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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.
Title: Re: Have I found universal grammar, and more? You be the judge.
Post by: poemworld on June 08, 2020, 01:36:45 PM
Here we'll backtrack and take the insights gleaned from the move from the 2-d secondary structure of the phenomenological cycle/circuit to the 3-d RecIt cubes and import those back into the 2-d phenom cycle/circuit, which will justify my intuition that it had to be a cycle and a circuit. Here are the substructures:


Here is the superposition of the two substructures:


I would never have been able to puzzle this out on my own. I tried, I really tried, for months on end, and got nowhere. It took the move from 2-d to 3-d to see it, and then much more time and effort to even begin to understand it, which is still an ongoing process and project. These ideas are only about one year old by now and are still undergoing growth, development, and interpretation. But these are the results so far. More to come soon.
Title: Re: Have I found universal grammar, and more? You be the judge.
Post by: poemworld on June 08, 2020, 01:40:42 PM
I'm back. Let's press on, shall we?

So, a memory system has been constructed. What are a few of its features? One is that there's a proposed "ordered process of memory formation" for both internal and external events of experience, which is provided by the phenomenology and proceeds from our earliest preconscious and protomnemonic glimmerings of awareness of an incoming stimulus or signal, into their emergence into consciousness (and conscience) awareness of said stimulus or signal, and finally manifesting as full-blown (full bloom?) recognition of somatic and linguistic form and meaning. These are:

External/Somatic: Integrity → Being → Substances → Forms → Signs/Symbols
Internal/Mental: Integrity → Value → Qualities → Meanings → Signs/Symbols

Let's examine the two recursive pathways first, starting with the one on the left.

I → B → Su → Fo → Sim → V → Qu → Me → I

The really interesting thing about this recursive pathway is that it preserves the order of memory formation for both phenomenological paths. This makes sense because biological processes don't run in reverse (scientists have, however, figured out how to make the cell cycle run back to its midpoint, which I suppose is the exception that proves the rule). Regarding my own memories, though I can go back in time in memory, my memories run forward through the experiences I recall. My memories, and hence my memory, don't run in reverse.

Another interesting thing is that Signs/Symbols (Sim) replaces Integrity (I) as the initiator for the second part of the recursive cycle, leading into Sim → V → Qu → Me → I. This is intriguing because it suggests that language, or its elements, can act as a trigger for remembering, which seems intuitively correct. This is because human beings have limited control over memory, the read from/write to feature of our memory, this makes sense. We simply must have some feature or features that facilitate this ability. Further, this suggests that this feature uses memory to decode, that is recognize and understand, the incoming stimulus/signal.

Another observation is that this recursive pathway appears to be implicated in hermeneutical linguistic competence as it's led by the external somatic side of the phenomenology, that is, to cope with and process incoming stimuli and signals. Again, this is a feature of language that has to be accounted for somehow. The suggestion here is that it's a feature of human memory.

The second recursive pathway on the right shares some of the same features as the first, except the two phenomenological paths change places:

I → V → Qu → Me → Sim → B → Su → Fo → I

As the first recursive pathway suggests linguistic competence, this pathway suggests semantic linguistic performance. Chomsky has pointed out that ordinary quotidian natural human language "displays deep-seated features of human creativity." This creativity has to come from somewhere and, again, Value seems to be the only credibly imaginable source, but only if one is willing and able to take Value seriously as a feature of phenomenology, and hence nature. Otherwise, it appears to come howling out of the void, and is just THERE, which is another justification for Value's characteristic number of 0, zero, nullity, the number symbol for nothingness.

As in the case of the  external somatic recursive pathway, Sim replaces I midway through the process and leads the external phenomenological path, Sim → B → Su → Fo → I. This appears to serve two purposes:

1. To facilitate internal "Spell-Out", or the linearization of the hierarchical growth and developmental structure of protolinguistic form and meaning, thus phonological form, and making it available to the consciousness of the thinker as articulated thought, but which does not have to be uttered or spoken. This is known as "thinking before speaking". In Wiktionary, it is defined as:

A stage in producing an utterance that comes between syntax and the interface with the phonological form, according to Chomsky's minimalist program.

In Glottopedia, it is defined as:

In minimalist theory spell-out is an instruction to switch to PF. What happens at PF is a point of debate; if one assumes that lexical items come from the lexicon fully inflected, phonological features are 'stripped away' at PF. Another possibility is that Spell-Out accesses the lexicon to associate the syntactic structure with phonological features.

2. As the sensory-motor externalization of an utterance or speech act, the final phonological formal product.

Now, the above discussion is only addressing language, which is the species characteristic of humanity, but that's not all there is to us. We also can dance, sing, work, play, create, destroy, make love, or just have sex, amongst many other things. All of this is mediated by language and memory, which together constitute what we know as learning, along with repetition, or practice. But the point is that language is made possible by the limited control of memory, and hence liberation from the "eternal present" of animal consciousness, and the concomitant ability to read from and write to memory, in other words, to summon memory and add to it, which requires what WOU calls the "controller", and more to the point, an act of will, or intention, to remember and to use memory by thinking to create thoughts, and thus new memories, and so on, ad infinitum. Or not. Since thinking requires an act of will, we have the option of not thinking, at least to a degree, by surrendering our wills to others, following orders, or by merely being thoughtlessly reactive to our own varying selves, not to mention constantly varying others and world, or a mix of both. To the extent we use language at all, we're condemned to think at least a little, but we can minimize thought by avoiding thinking. I don't believe that it is hard to see that this is considered the preferable option by the powers that be in this world. When they require us to think for their own ends, then they attempt to circumscribe our thoughts, to fence off the range of thoughts from areas they don't approve of. Food for thought.

The ground has now been prepared for the characterization of the structures thus far derived, to describe and explain their anatomies so to speak. The first is the Internal Activation Mode (IAM):


The terms "Umerge" and "Imerge" refer first to "Unbounded Merge", the MP idea of Merge, and second "Integrity Merge", the original Merge conjectured to be the iterative Merge that all animals have in order to link up their internal and external experiences to their biological and phenomenological Integrity. Here's the second, the External Activation Mode (EAM):


The descriptions are designed to be explanatory. The IAM is triggered by intention and motivation. It is what governs semantic linguistic performance and other activities of the expressive body. It explains human creativity. The EAM is triggered by external stimuli or signals. It accounts for hermeneutic linguistic competence. It explains interpretation. Superposing the two diagrammatic maps results in what is claimed to be UG and FL with two separate recursive pathways, four iterative loops, and a switch for alternating between the two modes:


Now, I'm claiming that it is lexical memory, the lexicon, or what I'm calling "Sim", for Signs/Symbols, is the evolutionary innovation that permits generative recursion and hence language. Here is a justification for that claim, along with the neuromorphological evidence offered in WOU, namely, a model of animal mentality produced by the removal of the lexicon/Sim, which is the loss of the recursive pathways and the two cognitive iterative loops:


That's it for now. More later. I'm exhausted.
Title: Re: Have I found universal grammar, and more? You be the judge.
Post by: poemworld on June 09, 2020, 10:35:59 AM
A bit of a digression in order to return to the question and subject of Value. I was reminded by a Facebook memory of a quote I had posted five years ago, which is absolutely relevant to this effort:

Value, the leading edge of reality, is no longer an irrelevant offshoot of structure. Value is the predecessor of structure. It's the pre-intellectual awareness that gives rise to it. Our structured reality is preselected on the basis of value, and really to understand structured reality requires an understanding of the value source from which it's derived.
Zen And The Art Of Motorcycle Maintenance
Robert Pirsig, p. 363.

I've read "Zen and the Art of Motorcycle Maintenance" probably a dozen times over the years. It sticks with me. Pirsig was an architectonic philosopher also, and developed a "Metaphysics of Quality". He focuses on the concept of "Quality" but describes ZATAMM as "An Inquiry Into Values". It is so much more than this. In a sense, the work I'm presenting here is a clarification and extension of Pirsig's work. Another way of presenting Being and Value, and their union and intersection of Integrity, is this:

Being without Value is a corpse. Value without Being is a ghost. Integrity is the ghost and the machine.

For those who've never encountered ZATAMM, you should. It's an intellectual odyssey. Here is a link to an article in "Philosophy Now" by Anthony McWatt, the individual who earned the first Ph.D. in the world on Pirsig's ideas in the Metaphysics of Quality: (

What does this have to do with linguistics? Everything and nothing. Everything if you care about the value and the quality of the work you do. Nothing if you don't. You know which one you are.

Pirsig passed away in April 2017 at the age of 88. A toast to Robert Maynard Pirsig:

May your neighbors respect you.
May your troubles neglect you.
May the angels protect you.
And May heaven collect you.

Cheers Bob. It was a helluva ride.

Title: Re: Have I found universal grammar, and more? You be the judge.
Post by: poemworld on June 25, 2020, 06:39:07 PM
So, I'm back. Let's summarize what we have so far. An explanatory description of a structured memory system has been provided and articulated. It is composed of four iterative loops supporting two recursive pathways. Two of the iterative loops are autonomic and part of our animal inheritance:
1. the Internal Quality Iteration (IQI), which forms the directed graph boundary of the Self phase of memory; and
2. the External Somatic Iteration (ESI), which forms the directed graph boundary of the Others phase of memory.

These two iterative loops share Integrity as a boundary (the green downward-pointing arrow in the UG/LF diagram), which is considered the source and sink of motivation, intention, attention, and reaction, all of the fast parts of consciousness that keep us alive. It's characterized as the unspecified "controller" in WOU. It's the t=0, or time zero, core of the mind. It's where consciousness continually begins. Integrity also forms our "strong" memories, emotional and somatic memories, the memories that stick with us throughout our lives. Integrity is nonlingual, affective, sensational, pragmatic, the still-regnant vestige of humanity's prelinguistic past, as of course it would have be, since it's the evolved pre-lingual core of the individual, and hence of the species.

The World phase of memory forms the Deep Structure (DS) and is hypothesized to be the first phase of memory that the infant animal, and human, develops. Then comes the Others phase, followed by the Self phase. In the animal model, the World is responsible for the instinctual processing of external stimuli and signals, or signs. With humans, it is the same, but it also is where the Sim/lexicon enters the picture, bringing along with it symbols and symbolic meaning and processing.

There are two autonomous iterative loops that are considered unique to human beings. They were likely created along with the saltatory mutation that created the lexicon, or Sim. These are:
1. the Internal Cognitive Iteration (ICI), which handles our thinking about our continuously varying interior and internal states and situations; and
2. the External Cognitive Iteration (ECI), which handles our thinking about our continuously varying exterior and external states and situations.

The ICI and ECI share a common boundary, the Sim or lexicon, which is the blue downward-pointing arrow in the UG/LF diagram. This the "read from/write to" memory structure demanded by Randy Gallistel, which is the human phylogenetic evolutionary innovation that makes UG possible, distinguishing humans from animals, and permits the ontogenetic development of the array of natural human languages observed in our species.

All together, the system is active and dynamic, switching from one internal state to the other external state. This dynamic system has been described as being like a "flip-flop", or bistable multivibrator, an electronic circuit. It can be usefully analogized with a 2:1 wavenumber oscillating drumhead.

The system and structure described so far is relatively stable considering its being metastable. Together they form the Surface Structure (SS) and the computational Workspace. WOU describes the Workspace this way:
We can think of the computational process as operating like this. There is a workspace, which has access to the lexicon of atomic elements and contains any new object that is constructed. To carry a computation forward, an element X is selected from the workspace, and then a second element Y is selected. X and Y can be two distinct elements in the workspace, as when read and books are merged to form the syntactic object underlying the phrase read books. This is called External Merge. The only other logical possibility is that one can be part of the other, called Internal Merge, as when the phrase he will read which books is merged with the phrase which books within it to yield which books he will read which books, which underlies the sentence Guess which books he will read or Which books will he read by other rules. This is an example of the ubiquitous property of displacement - phrases being pronounced in one place and interpreted in another. It had long been supposed that displacement is a strange imperfection of language. On the contrary, it is an automatic property of a very elementary computational process. (WOU, p. 99.)

That addresses process. Then there is structure:
Speculatively, along with the human developmental evidence, this suggests that a fully wired word-like atom- to Merge workspace "ring" is necessary to enable the Basic Property. (WOU, p. 164.)

These descriptions are eerily coincident with the system and structures provided here. But let's see if we can flesh this out a bit more by describing how these processes work with system presented. This will be presented in the next post. Stay tuned.
Title: Re: Have I found universal grammar, and more? You be the judge.
Post by: poemworld on June 26, 2020, 07:47:07 PM
The two recursive pathways are described by the autonomic iterations that trigger them. The basic idea behind this seems to be that all components of memory are always active. They're connected and processing regardless of our conscious intentions. Thus, when one or the other of the autonomic iterations is activated, this means that the corresponding autonomous iteration is activated as well. This seems to accomplish a "balancing" of mind and memory.

1. When the Internal Quality Iteration (IQI) comes on, the External Cognitive Iteration (ECI) comes on along with it, as part of the Internal Generative Recursion (IGR). Altogether, these constitute the Internal Activation Mode (IAM).
2. Likewise, when the the External Somatic Iteration (ESI) is stimulated, the External Generative Recursion (EGR) activates the Internal Cognitive Iteration (ICI) along with it. These constitute the External Activation Mode.

The natural question to now ask is how does this all work together to produce language (semantic performance) or to interpret it (hermeneutic competence)? One can now "read off" the process from the structures and their descriptions. Both performance and competence are two-phase processes. We'll examine semantic performance first.

Semantic Performance Processing
Phase I:

Phase II:

Now for hermeneutic competence.

Hermeneutic Competence Processing
Phase III:

Phase IV:

An observation: though this is geared toward language, it is not at all limited to language. It is instead geared toward the expressive body as a whole or totality. Universal grammar and the faculty of language are thus extended over the entire realm of the symbolic mind and body, which necessarily encompasses all of human experience, and the memory of experience.
Title: Re: Have I found universal grammar, and more? You be the judge.
Post by: poemworld on June 29, 2020, 09:01:27 AM
Everything that has been thus far presented, from the beginning to now, is considered to be "The Crown" of a two-tiered memory system and structure. It amounts to memory processing and is considered to be thermodynamically metastable. There is a second part, called "The Throne", which is dedicated to memory storage and is considered to be thermodynamically stable. It is the source of meaning for the organism as well, solving this vexed philosophical and epistemological problem. The Crown and the Throne are connected by and intersect at a singularity, or invariant point, Integrity. Together these three pieces compose and comprise the memory storage and processing structure and system of the individual organism. Let's now take a look at the throne.

The Throne represents stable memory. Stable memory has evolved to equip the organism with a rapid-response system to its continually changing homeostasis, dynamic relational equilibria, and adaptive challenges from the environment. It is "physical/somatic, logically continuous and conjunctively homogeneous, genetic, autonomic, largely unconscious, evolved, animal, affective, implicitly generative." It is also reactive and much faster than metastable memory, as it needs to be for most organisms' survival, especially animals. Further, stable memory's phases and phase boundaries require a relatively simple interpretation that takes into account the memory content of the phases appropriate to their types (Self, World, Others), the boundaries between the phases, and finally, a "conjunctor", a way of autonomically linking together memories sequentially, that is, both conjunctively and temporally. As a matter of fact, neuroscientists appear to be closing in on something like a conjunctor https:// past-20190212/ (https:// past-20190212/).

It turns out that I actually have an example of such a structure. It was from an independent exploration into ethics and logic, in particular, of a Cartesian cross between ethical good and bad and logical true and false. Here it is:


Symbolically, this structure has a conjunctor (the ampersand), phase boundaries (true/false, good/bad), and phase contents (right, wrong, fiction, tragedy). It's also modular and thus points towards and appeals to "modularity of mind" arguments, though idiosyncratically in a constrained and general approach. This can and will be explored later.

It was just one piece of the puzzle however. It was still needing a third phase boundary and two more facets of phase contents. The missing phase boundary was pivotal. It had to be as general and universal, yet fitting and variable, as true and false, good and bad. It turns out that an example arose from music, physics, and ultimately from aesthetics: weak and strong. Incorporating aesthetic weak and strong into the initial structure orthogonally produces a 3x3x3 matrix.


Here appears Peirce's normative trinity of aesthetics, ethics, and logic for the first time, as not simply phase boundaries, but as normative dimensions serving distinct roles for the organism. The Cartesian conjunctive crosses define the phase contents, which will be examined in a moment. All phenomena that the individual organism encounters can and will have some variation of the universal aesthetic qualities of weak to strong; the ethical qualities of good to bad; and the logical qualities of true to false. In this sense, these qualities are measures, or gauges, of Value. The binary categories of quality are thus spectra, not simply absolute states and ultimate limits. They represent Value in all of its combinations and permutations, just as Self, World, and Others represent Being in its universal and variable aspects.

There is also now a stable memory "core": a 2x2x2 conjunctive cross generated by the phase boundaries or dimensions. These will be examined in turn, along with the alignment of each facet with a partition of total memory: Self, World, Others.

The conjunctor is the cap of the matrix, and is connected to and continuous with the Integrity singularity. This makes sense as Integrity is what first encounters incoming stimuli, whether from the inside the organism itself or from the outside, i.e. from either Others or the World. This results in Integrity essentially always existing at "time zero", which also makes sense because an invariant point has zero degrees of freedom, including temporal freedom. Further, this is what memory is for, to provide Integrity with a way of storing experience in a stable and ordered fashion for both immediate and later use.

The phase boundaries turn out to be heterogeneous: weak and strong (aesthetic); good and bad (ethical); true and false (logical). These choices of normative dimensions are apposite. They act as a trio of rational and dialectical gauges for incoming stimuli and the evolved practical response of the organism to the same. They are, evaluatively and empirically speaking, all that the organism can sense and know about Self, World, and Others, but more importantly, all that the organism needs to sense or know about them. They act as a primitive and pre-lingual phenomenology. They also act as stable memory's partitions of total memory and produce the three phases/facets from their crosses, which provide the organism with a realtime feedback from stimuli, in which the organism's response is in turn fed back into system to measure its effectiveness. They are also examples of properties of Value, or qualities. Weak and strong correspond to substantive quality; good and bad to sensational quality; and true and false to symbolic quality. In this way, these three paired dualisms are the Value correlates of the three Being states of Self, World, Others. Further, they can each be associated with Value, Being, and Integrity themselves. Weak and strong, substantive quality, correlate with Integrity; good and bad, sensational quality, correlate with Value; and true and false, symbolic quality, correlate with Being. Finally, the phase boundaries, so conceived, interact with themselves as well as with each other. The Cartesian crosses of weak/strong, good/bad, and true/false with themselves can easily be ascertained. Weak/strong reflexively produces weak/weak, weak/strong, strong/weak, and strong/strong. Good/bad reflexively produces good/good, good/bad, bad/good, bad/bad. True/false reflexively produces true/true, true/false, false/true, false/false. This is instructive. These can be reinterpreted as varieties of logic. The last section should be familiar to anyone who has studied logic.

Aesthetic logic
weak and weak is weak
weak and strong is strong
strong and weak is strong
strong and strong is strong

weak or weak is weak
weak or strong is weak
strong or weak is weak
strong or strong is strong

Ethical logic
good and good is good
good and bad is bad
bad and good is bad
bad and bad is bad

good or good is good
good or bad is good
bad or good is good
bad or bad is bad

Traditional logic
true and true is true
true and false is false
false and true is false
false and false is false

true or true is true
true or false is true
false or true is true
false or false is false

The conjunctivity of stable memory depends upon the first sections of these logics. The logics suggest that the organism is particularly sensitive to, and reactive to, strong, bad, and false, probably an evolved disposition to caution. [As an aside, it also explains why conservative reactionaries always have facile comebacks.] The disjunctive complements to the conjunctive logics completes each set, opening up the space for choice, but only for humans.

The phase contents themselves, or facets, provide the organism with first-order approximations of its status and condition. It is quite likely that these terms are noncommutative. Regardless, for a non-human organism, the interactions between the qualities do not reduce to a single expression, as the approximations below attempt to do. These generalizations do tend to hold for us humans I think.


The phase boundaries can now be associated with Value states (qualities) and with Integrity (and its boundary extension), Value, and Being themselves:

Aesthetic weak/strong <=> Integrity
Ethical good/bad <=> Value
Logical true/false <=> Being.

It is time to now align a pair of boundaries with the appropriate memory phase of Self, World, and Others. This is not difficult. World is constituted by Being and Value and is so bounded. This leaves Self and Others sharing their common boundary of Integrity and its extension. Self, as possessing interiority, is bounded by Value; Others, as displaying exteriority, are bounded by Being.

The phase boundaries (Integrity, Value, Being) and the memory phases (Self, World, Others) are now set:
Integrity (weak/strong) and Value (good/bad) bound Self. Value (good/bad) and Being (true/false) bound World.
Being (true/false) and Integrity (weak/strong) bound Others.
This is an important result for when the time comes to examine metastable memory. It also permits the identification of the three facets above, namely, as Self, World, and Others from left to right.

This leaves the stable memory "core" to examine. Again, it is a 2x2x2 matrix nested within the structure provided by the conjunctor, phase boundaries, and phase contents. It serves to accumulate and summate all of the organism's experience. It is how the organism orients itself with respect to Self, World, Others; how it senses or knows its ever-changing place in an ever-changing World filled with an ever-changing Self and ever-changing Others. It is the "heart" of the organism's memory. It is also the source of meaning, which has to come from somewhere. As Berwick and Chomsky note in “Why Only Us: Language and Evolution”:

These results suggest that language evolved for thought and interpretation: it is fundamentally a system of meaning. Aristotle’s classic dictum that language is sound with meaning should be reversed. Language is meaning with sound (or some other externalization, or none); and the concept with is richly significant. (WOU, p. 101).


It is probable that the variables produced in the Cartesian cross are nonassociative as well as noncommutative, rather like an octonion. This produces a rich array of possibilities for the organism to fit itself to or find itself in. Interestingly enough, three regions can be identified: a "heaven", a "hell", and and a ring of six "purgatories". The "heaven" is the one cell that cannot be seen from outside; it sits at the center of the 3x3x3 matrix, and as the cap of the core. "Heaven" is "wgt", or "weak good true", or "weak and good and true", though not necessarily in that order. This corresponds to the young organism's ideal initial conditions, as well as the best case scenario otherwise. "Hell" is the bottom-most cell, "sbf", or "strong bad false", or "strong and bad and false". This is the organism's worst case scenario, always to be avoided. In between is a ring of six "purgatories", or moderate-to-severe middle-case scenarios. There are three upper level "purgatories", associated with, or interfacing with, "heaven", and each having two-out-of-three "heavenly" qualities (weak, good, true) and one-out-of-three "hellish" qualities (strong, bad, false). There are also three lower level "purgatories", associated and interfacing with "hell", having only one-out-of-three "heavenly" qualities each, or conversely, two-out-of-three "hellish" qualities. It is the organism's goal to stay in the upper four cells, if possible, or to struggle if it finds itself in the lower four.

Thus, stable memory forms a configuration space, or situation space, for an organism to orient itself and implicitly interpret its world, its self, and the other organisms in it. It is basically a thermomnemonic statics, a way for the organism to store memory in a temporally ordered fashion, for immediate and later use. The structure and contents, especially the qualities, provide the basis for an approach to "meaning", as well as "form", that will be used later in the analysis of metastable memory.

Let's discuss how this all ties in to meaning. Our senses provide us with information about our world, ourselves, and the others in it, with the emphasis on the root "form". Visual forms, aural forms, tactile forms, olfactory forms, gustatory forms, and more.  These forms cause feelings, reactions, that we've evolved to feel, very much for our survival. These are our instincts. They're hardwired in and then fine-tuned by experience and the accumulation of memory. This is the "principles and parameters" approach. But now we're symbolic animals, the "signifying monkey". Our cognition interferes with our instincts. This probably means that the evolution of language was in many cases a deleterious or lethal mutation. The cognitive interpretation of form becomes the issue. What does form mean? And what is meaning? How do we know? How do we know what we know? How do we know that we know it? Vexing questions to say the least.

This is where we return to Being, Value, and Integrity as the foundation for inquiry. Value becomes aesthetic, ethical, and logical Qualities, which in turn become aesthetic, ethical, and logical Meanings. These Qualities and Meanings are constantly interacting with each other, and these interactions are accumulated in memory, regardless of whether they are feelings or symbolic thoughts. Value, Qualities, and Meanings are derived from Being, Quantities (which has replaced the former Substances), and Forms. Because of our symbolic powers, we can in turn create, modify, and shape Quantities and Forms. This should be obvious.

What is not so obvious is that linguistic elements such as syntax, words, assemblages of words, sounds, and the entire symbolic gestalt, carry a semantic charge, which originates from the Qualities, and ultimately from Value. If we think about all of our sensoria as signals impinging on our Integrity, then on the Being side we can determine how much and what kinds of existential stuff is causing the signal (Quantities) and what the signals are (Forms). On the Value side, we can determine signals' magnitude or degree of amplification (weak or strong), how they make us feel (good or bad), and whether or not they're authentic or fake (true or false). From these evaluations we can create and construct meanings and accumulate them in memory. It is conjectured that these evaluative categories are consistent, coherent, applicable and adequate, within some degree of error, which can be measured and reduced. They are also complete, comprehensive, necessary, and sufficient. This is not to say that they cannot be distracted, diverted, deceived, or dominated, but that individuals with these powers can mutually and collectively detect and refute such abuses and misuses of power. What motivates this is the human instinct for freedom, which reflects the search for the "heavenly" region of evolved memory, and the avoidance of the "hellish" region. It is this instinct for freedom which prompted my own pursuit of Good, Truth, and Beauty in the form and meaning of Poemworld, and this work generally. And thus I have come full circle. For the finale, I will assemble The Crown, The Throne, and Integrity.
Title: Re: Have I found universal grammar, and more? You be the judge.
Post by: poemworld on June 30, 2020, 10:23:08 AM
It’s now time to assemble the overall memory structure. Integrity is the connection between the lower conjunctive (somatic) memory and the upper disjunctive (cognitive) memory. As mentioned earlier, Integrity uses both types of memory, with the disjunctive memory reading from and writing to both memories. In particular, it uses the disjunctive memory as a “mental tool” to help maintain status quo equilibrium via Le Châtelier’s principle.

Let’s review. The system under consideration begins with the extension of Whitehead’s physical/mental poles to a Being/Value polarity. This polarity then breaks into three axes upon the introduction of Integrity: Integrity, Being, and Value axes. The axes bound three ontological phases of memory: Self, World, and Others. These are interpreted thermodynamically by Schreinemakers' method and the Morey-Schreinemakers Coincidence Theorem. The invariant point is Integrity, which acts as a mental and somatic tool to maintain the status quo equilibrium via Le Châtelier’s principle. This interpretation can be described as thermomnemonic. Next, the autonomic and somatic component of memory is described. The Being, Value, and Integrity parts of the axes differentiate into Peirce’s aesthetic, ethical, and logical gauges of weak/strong, good/bad, and true/false dimensions respectively. A conjunctor comprises the cap of this structure, connecting it to Integrity. A configuration space, or situation space, is then derived from the Cartesian cross of the three dimensions. This forms the stable and well-ordered memory of the organism, a thermomnemonic statics. Finally, the autonomous and mental component of memory is addressed. A phenomenological cycle/circuit is proposed that successfully demarcates physical exteriority from mental interiority and preconscious protomemory from conscious memory. Folding the cycle into a cubic configuration causes it to divide into two. The cycle is thus transformed into two “RecIt”, or recursive-iterative, cubes. As suggested, they form recursive and iterative pathways, which in turn comprise a Being-led sensory-motor (SM) interface and a Value-led conceptual-intentional (CI) interface. They also represent the phylogenetic evolution and ontogenetic development of the interfaces: Being (B) becoming Substances (Su), then Forms (Fo), leading to Signs/Symbols (Sim), and Value (V) becoming Qualities (Qu), then Meanings (Me), also leading to Signs/Symbols (Sim). The distinctiveness of human minds is shown to be due to evolution and development of a Sim extension, paralleling the Integrity extension, and permitting Chomsky’s Merge to occur, along with displacement, and, ultimately, natural human language. A model of animal mind, memory, and mentality then results from the absence of the Sim extension. This constitutes the organism’s memory processing, or thermomnemonic dynamics.
This is the complete and comprehensive system of human memory. It is composed of The Crown, memory processing, and The Throne, memory storage, which are linked together by Integrity.


If beauty is a sign of truth, then I believe this system is true because of its beauty, but not only because of its beauty, but also because of the reasons provided. Here is a summary of the findings presented.

Some observations:
1. The integrated “RecIt” (recursive-iterative) cube displays a meta-metastable memory, indicated by the dashed-line square.
2. The RecIt cube-pairs are reminiscent of a “flip-flop”, or bistable multivibrator, a circuit that has two stable states and can be used to store information and is the basic storage element in sequential logic. However, where the electronic
version stores a symbolic 0 or 1, this organismic flip-flop stores meanings and forms, while recursion is constructing symbolic strings.
3. The branching paths, originating at and from Integrity (I), comprise both a phylogenetic evolution of species mind, both external and internal, and an ontogenetic development of organismic mind, also external and internal, which are considered to have occurred in parallel.
4. An animal model of mind is available by eliminating the Signs/Symbols extension to the Forms:Meanings nexus, thus eliminating recursion, while leaving the iterative paths open.
5. It appears that the Signs/Symbols (Sim) extension is the lexicon. Further, it seems that the Sim extension, or lexicon, is what distinguishes human from animal mentality structurally. The Sim extension has a parallel in the Integrity extension, which is common to human and animal mentality.
6. The “epistemic gap” between physical and mental, or external and internal, has been bridged. There are two paths that may be taken: a) I -> B -> Su -> Fo -> Sim -> V -> Se -> Me -> I; and b) I -> V -> Se -> Me -> Sim -> B -> Su -> Fo - > I. The crossover is at Sim, where the path forks and internal, Value-based, memory can crossover to external, Being-based, memory and vice versa. Note that the paths are asymmetrical.
7. Merge appears naturally as the locus where Forms (Fo) and Meanings (Me) recursively converge alternatively with the Sim extension (lexicon). This is where language is assembled, drawing from Forms, Meanings, and Signs/ Symbols, guided by Being and Substance on the one hand and Value and Sensations on the other.
8. The performance/semantic and competence/hermeneutic cyclical directions are preserved, with the former Value-led and the latter Being-led.
9. The Sim extension (lexicon) is necessary for the human mind to read from and write to memory, and to overwrite evolved reactions to Signs. Otherwise, an organism without the Sim extension is only capable of reacting to Signs, internal and external, which minds have evolved to necessarily respond to, without consciousness of Symbols.
10. The alternation of Forms (Fo) and Meanings (Me) may explain displacement, but the author isn’t competent to comment further.
11. An apt summation of this work is that the intersection of mind and body is memory, mind ∩ body = memory, and this intersection is likely unique. Thus, one may dispense with the mind and body as such and examine and interrogate memory directly. I owe this insight to a private communication with Chomsky.

In conclusion, if this description is coherent and consistent and the explanation offered is applicable and adequate, in other words correct, then Peirce, Whitehead, and Chomsky are right.

This is it. This is all. This is a solution to the mind-body problem as a system of pure memory structure. This is the product of 33 years of sustained continuous thought. It is finished. There is nothing left to add.
Title: Re: Have I found universal grammar, and more? You be the judge.
Post by: poemworld on July 02, 2020, 07:31:36 AM
My email to Chomsky and Berwick.

Good day gentlemen,

Thanks again for your reply. You wrote "Unbounded Merge is a computational operation, in fact a trivial one.  As such, it can be coded in any of the standard forms of recursion: Turing, Kleene, Post, etc." This is undoubtedly true and I agree with it. In fact, this assertion is supported by explanatory context provided by Gödel:

"Tarski has stressed in his lecture (and I think justly) the great importance of the concept of general recursiveness (or Turing's computability). It seems to me that this importance is largely due to the fact that with this concept one has for the first time succeeded in giving an absolute notion to an interesting epistemological notion, i.e., one not depending on the formalism chosen." (Gödel 1946 in Davis 1965:84).

This verifies and validates what you're saying. That Merge, in its simplicity, is codable in any and all standard forms of recursion is uncontested. It appears that Merge is the simplest operation that is capable of completing and effectuating recursion and providing the means to efficient computation. The SMT appears to be on a sound footing.

Three suggestions are being offered here. The first is that generative recursion is better described by the dual operations of analytic recursion and synthetic corecursion.

In computer science, corecursion is a type of operation that is dual to recursion. Whereas recursion works analytically, starting on data further from a base case [meaning] and breaking it down into smaller data and repeating until one reaches a base case [meaning as interpretation], corecursion works synthetically, starting from a base case [meaning] and building it up [thought or speech], iteratively producing data further removed from a base case. Put simply, corecursive algorithms use the data that they themselves produce, bit by bit, as they become available, and needed, to produce further bits of data. A similar but distinct concept is generative recursion which may lack a definite "direction" inherent in corecursion and recursion.

In this context, analytic recursion is the basis for competence in interpreting a linguistic signal, while synthetic corecursion is the basis for performance, or simply thought (the inner mental tool). This clarifies how Merge is being used and to what ends. For example, it suggests that the empty set may be used by Merge to analytically break up linguistic structures for further examination. The Kleene star is an example of the empty set.

A second suggestion is that the conception of large cardinals is useful for MP and SMT. The Basic Property of language invokes them anyway. It also has a bearing on how the unspecified controller mentioned in WOU can possibly even use Merge, a trivial set operation, in the first place given the large cardinality character of lexical memory, the lexicon, that it draws from. This was the reason I first brought the matter to your attention. It does appear to fall within the realm of possibility to approach UG from above. Gödel has something to say about "intrinsic and extrinsic justifications" for large cardinal axioms, from the SEP entry mentioned:

There is a discussion of Gödel that has bearing on each of these questions, namely, his discussion of intrinsic and extrinsic justifications in his classic paper (Gödel (1947), expanded as Gödel (1964)).

1.4.2 Intrinsic versus Extrinsic Justifications
In introducing the notion of an intrinsic justification Gödel gives as an example certain large cardinal axioms that are just beyond the reach of ZFC:

[The] axioms of set theory [ZFC] by no means form a system closed in itself, but, quite on the contrary, the very concept of set on which they are based suggests their extension by new axioms which assert the existence of still further iterations of the operation “set of” (260).

As examples he mentions the axioms asserting the existence of inaccessible cardinals and Mahlo cardinals:

These axioms show clearly, not only that the axiomatic system of set theory as used today is incomplete, but also that it can be supplemented without arbitrariness by new axioms which only unfold the content of the concept of set as explained above. (260–261, my emphasis)

Since Gödel later refers to such axioms as having “intrinsic necessity” we shall accordingly speak of such axioms being intrinsically justified on the basis of the iterative concept of set.

The notion of extrinsic justification is introduced as follows:

[E]ven disregarding the intrinsic necessity of some new axiom, and even in case it has no intrinsic necessity at all, a probable decision about its truth is possible also in another way, namely, inductively by studying its “success”. (261)

Here by “success” Gödel means “fruitfulness in consequences, in particular “verifiable” consequences”. In a famous passage he writes:

There might exist axioms so abundant in their verifiable consequences, shedding so much light upon a whole field, and yielding such powerful methods for solving problems (and even solving them constructively, as far as that is possible) that, no matter whether or not they are intrinsically necessary, they would have to be accepted at least in the same sense as any well-established physical theory. (261) (

The third suggestion, more of an observation really, follows from the word "coded". Recursion and Merge are described largely algebraically, in mathematical formalisms, symbolic logics, codes and coding, even tree diagrams, which follow algebraic patterns. This approach has been fantastically successful and is not to be criticized lightly. They can and have been used to point to places in the physical brain to look for evidence to support the SMT, for example the "fiber tract 'ring'" mentioned on p. 161, and the middle temporal cortex as the lexicon on p. 159. But this approach has its limits. The evidence it points to reaches beyond its own abstractions to a more concrete and structural reality. This evidence is, in turn, extremely suggestive of another conception of recursion, namely the electronic circuit, which is geometrical, structural, and physical. The electronic device called a "flip-flop" is a good example. It is "a circuit that has two stable states and can be used to store state information – a bistable multivibrator. The circuit can be made to change state by signals applied to one or more control inputs and will have one or two outputs. It is the basic storage element in sequential logic." Thus, there should be a notion of "geometric recursion" or perhaps "path recursion". Iterations also share in this notion as simpler closed loops.

These suggestions, or arguments, are part of the basis for my writing to you. A geometrical and structural derivation from first principles of a structural system of memory has been found that shares far too many coincidental features with the ideas discussed in WOU for me to discount. You've said elsewhere that:

Berwick and I have argued (I think plausibly, but not uncontroversially) that language, an internal system of the mind, is independent of externalization and basically provides expressions of linguistically formulated thought. As such, it is a system of pure structure, lacking linear order and other arrangements that are not really part of language as such but are imposed by requirements of the articulatory system...

The only such system that I can conceivably imagine is memory, which is a system that both mind and body share, all the way down to the cellular level with genes, which are "how to reproduce and regulate" memory.

I hope you'll give these ideas a chance.
Bruce Banner
Fort Worth, Texas
Title: Re: Have I found universal grammar, and more? You be the judge.
Post by: poemworld on July 02, 2020, 09:59:39 AM
My 29 May 2020 letter to Prof. William Seager, a philosopher of mind at the University of Toronto and co-author of the Stanford Encyclopedia of Philosophy entry on Panpsychism. (

Dear Prof. Seager,

I hope this email finds you well in these strange, uncertain, even liminal times.

I'm writing to express my delight at discovering you and your work, and to thank you for it. You, sir, are "one-stop shopping" for all things panpsychical, someone and something I didn't even know I'd been looking for until I found you and it. I stumbled across your work by googling both Chomsky and Whitehead. To my knowledge, Chomsky has never mentioned Whitehead, which seems a bit strange, but his oeuvre is immense and I wanted to take a look. I landed on your paper "Whitehead and the Revival (?) of Panpsychism", which was illuminating. I moved from there to your SEP entry on panpsychism, which is even more revealing. The reading of both was fascinating. The mental effort going into this work is impressive. It's lineage is even more so. But goggling over these brainstorms isn't the only reason I'm writing you. If you'll indulge me, I'll try to be as brief as I can, which is difficult but manageable.

I've been thinking, working, and writing somewhat in parallel with the panpsychism movement for some time now. I've largely been following Chomsky's lead as it's made the most sense to me, up to and including the biolinguistic Minimalist Program. Over the past five years, and since the beginning of this year in particular, some ideas have seemingly come to a sort of phronetic fruition, especially around the idea of memory. To my astonishment, the word “memory” doesn't appear even once in the SEP entry, which is especially surprising since information is widely accepted as a physical phenomenon, and computers, as analogies and models for consciousness as well as useful machines, are mostly memory storage and memory processing. The concept of memory offers an approach to the mind-body problem, namely the formulation “mind ∩ body = memory”, or memory is the intersection of mind and body, which reaches from the genetic memory of cells, through to the somatic memory of autonomic processes and reflexes, and beyond to the cognito-affective memory we’re familiar with. The struggle over emergence also suggests a simpler alternative idea, sensory amplification, which along with accumulation (already a characteristic of memory) describes both mental growth and development. Thus consciousness may be considered as temporally ordered and spatially organized memory: amplifying the phenomenological inputs from the senses, both from outside (the familiar five) and inside (e.g. hunger, fatigue, proprioception, sexual drives, etc.), accumulating said inputs in memory and as memories, which can then be processed, thought about and reflected upon, creating new memories. After all, you can’t and won’t think about what you can’t or don’t remember. Without memory, these sensory inputs are merely noisy signals without form or meaning, which is basically the situation and predicament of an infant or someone stricken with Alzheimer’s syndrome. Fortunately, natural evolution has equipped us with an innate memory structure for handling these signals and using them to acquire forms and meanings via somatic substances and sensory qualities, what Chomsky calls Universal Grammar, but whose range and domain extend far beyond the faculty of language (a latecomer in our evolutionary development) to order and organize experience into our useful and actionable interior model of the world, others, and self. In addition, human beings are able to read from and write to memory, an aspect of our memory which appears to establish the faculty of language, while being enhanced by language. It is also our fundamental phylogenetic and ontogenetic difference from animals (along with language), who experience an eternal present fine-tuned by memory and who adaptively react to it, and which explains how humanity fell out of nature into history, with our senses and tenses of the past, present, and future, which animals appear to lack.

This is the basic idea, but these concepts go neither far enough nor deep enough by themselves, i.e. they appear descriptively consistent and coherent but aren’t really applicably and adequately explanatory. To extend the reach and scope of these ideas requires seeing panpsychism as a substitute idea, a placeholder. This is where an appeal is made to Whitehead's organismic process philosophy, in particular his notion of the mental and physical as "poles" of an actual occasion, or organism, but connected together rather than separate, rather like a bar magnet, and then extended beyond the mental and physical to axiological Value and ontological Being respectively. (I’m indebted to the late University of Georgia philosopher Frederick Ferré for his book "Being and Value”, the first in his trilogy on constructive postmodernism, from a series edited by David Ray Griffin, for clarifying these ideas. Ferré was a Whiteheadian whose father was a grad student of Whitehead’s.) Axiological Value is what panpsychism is standing in for, while the material properties and processes of substances, aka physics and chemistry, are what represent ontological Being.

A simple analogy, or model in this instance, is suggested, using 0 and 1 as the characteristic numbers for Value and Being, and connecting them, just as in a unit line segment, which Cantor demonstrated to be as transfinite as an infinite line. The suggestion of 0 as characteristic of Value is justified by the central place and essential role it plays in mathematics and logic (my degree is in mathematics from UT Austin) and without which what we know as modern mathematics and logic is impossible. Somewhat poetically, 0 may thus be considered the essential “king” of numbers, with 1 the existential “queen”, the latter justified by the fact it can reproduce the rest of the numbers by recursion. This provides a minimally structured, yet rich, polarity to replace Cartesian duality while retaining its utility as a concept, now stripped of its unnecessary metaphysical baggage. In this sense, Value and Being represent both the transnatural metaphysical limits and unboundedness of reality and the knowledge to be found therein. Quoting from a letter to Chomsky (edited):

Being and Value are metaphysical categories necessary for analysis and synthesis. Together they constitute Integrity and establish Integrity's existential limits and essential unboundedness, with Being providing the finite means which Value makes infinite use of. This resolves Cartesian dualism into a polarity united by Integrity, an idea suggested by Alfred North Whitehead's organismic process philosophy of the mental and physical ‘poles’ of an actual occasion, or organism. The characteristic number of Being is 1 and the characteristic number of Value is 0, which are convenient for prelinguistic heuristic processing and natural human language construction and interpretation. Being is conserved (can neither be created nor destroyed, only transformed), is the origin of quanta, is the basis of the existential, and is described by the discrete. Meanwhile Value is nonconserved (can be created or destroyed as well as changed), creates qualia, is the basis for the essential, and is described by the continuous.

Value is considered to be a natural ordering and organizing principle or process which, again, to paraphrase Wilhelm von Humboldt on language, makes infinite use of the finite means of Being, including non-mechanistically generating the variety of qualia we know and experience, addressing the palette problem. This is a conception of the cause of natural life and consequently its evolution. Finally, between Value and Being, as mentioned, is their boundary and product, which is called Integrity, which stands for the individual, and demarcates and mediates the internal/interior/intrinsic/essential range and domain of Value from and between the external/exterior/extrinsic/existential range and domain of Being, while consisting of and participating in both. In a rather large nutshell, these are the ideas I’ve been working on.

If you’re curious, you can find two papers plus an in-depth email to Chomsky and Robert Berwick explicating and exploring these concepts, the last two written since the beginning of this year, at (Berwick is Chomsky’s co-author on a simply smashing book about biolinguistics titled “Why Only Us” (2016), which I personally count as on a par with “Origin of Species”, and was pivotal in the development of these ideas.) The most pertinent paper is titled “Peirce, Whitehead, Chomsky: Memory, the Mind-Body Problem, and Language”, which proceeds from the first principles and processes described above.

It links up ontology and axiology with thermodynamics via:

1. “Schreinemakers’ Analysis”, a geometric method for constructing topologically correct phase diagrams of matter and its reactions, here extended to include memory
2. the “Morey-Schreinemakers Coincidence Theorem”, which states that for every univariant line of a phase diagram passing throught the invariant point, one side is stable and the other side is metastable, with the invariant point as the boundary;
3. Gibbs’ Phase Rule, which is F = C - P + 2, i.e. the number of independent intensive variables, or degrees of freedom, F, is equal to the number of system components, C, minus the number of phases, P, plus 2. Memory is the single component of the system, so C=1, with World, Others, and Self as the three necessary phases of memory, plus an initial “no phase” condition, thus P=0, 1, 2, 3 (hypothesized as the order that a human infant develops them but also ontologically comprehensive and complete), which finally yields Value, Being, and Integrity as the three corresponding necessary independent intensive variables, or degrees of freedom, culminating in the invariant point of Integrity with no degrees of freedom; and
4. Le Châtelier’s principle, which may be stated as “whenever a system in equilibrium is disturbed the system will adjust itself in such a way that the effect of the change will be nullified.”

The relationship between thermodynamics and memory is extensive in the STEM literature, e.g. information theory, Maxwell’s demon, Landauer’s law, etc. The idea of phases of memory seems fairly original, in the sense of material phases like solid, liquid, and gas, rather than phases of a process. The idea was appropriated because it works, that is, is yields useful insights, similar to some ideas in classical physics, such as angular momentum, being useful in quantum mechanics, such as spin. They're analogies if not analogous. There are open questions of whether the idea of “intrinsic variable” is applicable to Being, Value, and Integrity. The distinction between intrinsic and extrinsic variables, though useful, especially in thermodynamics, has been shown to breakdown elsewhere. The interpretation is preserved for the time being because of its utility, but it is certainly open to question and inspection.

A phenomenological cycle/circuit is also proposed that has some interesting properties. Starting with a simple directed graph connecting Integrity to Signs/Symbols, or semiotics, via two separate paths (Being to Substances to Forms to Signs/Symbols, which is the external path; and Value to Qualities to Meanings to Signs/Symbols, which is the internal path), upon being geometrically transformed, it reveals two dual recursive paths (one for internal memory and one for external memory), supported by four iterations (two internal and two external, but also two autonomic and two autonomous), and a "switch", permitting the alternation between interiority and exteriority, and which includes something looking very much like Chomsky’s Merge operations at the switching points, all of which are explored in more depth in the letter to Chomsky and Berwick. In its totality it’s reminiscent of a “flip-flop”, or bistable multivibrator, an electronic circuit with two stable states that can store information and is the basic storage element in sequential logic. In addition, and quite intriguingly, it appears that removing a single piece from this picture reduces the human memory structure to a general animal memory structure, losing both recursive paths, two of the four iterations, and the switch, which is advantageous for the saltatory evolutionary picture as proposed by Chomsky and Berwick in “Why Only Us”. There is much more as well.

As an aside, the fusionism proposed by Mørch and yourself can be said to be descripitively suggestive in both your own “big simple” characterization, which captures the centrality of Integrity as a thermodynamic “invariant point”, almost as a Leibnizian monad, while her parts-and-whole approach embodies the developing nervous system’s dependency upon the unfolding genetic plan for Universal Grammar, which once established depends upon the brain and its correlates for its functioning. They both also suggest the non-mechanistic "Gestalt" of qualia. But this is only a guess based upon a cursory synopsis of your ideas. Speaking of which, I’m not suggesting that these ideas are necessarily correct. This hypothesis is tentatively held and offered, as suggested by the previous comments regarding the status of thermodynamic phases of memory. They could, of course, be wrong, and probably are in some, if not many or all, respects, which is what makes them reasonable. I am inviting skepticism and criticism, which are tokens of curiosity and interest, based upon my qualified confidence in the framework of ideas presented.

I don’t wish to belabor the issues any further than I already have here. Hopefully I’ve whet your appetite to explore further. Regardless, you have my gratitude for providing a sumptuous feast of food for thought.

Best wishes,
Bruce Banner
Fort Worth, Texas