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General Linguistics => Linguist's Lounge => Outside of the box => Topic started by: poemworld on May 21, 2020, 07:37:26 PM

Title: Have I found universal grammar, and more? You be the judge.
Post by: poemworld on May 21, 2020, 07:37:26 PM
Let's talk biolinguistics. Remember my theory of everything? I seem to have pulled it off, at least to myself. The proof of the pudding, however, is in the eating. To give a broad overview of the results: a general structure has been isolated that I think is UG and FL; it incorporates Merges (yes, more than one); generative recursions (yes, more than one); that has SS and DS; process phases; replaces (spec, head, comp) with something more natural; identifies the "controller" briefly mentioned in Why Only Us (which I consider to be on a par with Origin of Species personally); has movement; explains binary branching, copy, and displacement; recognizes both constituency and dependency grammars, the former being for sentence parsing, the latter for sentence generation; identifies the lexicon (which I call Sim, a portmanteau abbreviation for SIgns and syMbols, plus a bit of "sem"iotics for good measure) as the key evolutionary innovation that permits Merges and recursions, hence language, but much more, by giving human individuals read from and write to privileges with memory, and can demonstrate the claim by removing it and reducing the UG/LF structure mentioned above to a reasonable model of animal consciousness, aka memory; and harmonizes these and other things into an integrated operative whole, or individual. I identified a mistake in WOU, namely the claim that "Optimally, recursion can be reduced to Merge" (it can't, because it's a "trivial" operation according to Chomsky, but operations need operands and operators, machinery in other words). I've alerted Berwick and Chomsky about this. NC and I have gone back and forth a bit but I haven't heard from Berwick, yet. I hope I do. I recognized and enjoyed his writing style, which is distinct from NC's. I also incorporated ontology, axiology, and phenomenology into the structure. I used Charles Sanders Peirce's architectonic system as a "recipe". CSP is a big influence on NC. I also incorporated a stripped-down version of Alfred North Whitehead's organismic process philosophy and metaphysics (Being and Value, plus their intersection, Integrity), as interpreted by the late UG Athens philosophy professor Frederick Ferré's trilogy of books on constructive postmodernism. I discovered how to take a non-recursive, but suggestive, 2D octagonal phenomenological cycle/circuit and fold it into a cube, resulting in not one but two recursive pathways, which are supported by four iterative loops. It appears they're mutual tail-recursive and implement analytic recursion and synthetic corecursion, depending on whether they're being used for semantic performance or hermeneutic competency. In an email exchange with NC about the mind-body problem, he pointed out that modern science has  "exorcised" the machine, leaving the ghost intact. I replied that mind ∩ body = memory, which permits one to dispense with both the mind and the body in order to examine and interrogate memory directly. This is the most elegant expression of the key insight that I've found and NC prompted it, bless him. Basically I'm now able to derive memory structure, both somatic and cognitive, stable and metastable, from first principles, and, oddly enough, first principals. I've provided an evolutionary narrative account of how language could have emerged. Another insight is a path to approaching the universal (all) from above, that is from the variable (any), namely 2all = any, i.e. the cardinal number "2" (unordered) raised to the power of "all", the cardinality of the universal set, is equal to "any", the cardinality of the power set of the universal set. This implies that log2(2all) = all(log22) = all = log2any. The log curve is basically the growth/development curve. This I borrowed from physics. It's a perturbative theory. Add a small change to the system, a variation, and watch it react. This is immensely valuable tbh. Just wanted to share. Also, did I mention that elementary thermodynamic phase theory is used? It is. I call it "thermomnemonics". It turns out that linguistics draws on just about everything, though not general relativity or quantum mechanics lol, at least not that I can see.

Here are the links to the works, starting with linguistics and moving backwards to cognitive science, then philosophy, with a brief coda on the difference between animals and us (hint: it's small but makes all the difference in the world). Enjoy! Skepticism and criticism are welcome and will be blessed. Disbelief will be challenged. After all, there's actually something on the table.

Biolinguistics - Email to Berwick and Chomsky, with reply from Chomsky: (

Cognitive Science - Memory, the Mind-Body Problem, and Language

Philosophy - Poemworld: An Exegesis (where it all began five years ago) (

Animals and Us: Small Difference, Unbounded Consequence (

That's it. Five years of pretty much unceasing thinking, drinking, smoking, smoking*, freezing, sweating, fretting, designing, writing, screaming at the sky, etc. That's on top of the 27.5 years before that, waiting for my value system, philosophy, worldview, and life's work of art, Poemworld, to come to a halt. It didn't have to but it did, thank you Laozi, Jesus, and Muhammad (pbut). My work is yours now. Please be the judge. Don't be gentle (I'm not) but observe the rules of the forum as laid down by Daniel. I will, I promise. Good luck and best wishes everyone. Live long and prosper.
Title: Re: Have I found universal grammar, and more? You be the judge.
Post by: waive15 on May 22, 2020, 12:14:21 AM
Thank you, Poemworld,

Your post is great. I followed all the links you have given and also will read Why Only US and Being and Value.

I wish you luck.

If you don't mind I'll list your links again + one:
Title: Re: Have I found universal grammar, and more? You be the judge.
Post by: Daniel on May 22, 2020, 05:40:33 AM
There's so much to unpack and parse here, it's hard to follow. It also requires being well-versed in so many distinct academic areas, that is a challenge in itself, and I'll admit some of the topics are over my head. So I can't say you're wrong, but I also don't know that you're right.

What I would ask then is how you can apply this to a specific analysis. Most linguists will require an analysis of an actual language before accepting that this works. Before that, it's just an idea, or a model. If this helps us better understand German, or Chinese, or Swahili, or even just English, it may catch on. Think about how you can present something bottom-up that links into the bigger ideas.

[This message has been shortened to avoid distracting from the discussion, at poemworld's request.]
Title: Re: Have I found universal grammar, and more? You be the judge.
Post by: poemworld on May 22, 2020, 08:44:59 AM
Waive15, thanks for the compliment. Best wishes to exploring these ideas.
Title: Re: Have I found universal grammar, and more? You be the judge.
Post by: poemworld on May 22, 2020, 02:46:00 PM
Okey dokey, challenge accepted. I'm not completely certain what you're looking for but I'll take a shot anyway. I'll use an English sentence from WOU that seems to mean a lot to NC/RB and that I've already thought about a lot and worked over: "Instinctively birds that fly swim." They contrast this sentence with "Birds that fly instinctively swim." They produce a tree diagram which they use to show that, in the first sentence, demonstrates that "instinctively" modifies "swim" and not "fly" even though they're on opposite ends of the sentence, so linear distance isn't predictive, but via the tree diagram they're structurally closer, only one level apart. (Please show me how to use the tree diagram button, please and thank you.) The second sentence they call "ambiguous" but I think it's more ambivalent, actually bivalent. Set that aside for the moment. From the perspective of the work I've presented, the first thing that happens is that our sensory systems (aural, visual) have to "eat" the sentence, reduce it to its constituents, as constituency grammar seems to show. Once that occurs, the system shifts gears and rebuilds the sentence internally to emerge its meaning. This involves several steps and proceeds overall by phases. Let's look at the sentence more closely, by moving "instinctively" around.
1. Instinctively birds that fly swim.
2. *Birds instinctively that fly swim.
3. Birds that instinctively fly swim.
4. Birds that fly instinctively swim.
5. Birds that fly swim instinctively.
Of these options in generating sentences, only one is poorly formed, 2., as indicated by the traditional asterisk. Sentence 1. and 5. pretty much show that "instinctively" is modifying "swim". 3. has "instinctively" modify "fly" but feels redundant. 4. can be parsed either way, but seems to lean towards "instinctively" modifying "swim" because of the "duh, birds fly instinctively, no shit" factor. Something I noticed about this sentence is that "Instinctively birds that fly" is not well-formed. It's incomplete, not a complete thought. Adding "swim" completes it and picks up "instinctively" as a modifier as a consequence. This may or may not be another explanation. I'm not linguist enough to know, but it's an observation. The bivalency of 4., or ambiguity or ambivalence, can be intentional btw. Strategic ambiguity is a thing that language can accomplish, for a variety of reasons.

But there's more fun we can have with this sentence. "The Basic Property of language: generation of an infinite [actually unbounded] array of hierarchically structured expressions that are interpreted as thoughts" (NC) applies to the enumerable set of syntactically complete sentences that we humans can performatively utter and competently understand, at least some of the time. However, one thing we've learned from postmodernism is that the number of meanings is also unbounded, and apparently far richer. Humans can make meanings as well as sentences, which is to some degree a threat to authority, as well as a very double-edged sword, as we can now observe all around us with "fake news" (there's always been fake news, not to mention outright lies, obfuscations, elisions, secrets, "that which is not done to say", etc.), corporate and fascistic propaganda (what's the difference?), provocative speech acts, etc. I've coined something I call "Banner's Law": "Every tool can be turned into a weapon, and will be." We're currently being flooded with pernicious, malicious, and deleterious speech in order to crowd out and drown authentic truths and truisms necessary for the survival of democracy, and quite possibly humanity. People can't tell the difference between what's true and what's false and this is quite intentional. This is also a common objection to postmodernism, that it neutralizes the truth. "There is no absolute and objective truth" some postmodernists claim deludedly. This is what's known as an "antinomy", a performative contradiction. The claim that there are no absolute or objective truths is itself a claim of absolute objective truth. The same goes for the claim "there are no totalizing grand narratives", which is a totalizing grand narrative. Buddha believes in non-attachment but is very attached to his belief. It goes on and on. Frederick Ferré's constructive postmodernism points out that postmodernism does no such thing on its own but has been castigated for pointing out reality, ala the emperor's new clothes. There are truths, even absolute and objective ones, as well as ultimate and subjective ones, and we can discover them, obviously.

But back to the sentence. There are a variety of ways to interpret it. We take take "birds" as excluding bats and butterflies, or as inclusive of flying organisms generally, hence including dragonflies and flying fish. We can interpret "birds that fly" as not talking about ostriches or kiwis. We can also interpret "birds that fly swim" as drawing a connection between motion through fluids. It's also suggestive of "birds that swim fly", invoking penguins. I had a chordate anatomy prof who pointed out that penguins fly underwater but don't fly through the air. So the English speaker, native or otherwise, has a menu of choices based upon their intentions and intended meanings. The novel idea behind this sentence, which would form its kernel or seed I suppose, is "birds swim". The phrase "that fly" is added for contrast, while "instinctively" addresses the question how they do one, or the other, or both. This is, in essence, a deconstruction of this sentence, which goes to show what human minds can do when they put their minds to it, heh heh. I hope this gets somewhere in the ballpark of your challenge. If not, please clarify.
Title: Re: Have I found universal grammar, and more? You be the judge.
Post by: poemworld on May 22, 2020, 04:05:50 PM
I would add that there is a component to interpretation that I'm not sure NC or RB have ever mentioned, at least not directly to my knowledge. I could, of course, be wrong. That is aesthetics. To human speakers, language has a "feel". Speaking for myself, whenever I've figured out or understood something, this came with a "feeling". NC has to use this biolinguistic aesthetic to distinguish well-formulated from poorly-formulated sentences. And this aesthetics is something a talking/parsing robot can never reproduce. I mean, I'm willing to entertain Marvin Minsky's ideas about consciousness because I don't think he was far from wrong on some counts, but I don't think computers, or even AI, can "feel" like we do. I could be wrong but I don't think I am. Maybe computers are silicon life, complete with qualia, but if so, they're as alien as we can imagine and even more so.
[Minsky] expressed contempt for those who doubted whether computers could be conscious. Consciousness is a trivial issue, he said. “I’ve solved it, and I don’t understand why people don’t listen.” Consciousness is merely a type of short-term memory, a “low-grade system for keeping records.” Computer programs such as LISP, which have features that allow their processing steps to be retraced, are “extremely conscious,” more so than humans, with their pitifully shallow memory banks. (The End of Science, Horgan, p.187.)
Title: Re: Have I found universal grammar, and more? You be the judge.
Post by: Rock100 on May 22, 2020, 07:01:16 PM
A completely off-topic note about the sample sentence "Instinctively birds that fly swim".  I do believe that native English speakers use a different grammar than English writers. I have no doubt that your ambiguous variant “Birds that fly instinctively swim” English speakers handle with the following grammar:
<sentence>:=<subj> , <subordinate clause> , <predicate>
<subordinate clause>:= <sentence>
<subj>:=<noun>| <pronoun>
<predicate>:=<modifier><verb> | <verb><modifier> | <verb>
<modifier>:= instinctively
<verb>:=fly | swim

i.e. they (speakers) do use the punctuation (commas) with their voice – they pause a little. For a reason writers got rid of punctuation and got problems with <predicate>:=<modifier><verb> | <verb><modifier> rule. I believe the official English grammar does not reflect the real language in this very aspect and it is not the problem of the language or its speakers. This is the problem of the writers. By the way, I believe that people use greedy algorithms by default (they consume the longest sequence possible) and the <subordinate clause> in your case will be “that fly instinctively”. But this is negociatable and you may agree to stop parsing when you have found a shortest element (“that fly” in this very case) but I believe it is the worse approach in practice.
I do understand your point and my remark is completely unrelated to what you say. I also know the punctuation will not save one from the ambiguities completely but it helps a lot indeed.

P.S. There are languages in which the punctuation as above is strictly required (subordinate clauses are always marked out with commas) and violations are penalized with a lower grade (at schools).
P.P.S. I wish you good luck in your peer review process.
Title: Re: Have I found universal grammar, and more? You be the judge.
Post by: Daniel on May 22, 2020, 07:16:36 PM
This is a HUGE endeavor. I sincerely wish you luck with it.


(Rock100, intonation is an often overlooked part of how meaning is coded in sentences. There's some work on it, but not enough, and that's an important observation. Relevantly, intonation can also select between ambiguous readings or make a sentence ungrammatical, or possibly attempt to highlight an ungrammatical reading too.)
Title: Re: Have I found universal grammar, and more? You be the judge.
Post by: poemworld on May 22, 2020, 07:35:02 PM
To Rock100: I'm not sure if you're addressing me or Daniel, but I guess it's the latter since it waxes linguistical and I've been clearly unmasked as no linguist lol. Interesting comment though and thank you for your contribution to the thread.
Title: Re: Have I found universal grammar, and more? You be the judge.
Post by: poemworld on May 22, 2020, 07:42:07 PM
Fwiw, I've had the stones to take this work to Chomsky and Berwick. The first of his replies are at the end of the email I've posted. Here are the rest. If I detect any further interest, I'll share more. (
Title: Re: Have I found universal grammar, and more? You be the judge.
Post by: panini on May 23, 2020, 07:09:29 AM
I have a challenge. Can you summarize the central claim in a paragraph of fewer than 75 words? The follow-up question would be to explain the concepts that the claim relies on in no more than 5 paragraphs of 50 words each. You see the potential for recursion in this process, but that's not the plan. I really just want to understand the most basic logic of the claim.
Title: Re: Have I found universal grammar, and more? You be the judge.
Post by: waive15 on May 23, 2020, 12:27:13 PM
Hi, Poemworld,

I have read what you have sent. I liked it and with a help of a few videos on YouTube I maybe could understand it. Many of the names are familiar to me. I have watched several YouTube videos with Roger Penrose, David Chalmers and if the people are dead I have watched videos about them. For example Emmy Noether and her Noether's theorem: "For every symmetry, there is a corresponding conservation law".

"Poemworld is first and foremost a work of art, in particular, a piece of abstract conceptual art. I’m comfortable describing it as such. I’m not as comfortable describing it as science or philosophy. ..."

I agree with you - you and your imagination have to be free.

"Imagination is more important than knowledge. Knowledge is limited. Imagination encircles the world."
Albert Einstein
"... I’ve used it as a defense against the toxicity of the culture I inhabit as well as an alternative to it, especially the all-pervasiveness of hierarchical domination or organized violence in our world, and as a critical position for challenging and changing that world. ..."

It is very well said.

"But I’d like to know if I’ve created something that is useful to other people’s work, research, or lives. Again, another reason to write this. I’d like opinions about whether or not people find it meaningful beyond my own estimation, in which case I may choose to continue to develop it. But if it’s just the science fiction product of a fertile but overactive imagination, then I’m ready to move on with my life. This is a question that I cannot answer for myself."

* As long as your work brings you peace and joy you probably wouldn't need people's recognition (nor their money).
* Yes, you have created something. In any case it is better with than without it.

“Better to have, and not need, than to need, and not have.”
 Franz Kafka

In another words: "It's better to have a gun and not need it than to need a gun and not have it."
Clarence Worley (Christian Slater), True Romance, written by Quentin Tarantino and Roger Avary (1993)


"... This allowed the development of my intuition over time and with practice, in particular the search for resonances between my thinking and feeling, or my cognition and affect. These resonances have become stronger and stronger, providing intensely powerful and moving experiences which I treasure and which still lead me to deeper and more profound insights. I suppose this is my formula for intellectual exploration. ..."

Maybe this is the right formula for all of us.


I hope you will like this:
Title: Re: Have I found universal grammar, and more? You be the judge.
Post by: poemworld on May 24, 2020, 12:36:00 PM
panini, let's give it a whirl.

Value and Being, characterized by 0 and 1, are metaphysical transnatural limits of knowledge. Their intersection is Integrity, life. This corresponds to mind ∩ body = memory. They're the basis of an evo-devo phenomenological cycle/circuit, which includes qualities, meanings; substances, forms; and signs/symbols. This may be "folded" into a cube, producing four iterations supporting dual recursions with a switch, and with signs/symbols permits reading from/writing to memory, hence I-language and cognition.

There's your first paragraph. That all you'll get for now. I am working on other things. Let me add that I wrote this just to see if I could. I'm not your errand boy, nor do I perform tricks upon command. I learned my lesson from Daniel's spectacle, not to mention from Jesus, that it's unwise to cast one's pearls before swine, lest they trample them and then turn on you. If you're really interested, prove it. Read the work. Ask interesting questions. Make interesting comments. I'll respond. If you don't make any effort then why should I? It's accessible, and the arguments are designed to be procataleptic, but not, I guess, to the weak-willed, feeble-minded, or emotionally unstable. I'm not saying that you're any of these three, but this, of course, falls within the realm of possibility. I don't know you and I can't assess your motivations or intentions. As far as I'm concerned you're just like me, a nobody from nowhere. I'm delighted to become acquaintances but that takes time and interaction. Btw, I'm aware of Schopenhauer's observation that "All truth passes through three stages. First, it is ridiculed. Second, it is violently opposed. Third, it is accepted as being self-evident." Not to mention the observation of Nicholas Klein, labor union advocate and attorney, that "First they ignore you. Then they ridicule you. And then they attack you and want to burn you. And then they build monuments to you." This is often misattributed to Gandhi. Fwiw. Cheers mate.
Title: Re: Have I found universal grammar, and more? You be the judge.
Post by: poemworld on May 24, 2020, 01:00:51 PM
waive15, thank you so much for your comments and the vidclip! I remember the movie. I'd been meaning to inbox you to see how you were doing and how the reading was going, but your reply indicates splendidly. Btw, Ferré wrote a trilogy: Being and Value, Knowing and Value, and Living and Value, all toward constructive postmodern metaphysics, epistemology, and ethics respectively, issues so-called "tough-minded" intellectuals dismiss. Tough sledding but worth it. Please feel free to inbox me if you're not comfortable commenting on the thread. I can now understand being reticent and why, though you do seem pretty ballsy. Regarding your martial metaphors, I've moved beyond nonviolence to its logical and ethical next step, what I call "anti-violence", in other words, I'll seek to stop violence if I can, at my own risk, up to and including using force, rather than adopting the modern attitude of dispassionate disinterestedness and indifference to the fate of others, which is merely the posturing of "tough-minded" pseudo-intellectual poseurs, which are everywhere, especially amongst white men for some reason. Go figure. Anyhoo, best wishes and holla atcha broseph anytime. Solidarity forever.
Title: Re: Have I found universal grammar, and more? You be the judge.
Post by: poemworld on May 30, 2020, 08:07:02 AM
Hey y'all, I'm back. Let's try again, shall we?

First, some salutary words from British literary theorist, critic, and elegant Marxist Terry Eagleton, from "The Task of the Critic", his dialogue with Matthew Beaumont:
I'm sure that if I published a work announcing my conversion to royalism and free market economics, conservative periodicals like the TLS would find some way of savaging it. There are reviewers in Ireland who pride themselves on their liberal pluralism, but who are actually so virulently sectarian that they would be pathologically incapable of passing a favourable comment on anything written by an Irish Republican. Even if they agreed with it, they just wouldn't be capable of bringing themselves to say so. I must say I find this deeply depressing. It belongs to intellectual integrity to try to meet one's antagonist's case at its most fruitful and persuasive--Perry Anderson's work is an excellent example of this--and I fear this is now a dying habit in an increasingly soundbite, partisan culture. Dawkins and Hitchens on religion is one example of this gradual death of disinterestedness--a virtue, incidentally, which the postmodernists obtusely mistake for a God's-eye view of the world, whereas what it really means is to attend for a moment to someone else's interests rather than your own. Then, once you've got what they believe right, you can put the boot in if you choose. I've tried myself in my work to give as dispassionate an account as possible of cases I disagree with. p.272
Title: Re: Have I found universal grammar, and more? You be the judge.
Post by: poemworld on May 30, 2020, 09:20:06 AM
panini: Daniel has suggested that I take up your further challenge as productive to our mutual ends of discussion, understanding, and constructive criticism. I'm not going to restrict myself to word counts, but will aim for brevity and clarity, if not the soul of wit.
I have a challenge. Can you summarize the central claim in a paragraph of fewer than 75 words? The follow-up question would be to explain the concepts that the claim relies on in no more than 5 paragraphs of 50 words each. You see the potential for recursion in this process, but that's not the plan. I really just want to understand the most basic logic of the claim.

Value and Being, characterized by 0 and 1, are metaphysical transnatural limits of knowledge. Their intersection is Integrity, life. This corresponds to mind ∩ body = memory. They're the basis of an evo-devo phenomenological cycle/circuit, which includes qualities, meanings; substances, forms; and signs/symbols. This may be "folded" into a cube, producing four iterations supporting dual recursions with a switch, and with signs/symbols permits reading from/writing to memory, hence I-language and cognition.

I'm a methodological naturalist, like Chomsky. I'm obviously an architectonic philosopher, a system builder, like Peirce. I'm fancy myself an organismic process philosopher, like Whitehead. These are clues to what I like and am like, and what to expect of and from me.

Metaphysics is understood as Aristotle's "first philosophy", disentangling it from the name his editors gave it by putting it "after physics". Transnatural is understood as exactly that, moving from nonexistent essence, Value, to nonessential existence, Being, spanning nature. Their characteristic numbers, 0 and 1, thus fall out naturally. As Cantor demonstrated, the unit line segment is as transfinite as an infinite line, hence a minimal yet rich structure, capable of mapping the entire cosmos and its evolution over time with room to spare. Further, without 0, there's no modern mathematics. 0 is central and essential to maths, as clearly shown by Cartesian coordinates. Poetically speaking, 0 is the "king" of numbers, and 1 is the "queen", as shown by its ability to create the rest of the natural numbers by, you guessed it, recursion. Being poses a natural limit to discoverable knowledge while Value promises an unbounded natural locus for the creation of knowledge. To paraphrase Wilhelm von Humboldt on language, Value makes infinite use of the finite means of Being. In a way, western philosophy hasn't quite known what to make of Value, and as a result, is like pre-zero mathematics: primitive, unfocused, incomplete. Eastern philosophy, on the other hand, has Taoism, a nontheistic value system, to which I'm indebted. The Tao Te Ching, or book of the way of virtue, is essentially a process philosophy. Thus, this work is, indeed, a "theory of everything", and further, a "theory of anything", but it's rather ordinary, prosaic, quotidian, humble, and homely, as well as the basis for what's to come: Integrity. I'll stop there for the time being.

Title: Re: Have I found universal grammar, and more? You be the judge.
Post by: panini on May 30, 2020, 09:22:08 AM
I think you've made it clear that you are not interested in reasoned discussion, so we have no common ground. It's up to Daniel to decide whether there is any value in letting this forum be a platform for incomprehensible jargon with no discernible relation to linguistics.
Title: Re: Have I found universal grammar, and more? You be the judge.
Post by: Daniel on May 30, 2020, 09:34:08 AM
(Just an organizational note: the forum's spam filter caught Poemworld's latest reply (a false positive), so panini's immediate reply, which appears to have just followed it, was written before it was approved and visible.)
Title: Re: Have I found universal grammar, and more? You be the judge.
Post by: poemworld on May 30, 2020, 12:15:09 PM
Thanks for the note Daniel. Timing is getting really weird, pretty much like everything else in the world at the moment.
panini, your choice. I'll proceed regardless. An exegesis is in order anyway. Plus I can use the practice. It should be unsurprising, I think, that one has to return to first principles (principals?) and processes to describe the very thing and process that invents, well, all linguistic phenomena, not to mention everything else the body gets up to. To cut to the chase just a bit, Universal Grammar is very well named (Chomsky didn't name it; it's been around for awhile). By "grammar" I'm talking about the principles and parameters of expressive bodies, which include immanent particular languages but transcend them. Chomsky describes UG as "a system of pure structure." I agree but would add one word: "memory", i.e. "a system of pure memory structure." I think this may be that structure but I could, of course, be wrong. It has pretty much everything one needs for a human universal grammar and its instantiation as a faculty of language, which I'll explain as I move through the derivation of this proposed memory structure. Your patience is acknowledged and appreciated. ( (
Title: Re: Have I found universal grammar, and more? You be the judge.
Post by: poemworld on May 30, 2020, 01:14:12 PM
In a PM, Daniel asks:
I do have a question: what do you want to accomplish? Should I focus more on the idea of poetry, and that you're trying to express yourself? I don't want to discourage that at all. I was instead replying to the ideas from a theoretical perspective on the assumption you were looking from the -- indeed, very challenging -- perspective of trying to have a scientific impact and change perspectives in the field.

In other words, what are my motives and intentions? From introspection and reflection, it's always seemed to be a kind of compulsion. It's not like I've ever had any choice or control, at least until lately. The ideas kept building and the motivations to work on them kept getting stronger and stronger. It's been at turns enormous fun and nerve-wrackingly terrifying. The breakthroughs have been ecstatic, some of the greatest emotional experiences of my life, up to and including the birth of my daughter, whose 17th birthday is today. What am I trying to accomplish? What I've stated so far. I went hunting for UG and I think I've bagged it. I wanted to see if I could close the epistemic, or explanatory, gap and I believe I have. I knew there had to be a solution to the mind-body problem because, duh, we have minds and bodies. There had to be some solution, somewhere, somehow. Do I want to shake up linguistics? Why not? But I don't think I'll ever have that chance, largely because I'm nobody from nowhere. I have no institutional standing. I have a degree (math), experience doing science (undergraduate fellowship in nonlinear dynamics at UT Austin, got my name in Nature), have done a little bit of independent creative research work ("A Novel Visual Model of Electron Configuration"), all of which you can find at ( This has always been my big project, something that's kept me going, whether I wanted to or not. I've been astonishingly reckless in its pursuit tbh, in a the-ends-justify-the-means kind of way. One always has visions of hitting it big, of being discovered, but I'm beginning to doubt that's in the cards, though I've not given up. I just sent a letter to Prof. Bill Seager of UToronto. He wrote a quite good survey paper on panpsychism (which I've always reacted against) and also the SEP article on the same. He's into philosophy of mind so I emailed him. I doubt I'll ever hear back. I stumbled onto his paper by googling Chomsky and Whitehead. So I did this work essentially for the hell of it, gratuitously, because I was having fun, and it was an obsession. What else can I say?
Title: Re: Have I found universal grammar, and more? You be the judge.
Post by: poemworld on May 31, 2020, 07:42:58 PM
I hope the shock of the introduction has worn off and we can continue. As an aside, the hypothesized connection between Being and Value is my guess at why quantum phenomena are both particle and wave, i.e. discrete and continuous, or existent and essence. If one can accept Being and Value as both natural and fundamental, then the next step follows rather naturally, which is that they combine to create Integrity, the quality of being whole and complete. In other words, there is a move from the continuity between Being and Value to Being-Integrity-Value. This is where thermodynamics as interpretation enters the picture. I accidentally discovered "Schreinemakers analysis", or method, for constructing topologically correct phase diagrams. Further, the "Morey-Schreinemakers Coincidence Theorem" states that "for every univariant line that passes through the invariant point, one side is stable and the other is metastable. The invariant point marks the boundary of the stable and metastable segments of a reaction line.” This is usually expressed by solid (stable) and dashed (metastable) lines.
A justification for this interpretation is that we are fundamentally thermodynamic organisms, from cells up to bodies, biochemical cycles composed of constrained quantum mechanical wave-particles caught in a gravitational centrifuge (we're constantly gravitationally accelerated). With this simply-connected tripartite structure, one may begin to construct the basic scaffolding of a memory structure using Gibbs' phase rule, "a general principle governing systems in thermodynamic equilibrium," for a single component system, namely memory. This structure has its own derivation, the details of which don't have to concern us here. If y'all want to see it, just ask. Here's the result, W, O, and S representing the stable memory phases of World, Others, and Self, while W', O', and S' standing for the metastable memory phases: (
Now, one may claim I'm taking liberties with this interpretation in terms of thermodynamics, and I agree. However, it is justified by the growing understanding of information as a material phenomenon with physical properties. I refer you to the Wikipedia entry for information (with apologies, it's convenient), which also states that "In thermodynamics, information is any kind of event that affects the state of a dynamic system that can interpret the information", aka a memory structure with storage and processing. I would add that the categories of World, Others, and Self are complete, comprehensive, necessary, and sufficient. I've never been able to find a fourth category, apart from the initial "no phase" condition of more complex organisms with nervous systems. Quoting from the Peirce, Whitehead, Chomsky paper (henceforth PWC):
As mentioned, for an organism to preserve its individuality, and especially for it to reproduce itself, it must be able to cope with and adapt to stimuli, or perturbations, from within itself (homeostasis), from others, both similar to and different from itself (relational equibria), and from the world, its environment (adaptability). This is the role fulfilled by evolutionary natural selection, which promotes organisms on the basis of their survivability and reproducibility of themselves.
The structural stage is now set for the introduction and development of memory storage and processing, which I call, somewhat whimsically, "the throne" and "the crown". I won't address memory storage here. It has its own story, which can be found in PWC. The focus is on memory processing, which addresses the claim regarding UG and LF. This is addressed in the next post.
Title: Re: Have I found universal grammar, and more? You be the judge.
Post by: poemworld on May 31, 2020, 09:51:09 PM
Regarding what I call "the throne", it's basically a memory processor. It all begins with phenomenology, which is justified by Charles Sanders Peirce's architectonic system, which I use as a "recipe":

Peirce’s Architectonic System
1. Mathematics
2. Philosophy
   which consists of:
   A. Phenomenology
   B. Normative Science
      which consists of:
      i. Aesthetics
      ii. Ethics
      iii. Logic
         which consists of:
         a. Philosophical Grammar
         b. Critical Logic
         c. Methodeutic
   C. Metaphysics
3. Physical [Natural] Science

I used to belong to a Facebook page called "Unreasonable Philosophy", where they loved to rain shit all over me, which I found useful. In particular, a guy named Brandon Evans called me out on how I proposed to represent the contents of memory, which stumped me. He was talking about phenomenology, which he never mentioned, but I finally figured out. From that I finally had a key insight about a dialectically related series of extremely general concepts. This is that series:

{substances [forms (symbols} meanings] qualities).

By dialectically related I mean that for any three concepts, the central term is defined by the two end terms, or oppositions. For example, forms are substances and symbols, or meanings are the intersection of symbols and qualities. These were integrated with Being-Integrity-Value to form the primary structure of the phenomenology:


Since Integrity is at the beginning and end of the indicates it's, yes, recursive, and hence a closed structure, or path recursion, something we'll see more of later (foreshadowing):
There's a lot to recommend in this design. For one thing, as a simple directed graph, it displays a hierarchical growth and development pattern, moving from Integrity to Being, then to Substances, next to Forms, landing finally at Signs/Symbols. The other path goes from Integrity to Value, on to Qualities, through to Meanings, arriving again at Signs/Symbols. (Fwiw, this is my solution to Chalmers' "hard problem of consciousness". Qualia have to come from somewhere, and Value seems to be the most likely culprit. If someone has a better idea, I'm all ears. I don't think it's panpsychism, which makes me grind my teeth. Nor do I think that trying to derive it ontologically from substances, QM, or what have you, is likely to be fruitful. I read both of Penrose and Hameroff's books and I was thoroughly unconvinced by Orch OR, but it was a heroic effort, though hubristic.) I call it a cycle or circuit, because that was my intuition and intent, but it really isn't. It deadends at Signs/Symbols, but otherwise it was overwhelmingly promising. It felt like it should be recursive, somehow, some way. It was like a zen koan: "describe a wheel that turns in two directions at once", or "describe a current that flows in two directions at once", a real head-scratcher. Then, somewhat in desperation, I decided to try taking it to three dimensions. I'd already noticed the coincidence between its number of vertices and the number of vertices of a cube, but for some reason I thought that was just too cute. But it worked, spectacularly. We'll walk through its derivation in the next post.

Title: Re: Have I found universal grammar, and more? You be the judge.
Post by: poemworld on May 31, 2020, 11:09:52 PM
So, here's how you "fold" an simply directed octagonal graph into a cube. It all starts out innocently enough. The goal is to connect all the dots. The first step is to utilize our old friend, the B-I-V graph segment, but bent at a right angle at Integrity:

The second step is to add Substances and Qualities. So far so good. Here's what it looks like:

The third step is ATAMO: "and then a miracle occurs". Two choice or decision points popped up and the structure bifurcated. This literally blew my mind, a real "HOLY SHIT!!!" moment. I couldn't believe it, didn't believe it, but then I had to believe it because it was true. The picture moved. It came to life. This is when I began to suspect that I may be on to something. Here's what happened:

The fourth step involves adding Sign/Symbols and closing the first two iterative loops back to Integrity. The graph is beginning to tell a story:

We're almost home. I'll save the denouement for the next post.
Title: Re: Have I found universal grammar, and more? You be the judge.
Post by: poemworld on June 01, 2020, 12:03:39 PM
The fifth and last step is to connect Signs/Symbols to Substances and Qualities, closing the last two iterative loops. This is the second binary branching, or fork in the road, the first being where we began at Integrity. Y'all know what the great NY Yankees catcher Yogi Berra said: "When you come to a fork in the road, take it." I did. The pictures are now talking up a storm. This is where the two recursive paths make their appearance, as will be demonstrated. It's also where the I believe the epistemic or explanatory gap is bridged, directly addressing the mind-body problem, as demonstrated by the alternating crossing from internal mental phenomenal consciousness and external somatic phenomenal experience as mediated by symbolic awareness, knowledge, and memory, or the lexicon. In addition it's where a "switch" appears, permitting the cognitive alternation between internal and external awareness and memory. I call them "RecIt Cubes" for recursive-iterative, or iteratively supported recursion. I LOVE this name btw. Here's the result:

Here are the two recursive pathways, as promised. Twin ouroboroi. So cool.

The switch can be seen more clearly by superposing the two diagrams. An observation: it is claimed that this is a metastable memory structure. In that case, the switch is meta-metastable. The "hinges" of the switch are Substances (external somatic memory) and Qualities (internal sensory memory), which swing syntactic Forms and semantic Meanings between Integrity and Signs/Symbols, establishing the contact points of the switch, hence justifying MP's claims of the existence of both Move and Merge.


Now, further justifications for all these pretty pictures should be proffered. One is that this is obviously not algebraic or symbolic logical recursion. We're not literally computers, though language is clearly computational. Directed graphs are far more suggestive of the functional neural pathways of our brains imo, being extended spatial structures and all. Another is this quote from "Why Only Us":

As Perani et al. (2011, 16058) observe, there are two dorsal pathways, "one connecting the mid-to-posterior superior temporal cortex with the premotor cortex [purple in plate 2] and one connecting the temporal cortex with Broca's area [blue in plate 2]. It has been [suggested] that [these] two may serve different functions, with the former supporting auditory-to-motor mapping ... and the latter supporting the processing of sentence syntax." There are also two ventral pathways that connect from the region where the "lexicon" is presumed to be, to the front dorsal region. The idea is that these dorsal and ventral fiber tracts together form a complete "ring" that moves information from the lexicon to the areas on the dorsal side where it is used by Merge. The key idea is that this fiber-tract "ring" must be in place in order that syntactic processing work. (WOU, pp. 159, 161.)

This is prescient, as will be shown presently. Yet another reason is that it has iterations, literal directed iterative loops, which presumably animals have and use, and since we're animals, so do we, but with a difference, which will also be examined. Here's another quote from WOU:

The essential point we have made several times is that birdsong never gets more complex than this. While linear chunking is found in birdsong — a warble-tweet sequence can be "chunked" as a single unit of perception or production, called a motif, and while motifs can be iterated, there are no motifs found that in turn contain other motifs — for example, a tweet-trill combination that is itself contained within a warble motif. (WOU, p. 142.) [Emphasis added.]

Integrity is interpreted as representing the "controller" mentioned in WOU, and, even more importantly, Signs/Symbols as the lexicon, which turns out to be at least as important as Merge, if not in some aspects more significant. Btw, Integrity is emphatically NOT the Self, but rather constitutes the core of Self memory and Others memory. Rather, it's the autonomic source and sink of motivation and attention. Animals clearly have this, must have this, but they don't have the lexicon, which is hypothesized as the neurological and mnemonic evolutionary innovation that gives humanity the capacity to read from and write to memory, mediated by symbolic awareness, and hence some limited control over it. This is what caused us to fall out of the eternal present of other animals into history, with our senses and tenses of past, present, and future. Oddly, Chomsky and MP have always taken the lexicon as given. I'm unaware of any in-depth analysis of it, but that doesn't mean it's not there. The literature is immense. Here are two quotes from WOU to support these conjectures:

But how can the (unspecified) controller for the processor know to link these two, rather than instinctively and fly? The only method is to consult the "depth" of the hierarchical structure, or some proxy for it. So the system must resort to an implicit representation to ensure that the relevant dependencies are recovered. The fact that there is some controller that can switch between multiple streams containing words that are arbitrarily far apart, using seemingly hierarchical information, gives this system considerable computational power, of the sort envisioned in a multitape Turing machine. (WOU, p. 117.)

Our general problem is that we understand very little about how even the most basic computational operations might be carried out in neural "wetware". For example, as Randy Gallistel has repeatedly emphasized, the very first thing that any computer scientist would want to know about a computer is how it writes to and reads from memory — the essential operations of the Turing machine model and ultimately, any computational device. (WOU, p. 50.)

This memory structure, or "device" (I guess I should start calling it a "memory system" because that's what it is and I'm just being modest and humble), offers "multiple streams", the aforementioned "switch" between them, "hierarchical [phenomenological] information", all being strongly suggestive of a "multitape Turing machine". In fact, it's even more powerfully reminiscent of a "flip-flip", or bistable multivibrator, an electronic circuit that has two stable states and can be used to store information and is the basic storage element in sequential logic, something I studied in electrical engineering back in the day. However, where the electronic version stores a symbolic 0 or 1 as an electronic off and on, this neuro-mnemonic flip-flop stores syntactic Forms and semantic Meanings, which recursion uses to construct symbolic strings.

This is enough for this post. The next post will push these ideas further, exploring their characterizations in particular.