I don't anticipate being very active on meta, but every once in a while I may pop by. So if you want to contact me, please send me an e-mail. ScienceApologist 17:21, 26 October 2007 (UTC)
On the Difference Between a Notion and an Idea
|“||What's the difference between a notion and an Idea?||”|
Excellent question. I thank ScienceApologist for asking it.
An idea has considerably more import and power than a notion. Here is an essay I wrote on the subject about 20 years ago...
The process of defining, organizing, and executing projects embodies a variety of important skills. At the intellectual heart of the matter is a kind of thinking that I like to call The Calculus of Ideas.
The Calculus of Ideas subsumes a discipline that ought to be a central thread in any college curriculum.
The first stage of the Calculus of Ideas is to identify Values. One can spend a semester constructing a Value System, which is really a topic in Philosophy.
Given a System of Values, the second stage is to derive Goals.
A Goal is a Future State of Affairs which is Feasible, Desirable, and Reachable.
Feasible means that the Goal State is not a physical impossibility. It doesn't violate the Laws of Physics, or any other inviolable constraints.
Desirable means that within the Value System, the Goal State is preferable to the current state of affairs.
Reachable means that the Goal State can be attained with available resources of time, energy, and materiel.
Given a Goal, the third stage is to develop a Plan for reaching the Goal State from the Present State of Affairs.
A Plan is a Course of Action. Planning begins with Ideas. An Idea is a Possibility for Changing the State of Affairs.
Most of the work in Planning is in discovering and evaluating Ideas, to find those that provide the best Strategy.
One can evaluate Candidate Ideas many ways, but in the Calculus of Ideas, we tend to focus on Model-Based Reasoning. In Model-Based Reasoning, we consider the likely consequences of each candidate idea. Oftentimes, this work requires technical analysis, simulation, or experimentation.
Once a Strategy is selected and reduced to a Plan, the actual work can be broken down into Tasks.
A Task is a discrete unit of work that can be assigned to an individual or team. The various Tasks often comprise a lot of grunt work. The motivation to do all this grunt work comes from the compensation or expected payoff for completing the Plan and reaching the Goal.
To carry off an entire project, you need Sponsors who are Values Oriented, Directors who are Goal Oriented, Creative Problem Solvers who are Idea Oriented, Decision Makers who are Plan Oriented, and Workers who are Task Oriented. (Bureaucrats, who are Rule-Oriented should be dispensed with, and replaced by computers.)
The Orenda Project
A notion, by contrast, is something more whimsical, perhaps little more than a mere flight of fancy.
I suppose Intelligent Design is an example of a notion. I've written about that, too..
If God were enamored of Model-Based Reasoning, The First Book of System Design might look something like this:
In the beginning, God created an open loop system. The system was without witness or controller, so God created a small-minded controller. God carefully avoided clueing in the small-minded controller on the finer details of the theory of feedback control systems.
Even God was amused, and so ended the first day.
And God said, "Let the small-minded controller draw up a goal statement." And behold, the small-minded controller identified the desirable goal states for the system. And God thought it sounded pretty good.
And evening and morning were the second day.
And God said, "Let the small-minded controller determine corrections and adjustments and engage in determining rules of guidance and control." Unfortunately, a debate about the sanctions and punishments to be inflicted in the event of a rule violation pre-empted almost all of the third day.
And evening and morning were the third day.
And God said, "Let there be a university in which the small-minded controller can envision system concepts and engage in discovering the deeply hidden laws of feedback control theory." The small-minded controller considered adjustment of rules and sanctions and more intelligent alternatives to rules, and God saw that this was good. And God thought that it was even worth all of the adrenalin, serotonin, dopamine, and endorphins he had to supply.
And so ended the fourth day.
And God said, "Let the small-minded controller's policies be implemented with long-range vision and insightful strategies." The small-minded controller considered insights and feedback loops and state-space measurements and sampling theorems, and comparative analysis and simulation models. And God saw that this was very ingenious and fruitful.
And so would have ended the fifth day, except for the unintentional renewal of the debate about the choices amongst rules and sanctions.
On the sixth day the small-minded controller devised criteria for classifying and assessing trajectories converging to the goal states and the associated rates of convergence. This wasn't the thesis topic that God had planned. God wasn't able to read the thesis, however, because he had to take the afternoon off to create day and night and heaven and earth and seas and plants and stars and trees and seasons and years and sun and moon and birds and fish and animals and human beings and the invisible karma economy.
On the seventh day God rested and the small-minded controller submitted his model and analysis. It turned out that the recommended system model was nearly identical to the way that God had created the world, so the small-minded controller gave thanks to God for his implementation according to the integrated system model. There was, however, some opinion expressed that humans should have been created in the mimnetically reflected image of the small-minded controller's recursive system model.
And God caused a deep agnosimnesia to fall upon the model-based reasoner ...
CopyLeft 1999 by Barsoom Tork Associates and The Orenda Project in association with Zazen Enterprises.
This partial Gnosimnesic recovery of things deeply hidden since the beginning of the world may be freely kerygmatized, mimneticized, or semiotically mapped. Or not.
Moulton 05:16, 8 July 2008 (UTC)
Baleted content from your WP talk page