Pat Gunn (dachte) wrote,
Pat Gunn

Continued Cooking Adventures

Last night: Another successful stew, followed by a not-really-successful attempt at flan. I learned a lot for next time though, and the results are at least edible.

Recently I've been thinking about the claim of "proof by assertion", and how in the realm of establishing norms, we do this all the time. A parent does this regularly to children, we continue to do so through adulthood when we say "X is wrong", "Y is awesome", "Z is beautiful", and the like. This is particularly the case with language - the correctness of language usage is based on consensus, at least on some level (individuals and groups might declare themselves to be an authority and use some separate basis for determining what is correct; others may choose to recognise those authorities). On some level, there is no truth-potential for things like grammar, spelling, and the like, but it complicates our thinking too much to have truthlike realms that are subtly different - we shoehorn them in and apply regular reasoning to them, fairly or not.

I've been thinking about this in the context of "argument by aesthetic" - the type of reasoning we fall back on when we don't share axioms with someone, or are reasoning about things that either lack them entirely or between layers of thought (e.g. suggesting someone accept a new axiom). To present an argument and hope it gets traction because it adequately captures existing thought/intuition (logical abduction?) and perhaps it avoids too many edge cases, it's another style of thought that's not as strong as a proof (likely in a domain where proofs are not workable). Question: how does it compare in usage to "proof by assertion"? I think it's a bit closer to axiomatic thought in that there's typically structure (even if informal) in aesthetic reasoning. The person honest enough to say "We could lay down intuitions in form X, Y, or Z; I'm choosing Z because it gives me the ability to say more interesting things" may be doing what would be a mistake in more formal logics, but this is proper in some domains (giving something much weaker than a proof).

Later today - more cooking, a strange caroling event, and likely more sketching or storywrangling.

I got some good laughs out of the Bulwer-Lytton Fiction Contest - CMUKGB did something like this a few years back, and I submitted a few short entries.


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