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Re: A comprehensible introduction to Ian Grant's ideas

From: Ian Grant
Subject: Re: A comprehensible introduction to Ian Grant's ideas
Date: Sat, 4 Oct 2014 21:57:33 -0400

On Sat, Oct 4, 2014 at 1:37 AM, Mark H Weaver <address@hidden> wrote:
> Ian, you are a _terrible_ communicator.  IMO, your biggest problems are:
> 1. You present your ideas in a far too abstract way, making it hard for
>    those of us who haven't already been long acquainted with your ideas
>    to begin to understand them.

This is correct. They are extremely abstract, because they are nothing
more than the true essence of the idea of abstraction itself.
Abstraction is the nature of language, and so language
implementations, if they are to be useful, must be entirely abstract.
There must be no trace of any particular concrete representation
whatsoever, because it is through identifying the language with a
particular concrete implementation that the abstraction 'leaks

> 2. You write far too much, making it hard for us to find the few
>    writings of yours that might be able to get through our thick skulls.

I have written a lot, and it is incoherent. This is because I am
having to counter
objections from people who have not understood what I wrote. These
objections have been many, and of course they are all incoherent!

> 3. You insult us, making us predisposed to want to dismiss you.

If you look, and try to find a counter-example in anything I have
written, you will find that I have not insulted anyone. I hope though,
that I have made some people feel like complete idiots. That was
definitely my intention. The problem is that,complete idiots being
what they are, they invariably think they've been insulted when they
are made to feel like this. :-)

> However, I found a blog post of yours that I believe is a relatively
> good introduction to your ideas.  I suspect this is because it is a
> response to Paul Koning, who had the effect of keeping your thoughts
> organized, and less abstracted.

This is the contra-positive of what I have just argued: anyone who
takes the trouble to read and understand what I have written will find
they have this "magical effect" on me.

> For those who would like to try to understand Ian's ideas, I would
> recommend first reading this excellent interview with Edsger Dijkstra,
> which Ian cites in his post:
> and then read Ian's response to Paul Koning:

I hope there will be many more posts like this, one for each
intelligent, coherent criticism I get of "my ideas."


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