Zettelkasten Forum


"Content notes" and "Structure notes" – Should these terms be replaced?

When it comes to what kinds of notes should make up a zettelkasten, the usual answer given on this website – inspired by Luhmann's original approach – is: content notes and structure notes.
Content notes are supposed to be about one (and ideally only one) interesting idea/thought like "The nutrient-density in our vegetables is declining", "The system of organisation of a zettelkasten is a heterarchy" or "Love is presence" – so-called "units of knowledge". The note could be used to present the idea more precisely, discuss objections to and evidence for it, link to related ideas, etc.
A structure note is a note that draws together several other notes in the zettelkasten for some purpose – it's about a relationship between those notes. Typical examples are annotated lists of links to several content notes on the same topic – similar to a table of content, see here and here – but they can also have other formats like in this example, see also @sfast's post here. Structure notes will often be good "entry points" into the zettelkasten, being "control panels" providing several links to other notes within a certain context.

I think the terms "content notes" and "structure notes" don't quite capture the essence of what the two types of notes are supposed to be about and can therefore be quite misleading – there are several examples of related confusion in forum threads. The terms suggest that content notes capture the actual information/knowledge in the zettelkasten whereas structure notes are just about making this information accessible via grouping and ordering links to it. But:

Less misleading terms for the two types of notes might be "idea notes" and "relationship notes".

What do others think about this? @sfast and @ctietze?

Comments

  • Sure, let's call them "idea notes" and "relationship notes." These terms agree with our modern lexicon. They sound cool and roll off the tongue.

    These two types of notes are not exclusive in their content, as you point out so eloquently. But the same goes for idea notes and relationship notes. Idea notes can contain relationships, and relationship notes can contain ideas.

    Better to relax, striving for the misconceived notion of the purity of a note's content.

    Some idea notes grow and morph into what might look like relationship notes. Usually, relationship notes don't collapse into something that looks like an idea note, though. Relationship notes can become a hive of ideas then swarm, refactoring into new ideas and relationship notes.

    Better to capture more ideas and dance with their relationships and worry less about what things are called.

    Will Simpson
    I'm a Zettelnant.
    Research: Attention Horizon, Dzogchen, Non-fiction Creative Writing
    kestrelcreek.com

  • Something in me thinks that all notes ought to be both idea notes and relationship notes.

  • @Will:

    I don't care about whether the terms sound cool or not :) And I agree with you about the changeable status of notes. My problem with talking about "content" and "structure" notes is that these terms seem to create misunderstandings that make some people struggle more than necessary when starting with the zettelkasten method: Should actual content be avoided in structure notes? Should content notes only contain very few links to other zettels? etc. Beginner's questions in the forum are often related to these things and I think some of these difficulties can be avoided through changing the terms.

    @MartinBB: I think there is a difference between a zettel being about an idea and just linking to other related zettels and it being about a relationship between a group of zettels (e.g. a shared topic). I don't see why all notes should be both...

    To clarify: I don't use this distinction at all in my zettelkasten practice – I'm planning to post an article about what I do instead in the near future. I'm just trying to understand what is meant by it and why others use it.

  • To me, it is an issue of dehorsifying the horse. You see the same with people trying to wrap their head around the difference of permanent notes and literature notes.

    This stems from a way of thinking not from the words used.

    However, I am not set on the terms and looking forward to your article.

    I am a Zettler

  • @Vinho said:
    I don't see why all notes should be both...

    It probably comes out of my interest in discursive psychology, (https://en.wikipedia.org/wiki/Discursive_psychology), social constructionism, and various other approaches to meaning-making. I would tend to see any idea as being in relationship to other ideas, whether that relationship is explicitly stated or not. And relationships are ideas in the sense that they rely on the mental perception of a connection between two (or more) things. Categorising things can be useful in some scenarios, but it also tends to erect barriers in people's minds. I would argue for a bit more fluidity -- blurring the boundaries can be a good thing at times. Too much rigidity equals paralysis. It seems to me that we are really talking about techniques for finding and organising things, rather than talking about kinds of objects. I sometimes think we focus too much on objects and not enough on processes. Perhaps because processes take a long time to describe. And we probably ought not to forget that our systems of thought are westernised and that others perceive things and think about them in rather different ways https://alice.id.tue.nl/references/nisbett-et-al-2001.pdf. Easterners typically seem to pay more attention to context and relationships between things than Westerners do. We are more likely to use categorical thinking.

    But I am diving in far too deep! My apologies!

  • edited December 2020

    @sfast said:
    To me, it is an issue of dehorsifying the horse. You see the same with people trying to wrap their head around the difference of permanent notes and literature notes.

    This stems from a way of thinking not from the words used.

    However, I am not set on the terms and looking forward to your article.

    Thanks for the link to your article! My opinion on the topic: It's perfectly fine to try to state what the zettelkasten technique is and what it is not, i.e. to define it. And it is even necessary if you try to study it (you need to get clarify what exactly it is you're studying). But: No definition is objectively right or wrong. Definitions are choices, which can be more or less useful in capturing the real-life phenomenon one is interested in. As a result, I wouldn't really mind if people said that what I'm doing is not the zettelkasten method. I would just ask them what they call "zettelkasten method" and then explain to them that I use the term differently (unless their definition makes more sense to me).

    I'm not entirely sure I understand what you mean when you apply the "Dehorsifying the Horse" article to the context of this thread...

    The way I see it, we're trying to describe/study a "natural" note-taking practice/method – be that for explaining it to beginners, thinking about it and improving aspects of it, etc.
    In the course of doing that, you came up with the concepts termed "content notes" and "structure notes", trying to capture some differences between notes you are creating in your zettelkasten practice that seemed useful to point out. There are now two different questions one might ask:

    1. Are the terms you use to name those two concepts useful for describing what you want to refer to? In my above post, I wanted to challenge that.
    2. Even if their terms/names were making people think of what you wanted them to think of, one could ask whether the introduction of those two concepts actually is useful for describing the zettelkasten technique. It might be useful to introduce other concepts instead to be able to think and communicate better about the zettelkasten practice. Scientists often introduce new concepts or categorisations and discard old ones because they think the new framework enables abetter grasp of the phenomenon they're studying. In my above post, I didn't want to touch on this second question at all – but I probably will in the article.

    @MartinBB:

    I would tend to see any idea as being in relationship to other ideas, whether that relationship is explicitly stated or not.

    Since we are talking about ideas in the sense of "something that can be believed", I agree. At the very least, beliefs have logical relationships to many others.

    And relationships are ideas in the sense that they rely on the mental perception of a connection between two (or more) things.

    I wouldn't say that a relationship is an idea, but the corresponding thought "x is in relationship R to y" is. In that sense, relationship notes would contain several ideas, okay. But I'm not sure I can see why every idea note should also be a relationship note (making statements about relationships between other notes than itself)...

  • @Vinho said:

    @sfast said:
    To me, it is an issue of dehorsifying the horse. You see the same with people trying to wrap their head around the difference of permanent notes and literature notes.

    This stems from a way of thinking not from the words used.

    However, I am not set on the terms and looking forward to your article.

    Thanks for the link to your article! My opinion on the topic: It's perfectly fine to try to state what the zettelkasten technique is and what it is not, i.e. to define it. And it is even necessary if you try to study it (you need to get clarify what exactly it is you're studying). But: No definition is objectively right or wrong. Definitions are choices, which can be more or less useful in capturing the real-life phenomenon one is interested in. As a result, I wouldn't really mind if people said that what I'm doing is not the zettelkasten method. I would just ask them what they call "zettelkasten method" and then explain to them that I use the term differently (unless their definition makes more sense to me).

    I like to apply the term "correct". :) Which is a more blurry concept in my view.

    Perhaps, I am to philosophical here but objectivity is both important and corruptable. Let's say I define structure note as this and that. If I deviate just a bit from my definition one might object that I am violating my own definition. But this would be using a rigid way of thinking with the consequence of being superficial, slowly losing focus on the actual objective (creating something useful).

    In discussions about such issues statements like "Definitions are choices" are very often used to set a specific frame to allow not to engage with the others point of view. In such a (social) frame, it is ok to just argue for the own point of view without any engagement with the other point of view. I am not implying that you do anything like that! My aim is to unfold the general issue of discussing what terms should be used or what is.

    So, I say, definitions are correct if they correspond appropriately with the concepts used which are appropriate if their boundaries mirror the boundaries in reality.

    I'm not entirely sure I understand what you mean when you apply the "Dehorsifying the Horse" article to the context of this thread...

    Apart from the terms I used, the issue lies in the way of thinking. If I talk about structure and content notes people tend to hold those concepts as if they are definitions which boundaries have a prescriptive nature. I use terms mostly as ideal types which is something very different from the rigid use of concepts.

    If I'd apply the logic of the article one might say that you don't destructure-noteifying the structure note if you write some content on it.

    I am talking about ideal types when I talk about structure notes.

    1. Are the terms you use to name those two concepts useful for describing what you want to refer to? In my above post, I wanted to challenge that.

    I think your new names are equally useful as mine. But you will run in to similar problems with them. Content note do relate to other notes and some content note are content about the relationship between notes. (If you create a note out of a link context for example)

    I do not think the terms are an issue. Even if some other words are better than others. When people learn about something new they try to make hard boundaries because they engage their brain unbalanced. It is a natural phase of learning about something without practicing it. If you are a practitioner you either don't care about the words any longer (mostly my position, depending on the words) or you have another idea (which matches your concepts) and will run into the same problems when you try to teach other people. :)

    I, myself, just need two words. One word for notes that are about having content. Another for notes that have a meta-purpose. (meta note is another candidate, but it is to etheric to me)

    When I teach the method adapt to the person I am teaching. Sometimes, I use structure note, sometimes, overview note, content map, index note, and sometimes, I use more than one term.

    1. Even if their terms/names were making people think of what you wanted them to think of, one could ask whether the introduction of those two concepts actually is useful for describing the zettelkasten technique. It might be useful to introduce other concepts instead to be able to think and communicate better about the zettelkasten practice. Scientists often introduce new concepts or categorisations and discard old ones because they think the new framework enables abetter grasp of the phenomenon they're studying. In my above post, I didn't want to touch on this second question at all – but I probably will in the article.

    I like this example. But mostly because I don't see myself similar to a scientist but more as an engineer or even just a craftsman. So, I don't think about the issue like an academic but more like a blue collar man.

    I am a Zettler

  • edited December 2020

    @sfast said:
    I like to apply the term "correct". :) Which is a more blurry concept in my view.

    I can think of two situations (and at the moment no more) in which it makes sense to speak about definitions being "correct":

    1. If someone intends to capture a concept that has been introduced/used by someone else. In this case, the definition of the concept is correct iff it captures the concept in line with how its "inventor" used it. Example: Trying to write down what an author meant by a certain term that was introduced at the beginning of the book (Kant's concept of "Pflicht", etc.).
    2. If someone tries to define a term that is widely used in a certain language community. The definition given is correct iff the definiens can "replace" the term without too big problems in all the important contexts. Example: What is the definition of a "group" in mathematical group theory? What is "knowledge"? What does "insubordinate" mean? etc. If it seems impossible to make the definition capture all the uses of the term, it makes sense to distinguish different uses of it, i.e. to provide different definitions that describe different concepts the term can refer to.

    Perhaps, I am to philosophical here but objectivity is both important and corruptable. Let's say I define structure note as this and that. If I deviate just a bit from my definition one might object that I am violating my own definition.

    Yes, and in my view that would be a valid objection. It shows that your definition doesn't fully capture what you actually mean and possibly should be thought through a bit more for the sake of clarity...

    But this would be using a rigid way of thinking with the consequence of being superficial, slowly losing focus on the actual objective (creating something useful).

    I don't think it's fair to say that whenever someone criticises a slight deviation from a definition, the person is thinking rigidly, being superficial and distracting from what matters. It can certainly be a risk, though. Particularly in analytical philosophy I've seen countless debates around definitions of terms in which the participants seem to loose track of the actual problem that is supposed to be solved that led to questions about meanings of terms. A good example are debates around the definition of "knowledge" that don't refer to the problem of Scepticism.
    When I challenged the terms "content notes" and "structure notes" above, I tried to suggest an alternative that would still serve your objective of creating something useful.

    So, I say, definitions are correct if they correspond appropriately with the concepts used which are appropriate if their boundaries mirror the boundaries in reality.

    That sounds similar to what I wrote above. But: Not all definitions fit the above examples. A stipulative definition, i.e. a definition by someone who introduces a term/concept, can't be correct in that sense. I see such definitions as suggestions for the purpose of thinking about a certain domain/phenomenon that can prove more or less useful – nothing more.
    I understood your introduction of the terms "content note" and "structure note" (or the concepts behind them) as such stipulative definitions that you consider useful for thinking about how you enter things into your zettelkasten.

    Apart from the terms I used, the issue lies in the way of thinking. If I talk about structure and content notes people tend to hold those concepts as if they are definitions which boundaries have a prescriptive nature. I use terms mostly as ideal types which is something very different from the rigid use of concepts.

    If I'd apply the logic of the article one might say that you don't destructure-noteifying the structure note if you write some content on it.

    I am talking about ideal types when I talk about structure notes.

    That's interesting, I will look more into that and see if or when I find the concept of "ideal types" useful when thinking about definitions. My initial intuition is that talking about "ideal types" makes sense when it comes to defining concepts for concrete things like "horse" or "stone", but I'm not sure it makes sense when introducing abstract concepts like "(mathematical) group" or "structure note". Some definitions are supposed to have a prescriptive nature: they are suggestions for how to frame your thinking in a certain area. In a way, there are no "given phenomena" in these cases before they are created through the definition. Does that make sense? I'll try to look into this more.

    I think your new names are equally useful as mine. But you will run in to similar problems with them. Content note do relate to other notes and some content note are content about the relationship between notes. (If you create a note out of a link context for example)

    I never claimed they were perfect alternatives and just wanted to suggest them for the discussion. Based on the discussion so far, my terms seem to suggest that idea notes can't be about relationships between notes and relationship notes don't contain ideas. Since that's not what you mean, it's indeed a similar problem.

    I, myself, just need two words. One word for notes that are about having content. Another for notes that have a meta-purpose.

    Hm, I see. It's interesting, because I really don't think of my notes in that way. But more on that in the upcoming article ;) Just out of curiosity: Do you think of the two categories of notes being mutually exclusive or can one of your zettels also be both about having content and have a meta-purpose?

    I like this example. But mostly because I don't see myself similar to a scientist but more as an engineer or even just a craftsman. So, I don't think about the issue like an academic but more like a blue collar man.

    Sorry, I don't quite understand. Do you like the example or dislike it? The last two sentences seem to contradict the first one a bit ;)

  • @Vinho said:

    @sfast said:
    I like to apply the term "correct". :) Which is a more blurry concept in my view.

    I can think of two situations (and at the moment no more) in which it makes sense to speak about definitions being "correct":

    1. If someone intends to capture a concept that has been introduced/used by someone else. In this case, the definition of the concept is correct iff it captures the concept in line with how its "inventor" used it. Example: Trying to write down what an author meant by a certain term that was introduced at the beginning of the book (Kant's concept of "Pflicht", etc.).
    2. If someone tries to define a term that is widely used in a certain language community. The definition given is correct iff the definiens can "replace" the term without too big problems in all the important contexts. Example: What is the definition of a "group" in mathematical group theory? What is "knowledge"? What does "insubordinate" mean? etc. If it seems impossible to make the definition capture all the uses of the term, it makes sense to distinguish different uses of it, i.e. to provide different definitions that describe different concepts the term can refer to.

    Perhaps, I am to philosophical here but objectivity is both important and corruptable. Let's say I define structure note as this and that. If I deviate just a bit from my definition one might object that I am violating my own definition.

    Yes, and in my view that would be a valid objection. It shows that your definition doesn't fully capture what you actually mean and possibly should be thought through a bit more for the sake of clarity...

    Only if you are in a mode of drawing hard boundaries. :) That is the core point of my argument. Drawing hard boundaries is not the game that is at play here.

    But this would be using a rigid way of thinking with the consequence of being superficial, slowly losing focus on the actual objective (creating something useful).

    I don't think it's fair to say that whenever someone criticises a slight deviation from a definition, the person is thinking rigidly, being superficial and distracting from what matters. It can certainly be a risk, though. Particularly in analytical philosophy I've seen countless debates around definitions of terms in which the participants seem to loose track of the actual problem that is supposed to be solved that led to questions about meanings of terms. A good example are debates around the definition of "knowledge" that don't refer to the problem of Scepticism.

    Being rigid and superficial is something that is not bad in general. Being rigid and superficial is highly beneficial in analytical philosophy. But, connecting to what I wrote above: It is inappropriate.

    I understood your introduction of the terms "content note" and "structure note" (or the concepts behind them) as such stipulative definitions that you consider useful for thinking about how you enter things into your zettelkasten.

    Yes, I did, but only in a sense of ideal types.

    Apart from the terms I used, the issue lies in the way of thinking. If I talk about structure and content notes people tend to hold those concepts as if they are definitions which boundaries have a prescriptive nature. I use terms mostly as ideal types which is something very different from the rigid use of concepts.

    If I'd apply the logic of the article one might say that you don't destructure-noteifying the structure note if you write some content on it.

    I am talking about ideal types when I talk about structure notes.

    That's interesting, I will look more into that and see if or when I find the concept of "ideal types" useful when thinking about definitions. My initial intuition is that talking about "ideal types" makes sense when it comes to defining concepts for concrete things like "horse" or "stone", but I'm not sure it makes sense when introducing abstract concepts like "(mathematical) group" or "structure note". Some definitions are supposed to have a prescriptive nature: they are suggestions for how to frame your thinking in a certain area. In a way, there are no "given phenomena" in these cases before they are created through the definition. Does that make sense? I'll try to look into this more.

    "structure note" is not an abstract concept. :) You can engage with it as if it was an abstract concept with rigid characteristic. But, as I argued, it is not appropriate.

    More evidence is the type of errors and difficulties of understanding with the Zettelkasten Method. But it also is a widespread type of error. Its prevalence is high because people tend to live in a certain mode of being.

    I think your new names are equally useful as mine. But you will run in to similar problems with them. Content note do relate to other notes and some content note are content about the relationship between notes. (If you create a note out of a link context for example)

    I never claimed they were perfect alternatives and just wanted to suggest them for the discussion. Based on the discussion so far, my terms seem to suggest that idea notes can't be about relationships between notes and relationship notes don't contain ideas. Since that's not what you mean, it's indeed a similar problem.

    Yeah, but I don't think that the similar problems are intrinsic to the terms used but stem from the mode of being people chose when engaging with certain topics.

    The reason is that most people are in an ongoing state of analysing and do very little putting together. Symptoms of this are the lack of people who actually do something with their method, their addiction to always refine their tools and err on the side of theory with no evidence.

    I, myself, just need two words. One word for notes that are about having content. Another for notes that have a meta-purpose.

    Hm, I see. It's interesting, because I really don't think of my notes in that way. But more on that in the upcoming article ;) Just out of curiosity: Do you think of the two categories of notes being mutually exclusive or can one of your zettels also be both about having content and have a meta-purpose?

    No, they aren't mutually exclusive. And even if I'd try to make the case with all my power, one person could prove me wrong by providing evidence by just writing content on his meta-note. ;)

    A "BuT tHeN iT's NoT a TrUe MeTa-NoTe" would be just a no true Scotsman fallacy.

    Or, if you apply the same logic to the principle of atomicity: Is a note truly atomic if its atom is a molecule? :smile:

    I like this example. But mostly because I don't see myself similar to a scientist but more as an engineer or even just a craftsman. So, I don't think about the issue like an academic but more like a blue collar man.

    Sorry, I don't quite understand. Do you like the example or dislike it? The last two sentences seem to contradict the first one a bit ;)

    I like it. :)

    I am a Zettler

  • edited December 2020

    @sfast wrote: Only if you are in a mode of drawing hard boundaries. :) That is the core point of my argument. Drawing hard boundaries is not the game that is at play here.
    [...]
    Being rigid and superficial is something that is not bad in general. Being rigid and superficial is highly beneficial in analytical philosophy. But, connecting to what I wrote above: It is inappropriate.

    I understood your introduction of the terms "content note" and "structure note" (or the concepts behind them) as such stipulative definitions that you consider useful for thinking about how you enter things into your zettelkasten.

    Yes, I did, but only in a sense of ideal types.
    [...]
    "structure note" is not an abstract concept. :) You can engage with it as if it was an abstract concept with rigid characteristic. But, as I argued, it is not appropriate.
    [...]
    Yeah, but I don't think that the similar problems are intrinsic to the terms used but stem from the mode of being people chose when engaging with certain topics.

    The reason is that most people are in an ongoing state of analysing and do very little putting together. Symptoms of this are the lack of people who actually do something with their method, their addiction to always refine their tools and err on the side of theory with no evidence.

    It seems to me like some of your descriptions of the mode of thinking or engaging with things that you find inappropriate apply quite well to what I'm often doing and I'd really like to know whether I'm on the wrong track in some way. So I'm really trying to understand your perspective, but to be honest I seriously struggle to. Is all you want to say (e.g. with your reference to "ideal types") that you see content notes and structure notes as "broad brush concepts" that are supposed to help beginners to get going with the zettelkasten method and that you don't really care if they have clear boundaries, are not mutually exclusive, etc.? That would be fair enough, but not really address the point I'm making that the terms you use can be a bit misleading for beginners who try to grasp the technique (which has been the case in several questions here on the forum). These beginners might only be mislead if they approach your advice with the analytical mindset you're attacking that takes things literally, but wouldn't it be good not to expose them to this unnecessary obstacle if there were alternative terms that could be taken more literally?

    I'm intrigued by your critique of the analytical, "rigid" mindset and would like to understand it and its alternative better. Do you have a good reading suggestion for this? Preferably one that can be understood by someone that yet has this rigid mindset? ;) Is Iain McGilchrist's "The Master and His Emissary" what you would recommend for this?

    No, they aren't mutually exclusive.

    Okay, that's what I expected to hear now ;) And I don't have a problem with that – it's just not what I assumed before this discussion.

  • edited December 2020

    @Vinho said:
    So I'm really trying to understand your perspective, but to be honest I seriously struggle to. Is all you want to say (e.g. with your reference to "ideal types") that you see content notes and structure notes as "broad brush concepts" that are supposed to help beginners to get going with the zettelkasten method and that you don't really care if they have clear boundaries, are not mutually exclusive, etc.?

    Mh. I do not not care. Rather, I think it is not useful in practice to act as if something is wrong if you put content on a structure note.

    That would be fair enough, but not really address the point I'm making that the terms you use can be a bit misleading for beginners who try to grasp the technique (which has been the case in several questions here on the forum). These beginners might only be mislead if they approach your advice with the analytical mindset you're attacking that takes things literally, but wouldn't it be good not to expose them to this unnecessary obstacle if there were alternative terms that could be taken more literally?

    I am very open to the idea of my terms being worse than others. It is an empirical question with not evidence to answer it at this moment. So, I don't have any reasonable opinion yet. :)

    On the other side, I don't think it helps beginners to have easier terms and prolong the rigidity of thinking. I'd rather have terms that would force beginners to think less rigidly and take them less literally.

    But like I said: I don't think the problem is the intrinsic nature of the terms chosen. Rather, it is in the mode of being we chose when interacting with some material. Any terms taken rigidly are problematic if they are tools to think for something that you should act out.

    So, I hope that you come up with better terms than I did. But I am quite sure that the beginner problems will prevail. :)

    My hopes for my book is that the exercises and practical examples will nudge the reader towards a more open, productive, creative approach. My point of reference is that my explanations, independent of their quality, will produce a certain set of problems. My way out is that I can set frames for the reader in which he acts and engages his brain differently.

    Here is a sample exercise that could be a tough nut to crack: Grab a any existing note and ask yourself: What makes this message beautiful? How does it guide me towards beauty and away from hideousness?

    I'm intrigued by your critique of the analytical, "rigid" mindset and would like to understand it and its alternative better. Do you have a good reading suggestion for this? Preferably one that can be understood by someone that yet has this rigid mindset? ;) Is Iain McGilchrist's "The Master and His Emissary" what you would recommend for this?

    It is the best book I know to understand how the brain engages with different modes of being with Being. So, yes. A sure recommendation.

    At this point, I think we are in disagreement on what mode of being is appropriate. I think that we are talking about heaps of sand. The moment we try to create clear boundaries we lose the ability to talk about it appropriatly. If you look at the solution section of the wikipedia article on the Sorites paradox you can see our difference in positions:

    1. You are in search of a fixed boundary.
    2. My position is to just ignore the problem because I want to build a sand castle. :)

    But I have a more unorthodox proposal: Read about the development of Wittgenstein's philosophy and the difference of the early and late Wittgenstein. But don't just focus on the results of his life, his philosophical positions, but his personality and how he got there. To me, it is remarkable how profound his change of mind was.

    No, they aren't mutually exclusive.

    Okay, that's what I expected to hear now ;) And I don't have a problem with that – it's just not what I assumed before this discussion.

    What led to assuming it before this discussion? Was it intuition or conscious reasoning?

    Post edited by sfast on

    I am a Zettler

  • @sfast said:
    So, I hope that you come up with better terms than I did. But I am quite sure that the beginner problems will prevail. :)

    I think I won't try anymore – I'm using different categories/concepts altogether which I will write about in the article.

    My hopes for my book is that the exercises and practical examples will nudge the reader towards a more open, productive, creative approach. My point of reference is that my explanations, independent of their quality, will produce a certain set of problems. My way out is that I can set frames for the reader in which he acts and engages his brain differently.

    Sounds good!

    Here is a sample exercise that could be a tough nut to crack: Grab a any existing note and ask yourself: What makes this message beautiful? How does it guide me towards beauty and away from hideousness?

    Interesting question, admittedly not at all how I approach my zettelkasten ;) I don't ask myself what makes notes beautiful, but what makes them useful.

    I'm intrigued by your critique of the analytical, "rigid" mindset and would like to understand it and its alternative better. Do you have a good reading suggestion for this? Preferably one that can be understood by someone that yet has this rigid mindset? ;) Is Iain McGilchrist's "The Master and His Emissary" what you would recommend for this?

    It is the best book I know to understand how the brain engages with different modes of being with Being. So, yes. A sure recommendation.

    Okay, will engage with Iain McGilchrist soon :) Thanks!

    At this point, I think we are in disagreement on what mode of being is appropriate. I think that we are talking about heaps of sand. The moment we try to create clear boundaries we lose the ability to talk about it appropriatly. If you look at the solution section of the wikipedia article on the Sorites paradox you can see our difference in positions:

    1. You are in search of a fixed boundary.
    2. My position is to just ignore the problem because I want to build a sand castle. :)

    Not sure I find this comparison adequate. I've always found the Sorites paradox extremely uninteresting. Some concepts/terms like "heap" are just vague and that's okay – no clear boundaries needed. You use them when precision doesn't matter.

    But I have a more unorthodox proposal: Read about the development of Wittgenstein's philosophy and the difference of the early and late Wittgenstein. But don't just focus on the results of his life, his philosophical positions, but his personality and how he got there. To me, it is remarkable how profound his change of mind was.

    That's an interesting suggestion – I almost forgot about Wittgenstein. Any particular recommendations for where to read about his personality changes?

    No, they aren't mutually exclusive.

    Okay, that's what I expected to hear now ;) And I don't have a problem with that – it's just not what I assumed before this discussion.

    What led to assuming it before this discussion? Was it intuition or conscious reasoning?

    Conscious reasoning made me realise that you might not think they need to be mutually exclusive ;)

  • @Vinho said:

    @sfast said:
    So, I hope that you come up with better terms than I did. But I am quite sure that the beginner problems will prevail. :)

    I think I won't try anymore – I'm using different categories/concepts altogether which I will write about in the article.

    Oh. That sounds interesting. :)

    Here is a sample exercise that could be a tough nut to crack: Grab a any existing note and ask yourself: What makes this message beautiful? How does it guide me towards beauty and away from hideousness?

    Interesting question, admittedly not at all how I approach my zettelkasten ;) I don't ask myself what makes notes beautiful, but what makes them useful.

    1. Not the note, the message. ;)
    2. It is not an either-or issue. It is a three part exercise with questions towards truth, relevance (very similar to usefulness) and beauty which are the main paths to knowledge as far as I identified them.

    Not sure I find this comparison adequate. I've always found the Sorites paradox extremely uninteresting. Some concepts/terms like "heap" are just vague and that's okay – no clear boundaries needed. You use them when precision doesn't matter.

    That is the point. Concepts are both. Think of a cube. A cube is impossible to exist outside of the platonic realm of the mathematic objects. But you are still rolling the dice with no existential crisis.

    Imagine you are trying to create a law that trys to regulate heaps (or murder). The very issue of law is to solve this riddle how to move from the ideal type (exemplified by real cases) to the category (law) and back (judgement).

    Concepts need to be both because their nature depends on what mode of being you choose.

    But I have a more unorthodox proposal: Read about the development of Wittgenstein's philosophy and the difference of the early and late Wittgenstein. But don't just focus on the results of his life, his philosophical positions, but his personality and how he got there. To me, it is remarkable how profound his change of mind was.

    That's an interesting suggestion – I almost forgot about Wittgenstein. Any particular recommendations for where to read about his personality changes?

    I'd start with the Wikipedia article it quite comprehensive already but I can't say which book I read since it is over a decade ago and back then my memory wasn't trained by the Zettelkasten.

    What led to assuming it before this discussion? Was it intuition or conscious reasoning?

    Conscious reasoning made me realise that you might not think they need to be mutually exclusive ;)

    Haha. Always thinking about the bright side.. :kissing:

    I am a Zettler

  • @sfast said:
    2. It is not an either-or issue. It is a three part exercise with questions towards truth, relevance (very similar to usefulness) and beauty which are the main paths to knowledge as far as I identified them.

    Beauty as a path to knowledge? Don't think I can see that connection... But I don't expect you to explain it here – this post is pretty off-topic already ;)

    Not sure I find this comparison adequate. I've always found the Sorites paradox extremely uninteresting. Some concepts/terms like "heap" are just vague and that's okay – no clear boundaries needed. You use them when precision doesn't matter.

    That is the point. Concepts are both. Think of a cube. A cube is impossible to exist outside of the platonic realm of the mathematic objects. But you are still rolling the dice with no existential crisis.

    Imagine you are trying to create a law that trys to regulate heaps (or murder). The very issue of law is to solve this riddle how to move from the ideal type (exemplified by real cases) to the category (law) and back (judgement).

    Concepts need to be both because their nature depends on what mode of being you choose.

    Not sure I understand you here either :D Are you saying that all concepts are both vague and have clear boundaries? To me, that a concept is vague means that it doesn't have clear boundaries. The more clear the boundaries of a concept are, the less vague it is (and vice versa). And some concepts are more clear than others, which is okay and useful – that was what I wanted to say. ;) And regarding the cube and the dice: Those are two different concepts (referred to by the same term in German, but different terms in English). One of them has crystal clear boundaries, the other one doesn't.

    But I have a more unorthodox proposal: Read about the development of Wittgenstein's philosophy and the difference of the early and late Wittgenstein. But don't just focus on the results of his life, his philosophical positions, but his personality and how he got there. To me, it is remarkable how profound his change of mind was.

    That's an interesting suggestion – I almost forgot about Wittgenstein. Any particular recommendations for where to read about his personality changes?

    I'd start with the Wikipedia article it quite comprehensive already but I can't say which book I read since it is over a decade ago and back then my memory wasn't trained by the Zettelkasten.

    Okay, thanks :)

  • @Vinho said:

    @sfast said:
    2. It is not an either-or issue. It is a three part exercise with questions towards truth, relevance (very similar to usefulness) and beauty which are the main paths to knowledge as far as I identified them.

    Beauty as a path to knowledge? Don't think I can see that connection... But I don't expect you to explain it here – this post is pretty off-topic already ;)

    Yeah, perhaps not in this thread. If you look up into the concept of "objective beauty" you might get an idea of the direction I am going with my reasoning. But the question(s) is (are) are didactic by nature. So, wrestling with them should improve the learner's abilities. Or: Aim for the stars to jump high. You don't actually try to reach the stars but the aim itself is productive.

    Not sure I find this comparison adequate. I've always found the Sorites paradox extremely uninteresting. Some concepts/terms like "heap" are just vague and that's okay – no clear boundaries needed. You use them when precision doesn't matter.

    That is the point. Concepts are both. Think of a cube. A cube is impossible to exist outside of the platonic realm of the mathematic objects. But you are still rolling the dice with no existential crisis.

    Imagine you are trying to create a law that trys to regulate heaps (or murder). The very issue of law is to solve this riddle how to move from the ideal type (exemplified by real cases) to the category (law) and back (judgement).

    Concepts need to be both because their nature depends on what mode of being you choose.

    Not sure I understand you here either :D Are you saying that all concepts are both vague and have clear boundaries? To me, that a concept is vague means that it doesn't have clear boundaries. The more clear the boundaries of a concept are, the less vague it is (and vice versa). And some concepts are more clear than others, which is okay and useful – that was what I wanted to say. ;) And regarding the cube and the dice: Those are two different concepts (referred to by the same term in German, but different terms in English). One of them has crystal clear boundaries, the other one doesn't.

    Is THIS a cube? I hope you accept that. Or THIS a circle?

    If not then tHiS iS mY rEsPoNsE

    I am a Zettler

  • ... but is it a cube? 🤔

    (Please don't ban me from the forums 🙈)

    Author at Zettelkasten.de • https://christiantietze.de/

  • @ctietze :)

    @sfast said:
    Is THIS a cube? I hope you accept that. Or THIS a circle?

    If not then tHiS iS mY rEsPoNsE

    After the slightly misleading cube-dice comparison I can see your point now. So yes, I would call the pictured wooden block a cube. The question is whether this is or isn't the same concept as the platonic idea of a cube as it is defined in geometry and used in mathematical proofs. You seem to assume it is (whilst slightly ridiculing the opposing view), I said it isn't.
    In geometry, a cube is usually defined as a three-dimensional shape with six (strictly) congruent square facets, 12 equally long edges and 8 vertexes at which 3 edges or facets meet. It can also be defined as a set of points in three-dimensional space (Wikipedia):

    In mathematics, whatever doesn't fulfil these definitions is not a cube. A shape with only slight deviations from it (e.g. length of edges differing by 1µm) is not a cube. You couldn't apply any theorems about cubes to such a shape.
    In daily life, we call an object a cube as long as it's similar enough to a "perfect" cube in the given context. A dice would often be considered a cube although it has rounded edges and hollows that symbolise numbers, your wooden block would be considered a cube, etc.
    So do these two uses work with different concepts, one with crystal-clear boundaries and one without, or is it the same concept in both contexts? I tend to think of it as two concepts: the first being the abstract platonic pattern that some real-work objects come close to, the second one being the set of real-world objects that are close enough to exemplifying this pattern. But in the end this depends on what one means by the term "concept", which I have thought about to an extent in the past, but have largely forgotten. I didn't use a zettelkasten back then and it would therefore take me quite a while to regain those thoughts – maybe I'll find time for this at some point soon...

  • I think we slowly getting to the fundamental issue:

    So do these two uses work with different concepts, one with crystal-clear boundaries and one without, or is it the same concept in both contexts?

    We have to make a decision here. Are those two different concepts or different modes of applying these concepts? The brain surely has these two modes of being.

    I'll commit a cardinal sin here and go for intuition: Do you actually feel that you use two different concepts when dealing with cubes in the platonic vs the real world? Or do you use a single concept and have different tolerances for deviation (zero for the platonic, some for the real world)?

    What you are writing would mean that a perfect cube a different concept from all other cubes similar enough to count as one. Are they similar enough to each other to form a family or individually similar to the perfect cube? I don't think this is how we use the word "cube" and think of the underlying concept.

    In the same way, "structure note" is not an abstract concept that needs be perfectly platonic-certified. You would have to say that a structure note stops being a structure note if you write one word of content on it if it was platonic.

    I am a Zettler

  • edited January 4

    @sfast said:
    We have to make a decision here. Are those two different concepts or different modes of applying these concepts? The brain surely has these two modes of being.

    I'll commit a cardinal sin here and go for intuition: Do you actually feel that you use two different concepts when dealing with cubes in the platonic vs the real world? Or do you use a single concept and have different tolerances for deviation (zero for the platonic, some for the real world)?

    I don't trust my intuition much when it comes to linguistic questions like this ;) After having revisited two good texts with very different positions from my philosophy studies, [Postscriptum][#Kuenne2007] and [][#Millikan2004occi], I'm not sure as to what use of the term "concept" makes sense to me. Künne would say two concepts F and G are identical iff someone who thinks of something as F also thinks of it as G and vice versa. Salt and NaCl are different concepts according to this, also triangle and closed polygon with angles that add up to 180°. Since you can think about something as having edges of (close enough to) the same length and (close enough to) congruent facets without knowing the definition of analytic geometry cited above, I assume that he would also speak of two different concepts of "cube" in our case.
    Millikan probably wouldn't, but I'm not entirely sure. The topic of the book are mostly substance concepts, i.e. concepts about things that have properties and for ontological reasons keep having them over a longer period of time, which allows us to gain knowledge about them through inductive inferences. She understands a substance concept as an ability of reidentifying the substance – this ability can involve many different methods of identifying it in different contexts (which might be an option to account for the differences we spoke about). I'm not entirely sure whether she would consider "cube" a substance concept, though ;)

    As I said further above, I don't think there is a right and a wrong answer to this linguistic question. It's ultimately a decision about how one wants to use a term and one has to live with the consequences (some people won't understand what you're saying, others will, confusions might arise, etc.). I try to understand what different people in different contexts mean with a term and then apply it accordingly, when it's quite certain that no major misunderstandings will arise. When it's probably not apparent to others what I mean, I try to define it as clearly as possible for them.

    In the same way, "structure note" is not an abstract concept that needs be perfectly platonic-certified. You would have to say that a structure note stops being a structure note if you write one word of content on it if it was platonic.

    Maybe this whole abstract discussion about concepts is not really important to what this thread was actually supposed to be about – not entirely sure how we got there anymore :lol:

    I would now just say that I misunderstood your definition of the categories content notes and structure notes – the definition I gave in my first post doesn't actually express how you use the terms. A more fitting definition for "structure note" would be:

    Structure notes are notes with the main purpose of collecting and linking to a set of other notes that are related to one another in a certain way.

    This incorporates the vagueness you intend into the definition. Something similar can be done with the definition of content notes. One could still argue that the terms used for these categories might be a bit misleading and that "idea notes" and "relationship notes" might be less, but I don't really want to go there anymore – as you say, one would have to properly collect evidence to settle that.

    Happy? ;)

    [#Kuenne2007]: Wolfgang Künne (2007): Abstrakte Gegenstände -- Semantik und Ontologie. Vittorio Klostermann.

    [#Millikan2004occi]: Ruth Garrett Millikan (2004): On Clear and Confused Ideas -- An Essay about Substance Concepts. Cambridge University Press.

    Edit @ctietze: Are MMD citations not supported in the forum? Or did I do anything wrong?

  • @Vinho said:

    @sfast said:
    We have to make a decision here. Are those two different concepts or different modes of applying these concepts? The brain surely has these two modes of being.

    I'll commit a cardinal sin here and go for intuition: Do you actually feel that you use two different concepts when dealing with cubes in the platonic vs the real world? Or do you use a single concept and have different tolerances for deviation (zero for the platonic, some for the real world)?

    I don't trust my intuition much when it comes to linguistic questions like this ;)

    Haha. Then we have the same position when it comes to philosophy. (I destroyed a long-form essay because I realised how bad intuition is as a basis for philophical-rational thinking..)

    After having revisited two good texts with very different positions from my philosophy studies, [Postscriptum][#Kuenne2007] and [][#Millikan2004occi], I'm not sure as to what use of the term "concept" makes sense to me. Künne would say two concepts F and G are identical iff someone who thinks of something as F also thinks of it as G and vice versa. Salt and NaCl are different concepts according to this, also triangle and closed polygon with angles that add up to 180°. Since you can think about something as having edges of (close enough to) the same length and (close enough to) congruent facets without knowing the definition of analytic geometry cited above, I assume that he would also speak of two different concepts of "cube" in our case.
    Millikan probably wouldn't, but I'm not entirely sure. The topic of the book are mostly substance concepts, i.e. concepts about things that have properties and for ontological reasons keep having them over a longer period of time, which allows us to gain knowledge about them through inductive inferences. She understands a substance concept as an ability of reidentifying the substance – this ability can involve many different methods of identifying it in different contexts (which might be an option to account for the differences we spoke about). I'm not entirely sure whether she would consider "cube" a substance concept, though ;)

    I agree. With both of them, actually. The overarching issue is that both are viable concepts ( :expressionless: ) within the axioms they state. Coherence and consistency should be enough to accept those propositions. So, I agree 100% with your following statement.

    As I said further above, I don't think there is a right and a wrong answer to this linguistic question. It's ultimately a decision about how one wants to use a term and one has to live with the consequences (some people won't understand what you're saying, others will, confusions might arise, etc.).

    However, I think the philosophical perspective on concepts is just too narrow. I think it is mandatory to add empirical science to make statements on what concepts are. :) So, linguistics and neurology should have their place in the toolbox. (Do you know Consilience by Wilson?)

    In the same way, "structure note" is not an abstract concept that needs be perfectly platonic-certified. You would have to say that a structure note stops being a structure note if you write one word of content on it if it was platonic.

    Maybe this whole abstract discussion about concepts is not really important to what this thread was actually supposed to be about – not entirely sure how we got there anymore :lol:

    I would now just say that I misunderstood your definition of the categories content notes and structure notes – the definition I gave in my first post doesn't actually express how you use the terms. A more fitting definition for "structure note" would be:

    Structure notes are notes with the main purpose of collecting and linking to a set of other notes that are related to one another in a certain way.

    There is a difference between what structure notes are and what there purpose is. If throw rotten tomatoes at the king it is not my purpose to make him stink. My purpose is to shame him.

    Structure notes relate notes to each other. But there purpose is to develop something (a topic overview, a mental model, an argument, a filter,...)

    This incorporates the vagueness you intend into the definition. Something similar can be done with the definition of content notes. One could still argue that the terms used for these categories might be a bit misleading and that "idea notes" and "relationship notes" might be less, but I don't really want to go there anymore – as you say, one would have to properly collect evidence to settle that.

    >

    Happy? ;)

    No, but delighted by our conversation. :)

    [#Kuenne2007]: Wolfgang Künne (2007): Abstrakte Gegenstände -- Semantik und Ontologie. Vittorio Klostermann.

    [#Millikan2004occi]: Ruth Garrett Millikan (2004): On Clear and Confused Ideas -- An Essay about Substance Concepts. Cambridge University Press.

    Edit @ctietze: Are MMD citations not supported in the forum? Or did I do anything wrong?

    Sadly, they aren't

    I am a Zettler

  • edited January 5

    @sfast said:

    However, I think the philosophical perspective on concepts is just too narrow. I think it is mandatory to add empirical science to make statements on what concepts are. :) So, linguistics and neurology should have their place in the toolbox. (Do you know Consilience by Wilson?)

    I don't think it's mandatory (again, there is no right and wrong when it comes to these linguistic questions), but it would certainly be useful if philosophers and cognitive scientists made sure they spoke about the same things ;) Millikan is aware of this and criticises many philosophical uses of "concept" for not being compatible with how the term is used in cognitive sciences.
    In my experience there is also a problem in the other direction, though: scientists with no philosophical background are often not very good at defining their terms clearly, it sometimes needs a philosopher to distinguish different meaning of a term used and help them clarify what they're actually talking about.

    I would now just say that I misunderstood your definition of the categories content notes and structure notes – the definition I gave in my first post doesn't actually express how you use the terms. A more fitting definition for "structure note" would be:

    Structure notes are notes with the main purpose of collecting and linking to a set of other notes that are related to one another in a certain way.

    There is a difference between what structure notes are and what their purpose is. If throw rotten tomatoes at the king it is not my purpose to make him stink. My purpose is to shame him.

    Structure notes relate notes to each other. But their purpose is to develop something (a topic overview, a mental model, an argument, a filter,...)

    Hm, I was hoping my suggestion would solve all our problems :wink:

    If your objection is that the intention one has when creating structure notes is not actually to collect and link to a set of related notes, but to develop something, I accept it. The respective notes becoming structure notes would then be an unintended side-effect of creating these overviews, arguments, etc.

    I'll go with your definition then and keep in mind that structure notes can also do a lot of other things besides relating notes to each other ;)

    Happy? ;)

    No, but delighted by our conversation. :)

    Well, that's almost as good :wink:

    Edit @ctietze: Are MMD citations not supported in the forum? Or did I do anything wrong?

    Sadly, they aren't

    I see – thought I had seen them in some posts, but must have been mistaken...

  • @Vinho said:
    @sfast said:

    However, I think the philosophical perspective on concepts is just too narrow. I think it is mandatory to add empirical science to make statements on what concepts are. :) So, linguistics and neurology should have their place in the toolbox. (Do you know Consilience by Wilson?)

    I don't think it's mandatory (again, there is no right and wrong when it comes to these linguistic questions), but it would certainly be useful if philosophers and cognitive scientists made sure they spoke about the same things ;)

    Is this a linguistic question at hand? Linguistics (both empirically and theoretically) is just one tool that is needed.

    Perhaps, I think it is mandatory because I presuppose a practical aim. Not to aim towards practicability is a road to sophism. It could be just our difference in character and we mean similar things:

    Millikan is aware of this and criticises many philosophical uses of "concept" for not being compatible with how the term is used in cognitive sciences.
    In my experience there is also a problem in the other direction, though: scientists with no philosophical background are often not very good at defining their terms clearly, it sometimes needs a philosopher to distinguish different meaning of a term used and help them clarify what they're actually talking about.

    I totally agree. I share your experience. I got into debates with both sides. My issue always was that I do not think that there are any sides. A philosoph who doesn't know science is not philosoph and a scientist who does not no philosophy (better: the basic philosophical toolkit) is not a scientist. At least, I don't accept them as such. Sadly, no body cares about my opinion, yet.. :disappointed:

    I would now just say that I misunderstood your definition of the categories content notes and structure notes – the definition I gave in my first post doesn't actually express how you use the terms. A more fitting definition for "structure note" would be:

    Structure notes are notes with the main purpose of collecting and linking to a set of other notes that are related to one another in a certain way.

    There is a difference between what structure notes are and what their purpose is. If throw rotten tomatoes at the king it is not my purpose to make him stink. My purpose is to shame him.

    Structure notes relate notes to each other. But their purpose is to develop something (a topic overview, a mental model, an argument, a filter,...)

    Hm, I was hoping my suggestion would solve all our problems :wink:

    If your objection is that the intention one has when creating structure notes is not actually to collect and link to a set of related notes, but to develop something, I accept it. The respective notes becoming structure notes would then be an unintended side-effect of creating these overviews, arguments, etc.

    I am not satisfied but I think we can both live with my suffering. :smile: There is something about the word "unintended" that feels (oh, no. My feelings..) wrong.

    • If I punch somebody in the face and hurt him as a retaliation for hurting my dog I wouldn't say that his pain is an unintended side-effect of the punishment.
    • If I try to convey a message to you the words on my screen are not really a unintended side-effect.

    But technically you are right, I think.

    I'll go with your definition then and keep in mind that structure notes can also do a lot of other things besides relating notes to each other ;)

    I think I'll better wait for your article.

    Happy? ;)

    No, but delighted by our conversation. :)

    Well, that's almost as good :wink:

    Edit @ctietze: Are MMD citations not supported in the forum? Or did I do anything wrong?

    Sadly, they aren't

    I see – thought I had seen them in some posts, but must have been mistaken...

    I am a Zettler

  • edited January 6

    @sfast said:

    @Vinho said:
    @sfast said:

    However, I think the philosophical perspective on concepts is just too narrow. I think it is mandatory to add empirical science to make statements on what concepts are. :) So, linguistics and neurology should have their place in the toolbox. (Do you know Consilience by Wilson?)

    I don't think it's mandatory (again, there is no right and wrong when it comes to these linguistic questions), but it would certainly be useful if philosophers and cognitive scientists made sure they spoke about the same things ;)

    Is this a linguistic question at hand? Linguistics (both empirically and theoretically) is just one tool that is needed.

    Good point. I would say that the question "What is a concept?" is ambiguous and it depends on the context what it means and what disciplines need to be involved in answering it:

    1. The meaning I thought about was "What do you mean when you use the word "concept"?", asked by e.g. a child who doesn't understand the word, a cognitive scientist or a philosopher who wants to clarify what he wants to research/is talking about, etc. This is a non-empirical, linguistic question with no right or wrong answer to.
    2. Another meaning could be "What is the common meaning of the word "concept"?" or "How do people use the term "concept"?". This an empirical linguistic question with a right or wrong answer to. The right answer could be that there are several different common meanings/usages of the term.
    3. Presupposing a clear understanding of what one means by the term, another meaning of the question could be "How are concepts "realised" in physical bodies? What physical conditions have to be met in order for someone to have a concept of something?". This would not be a linguistic question, but a question for a cognitive scientist.

    There might of course be even more ways to understand the question...

    I totally agree. I share your experience. I got into debates with both sides. My issue always was that I do not think that there are any sides. A philosoph who doesn't know science is not philosoph and a scientist who does not no philosophy (better: the basic philosophical toolkit) is not a scientist. At least, I don't accept them as such. Sadly, no body cares about my opinion, yet.. :disappointed:

    I don't care about the labels "philosopher" or "scientist" anymore. All that mattress is that valuable knowledge, i.e. good/true/useful answers to important questions, are found. And in order to succeed at that, you often need collaboration between different disciplines, otherwise the result will be rubbish ;)

    I would now just say that I misunderstood your definition of the categories content notes and structure notes – the definition I gave in my first post doesn't actually express how you use the terms. A more fitting definition for "structure note" would be:

    Structure notes are notes with the main purpose of collecting and linking to a set of other notes that are related to one another in a certain way.

    There is a difference between what structure notes are and what their purpose is. If throw rotten tomatoes at the king it is not my purpose to make him stink. My purpose is to shame him.

    Structure notes relate notes to each other. But their purpose is to develop something (a topic overview, a mental model, an argument, a filter,...)

    Hm, I was hoping my suggestion would solve all our problems :wink:

    If your objection is that the intention one has when creating structure notes is not actually to collect and link to a set of related notes, but to develop something, I accept it. The respective notes becoming structure notes would then be an unintended side-effect of creating these overviews, arguments, etc.

    I am not satisfied but I think we can both live with my suffering. :smile: There is something about the word "unintended" that feels (oh, no. My feelings..) wrong.

    • If I punch somebody in the face and hurt him as a retaliation for hurting my dog I wouldn't say that his pain is an unintended side-effect of the punishment.
    • If I try to convey a message to you the words on my screen are not really a unintended side-effect.

    But technically you are right, I think.

    I don't know, but happy to leave it at that ;)

  • I totally agree. I share your experience. I got into debates with both sides. My issue always was that I do not think that there are any sides. A philosoph who doesn't know science is not philosoph and a scientist who does not no philosophy (better: the basic philosophical toolkit) is not a scientist. At least, I don't accept them as such. Sadly, no body cares about my opinion, yet.. :disappointed:

    I don't care about the labels "philosopher" or "scientist" anymore. All that mattress is that valuable knowledge, i.e. good/true/useful answers to important questions, are found. And in order to succeed at that, you often need collaboration between different disciplines, otherwise the result will be rubbish ;)

    My brother from another mother!

    I am a Zettler

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