Posted by Nicole Tedesco on June 20, 2011
Human thermodynamics is a fascinating topic, which might be “unifying” across not only physics but also across economics, history, politics, sociology and human psychology! Consider “irreversibility” in economics not as a by-product of economic trade, agreement, contract, property rights and general rule of law, but a feature which reduces the cognitive load in the human brain.
What if it turns out we humans are built to seek “cognitive irreversibility”? What if irreversibility in human affairs is not an epiphenomenon but part of our cognitive goal-seeking repertoire?
I am not certain of the utility of applying thermodynamic analysis to human behavior and economics, and I certainly to not wax ergosophic, but I can certainly see the utility of including “irreversibility-seeking” as a goal to be optimized in game theory.
Update (25 June 2011): The actual work at the web site I consider bull. The theorists, I believe, do not understand the degree to which they are merely borrowing an analogy.
Posted in Economics | Tagged: business, cognition, irreversibility, law, transactions | Leave a Comment »
Posted by Nicole Tedesco on June 8, 2011
I am working to unify the concept of “transaction” across the disciplines of:
- information technology, and even
- physics and psychology.
This is important: transaction analysis and design is not addressed well in the modeling paradigms of both I/T and enterprise architecture. Unfortunately, I believe this is a critical omission.
Posted in Current Activities | Tagged: business, cognition, economics, information technology, physics, software, transactions | Leave a Comment »
Posted by Nicole Tedesco on May 24, 2011
Does a corporation possess goals? What is a goal?
From the Wikipedia definition of “goal”,
A goal or objective is a desired result a person or a system envisions, plans and commits to achieve—a personal or organizational desired end-point in some sort of assumed development…
The error in this definition is the inclusion of the idea that a non-conscious system could possess a goal. This is an example of fallacy of reification I described a few days ago. Systems, including companies, do not possess goals, people do.
In corporate settings various charters, such as project or program charters, describe sets of goals the activity is associated with. It is frequent that participants in these activities then associate these goals with the activity itself, as if the activity was a conscious animal of some kind. I believe the fallacy of reification is strongly associated with the phenomenon of failing to question these goals when real life data comes in conflict with them.
It is expedient to think that the activity “lives” in some say. Each human can only hold so much information in their heads at any one time. The human social capacity has known limits famously described by Robin Dunbar,
Perhaps it is easier to believe that the activity is a single person, perhaps a person who must be obeyed, than to continue to track all of the people who contributed to the identification of any one goal or another. When reality conflicts with these goal, how many people bother to draw together the participants necessary to reexamine these goals? What do people do with conflicting goals of very long-lived activities, perhaps with such goals as those written into a corporate charter by people who might even be long dead?
Reification can serve as a convenient mental proxy for the myriad other players involved in the initial identification of goals and other elements of human value in complex collaborative situations. It is easy to forget that reification is an energy saving convenience. The epistemological worldview that results from reification however does not reflect metaphysical reality. Written goals are associated with people, fallible people who should never lose sight of objective reality. If a goal conflicts with reality, one must muster the energy to seek the collaborators necessary to adjust the conflicted goals.
Posted in Epistemology | Tagged: cognition | Leave a Comment »
Posted by Nicole Tedesco on May 23, 2011
To Wikipedia, a decent definition of “technology” has been posted,
Technology is the making, usage and knowledge of tools, techniques, crafts, systems or methods of organization in order to solve a problem or serve some purpose.
Yes, the concept of “technology” is as general as that. With patents in mind, can a “technology” be a pure product of the mind? As an example, is an epistemological framework a technology? What is a “tool”?
Regardless of the assumption or rejection of metaphysical dualism, is the mind itself not a tool? Is the mind not a collection of matter and states which can be manipulated by human agency to achieve a goal of that agency? If self-reference is where we draw the line at “abstract idea” versus technology, where does self-reference end and the “world” begin? Are arms and legs tools, or merely “self”?
If I could take a pill which would transform one of my eyes into a Steve Austin, bionic “super eye”, is that eye merely “me” or is it a technology? If I were to integrate nano-scale technology into my physiology, does that nano-scale technology cease to be a technology and become “me”? What if the DNA of a future child were to be manipulated so that, once that child was born, their body would be impregnated with a technology produced by the programming of that child’s DNA? Would the programming itself be a considered a technology?
I reject metaphysical dualism. The biological “brain”, the epistemological mind and the non-nervous aspects of the human body are one. No separation exists. I am tempted to say that any goal-suiting change we might make to any state of matter, even the memories of our minds actively created, are technologies. This line of reasoning points the way to a future state of absurdity with regard to United States patent law. Either, one day, the prohibition against patenting “abstract ideas” will be lifted, or the entire patent regime will crumble. I am not sure which.
Posted in Ethics | Tagged: cognition, epistemology, ethics, law, technology | Leave a Comment »