Wise Words

“When I do something intelligently,…I am doing one thing and not two.
My performance has a special procedure or manner, not special antecedents” — Gilbert Ryle, 1949, p32.

…performance is the ground from which knowledge emerges and to which it returns. Andrew Pickering.

The sprawl and fulness of babes, the bosoms and heads of women, the folds of their dress, their style as we pass in the street, the contour of their shape downwards,

The swimmer naked in the swimming-bath, seen as he swims through the transparent green-shine, or lies with his face up, and rolls silently to and fro in the heave of the water,

The bending forward and backward of rowers in row-boats—the horseman in his saddle,

Girls, mothers, house-keepers, in all their performances,

I Sing the Body Electric, (excerpt), Walt Whitman, 1900

Frequently … messages have meaning; that is they refer to or are correlated according to some system with certain physical or conceptual entities. These semantic aspects of communication are irrelevant to the engineering problem.
SHANNON, C.E. and WEAVER, W. (1949). The Mathematical Theory of Communication. Urbana, Illinois University Press.1949:

In order to do interdisciplinary work, it is not enough to take a ‘subject’ (a theme) and to arrange two or three sciences around it. Interdisciplinary study consists of creating a new object, which belongs to no one. Barthes, Roland. The Rustle of Language. Trans. Richard Howard. University of California Press: Berkeley. 1972. Page72.

It serves one well not to dabble in abstractions too long. J.W. Goethe

The difference between theory and practice is greater in practice than in theory. anon

“A mathematical formalism is a conceptual and operational system that reveals the relational coherences of the space that it defines…But mathematical formalisms do not by themselves create an understanding of the phenomena that an observer helps to explain through them” Humberto Maturana (2002).

“ …the privileged status of mathematical entities in the study of cognition was already central to Descartes’ theory…” … “a theory of cognition based on formal reason works best with objects of cognition whose attributes and relationships can be completely characterized in formal terms” Philip Agre 1997.

Whoever denies the existence of subjective realities, has failed to recognize the foundations of his own Umwelt. Jakob von Uexküll

Objectivity is a subject’s delusion that observing can be done without him. Heinz von Foerster

Even the most commonplace aspects of thinking in Western culture, as natural as they may seem, are historically contingent. Edwin Hutchins

Creation of a thing, and creation plus full understanding of a correct idea of the thing, are parts of one and the same indivisible process… The process itself is not guided by a well-defined programme, and cannot be guided by such programme… It is guided rather by a vague urge, by a `passion’. Paul Feyerabend AGAINST METHOD

Pataphysics will be, above all, the science of the particular, despite the common opinion that the only science is that of the general. Alfred Jarry

The use of anthropomorphic terminology when dealing with computing systems is a symptom of professional immaturity. Edsger W. Dijkstra

[T]he best material model for a cat is another [cat], or preferably the same cat. Arturo Rosenblueth. “The Role of Models in Science,” with Norbert Wiener

Not everything that can be counted counts, and not everything that counts can be counted. Albert Einstein

One can’t proceed from the informal to the formal by formal means. Alan J. Perlis

Computers are useless; they can only give you answers. Pablo Picasso

When you dissect a frog, the first thing you know is that you have a non-working frog. Simon Penny, as related by Brett Doar

Skill is the unified force of experience, intellect and passion in their operation. John Ruskin

Don’t be condescending to unskilled labor. Try it for a half a day first. Brooks Atkinson

“Interesting philosophy is rarely an examination of the pros and cons of a thesis. Usually, it is implicitly or explicitly, a contest between an entrenched vocabulary which has become a nuisance and a half-formed new vocabulary which vaguely promises great things.” Richard Rorty

“A paradigm, once established, falls into the background of knowledge and appears to be little more than common sense, governing the production of truth (in Michel Foucault’s sense) by constituting the obvious” Paul Edwards, Closed World, p32.

there are many activities which directly display qualities of mind, yet are neither themselves intellectual operations nor yet effects of intellectual operations. Intelligent practice is not a step-child of theory. On the contrary, theorizing is one practice amongst others and is itself intelligently or stupidly conducted.” Gilbert Ryle

My belief is in the blood and flesh as being wiser than the intellect. The body-unconscious is where life bubbles up in us. It is how we know that we are alive, alive to the depths of our souls and in touch somewhere with the vivid reaches of the cosmos. D H Lawrence.

There are more things in heaven and earth, Horatio,
Than are dreamt of in your philosophy.
Hamlet Act1 Sc5.

Without deviation from the norm, progress is not possible. Frank Zappa (1940-93)

Building things, like fieldwork and meditation and design, is a way of knowing that cannot be reduced to the reading and writing of books. Philip Agre.

“…organisms are entangled in relations… every living thing is itself an entanglement, a tissue of knots whose constituent strands, as they become tied up with other strands, in other bundles, comprise the meshwork.”
Tim Ingold. Point Line and Counterpoint. in Neurobiology of “Umwelt”, How living things perceive the world. A.Berthoz, Y. Christen, (eds). Springer, 2009.

The tree of research must from time to time be refreshed with the blood of bean counters. – Alan Kay

“When I do something intelligently,…I am doing one thing and not two. My performance has a special procedure or manner, not special antecedents” Gilbert Ryle, 1949, p32.