Trustworthy Reification

A few weeks ago, I started at Topos as a postdoc. For the next while I’ll be working with David under a grant called The Structure and Dynamics of Working Language. The mystery at hand is how an abstract specification compiles into a tangible reality. For example, how a high-level recipe for pie turns into a literal pie. One that is created with particular eggs and apples by a particular person who rolls the rolling pin in a particular way. That language really works — in other words, that it is sufficiently useful that its practitioners carry it forward — hinges on a mutual relationship of trust and adaptability between the one who outlines the abstraction (the specifier) and the one who executes it (the reifier). Below is a series of vignettes that elaborate this theme.

This is a companion discussion topic for the original entry at