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Laws of Form: An Exploration in Mathematics and Foundations [Rough Draft] (Kauffman)

# Laws of Form: An Exploration in Mathematics and Foundations [Rough Draft] (Kauffman)

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06/28/2010

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Laws of Form - An Exploration in Mathematics andFoundationsROUGH DRAFT
by Louis H. KauffmanUIC
I. Introduction
This paper is about G. Spencer-Brown's "Laws of Form" [LOF, SB] andits ramifications. Laws of Form is an approach to mathematics, andto epistemology, that begins and ends with the notion of adistinction.Nothing could be simpler. A distinction is seen to cleave a domain. Adistinction makes a distinction. Spencer-Brown [LOF] says"We take the form of distinction for the form."There is a circularity in bringing into words what is quite clearwithout them. And yet it is in the bringing forth into formalismsthat mathematics is articulated and universes of discourse come intobeing. The elusive beginning, before there was a difference, is theeye of the storm, the calm center from which these musings spring.In this paper, I have endeavored to give a mathematical andpersonal account of an exploration that I have followed for quitesome time. As a result, there have arisen many pathways andbyways, all related to this central theme of distinction. Thecollection of sections will speak for themselves, but a few warningsare in order: Part of the game of fusing apparently separate subjectsis the use of similar notations with different import in differentcontexts.Accordingly and particularly, we use the Spencer-Brown mark inmany different contexts with shifts of meaning, and shifts of use asthese contexts change. This means that the reader is invited to payclose attention to the uses assigned to notations in any givensection.They vary from place to place. In all cases, the mark stands for adistinction, but just how that distinction is distinct in its particularcontext is a matter for local articulation.Sections 2 through 6 are a review of Laws of Form basics, withremarks that tell more. Section 7 is a relatively deep exploration of parentheses and contains a new proof, using marks and anti-marks,

of the formula for counting the number of well-formed expressionsin a given number of parentheses. This section will be of interest tothose who wish to reformulate Laws of Form in parentheticallanguage.Section 7 also introduces containers and extainers, an algebragenerated by parenthesis structures, that reaches into biology(DNA reproduction), physics (Dirac bra-kets and ket-bras) andtopology (the Temperley Lieb algebra and knot invariants).Another theme that comes forward in section 7 is the matter of imaginary boolean values. It has been my contention for a long timethat mathematics itself is the subject thatinvents/discovers/catalogs/exploresforms of reasoning beyond boolean logic. Each such discovery iseventually seen to be quite "logical", and is accepted into the toolkitof mathematicians and users of mathematics, who find all thesemethods as amazing ways to get at the truth about structuredsituations. In particular, the Spencer-Brown mark is itself (in themind of the one who marks, in the mind that arises in the marking)the quintessential imaginary boolean value. This point may beeither too easy to see at the beginning or too hard to see, but whenwe find the incredible effectivity of using a combination of markand anti-mark in getting at the properties of parentheses and binarysequences (as happens in section 7), then it may dawn on us thatthere really is a power of new reasoning in mathematicalconstructions. Mathematical constructions are powers of reason.Section 8 shows how boundary interactions give a new viewpoint onthe primary arithmetic of Laws of Form, and gives a quickintroduction to relationships with map coloring. Section 10 looks atsets in terms of the mark. Sections 10, 11, 12 are about re-entry,recursion and eigenform. The theme of imaginary value here comesforth in language that captures aspects of infinity andincompleteness of formal systems. Section 13 returns to sets, andweaves a story about sets and knots and links. Section 14 is about adigital circuit model and about the structures that come fromchapter 11 of Laws of Form. Here counting and imaginary valueslive in the context of designs for circuits whose behaviour is quitereal, and whose structure has the subtlety of asynchronous statesand transitions. Section 15 discusses the waveform arithmetics of Form Dynamics [FD], and the Flagg resolution of paradoxes that letsus avoid multiple valued logics if we so desire.

In fact Flagg resolution is intimately related to the remark we madeat the beginning of this introduction, that each use of the distinctionmust carefully respect the context in which it is cradled. The wholeenterprise of paradox resolution is the search for appropriatecontexts in which the contradiction will not arise as an anomaly.When the contradiction does arise, it comes forth because a newvalue for a familiar object seems to contradict its present value.Flagg resolution denies the freedom to make the substitution. Theentity that becomes contradictory is treated as non-local in the text,and must change in every instance of its saying, or not at all.Section 16 explains diagrammatic matrix algebra, applies it to thevector algebra of three-space, and indicates its relationship withmap coloring and formation (section 8). Section 17 discusses themythology and form of arithmetic in terms of Laws of Form. Section18 shows how the mark, and the primary algebra provide a key todeciphering the conceptual notation of Frege. Section 19 is aboutShea Zellweger's logical garnet, and how this is related to the logicstructure of the mark. Section 20 is devoted to remembering eventsand people. Section 21 is a final remark.The titles of the sections are listed below.
Contents
II. Laws of FormIII. ParadoxIV. The Calculus of IndicationsV. The Primary AlgebraVI. Elementary LogicVII. ParenthesesVIII. Idemposition, Curve Arithmetic and Map ColoringIX. Sets X. Infinite Recursive Forms XI. Eigenforms XII. Lambda Calculus, Eigenforms and Godel's Theorem XIII. Knot Sets XIV. Digital Circuits XV. Waveform Arithmetics and The Flagg Resolution XVI. Diagrammatic Matrix Algebra XVII. Formal Arithmetic XVIII. Frege's Conceptual Logical Notation and Laws of Form XIX. The Logical Garnet