From: John Conover <>
Subject: Re: WWII
Date: 19 Aug 1999 20:41:48 -0000

Jim Blair writes:
> writes:
>     One point that always worries me:  the question of cause and effect.
> wrote:
> > That's a good point, Mason. If the economy is a sufficiently complex
> > system, (ie., fractal, NLDS, chaotic, etc.,) then cause and effect are
> > circularly self-referential, and can not be isolated-at least in the
> > context of a deterministic system where static equilibrium
> > methodologies (ie., macroeconomics paradigm,) are used.
> Yes. But which was cause and which effect?  Were the 1980's (and since)
> prosperous BECAUSE of Reagan?

Hi Jim. I guess that's the point. If the system is sufficiently
complex, which was the cause, and which was the effect, can not be
determined because cause and effect are a
circular/self-referential/recursive type of agenda, ie., a Godelian

Many of mathematical logicians claim it is the very nature of logic
itself, (ie., Smullyan, Rucker, et al.) If a system is at least as
complicated as the arithmetic, then rational understanding of it must
be incomplete, inconsistent, or both, (at least within the context of
the system itself, re: Godel.) I would suppose, in some sense, that in
science, incomplete is favored over inconsistent, (ie., we would
rather not be able to predict the status of Schrodinger's cat than to
predict wrong.)


BTW, some very simple systems can be used to illustrate the issue. One
of the best, IMHO, comes from Roger Penrose citing Russell's
paradox. Consider a library of books. The librarian notes that some
books in the library contain their titles, and some do not, and wants
to add two index books to the library, labeled "A" and "B,"
respectively; the "A" book will contain the list of all of the titles
of books in the library that contain their titles; and the "B" book
will contain the list of all of the titles of the books in the library
that do not contain their titles. Now, clearly, all book titles will
go into either the "A" book, or the "B" book, respectively, depending
on whether it contains its title, or not.  Now, consider in which
book, the "A" book or the "B" book, the title of the "B" book is going
to be placed-no matter in which book the title is placed, it will be
contradictory with the rules. And, if you leave it out, the two books
will be incomplete.


John Conover,,

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