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Thursday, May 26, 2016

Power of functional perspective

Years ago I found myself making what I decided to call a functional definition, and last year my latest was for entertainment. I conclude that entertainment is a safe way people use to control mood.

Which may seems so obvious, but means if I'm right can explain when something is not entertaining, as then it did NOT give a person the mood that person wanted.

Which means I can check a movie that is a box office failure, and theoretically, say why it failed.

And that rapid movement to something that seems like more of a big deal is the simple power of a functional perspective. Years ago I came up with a functional definition for science, which I noted can tell you when someone is doing science or not, without you needing to understand their research.

These are not the kind of things that just go idly by in a world efficient with information.

So for instance, television networks if they believed me, could shift to checking mood, on a television show both on desired and after watched, whether it delivered or not.

In science, scientists could face more stringent checks from policymakers verifying that their research is actually science or not.

And that's just with two of my functional definitions.

What was the first one? It was for something in math. I found I needed a definition of mathematical proof, and descriptive ones were insufficient, so I figured out my first functional one.

And that was back July 2005.

So I've been using the concept of a functional definition for over a decade.

What I call functional definitions seem to be extremely effective and powerful with certain types of abstractions, which seem to resist what I call descriptive definitions.

So yeah a descriptive definition works great say for an automobile, but struggles with something like entertainment. While a functional one can be really short, and much more effective I think as gets to the essence.

And it's easy enough to just go look up definitions to see what I mean.


James Harris
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