Re: The Review of Mind & Nature

Danny Yee (danny@STAFF.CS.SU.OZ.AU)
Mon, 6 Mar 1995 13:20:40 +1000

Scott Holmes:
> 11) Danny's phrase "all other things being equal" removes the argument
> from the realm Bateson is discussing, ie patterns. All other things are
> not equal. A greater supply of seeds may cause an increase in rodent
> population with possibly profound negative effects.

I understand this. The problem then is in what sense there are monotone
values anywhere? Bateson restricts his claim to biology, but I think it
holds on a wider scale or not at all.

> Bateson uses the example of money as a monotone (the more the better)
> but only a few sentences later places money within a context where "more"
> may in fact be toxic.

I don't see this as a good example (and in fact I thought Bateson
was being a bit lax in sticking a throwaway attack on materialism
into his work at that point). Money is only "the more the better"
in some peoples' value schemes. If I believe "the more biomass
the bettter", does that then become a "monotone value" in biology?

I'm still confused about "monotone values" -- is the value
to be read as in "family values" or as in "values of real variables"?

Danny Yee.