Monday, March 08, 2004

What Is Nonlinear Reasoning?

Well, now that we've figured out what Justice Souter meant by linear reasoning, let's figure out what he might have thought that nonlinear reasoning is.

Doesn't nonlinear reasoning have something to do with complexity? Chaos?

Here's a possibility:

Nonlinear reasoning = complex reasoning

Mmm, that doesn't sound quite right. Ah, I have it:

Nonlinear reasoning = chaotic reasoning

Mmm, that doesn't sound quite right either. He couldn't have had that in mind, could he?

Oh, I have it now. How silly of me. Here it is:

Nonlinear reasoning = reasoning about chaotic systems

So evidence and inference in litigation are chaotic?

Mmm ... , can that be?

Well, over time -- in time -- ... perhaps. Cf. P Tillers, The Explosive Dynamic Complexity of Evidentiary Processes Associated with Litigation; Spotty Semiotics.

But wait a minute. What does it mean to say a system is chaotic? Does it mean that the brain of (wo)man cannot decipher it (to some degree)? Does it mean that the mind of (wo)man cannot explicitly decipher it (to any degree)?

  • Is weather a chaotic system? Does it help to talk about it -- even in the absence of (the computational power of) computers? {Red sky in the morning ..., ....} Mmmm, well, if weather is mind-numbingly chaotic, there must degrees of chaos, no? (The chances that it will be sunny in Seattle on July 1, 2004, are excellent. I will wager [offline] $100 that on July 1, 2004, it will be sunny in Seattle. {We will have to define "sunny." (I am not being cute or hypermodern.)}

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