2.3. Conversation

A conversation is sketched in Fig 2. Here, the stable concepts of A and B are „organisationally closed“ but also „informationally open“ . Conversation, the act of concept sharing, is a process of conjoint concept execution, by participants A and B, as a result of which the agreed part of the concept is distributed or shared and cannot be functionally assigned „to A“ or „to B“.

In Fig 2 participant A is shown as constructing and reproducing a concept for TA (a circle) from concepts for PA (a plane) and QA (a compass); B constructs and reproduces a concept for TB from concepts for RB (cylinder) and SB (slice).

These (collective) derivations are conveniently represented by the shorthand notation in Fig 3.

As a result of agreement both A and B have concepts that are distributive derivations represented by the same shorthand notation, in Fig 4, where T*, P*, Q*, R* , S*, are the names of shared concepts.

Under what circumstances may A and B converse (learn, do each others‘ intellectual labour, as in Fig 2)?

One prerequisite of conversation is proximity or togetherness. But if, as submitted, togetherness is increasingly a matter of communication and computation, then an answer in terms of neighbourhood (A and B, persons in the same room) is valid, but exceptionally specialised. Further, if A and B are close for any reason, this does not guarantee conversation. They might, instead, retain the integrity of Leibnizian Monads. It is often possible to find reasons why A and B will benefit from conversing, as in cooperative action. These reasons are compelling and occasionally sufficient; quite literally A and B must converse if they are to survive. But, just as physical proximity is a specialist answer to the initial question (A and B may converse because they are together), so these constitute very specialised answers to why they must converse on some occasions.

Stated in these terms, which seem appropriate in the context of an information environment, the limits of togetherness are:

(a) complete saturation (organisational closure and no information transfer);

(b) the type of „supersaturation“ that yields an indefinitely large number of replicas (imaging systems which, being replicas, do not need to converse for they have nothing to say).

The designers of an information environment would be wise to avoid these limits, however the limits are expressed.