[PD] CVs

Mathieu Bouchard matju at artengine.ca
Tue May 24 16:29:36 CEST 2011

On Sun, 22 May 2011, Bryan Jurish wrote:

> "Pair" is a word of English, and a highly ambiguous one at that -- it
> might be an ordered pair, an unordered pair, a pair of pants, a pair of
> aces,

Most pants are quite ordered...

> 'a pair' (aka "couple"), or whatever.  Yes, it's semantically and 
> pragmatically complex.  The (abstract) number "2" plays a pretty heavy 
> role in all of its sense I can think of at the moment, though.

In French, it's much more exciting : the word «pair» is pronounced the 
same way as the word «even» (number), «peer», «father», «blue-green» 
(eye colour), and some conjugations of «to lose».

> Do you mean the semantics usually associated with the feature (singleton 
> vs. non-singleton set) -- it's kinda cool that zero tends to get lumped 
> in with plurals in English (but usually not in German)

In French, I think zero singular is most common, but zero plural isn't so 
unusual. In Quechua, 'two' (pair of) has its own grammatical number.

> I think I see what you're getting at, but I'm not sure where it's going. 
> I'll accept the "directly perceivable" term for current purposes, but 
> there's whole heckuvalot more going on in our heads (brains & associated 
> processes) when we look at and identify a small set of like items as a 
> set-of-N than I'm accustomed to calling "direct", and that's just the 
> stuff we know about...

Despite the numbers zero, one, two, three, four, five, and perhaps a few 
more, are quite directly perceivable (as in everybody can count potatoes 
instantly), along the years, people have had very various conceptions of 
what those things are, such as zero not being a number, one being 
non-plural, four being written as IV (one less than five), all those 
numbers being part of «N», if you exclude 0 you call it «N*», or three 
being written as {{},{{}},{{},{{}}}} in some axiomatic theories of 
everything-is-a-set. Regardless of all the various thoughts that happened 
around numbers, it remains that someone can see three or five potatoes in 
a single step.

> I'm talking about the kind of existence which is independent of the 
> current index, i.e. __necessary__ existence: existence in every possible 
> world.

I don't think that you or anyone is qualified to talk about all possible 
worlds. I'm not quite convinced that anything that did not happen was 
really possible at the moment that it did not happen at. It only looked 
this way before the fact. ;)

> "Sapir-Whorf Hypothesis": basically it states that `if you can't say it, 
> you can't think it', and it's been pretty much totally discredited by 
> now; i.e. just because you don't have a word for it doesn't mean you 
> can't perceive it / think it / know it / talk about it (indirectly).

Make that a sentence, or any number of sentences... it doesn't have to be 
a word, no ?

| Mathieu Bouchard ---- tél: +1.514.383.3801 ---- Villeray, Montréal, QC

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