Re: Re: BPR-L Intransitives of Determination of Priorities

From: John Conover <>
Subject: Re: Re: BPR-L Intransitives of Determination of Priorities
Date: Fri, 19 Aug 1994 14:31:12 -0700 (PDT)!WRB-AFRES.AFRES.AF.MIL!Dale=Long%HQ_AFRES_IMX%ROBINS writes:
> John,
> Ah, you hit on something I have tinkered with a bit: logical vs. rational.
> Logic is context-based, rationale is content-based.  (I think those are the
> correct terms, though "structure" may be better for logic than context.)
> Logic does not require anything other than objective analysis.
> Rationalization is primarily subjective in nature, though objective data
> may also be used in the process.

Good point. very, very interesting. Most of the new management schemas
claim they are context based, as opposed to content based. (Whether it
is hype, or not, I guess depends on your POV.) Another place we hear
these words is content and context data (content, being a traditional
database, context, being something like information retrieval systems,
eg., email archives.)

> Now, to digress for a moment, the anology that comes to mind is a computer
> playing chess with a human grandmaster.  The best computers, while
> incapable of making a "mistake," still cannot beat the best humans in a
> chess game.  Chess can be reduced to a logical exercise for the computer,
> but it takes rational thought to reach the very highest levels.  Human
> grandmasters engage in a mental activity known as "chunking" when they
> play; while they can't calculate all the moves the computer can, a
> grandmaster can play "strategically" based on subjective assessment.
> The end result is that the computer plays logically and does not make any
> mistakes, but usually still loses the game.
> Now, back to prioritization.  If I take your meaning on "logical processes"
>  correctly, I assign it the computer's role in my analogy.  I then equate
> rational processes with my chess grandmaster.  The result: computers can
> model only what group prioritization processes are already part of existing
> philosophy, as interpreted by their programmers.  Humans, on the other
> hand, will react to prioritization in a variety of unpredicatable ways,
> though this unpredicatability is finite (and variable) based on who belongs
> to the group.
> I would also hypothesize that the humans will, on the whole, come up with
> better sets of priorities using rational instead of logical processes.

I think so too, and so does Roger Penrose. It is kind of an enigma, since
must one pose the question, since there is no way to dermine what the
best ranking of priorities is, is it necessary to rank them at all? If you
assume it is not necessary, planning becomes irrelevant (which I doubt.)

> Case in point: sometime back in the '70s, (the exact study escapes me, at
> the moment, but I think it was at the Wharton School at U-Penn,) they took
> two groups of MBA students and gave them similar businesses to run.
> One group had the state-of-the-art spreadsheet and financial management
> programs of the day, and were schooled in popular financial management
> techniques that focused on quarterly performance.  The second group was
> denied the use of those tools and told to make decisions based on their
> best judgement.  Group 1, working on quarterly forcasts and reports, barely
> broke even.  Group 2, working strategicaly, showed huge growth.
> Ostensibly, Group 2 developed better priorities.
> Does this make sense, or am I off in left field again?  :)

I couldn't agree more ...



John Conover,,

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