing of computing actions is given by the interaction of this control structure and the data. And there is no way of mathematically insuring that the right kinds of data are available for any subroutine of the program to be processed correctly. All approaches to ameliorate this fundamental problem, like Structured Programming, Software Engineering (SWE), Object Oriented Programming (OOP), etc. have not proven to give any better overall results. These methods introduce their own specific drawbacks and complexities, mostly through overblowing the size of the code, and the complexification of the syntactic rules which force the programmer to take all kinds of detours for solving a computational problem. [6]

Mathematics as Platonic Affair
But there is a deeper problem for the mathematics underlying computer science. Mathematics is, by the history of ideas, a Platonic affair. (Not to be confused with a platonic love affair). By Platonic I mean, that Platon the ancient Greek philosopher actually didn't quite believe in time. He was mainly concerned and strived for "a timeless universe of eternal ideas which is where resides all the truth, the goodness, and the beauty" (Das Wahre, Gute und das Schöne) [7] . Somehow this fancyful timeless universe of otherwise quite impossible ideals made it through the times into two real-life implementations: One is the Christian Heaven of God and the Angels (as well as Jewish and Islamic variations thereof) and the other is the Mathematical Realm of Absolute Truth. [8]

I am not concerned with theology here. [9] But the other application poses a real problem. Mathematics is entirely oblivious of human memory. Although mathematics is unquestionably a trade that requires extremely stringent human memory training to be proficient in, the human memory itself doesn't show up anywhere in its formulas and equations. I pull the arguments together now: Computer science as Informatics as a specialized application of mathematics has as yet no relevant place for human memory. But human memory is one of the most crucial factors of programming. That means: The discrepancy between (the very limited and fallible) human memory capacity and the formal rigor and complexity of computer programs has caused that present-day computing is a quite unreliable affair, as everyone can attest to when using a MS Windows system (or any other computer program system for that matter).

The Typology of Programming Errors
The typology of programming errors can be summed up in these three main factors:
Storage Synchronization Errors
As mentioned above, a main cause of programming errors is due to the fact that some programmer had forgotten that s/he had declared a variable here different than s/he used it there, or that a pointer had no reference, or something of the like. This can be called broadly "Storage synchronization errors".
Logical Interdependency Errors
The next class of errors can be called "Logical interdependency errors". This means that the program logic is flawed because there are overlapping or incomplete subsections of the boolean logic driving the code. In programming code, this often shows up as monumental edifices of if .. elsif elsif ... constructions.
Documentation / Specification Errors
Another main class of errors is that the applied subroutine or subprogram does something else (or has some other preconditions) than what the documentation says or what the programmer interprets the documentation to mean. This applies as well to program libraries that are supplied by a compiler vendor, as to those routines which the programmer/s write/s themselve/s. In large project teams dividing up the task of a project, this is a very common problem. But it applies as well to one single person when one has written a function library and one has forgotten later what the exact preconditions and what the exact workings of a function are.

Noology as work on the Missing Link between Memory and Information
My conclusion to the "human memory" shortcoming of computer and information science is that it must be complemented with some other kind of science, which deals with the human memory factors explicitly. This science is (a subset of) Noology. Of course there exist already a lot of approaches to "human factors" in computer science, and it needs to be explained of what use is yet another try in this direction. In my opinion, there must be more solid theoretical foundations than what I can find in the "human factors" movement in computer science. Because I don't have the time to go through and discuss all of these approaches, I start with a kind of nutshell: I will present here some basic research, some tools and some technologies for this thing that I call "LaKnowledge" or "LhWissen". Even if I will probably not arrive at any better theory than what the others have, at least I can combine some of my practical and theoretical results into a coherent edifice. I have made some forays into the philosophical foundations of knowledge, and I wouldn't declare this endeavor as "academic philosophy". In the english language, there is still a meaning of "philosophy" as a common sense mindset, or frame of ideas, which makes the "Philosophy" of this website.

The Inequality Axiom of LaKnowledge (A' =/= A)
In a short aphorism, the difference between Mathematics and Information Science and the LaKnowledge of Noology is the "Inequality Axiom". When human memory comes into play, then the following statement is true:
(A[t+i] =/= A[t0]) or otherwise written as:
(A' =/= A)
This means: when one has observed something "A" once, and then observes it a second time (meaning one recognizes it as "A"), then a paradoxy arises: Although A' is recognized as belonging to some class "A", it is also identified as being "not A" because one remembers "A" from the first encounter and it is unquestionably clear that A[t+i] is not the same as "A[t0]". This is because there is the memory of "A" present, and one knows intuitively that the newly presented A' is not the memory of "A[t0]".
An exception to this general rule is the so called "deja vu" encounter, when one thinks that something very unusual must have happened, like entering a time tunnel: One believes to be teleported to some other time in the past, when exactly the same sequence of things occurred in the same setting with the same persons. A similar formulation of this is: While the common sense tacitly assumes a (more or less) identity of common objects through time (eg. my car, my house, my pen), it is quite startled when some sequence of action happens exactly the same at time [t+i] as it did at time [t0]. The exception to this are of course computers, mechanic automation, and less strictly, ceremonies and rituals, which are expected to follow at least a general rule, even while it is assumed that some of the environment and some of the participating persons may change.

Bergson or Heraklitean time
Time, in all philosophical systems adhering to the mathematical, physical, or Newtonian / Einstein thought system, is just one dimension in a coordinate system, which together with the spatial dimensions make up the space / time framework and can be mapped on Cartesian coordinates. When we bring human memory into the system, the concept of time changes drastically: This concept can also be called Bergson or Heraklitean time, for the philosophers who are probably best known for outlining its specific differences to mathematical time. Friedrich Nietzsche also devoted some effort to these paradoxa. In the objective Newtonian / Einstein conception of time, human memory is simply disregarded, it is a phenomenon of the observer, or of subjectivity.

In the real world, no thing "A" at time [t0] is ever equal to its appearance at time [ti], even if we see an object "A", a chair, or a pen right now, and then one second later. Physically, that is due to the second law of thermodynamics or the entropy law. Phenomenally (in the mind) it is the difference between observing something "A[t0]" for the first time, and then observing the A[ti] in superposition with the memory of "A[t0]". This process is quite unconscious, but without the effect of memory, recognition would not be possible. This is a paradox which can not be equated away.

This was a slight degression and we return to the current aim: How to arrive at some tools and techniques for LaKnowledge.

The Noologic Domain: Categorization and Category Systems.

The noologic domain (or short: the domain) is the term used in my system of Noology for everything which can or could be known. The noologic domain is also colloqually known as "the universe and the mind", ie the domain consists of everything:
1) that we perceive in and about the (external) world, and that
a) exists factually, or
b) could exist possibly, probably, and/or according to "the laws of nature".
2) that we perceive as (processes in / apparitions of) our minds,
that can or could appear somehow in our minds as feelings, thoughts, ideas, phantasies, wishes, emotions, impulses, etc.

The philosophical term categorization is used here in a specific meaning: Categorization is that mental framework by which we make our most fundamental distinctions of the noologic domain. Systematically, categorization is the design of a category system. In Noology, a category system is a construct of ideas. This is also a question of philosophical debate, since the Platonic schools in Mathematics and Natural Science assume that humans can only trace and track a pre-existent ordering of the Kosmos [10] .

The use of a category system is to specify any given item out of the noologic domain exhaustively by its attributes, and ideally, it should be set-theoretically clean. This means that all items of the domain categorized by our system should form disjunct sets. (In common sense philosophy this is called pigeon-holing). Something of the like is the rationale behind the information technology of the relational DBMS which is the machinery behind the current SQL query languages and most commercial Database systems. The difficulty of correctly designing the logical structure of a relational DBMS, called "normalizing" has the same logical reason that makes a categorization so difficult. Since Noology is not dealing with "ideal" worlds, but with organizing the knowledge of the messy world of humans and society, its category systems cannot give those ideal clean sets. Rather, it works with fuzzy sets. (More on this later).

Categorization is the most crucial task for setting up a knowledge system. If you have the wrong categorization then your knowledge system will most likely be skewed, flawed, or outright useless. Needless to say, a good category system is hard to come by. [11]

Many philosophers have come up with many different types of category systems and have given their reasons for designing them. Up to now, no philosopher had information machinery in mind when he designed his system. So for the present purpose, the design criteria for the category system are influenced by these factors:
1) the human mind and the human memory (or mnemonomic factors). [12]
2) the various types and kinds of the universe of concepts which we want to categorize
3) technical requirements and capabilities of the available information machinery.

It is a philosophical problem whether there exist "natural" categories. My working assumption about this is that any categories are imposed on the world by:
1) our nervous system (which is of course biological, and in some sense also natural) and by
2) our thinking patterns and habits (which are partly cultural, ie dependent on upbringing and education) but also subtly influenced by what our nervous system takes for granted before we even start to think.

We can think of categories as "flavored containers" somewhat like variable types of programming. There we have integers, floating, strings, arrays, truth values, and the OOP languages go so far as to construct a specific object type for any data item.

The Big W's: Where, When, Who, hoW, What, Whatfor, Whatwith, Whatagainst...

The mnemonomic factor of Noology is expressed best by the famous dictum "five plus minus two chunks" [13] . Ie. a category system should not have more than about 5 to 7 basic categories, while of course there can be many more subcategories. Natural language gives a few basic patterns for the Noologic instrumentarium since it has served the human mind and memory factors for countless ages to prove that it works. The interesting factor there is that so many and so different languages exist, and all seem to be workable somehow, since the peoples that used them, survived up to our day.

The germanic languages give a "natural" instrumentarium for categorization with the "W" questions. In German, this is:
1) Wo? - Where?
2) Wann? - When?
3) Wer? - Who?
4) Wie? - hoW?
5) Was? - What?
6) für Welchen Zweck? - Whatfor?
7) mit Welchen Mitteln? - Whatwith?
8) gegen Welche Widerstände - Whatagainst?
This is already a categoric framework that can carry us quite far. But for now, I don't want to delve too much into matters of content, but will deal more with the logical structure of the framework, or with the empty categories. [14]

A phonetic category framework.

I will first construct an empty framework for a database retrieval system, which has a mnemonic factor. It is more or less given "naturally" by the capabilities of the human phonetic instrumentarium. This has a slight slant towards indoeuropean and semitic languages, but I want to construct a framework that can be represented as ASCII strings and that is not possible with extra-european phonetics for which we would need a Unicode representation.

Vowel Domain:

(1-8) a i ä e ü ö o u

The vowels "ä", "ü" and "ö" are from the german language, but they reflect the greek distinction of alpha and eta, omicron and omega, even though the sound values may be different. [15]

Consonant Domain:
key name phonetic value / pronounciation example
y aleph english: yes, german: ja
q qof arabic qof
k ka english: king
g ge german/ english: gold
r ro german: rad, rot
rch rch german: acht, nacht, wacht, krach
ch chi greek: chimaira, german: nicht, licht, gicht
h ha german/ english: hunger
j je english: join
sch sch german: schön, schluss
s sigma english: soon
z zeta german: zeit
l lambda english: lip
d delta english: do
t tau english: tea
th theta english: thought
f phi english: food
b beta english: brain
p pi english: pod
w we german: wein
n nu english: noon
m mu english: moon

Vowels and Consonants are arranged in a table:























By use of this construction method we have the benefit that we can name anything that we want with a string of pronounceable words. This is primarily a memory requirement (also called mnemotechnics), because it is harder to remember something for which one has no pronounceable word. (There are exceptions: Feelings and physical sensations, like smells, of course can be remembered very well without words). The string formation follows the regular expression rules and always starts with a consonant. By using y = aleph as first consonant (which is also a vowel) we can allow words that would otherwise start with a vowel. In hebrew (mytho-poetic) usage, the aleph is called the mother/father of all sounds, because all pronounced sound formation must start with a breath (ruach, pneuma). The use of "y" as key fits also well to the technical requirements. It must be an ASCII consonant that is in the ordinary 7-bit character set available on every keyboard, and it must not collide with any other of the characters in the set. Because y is also used in indo-european languages as both vowel and consonant, this makes it a suitable candidate.

By this scheme we can form all words of the indoeuropean language system, which serves well for constructing a dictionary of all entities of the noologic domain.

Another requirement for a category system is that it should be frugal, ie that it should be easily memorable. A table of (8 * 22 ) = 176 elements is manageable, but something less is desirable. The decimal multiplication table has 100 elements, and that is about the memory capacity that one can assume for normal iq primary school students. To make these tables available to the general public, the memory limits of a normal iq person were of course one of the main stringent constraints. As can be observed in actual language use, most indoeuropean languages don't use the full vowel or consonant table, so that in effect the actual size of the table comes more close to 100 elements. Also some vowels and consonants are used more sparingly than others.

In most cases, the standard keyboard vowels: "a i e o u" (five chunks) will be sufficient. [16]

Reference to ancient memory technologies

This table was constructed with reference to the ancient memory technologies of the distant past, before writing was invented. That means those at least hundred thousand years during which some kind of human culture was transmitted by memory alone. The last 3-5000 years of writing civilization are very short compared with that time depth. All those times, mnemotechnics was a prime cultural necessity, because people had to memorize all the things that were worth remembering in their minds only. I have extensively researched on these techniques and written about them in some of my publications. [17] From these times, only some rudiments have passed down to us, and probably with distorted meanings and connotations. For example the well known vedic mantra "aoum" contains the primary vowels (the in-between-vowels can be produced when one lets the sounds slide into each other). Likewise for the christian mantra "amen". In ancient greece, the word for hearing was "aio", and the "aoide" was the ancient memory bearer, the singer of the ancient lore (like the Homeric epics and Hesiod's works). "audae" was the ancient greek word for the recital of those hymns. In the germanic tradition, the god "odin" was the bearer of the memory knowledge. In Africa, there exists a similar tradition of "griots".

In order to honor this tradition, I have made the "m" the last sound of the consonants, by this way we can construct the "aoum" with a (nearly) diagonal cross-section through the table.
The word "aio" is of course contained in the first line.

The order of consonants

The order of consonants is given somewhat approximately how they are produced in the vocal tract: First come the "deep throat" sounds, of which the semitic languages have a richer variation than indo-european. Here the sound is produced by the voice box only without use of the tongue. Then come the gutturals. The tongue moves from the deeper posterior parts of the palate upwards and frontwards, until it reaches the dentals, labials and nasals. The "m" is a half-closure, as the air stream switches from the mouth to the nose, and for this reason it was used in the "aoum" mantra, to let the humming sound drift off into infinity. Of course the spiritual aspects of these techniques are of no concern here, but the ordering function can profit from the ancient principles.

The nesting of categories

So far, this table gives us only an empty framework but this is a powerful technique to generate unambiguous strings rith the regexp principle, which is very important for computer processing. As to the task of categorization, we have a rich literature of different systems that try to "pigeonhole" the world knowledge for bibliothecary uses into sets, by which the library stacks and catalogs can be ordered in some manageable way. This task is more commonly known as classification. Usually, these schemes give only very rough distinctions, like the Dewey classification system, but here the governing principle is more to provide a financially adequate system (ie cheap enough) for ordering the library stacks and catalogs. It depends more often than not purely on the interpretation of the library personnel into which class a book will be more or less properly fitted. And more often than not, a book is classified in this way never to be found again.

Since so many category and classification systems have been devised, it is not really useful to add yet another version to this material. It has long become obvious that the world of knowledge can not be fitted into a table of any memorable dimension and to hope that these categories will ensure that the material will be adequately positioned and then, by use of these categories, that it can be retrieved. The problem of retrieval is that a researcher often thinks that the item s/he is looking for, is located under quite different categories, than where it is actually stored. This problem will not concern us for the moment. Instead I will embark on something that today is technically easier than what the philosophers of the past had to their avail: The nesting of categories.

The nesting of categories is a quite ancient technique for which Aristoteles gave a famous quote: "man is a featherless biped animal". [18] In all the sciences, the nesting of categories is well developed and presents a formidable edifice, like the classification of organisms. The principle is to identify a class by a certain set of attributes, like:
(class1.1 attr1 attr2 attr3 )
and then identify a super-class by a subset of these attributes like:
(class1 attr1 attr2 )
The rationale is that "attr1" and "attr2" are of a more general kind, and "attr3" is a more specific kind.
Likewise one can define different subclasses with differing sets of further attributes like:
(class1.2 attr1 attr2 attr3a )
(class1.3 attr1 attr2 attr3b )
(class1.1.1 attr1 attr2 attr3 attr4 )
(class1.2.1 attr1 attr2 attr3a attr4 )
and so forth.

In present information technology, this classification technique is the principle of "object oriented programming" and is also called "ontology" in current www organizing systems.
Unfortunately, time and again, it appears necessary to reorder these categorizations according to different principles. To implement these changes in the textbooks and library systems is usually a quite monumental task. But with present data processing technology, this has become much easier.

So we can view the above table actually as a stack of tables which can be searched with computers. Each table houses a number of strings which are [primary, secondary, tertiary ... ] retrieval keys for a database system. Permuting and reordering these strings is technically quite easy, and with the capacity of computers also within the technical and practical usability. After all, the time factor is crucial and one must search any number of permutations and combinations to find a specific item when one is not sure where it is exactly stored. In computer science, this topic appears for example under the title "inverted database".

Fuzzy categories and fuzzy logic

For 2300 years, from around 330 BC (the time of Aristoteles) to around 1970 the scientific progress of humanity dealt mainly with disjunct sets. [19] This is the base of Aristotelian logic, and the Boolean logic which drives our computers. Any item X either belongs to some class or set Q or it does not. [20]
(X e Q) || (X (not)e Q)
The relational DBMS technology is an implementation to extend this principle to practical data processing applications. Example: An item X which is characterized by attributes (attr1, attr2, attr3, attr4, ...) is either present in a warehouse Q or it is not.

From around 1970, with the work of Lotfi Zadeh on "Fuzzy Logics", there has been a shift in focus to things that cannot be categorized according to the rigid disjunct set theory. For example:
"Day" means: attr: sun is shining, stars are not visible, it is bright.
"Night" means: attr: sun is not shining, stars are visible, it is dark.
"Morning" and "Evening" are terms for describing phases of the diurnal circle, where the attributes are neither really dark nor really bright, some stars are visible, etc. But it is not possible to exactly give the attributes which characterize "Morning" or "Evening". Their attributes form a "fuzzy set".

Fuzzy Phonetics

The same is the case with the phonetics that are the base of the alphabet. While the alphabetical letters give the impression of outlining a clearly distinct set, the sounds they represent are a quite fuzzy set. This is more apparent with the vowels. In the english language, the "a" can stand for almost any vowel sound, depending on context. It is also possible to slide through the above sequence of "a i ä e ü ö o u" and produce all sorts of intermediate sounds which can belong to either one or the other vowel class. Similarly with many consonants: l and r can slide into each other (this is why the chinese people have difficulty to distinguish them since they use only one sound), f and w, b and w, d and t, etc. Therefore such similar consonants are grouped by linguistics in classes like nasals, labials, dentals, glottals, etc. In this way, the different variations of phonetic values of characters of the alphabet are more close to fuzzy sets than to the strict disjunct set theory. This is another reason for the letter classification presented here. The issue here is mainly how to deal with the information technology of fuzzy sets.

[1] Some articles on the main philosophical terms are given here:
[2] It seems as if the modern english word is a direct descendant of the old greek word.
[3] The traditional latin rendering of "logos" was "ratio et oratio".
[4] I am giving here a "greek" transliteration for those names instead of Anaximander, Plato, and Aristotle. This is non-standard for english philosophical texts, but I like the greek names better.
[5] An example is Klaus Mainzer's book on time - "Zeit". This is a work of scientific (physics) philosophy. The text contains no reference for human memory.
[6] Of course this is a personal opinion which I have come to after several decades of programming experience. There is no way a sophisticated method can substitute for clear thinking.
[7] See also the adaptation by Ken Wilber which I have referenced in Noology, Vol I.
[8] Although there are sub-schools ot mathematics which hold that even mathematical thruths are time-dependent conventions, most of the mathematicians are Platonists, even if they don't know what the term means. To be a Mathematician, involves a conviction that there must be some absolute truth, somewhere. Otherwise one wouldn't go through so many mental contortions to find it, or some more elegant expression (= formula) for it. Mathematics is in psychological parlance, based on an obsession with order and structure, and an abhorrence for insecurity and ambiguousness, or in other words, all those messy things that occur in the Real World and in Real Life of Human Wheelings and Dealings. And that was the dominant character trait of Platon the Philosopher. His psychological structure has, by this way, thus influenced a lot of western philosophy and science.
[9] With the theological themes I have dealt in my other writings. The connection between Platonic Philosophy and Theology has to do with the dominance of order and structure in the pantheon. See also the next footnote on "Kosmos". The Judeo/Christian theology unites all the factors of regularity and (law and) order in the Supreme God Jahve or Jehovah, whereas all the factors of irregularity und chaos are delegated to the demons and devils. This differentiates the Judeo/Christian theology from the pantheons of most other theologies of ancient civilizations where the Gods of Chaos were equally important and revered members of the pantheon. Eg. the Indian gods of time and destruction: Kala and Kali, the Asuras, or the Mesoamerican gods of rain and weather, (H)Uitzilopochtli, Tlaloc, etc. One main effort to reintroduce the principle of irregularity und chaos to western thinking was Goethe's character Mephistopheles, whom he introduced as incorporation of this suppressed arch-spirit and archae-elemental.
Nietzsche had identified a similar opposition in his work on the Dionysic and Apollinic factors of Greek mythology: "Die Geburt der Tragödie"
Keywods: "der Jünger eines noch "unbekannten Gottes", ...
"Antwort auf die Frage "was ist dionysisch?" ... "Nothwendigkeit der Traumerfahrung":
(LOC_DVD) file://localhost/f:/gutbg/
R.A. Wilson had elaborated on the same theme in the "Illuminatus" trilogy with his "Principle of Discordia" or Eris.
The painter W. Turner introduced this element into pictorial art. Instead of concentrating on the outlines, he focussed on the contrasts of color fields.
See also the references in my writings:
[10] The meaning of the ancient greek term Kosmos was, literally, decor(ation/um) and ornament, but was subsequently used philosophically, as a principle of (law and) Order to contra-distinguish it from the Chaos. Thus, the Kosmos was also synonymous for everything orderly in nature and the universe. Theology, philosophy and the sciences dealt for 2500 years mainly with these orderly factors, and only recently have the disorderly and chaotic elements of nature found entry into the halls of science under the name of Chaos Theory, Turbulent Fluid Dynamics, etc.
[11] The most interesting case of an obviously messy category system is the Chinese Encyclopedia of animals by Borges.
[12] More colloquially one can also call this ergonomic.
[13] Which comes from memory psychology and indicates how many otherwise meaningless items a normal human can remember. Of course, since Noology deals with Knowledge, ie. meaning, this psychological rule can only be applied with a grain of salt (cum grano salis).
[14] Apart from the technical usage in programming science, this method owes some credit to Gotthard Günther's Kenogrammatics.
[15] My own interpretation of the phonetic sound of these characters differs from conventional philological usage.
[16] The reason why I don't use the standard alphabetical ordering has to do with the sound slide factor. It is easier to pronounce aieou in one sliding sound. The ancient memory technologies are another reason which are dealt with in the next section.
[17] See for example my dissertation.
[18] This needs to be analysed with a structure graph since the nesting is implicit:
(class animals
(class birds, attr:feathers, attr:2ped),
(class no_birds, attr:no_feathers, (attr:0_ped | attr:4_ped | attr:6_ped | ... | attr:1000_ped),
(class man, attr:no_feathers, attr:2_ped),
Man belongs to the super-class "animals" and to sub-class "no_birds", and is unique there by attribute 2_ped.
[19] "Pigeonholing" means a pigeon can be only in one hole, and cannot be in any other hole at the same time. The paradox of Schroedinger's cat is a quantum theory variant of the fuzzy set paradigm. In fuzzy set theory, Schroedinger's cat can be about 70 % alive and 30 % dead, all the while and at the same time.
[20] For reasons of graphic simplicity, the mathematical "element" symbol is here substituted with "e".

Previous Title Page Contents Site Index