Imagine a sentence that is constructed backwards to infinity.

Discussion in 'General Philosophy' started by davidelkins, Mar 14, 2017.

  1. someguy1 Registered Senior Member

    Mathematically, that's what a real number is. It's a string of digits whose finite initial segments converge on the "meaning" of the number. The sequence \(1, 1.4, 1.41, 1.414, 1.4142, \dots\) converges to its meaning, which is \(\sqrt{2}\).

    It's not hard to see that if instead of decimal digits we replaced the symbols with the 26 characters of the English language, or the 1,114,112 characters of the Unicode character set (I looked that up, it's the actual number), it would not make any difference. It could still be coded in decimal, or even binary.

    So in a sense, the mathematical real numbers are the prototypical model of an endless sequence of objects or events whose meaning is to be found only in the limit, and not in any individual member of the sequence.
    Last edited: Apr 8, 2017
    Yazata likes this.
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  3. The God Valued Senior Member

    So you know Urdu? You can construct a sentence backwards to infinity, by adding words one by one.
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  5. iceaura Valued Senior Member

    An infinite sentence in English, even one of endless repeats of some simple phrase, would not necessarily converge to one meaning even pointwise, as the meanings of the individual words can change according to words appearing later. And this can happen in a couple of different ways.

    Gertrude Stein made a point of that, famously demonstrating one of them: "A rose is a rose is a rose is a rose"

    Here's one demonstrating a different kind of non-convergence (if we ignore the likelihood that the first "Rose" in Stein's demo was somebody's name):
    Buffalo. Buffalo buffalo. Buffalo buffalo buffalo. Buffalo buffalo buffalo buffalo. Buffalo buffalo buffalo buffalo buffalo. (And so forth)
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  7. Counter Registered Senior Member


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