The Semiotics of Creativity

This post follows on my last introduction to an objective point of view and it continues exposing Adi’s semantics and the objects of the metalanguage he developed to help explain the relation between language, thought and basic or fundamental existence.

In this post I will charaterize, once again, the idea of conception.  Instead of using a psychological or psychoanalytic language as I have in the past, I will return to the physical theme that guided early research, after finding support for these ideas in Bohm’s book On Creativity (mentioned previously), to introduce the semiotics of creativity.  In this context, semiotics is seen as a system for the interpretation of symbols and creativity is simply the ability or power to create and to conceive (e.g., to form or devise a concept).

In what follows, I will show how the symbols of language are steeped in the creative forces of Nature so that we may extract the flavor and meaning of life.

As I have reported elsewhere in this blog,  computer scientists and linguists are fond of propositional theories that turn beliefs into statements and assertions that can be aggregated into data.  So, it has been difficult showing computer scientists, logicians and programmers, that there are other ways to process meaning.  What is called ‘semantics’ in the computer industry is the epistemological truth or correspondence between such stated beliefs or assertions.  This is all good, even rational, yet somehow ‘artificial’.  This has been demonstrated in the past and more recently with game-playing computers.

The ‘epistemological methods’  do not account for the ‘natural causes’ of human perception or the production of belief. This may be hard to grasp fully, yet, one intuitively knows that their ability to act or judge (also seen as an action) is subject to physical forces and conditions, arising from within and without, and to the passage of time.  Dr. Tom Adi discovered the essential nature of these physical powers and creative forces while looking for semantics in samples of a historically consistent language.

The semantic logic of the poietic-side (generative) use of language derives from physical processes: Upon enduring (more-often after appreciating) the forces and powers behind prominent events — take one that evokes a familiar, if not pleasing, sensation X — a Speaker S may find they can fashion physical gestures and symbols and actual procedures (moving towards, away / forward, backward, etc.) into mental tools. Such tools are used for projecting the idea (the configuration or arrangement of objects and procedures) that causes X, where the sophistication and use of such tools increases over time. Children often learn repetitively; by simulating or causing a physical procedure (influencing X) to reoccur.

Such ’physical procedure’ (explained more fully below) may be carried out in the imagination or for real. There is nothing mysterious about sensation X. It is defined according to practice as a palpable feeling or perception resulting from something that happens to or comes into contact with the body. It is physical nature that all living organisms have a proprioceptive sense; one that relates to the stimuli connected with the position and movement of the body. These stimuli, produced within the organism, are sensations that cause further reaction or response. Most people have witnessed a flower turn its petals to the sun.

The sensation that moves the flower is produced from within, from a sense of the extent, direction and force of impinging stimuli, i.e., For the flower, the ‘meaning’ is in the orientation of the flower in respect to the natural forces moving it to take the ‘right’ position. Moral and other distinctions holding mind and body apart are unnecessary to one’s proprioceptive sense of the position, location and relevant extent of objects and forces in one’s immediate presence.

While all living beings have a proprioceptive sense of being at their discretion, (to avoid running into things, face in the right direction, or simply satisfy their role, etc.) humans beings also have limited dominion over the creative forces of nature to go along with their animal instincts. It is human nature to uncover or discover the physical nature that causes one’s experience. One can use or abuse these powers and act in many ways, though mainly, one acts to change the future and one may act as if the future is irrelevant. The liberty and power to judge plays a major role.

As everyone does or should know very well, we cannot pass physical nature from ourselves to others, we can only project our own sensations as ‘sense-data’ — the idea that something (in the surrounding environment) affects us or causes X. We expect others can “feel” the same way or “see” or “sense” the “controlling presences” (often, even without quite knowing them ourselves).

The meaning in this sense-data is gathered up in the symbols we use to project the idea that causes sensation X. Others have to ‘get’ or apprehend the idea that produces sensation X.  To ‘have meaning’ is to be capable of causing sensation X to arise. Any useful sign must indicate a physical procedure: the forces and conditions that characterize the extent (limits and relevance) of objects in respect to a perceptible position or location and relevant extent of sensation X that a Speaker S desires to be produced in a Listener L.

Plainly, what is called the idea (here) is the position and power — of the particular configuration of being, forces and conditions — that produces sensation X and causes the anticipated reaction in an individual. The problem today is that the meaning of ideas, — the bearing of such forces and conditions — can be confusing, tacit, vague or ambiguous; hidden behind a plethora of speculative, metaphorical or subjective references projected using ordinary speech-Acts A.

Now let us turn our sights onto that ‘physical procedure’ and characterize the forces and conditions involved in the creation of meaning and the production of significance. A focal interpretation of such forces of production P and conditions of existence R is at-hand.

The formulation that follows derives from Adi’s theory of semantics, where the abstract objects of Adi’s metalanguage objectify natural operations, forces and conditions. These sets of objects, defined below in mathematical terms, construct a conceptual polar coordinate system given folks share a proprioceptive sense of being (a body in motion, oriented in space and time).

While a skeptic might accept a claim that humans are specs on a rock hurtling through space, being a body in motion in space and time is only slightly more abstract and ‘being human’ claims little more. It claims the need for knowing one’s position or location, power and relevant extent, in respect to other states and objects in the same dimension. Adi’s arrangement interprets the limits to the natural system of objects, forces and states present to interpersonal experience from a proprioceptive point or value.

Computationally, any sequence, function, or sum of a series (such as a series of sounds or phonemes, i.e., signs) can be determined to be progressively approaching or receding from this point or value, i.e.; its bearings can be determined.  If meaning is determined to be the property of something existing, said or done to impact one’s sensations  — as it appears to be — this functionality appears critical to predicting significance or pertinence and relevance.

It has been difficult for most people to understand how the positions of arbitrary objects and vague forces and conditions can be characterized or calculated from language. Many linguists quickly dismiss the whole idea as radical, incomprehensible or impossible, out of hand. It does not make them ‘right’.

Language is widely considered to be like a map of the territory of reality.  People use maps to get and set their bearings. People use language to navigate the world of other people and their opinions, along with other objects, things and feelings. Now that you have been introduced to this point of view, I urge the reader to think critically about what follows in connection with the examples that are included at the end of this characterization of Adi’s semantic objects.

While these forces and conditions are taken to be axiomatic, the implications can be barely perceptible. So I will first characterize the sets of (real) forces and conditions emanating from or impinging on the senses.Then I will present Adi’s semantic matrix where, essentially, thought and action, theory and practice, meet. The intersections of the matrix are overlaid with examples of legitimate workaday representations. Here first are the objects and sets comprising Adi’s semantic metalanguage; focused on the semantics of creativity (the ability to create):

Based upon semantic findings from a study of Classical Arabic, we assume there exists a changeless and universal content to life, a set of creative forces P, necessary to the body of conception, order and change in life:

P= { p(i) | i = 1, 2, 3 } =  {assignment, manifestation, containment}.

Supervening on these forces are a symmetrical set G of psychosomatic states: G={self,others}, symbolizing unity and plurality, and; a symmetrical set T of biophysical states: T={open,closed}, symbolizing propagation and restriction. When the objects of these sets are crossed, they reveal a fixed (and rich) set of conditions R that marshal the forces P into elementary (and evolutionary) processes or procedures:

R = T x G = { r(j) | j = 1 to 4 }                                                                                   =  {(closed, self),(open, self),(closed, others),(open, others)}.

The objects organized by ‘self’ and ‘others’ are seen as categorical beings objectifying engagement conditions present at all human and social events (wherever these entities are in relevant configurations in the same dimension). The states ‘open’ and ‘closed’ also organize categorical beings. Instantiations of these states objectify boundary conditions. Some may associate these categorical beings with Whitehead’s “controlling presences”. A natural symmetry holds between these objects and conditions R and objects organized by them. Symmetry is found at the root of life itself.

The former conditions objectify natural bonds formed from sensations of attraction and engagement.  This asserts nothing more than that the bare abstractions ‘self’ and ‘others’ stripped of any other associations yet afford a (concrete) sense of attraction and engagement (with unity and plurality) necessary to the formation of bonds.  The latter conditions afford a sense of the scope and constraint of present boundaries (e.g., the scope of space, distance and the constraint of time).

In essence, there are two-sides to each state of being influencing the bonds and organizing the bodies in motion or flux and present at any event.  The intersection of the conditions R with the set of forces P objectifies the valence of binding, unifying and organizing significant objects, forces and conditions into procedural states of being.

The selection and formulation of physical procedures — composed in respect to R of P — determines the type of polarity in the relationships R that ensue; whether applying or acting on the creative force of nature as implied by words and language. Adi derived four perceptible types of orientations from the crossing of boundary and engagement conditions. The valence of relationships R affords a sense of choice or bias; giving direction to, or unfolding: inward, outward, or being jointly or disjointly engaged.

The elementary processes, ‘Assignment’, ‘Manifestation’, and ‘Containment’, comprising the set of physical forces P within our dominion, are easily recognized as the creative forces of change when transformed into physical procedures and participatory acts of assigning, manifesting and containing; a capability to change the future in accordance with the conditions of existence R, described above.

Each speaker S marshals these forces and conditions in order to educe (to develop or bring out the latency of X, i.e., the potential of) the idea. The syntactic arrangement of consonant sounds encode symbolic processes that project the physical processes bearing on X.  It is here that there is harmonious agreement (semantics) or fidelity (or not).

Consequent to this view, a speaker S should (naturally) choose words and use language (speech-acts) A in such a way as to designate those physical forces P and (identify) the objects, states and relationships R that bear upon (or will have relevance and bearing to) Speaker S or Listener L or both S and L –from an objective point of view that S and L can and do share.  This prediction was tested by constructing a conceptual search engine (commercialized as Readware) that transforms arbitrary sequences of text and inquiries into values according to this theory. The search engine showed outstanding performance in tests that measure relevance, recall and precision in text retrieval programs. It also passed reading aptitude tests.

The results show that we can indeed construct a general point of view that thereafter predicts relevance and significance in matters presented to that objective viewpoint, one that can be readily implemented in computer logic.  A proprioceptive point of view proves to be an objective point of view; a view that is psychologically sensible to both S and L and that includes a sense of the internal unity of self-awareness and the external plurality of others, as well as a sense of the states of propagation and restriction, as categorical beings in and of themselves.  See the table below for examples.

The logic of the esthesic-side (aesthetic) understanding of language is explained as follows: in order to educe sensation X Listener (/reader) L filters the idea from within the projected sense-data –while decoding speech-act A.  If the idea is apprehended, its meaning is represented by the bearing of the forces of P and R to X; in which case we say that the meaning is induced in L, i.e., it causes the intended sensation X to actually or figuratively occur to L (i.e., appear to represent or symbolize a relevant form of physical power or influence). In such a case the idea and its meaning can/will cause sensation X to occur.  See the examples in the table below:

The Semantic Matrix of Creative Praxis

(the idea of conception)

Finding a Shared Point of View

The comments to my last post have prompted this one.  I have often been confronted with disagreement; much more so than others. Being outspoken on the subjects of meaning and relevance accounts for some of the excess.  It seems as if most disagreement is rooted in a confused sense of relevance and meaning in the world.

I believe most people would agree that social and political problems hinge on a fundamental difference in points of view.  It is the same as saying that everyone sees or perceives of things differently.  It is the exemplification of the screen of relativity; that everything in the world is relative.  If everything in the world is relative in this sense of ‘being’ relative, it is relative first and foremost to the point of view of the observer.   This begs the question: Is it even possible that there is a shared and (relatively) objective point of view about existence?

If one cares to look into the literature of relativity and objectivity, it is fair to say that there is substantial confusion among academics.  The first cause of confusion, in my view and experience, is that people seem to forget they are subject to the physical and biological nature of being here and that confuses their thoughts and actions. Related to that is the way people lose touch with the nature of being in existence. It is pretty common to say that someone has lost their perspective. It could also be that they lose their point of view.  It takes critical thinking to find it again.

An important first step of critical thinking is to establish a point of view, for example.  If we are talking about meaning that people share, we also need a shared point of view. I will call this shared point of view “a proprioceptive insight to being in existence” and remark that it is an objective viewpoint that applies equally to everyone.

A proprioceptive insight relates to the stimuli connected with the position and movement of the body that are produced and perceived within an organism. We are concerned here with individuals, and the production or creation of meaning within human beings.  I will point out that when we include the “social context” in connection with such production, in addition to meaning connected with or reacting upon the position and movement of the human body, one finds the symbols and objects of language, and the leaders, cultures and institutions of human societies, numbering among the stimuli.

Proprioception is seen by some scientists, psychologists mainly, as one of the common senses.  In my view, all people develop their own proprioceptive insight that nonetheless centers on their own existence.  It is due to this fact, that everyone, in essence, everyone in a body, already shares the same point of view towards external objects and sense-data.  Some people are more aware of this than others.

Dancer’s, for example, exemplify a highly-developed if not exceptional and professional insight into the proprioceptive sense of their own bodies and the relationships of the movement and positions of their limbs –in a formal sense– according to the design of movement.  They posses a keen ability to recognize, or they acquire sensory knowledge of, the position and location and orientation and movement of the body and its parts. In order to create her work of art, using all her physical capability and know-how, the professional dancer strives to interpret the movement designed by the choreographer with the finest technical precision and detail and most obvious fidelity.

Few people will have the proprioception of a dancer and still fewer know or admit to such an objective view of the world –even while it is an essential element in the formulation of one’s knowledge; one that can be uncovered with critical thinking. It may be due to this sort of ‘forgetfulness’ and the adoption of contrary viewpoints that people lose sight of what is relevant, significant and decisive. So this post will examine the unfolding of meaning from an objective or proprioceptive point of view. Along the way, hopefully, we will see how a person can be easily misled. Note that I am composing this from experience that I will mention at the end.

To understand why this forgetfulness affects society, let’s start with what is learned in early childhood.

During the early months and years of their lives, children begin their learning by occupying themselves with apprehending the extent of the sensations to all parts of their bodies. In each child’s life, eventually one’s insight or knowledge of proprioception is extended to sensing external or projected objects and happenings (simple occurrences, events or beings in and of themselves) in relation to the position and location of the body or its parts. “Ultimately all observation, scientific or popular, consists in the determination of the spatial relation of the bodily organs of the observer to the location of ‘projected’ sense-data.” — Alfred North Whitehead in Symbolism Its Meaning and Effect (Barbour-Page Lectures — retrievable here. Note that: All quotations in this post are taken from this source.)

In this age of modernity, many people seem to wallow in immediate sense-data and their own inhibitions and diversions while they act as if the future is irrelevant and ignore salient facts that may determine their own fate. These people will often treat the sheer conditions of existence as accidental, or as something indiscernible, ineffable and unimportant; when exactly the opposite is true. As Alfred North Whitehead tells it: “The bonds of causal efficacy arise from without us. They disclose the character of the world from which we issue, an inescapable condition round which we shape ourselves. The bonds of presentational immediacy arise from within us, and are subject to intensifications and inhibitions and diversions according as we accept their challenge or reject it.

Whitehead goes on in his lecture to talk about and define causal efficacy and presentational immediacy at some length; I would urge my readers to take it in using the link above, it is not so hard to follow. Here and now, I want to focus on the conflict that arises from these bonds, the effects it has on the individual and society, and the forgetfulness that increases doubt and uncertainty. It is the conflict here that is also at the root of the failure to resolve substantial public and political issues; such as can be seen in the problem of terrorism.

Politicians have created this problem of terrorism that binds us to activities that do too little to eradicate it. The very notion of terrorism spawns its own form of presentational immediacy that causes the senses to be hijacked –in that one’s own attention is steered away from the possibility of resolution– being faced with a vague yet terrifying unknown clouds the senses with emotional anger or fear. This is the case in America, where many Americans gladly accept the erosion of civil liberties, once guaranteed by its Constitution, as necessary to defend against the inevitability of a terrorist attack.

There is as little resolve to defend against the erosion of civil liberties as there is to deprive terrorism of its existence in this world. As Whitehead defines it: “Irresolution in action arises from consciousness of a somewhat distant relevant future, combined with inability to evaluate its precise type. If we were not conscious of relevance, why is there irresolution in a sudden crisis?” For too many people, superstition, uncertainty or doubt is indubitably and simultaneously a part of the definiteness of the present; it affects people: making them unwitting pawns of the would-be “controlling presences” that lurk behind the projected sense-data –the presentation of terrorism in the popular press and in politically-charged rhetoric, for example.  But let’s not get hung up on politics.

Whitehead wrote: “The reason why the projected sense-data are in general used as symbol, is that they are handy, definite, and manageable. We can see, or not see, as we like: we can hear, or not hear. There are limits to this handiness of the sense-data: but they are emphatically the manageable elements in our perceptions of the world.

Note that much of the projected sense-data are symbols in some deeper sense, e.g., as politicians, religious leaders, experts, can be used as symbols in and of themselves; as well as the propositions, facts and information we get from or about experts, politicians and religious zealots in the news and on the Internet, for example. Most of what we take as symbol is generated from the immediate sense-data –such as one’s own symbolic conception of terrorism– and it takes its place among the manageable elements of one’s experience. We can surely hear and see as we like according to choice and free speech, but as Whitehead warned there are limits to this handiness.

When these symbols come to represent the inevitability of the way things are –to be taken as the controlling presences of now and the future– they have been taken too far. Referring to the manageable character and definiteness to the presentational immediacy of projected-sense data used as symbol, Whitehead tells us that: “The sense of controlling presences has the contrary character: it is unmanageable, vague, and ill-defined. But for all their vagueness, for all their lack of definition, these controlling presences, these sources of power, these things with an inner life, with their own richness of content, these beings, with the destiny of the world hidden in their natures, are what we want to know about.

Some people tend to take, or rather mistake, trending topics, popular knowledge and celebrity as what they want to know about –it is because of this feeling, perhaps, that celebrity is important to them. The trouble is that, for some, the mistaken person or object of desire joins the controlling presences in their lives.  Rap artists and comedians become role models. Dissidents and zealots command the press and the public attention. Neither politicians nor athletes can escape their celebrity.

Yet: “As we cross a road busy with traffic, we see the colour of the cars, their shapes, the gay colours of their occupants; but at the moment we are absorbed in using this immediate show as a symbol for the forces determining the immediate future.” Neither politicians, artists nor experts gets involved in this immediate task. How then can they rise to the occasion of being among the controlling presences in one’s own life?  Whitehead tells us by explaining that: “We enjoy the symbol, but we also penetrate to the meaning. The symbols do not create their meaning: the meaning, in the form of actual effective beings reacting upon us, exists for us in its own right. But the symbols discover this meaning for us.

Confronted with a need to cross a highway, the symbolic definition of each element of the projected sense-data is not as weighty as the relevance of the immediate future and the accord between the immediate goal and the natural forces –those regarded as controlling or regulating the phenomena. The need, the lack of a traffic signal, the sequence of moving vehicles, their speed, and the makes and models of the cars, along with their descriptions and occupants, uncovers or shows much of that meaning in the weight of the relationships symbolizing the present configuration of ‘projected sense-data’.

The projected sense-data co-mingles with the objects of presentational immediacy and one’s own sense of the familiar. Emotional desire moves us to immerse ourselves in determining the relevance of the immediate future to the wholeness of the present and the efficacy of our intention. If it were otherwise, if we were delving into the accurate definitions because the projected sense-data were unfamiliar, as is the norm with computers, the relevance of the immediate future would necessarily be inhibited –perhaps with devastating consequences.

In human beings, unlike machines, all possibilities are potentials as we act from the proprioceptive sense of our own being in relation to this confrontation with reality and the forces determining whether we make the passage safely or not. The emotions that move us, these forces and future possibilities, coalesce into a unified state of relevance at the precise moment of resolution.  This unfolding of meaning –the apprehension or grasp of it, in and of itself– provides all that is essential.

Now I don’t really expect many reader’s to get my meaning, and all of sudden become capable of perceiving the unfolding of meaning; that otherwise, and for some people, all happens in a flash. Those people who have experienced such occasions, can recall and think about the salient features.  Whitehead wrote that: “Certain emotions, such as anger and terror, are apt to inhibit the apprehension of sense-data; but they wholly depend upon a vivid apprehension of the relevance of immediate past to the present, and of the present to the future. Again an inhibition of familiar sense-data provokes the terrifying sense of vague presences, effective for good or evil over our fate.

In the case of crossing the busy highway: the cars, the road, the state, the occupants, past experience, the present, everything –all the ‘projected sense-data’ — is condensed into points or bodies in a space and time that is (all-at-once) intrinsically connected to our own proprioceptive being and location. What has happened, what is happening and what will happen next are each relevant and each commands its own body of being in the projected sense-data. “Our relationships to these bodies are precisely our reactions to them. The projection of our sensations is nothing else than the illustration of the world in partial accordance with the systematic scheme, in space and in time, to which these reactions conform.”

I hope my readers will bear in mind that the projection of our sensations is both real and imaginary, and they too take refuge in, and stay true to, the systematic scheme of existence, in space and in time, that is the changeless and unbounded wholeness and efficacy to creation.

Together with Tom Adi, I went looking for “meaning” beginning in the early 1980’s, or rather, we went looking for what constitutes meaning. I believe we not only found what constitutes relevance and meaning or semantics in natural language, Tom found natural laws to the wholeness and accord that exists between causal efficacy and presentational immediacy. In my view, Adi’s elementary processes are the same entity as Whitehead’s controlling presences.

Beginning with the assumption that all bodies (abstract as well as concrete bodies) are in motion, according to physical laws, and; using a polar coordinate system for making measurements of orientation, distance and length from a center point; we tested Adi’s semantic theory and procedures thoroughly. First, an algebraic language was created using Adi’s elementary processes and conditions of existence as its abstract/mental objects.

These processes, called Assignment, Manifestation and Containment, and their conditions of existence are most recently explained here.  We also developed algorithmic methods for reasoning about this “relation of meaning” between the words or symbols of text expressions. During this exercise we learned more about these elementary processes and the conditions of existence.  It is fair to say we are still learning today as we have only broken the surface.

We transformed the language, mathematical apparatus and methods into computer software (Readware) to test the reasoning and new theories of semantics, language learning and cognition.  We submitted the software to repetitive, formal and informal capability testing in text analysis, classification and text retrieval use cases –where relevance, recall and precision is measured. Performance testing was conducted from 1987 until 2007 in which it passed all tests with exceptional margins.

Some of the work has been peer reviewed and published in scientific journals and books; this report is in the public domain.  Yet, it takes a proprioceptive sensibility to make use of the functions. It also takes critical thinking to understand this work, and to understand the sense of meaning and the conditions of the existence from which we all issue.

Consider the nature of conceptual vs. data processing.

Data are elements of conception.  A conceptual element of human insight or imagination is not data. A conceptual element or concept is symbolic of human insight and fancy, i.e.; it is a function of creative thought –of engaging the imagination, the intellect and the creative force of existence in symbolic and physical processes of creation and its renewal.

A creative process is thereby directive and a concept is no arbitrary symbol. A concept represents the unification of symbolic processes of conception: the interplay and engagement of the intellect and imagination and psychological and physiological processes in the creative processes and conditions of conception; in the activity of perceiving and experiencing creation.

A concept can thus be seen as a part of the larger totality of Creation. Such a totality engages not only of the intellect and imagination but also of the harmonious order, essence and totalities, or coherent wholeness, of subsequently experienced (and socially distributed) psychological, physiological and creative processes and conditions.

As I showed in my last post: The essence of the order, structure and the coherent wholeness of the creative processes and conditions are condensed and objectified by way of shared conceptual insight. Such objects are often perceived, copied, reflected upon and instituted as the names of things, and used as words and expressions in the language.

Consider these long-lived conceptual institutions: Beauty. Justice. Liberty.

In the foreword to David Bohm’s book On Creativity, editor Lee Nichol writes:

We have found, developed and formally tested that language and the objective terms in which conceptual processes can be (computed) understood and measured.  While the independence assumption has led AI into torpor, a new interdependence assumption coupled with conceptual processing and critical thinking can lead to a new era of creative computing.

Creativity, not intelligence, is the hallmark of humanity.  However, the prevailing view is that the concepts and insight to creativity cannot be computationally defined and that creative thought is vaporous and empty of any substance. The power of thought or of concepts to engender creative actions in human beings remains shrouded in religious or mystical superstition.

We need assistance and support though, to change that view and help to usher in a new era of intelligent progress and creative achievement.

Here is my post about defining words as the molecular building blocks in the creation and meaning of ideas. However, considering the confusion caused by the term semantics and the unwanted association to linguistics and the semantic web, I think I have to first provide a theory explaining how people correlate and interpret their interpersonal reality: The semantics of semiosis in the interdependent reality of being human, i.e.: the semantics of our humanity.

There is a Representational Theory of Mind (RTM) that is a controversial though sensible and practical theory taken up by many but not all computer scientists and AI engineers. I wish to take up and raise the power of this theory. RTM (cf. Field 1978, 37; Fodor 1987, 17). Fodor and Field developed this representational theory of thought out of Fodor’s Language of Thought Hypothesis (cf. Foder, 1975) and this goes back to James (1890). The theory recognizes thoughts as actions paraphrased thus:

For each biological or psychological act (inference/intention/disposition/resolution, etc.) A, one recognizes and partakes of (commits to) a distinct (i.e. a dedicated) physical affordance R to operate on one or more physical processes selected by subject S. S Acts to influence, or by influence of experience E or (to partake of) process P.

Logically, S bears a relation R to experience E and to physical process P.

Experience with this logical formula induces a cenoscopic type of knowledge that comes from the systematic realization of predictable consequences. These are implied by the way the first-order logic takes “reality” in its aspect to the induction or deduction of such logical relations. The scare quotes around “reality” are needed. Really! The subject S bearing the relation R has a limited range of experience E contending with undefined, yet potential actions or constraints R on one or more indefinite processes P of which one must partake to make an interpretation or create an idea.

A problem arises because whether any variable introduced into this logic actually coincides or correlates with life or with any particularly objective reality is not really questioned by those who apply the logic. This is where human beings and direct experience isn’t of much avail. If one does not know which humanistic affordance offers the most advantage and which humanistic process P to select, or is to be selected, to create a sustainable idea or manifest a suitable and realistic humane thought, how can any idea be measured against any other?

While RTM makes sense, being inductive of cenoscopic knowledge, followers have so far failed to identify the distinct sort of physical affordance R that humanity shares, that a subject S commits to, or; the operations, objects or functions subject S recognizes to act on or interpret their experience E. They have failed to properly characterize any process P in which subject S partakes to create ideas. There is folk-psychological doctrine and there is talk about beliefs – that is the sum of it. Since its inception: neither, the author’s of the theory of RTM proper nor proponents of the doctrines that have embraced it, has been successful in helping adherents identify key objects, operations, procedures and processes.

In his Essay on Human Understanding (1823/1963, p. 174), Locke (1690) wrote:

“All that can fall within the compass of human understanding, being either, first, the nature of things, as they are in themselves, their relations, and their manner of operation: or, secondly, that which man himself ought to do, as a rational and voluntary agent, for the attainment of any end, especially happiness: or, thirdly, the ways and means whereby the knowledge of both the one and the other of these is attained and communicated; I think science may be divided properly into these three sorts.”

From my perspective as a layman, I can see that modern computer and social sciences and philosophy have failed humanity in two of the three divisions of science. The RTM referenced above is science of the second division: what man ought to do as a rational voluntary agent to attain one’s own ends (whatsoever they may be). Because there is no focused definition of humanism, the actions of the agent are not committed to being humane, or even rational, at all. Without a requirement for humanity, whatever rationality exists arises from either irrational desire or rage; neither is appealing nor cultured. It seems to me that, in the case of raising the culture of human understanding, the first commitment one must make is to the humanity from whence biophysical affordance R emerges and rationality follows.

Computer, cognitive and social sciences, particularly linguistics and natural language engineering have failed humanity in both the first and second divisions of science. They have not developed ideoscopic knowledge of the nature of things, or of objects as they are in themselves, in their relations, and their manner of operation. They have not developed ideoscopic knowledge of what man himself, or woman herself, ought to do, as a rational and voluntary agent, for the attainment of a humane end. Finally and thirdly because they have failed to attain to an articulation of ideoscopic knowledge of both divisions one and two, the knowledge being communicated is cenoscopic knowledge, which; while it may often be necessary as excogitated minutia, is grossly insufficient and inadequate to formulating a workable theory of thought and a complete knowledge of both the first and second divisions of science.

Ideoscopic knowledge is knowledge that cannot be arrived at or verified without experimentation –like knowing how to swim, for example. We have ideoscopic knowledge of swimming that is shareable. You can verify this claim by looking up the definition of “to swim” or Google define: swim for the WordNet definition. Then look up the definition of the verb “fly” or Google define: fly. You may notice the difference. Many of us do have ideoscopic knowledge of the states of swimming and flying.

In the case of flying; that ideoscopic knowledge has not yet been attained or recognized by the scientists at Google or by the WordNet authority at Princeton University, and therefore, it is not being communicated. In the area of the humanity of thought and thinking, ideoscopic knowledge has to do with the humanistic use of signs and the correlative distinctions humans make or create between objects and things within the semiotic process, or semosis, carried out in a human mind.

Introducing a Semiotic Theory of Thought:

Mental processing, thinking in particular, takes the form of a triadic system of (supervening) power with relations between a) things (in the lebenwelt; in life) and b) objects in one’s own peculiar objective reality (one’s umwelt). In linguistics, words are signs of things that presuppose objects. According to the RTM, we have a) the subject or signifier S, and; b) the signified, that being the object signified or presupposed of existential sense data E, and; c) the supervening power (process) P and relationships R to which each of us, as human beings, commit ourselves in order to attain to the imputed cause, judgment or interpretation of creation as experienced by S.

That is the static view with experience resting on judgment; here is the dynamic view:

The domain of experience clearly has the potential to become interpreted. The powerful and dynamic relations of this system can be formalized (represented) as an algebraic formula – a recipe – taking creative power P as the main ingredient (the referent) to psychological processes of objectification and condensation. The subject S (the signifying processor) partakes of (selects from) the process P of creation, the distinct ability and specific affordance R necessary to distinguish and symbolize existential findings – the things of E (of the lebenwelt, such as P and R and things (sensible sights, sounds) in and among themselves) as objects — in a world of experience (umwelt) — and; in a state of being (the signified), subject to human being or human signification.

Therewith are the means by which the things and appearances of the outer life, outside self-existence, (lebenwelt) are objectified and condensed into the true and correlative objects of the world of experience (umwelt) by way of the functions (operations) in the domain and range of perception, creativity, imagination and cognitive activity (of one’s innenwelt). The formulable essence enveloping the three dimensions of one’s personal though objective reality is a semantic field of thought whereby thoughts are a function f of the interpretive system enformed by the process P of creation, hastened, constrained or halted, as needs be, by the affordance or potential of action according to the selection or choice of relationship R.

So, in the sense that every act of S bears R to E and partakes of P; we propose these commitments:

f ( P x R ): We define P and R according to Adi’s theory of semantics, whereby:

There is a universal set of psychosomatic objects: G={self,other}, with a potential for engagement and attraction;

there is a universal set of biophysiological objects: T={open,closed}, a potential for inhibition and boundary, and;


R = T x G = { r(j) | j = 1 to 4 } =

{(closed, self),(open, self),(closed, others),(open, others)}, and;

there is process P to creation, whereby;

P= { p(i) | i = 1, 2, 3 } = {assignment, manifestation, containment}

The large scale distribution of ideas depends on ideoscopic knowledge of and command over this subtle and creative process or power P of creation: the ability to compare and confer status being part of the creative power of thought, e.g., A=A. Plato knew this. He railed against people to think for themselves. Each person has the power and authority to assign a value (e.g., equality); both command of the process P of creation and the liberty to exercise this ability, together with a mental and linguistic aptitude to manifest or create such an assignment for oneself.

Over the century of the self, people have lost their power and misplaced their values, now, kings and governments vie to be the only authority with the power to confer status. Click the link and watch the videos for an uncommon look at how human thirst for happiness has been used against you to rob you of your humanity.  The people who have given up or have lost their humanity to the false powers have misplaced values as well.  When people restore their humanity they will find the power they need to confer the status of being humane.

Below is a matrix (PxR) that symbolizes the variable functions of a sign system (English) as a unified semiotic field – derived from these definitions. Each cell has an atomic weight (not shown). In this table, each cell is an atomic unity that generates a state of thought; expanding in time and space. It shows the confluence of power and conditions generating the peculiar essence to each listed word/idea. Words can be defined as the molecular building blocks of a language – the molecular particulates needed to construct ideas. All ideas are themselves dependent upon the power P of creation and the potentiality of the relationships R that people have and are committed to. Speech acts are signs of that commitment.

At the top: the objects self and other symbolize psychosomatic relationships that afford a set of engagement conditions. The objects open and closed symbolize physical relationships that afford a set of boundary conditions. Together, they form a universal affordance, formalizing biophysiological boundary and engagement conditions. These relationships R embody the separation of the objects in space time; open and closed, self and other, in the various types of interdependently unifying configurations. They represent natural relationships R by symbolizing the valence of biophysiological influences on life; such as the fact that opposites attract and inhibitors inhibit among other interesting features of objects, things and their states of being.

Semiotic Field of Thought

This table demonstrates how the process P of creation (defined as a power set and listed vertically down the left-hand column) is objectified and expressed as the initial conditions in the creation or formation of objects in the world of experience; such as those listed. This biophysiological and psychosomatic potential orients the function f of each speech act, each word; the selected affordance determines the input function, domain and range for one’s own judgment. Consider the making or breaking of bonds in the ideas that are symbolized by the two symmetrical columns in the right-side of this matrix.

As you may surmise, the phonetic alphabet is in itself a physical symbol system (albeit one comprised of atomic particulates) that symbolizes and condenses these powers and conditions into the range of one’s own composure; the affordance of which is pragmatically acquired while learning motor and social skills.  Yet, because modern philosophy has failed to develop just this sort of ideoscopic knowledge, the connection is not pointed by instruction and demonstration, it is left to the imagination of each succeeding generation of children.  Many older children often miss the connection and thereby lack grounded concepts.  This creates adults with many doubts and few anchors in their world of experience.

As a basis for a language like English, anyone can now see how this system evolves coherent states of being that we already know about (and routinely refer to). Any word in existence, from any language, can potentially refute this theory. Because every term of every language can be defined in this way, there have been plenty of chances produced. Falsification is a property of a valid scientific theory. So, I invite others to try and refute this theory, I welcome their attention and trial.

Please let me know, with your comments, how it goes.  Until someone does refute this theory, let us regain our humanity and insist on humanism in all science:  the belief in a thinking human being that is capable of partaking of the power of creation: A human being who knows what creative power is, and becomes a willing participator, thereby (in that ideoscopic knowledge), in the process of creation.  Let him or her then be one of those human beings that attends to hastening and accommodating rather than obstructing and destroying the creative process for the Good of our humanity.

The Semantics of Semiosis

I know I said in my last post that I would continue with some examples of the molecular structure of signs, I have decided to postpone that demonstration.

I do this because a fellow empiricist sent me Rudolf Carnap’s paper “Empiricism, Semantics, and Ontology” available here, all but accusing me of violating the basic principles of empiricism and leading back to a metaphysical ontology of the Platonic kind.  Nothing could be further from the truth.  In later conversation, my friend assured me that he was not accusing me, however, he did mistake the subject matter of my semantics from within a framework of linguistic (lexical or functional) semantics. It occurred to me that others are doing that as well.

It is difficult to speak about any sort of meaning in any context because much of modern society, including societies of professionals, have been covertly driven to and infected by mediocracy.

Google was the flag bearer of mediocracy onto the Internet when they further distorted the value of quantity over quality and pursued their business plan of monopolizing content irrespective of any judgments over any sort of quality, such as: harmlessness, lawfulness, fit, utility, relevance, truthfulness, trust, etc.  Why did Google announce “they would do no evil”?  (NOTE:  This is not intended as defamatory, rather, it is stated as a matter of fact.) The announcement means that the object called evil was presupposed in the mind of the speaker.  This speaks to the process of semosis and to the fact that all public signs presuppose their objects.

Young people who expect to succeed in the future had better abandon any ideological, nominalist, secular or doctrinal and linguistic presuppositions they have about semantics and learn about semiosis.  That is best done by viewing a video skit that is the very best introduction I have ever come across in my thirty years of practice.  I dare say I could have not done a better job than John Deely in explaining this subject matter: the subject matter of semiotics.  The video is in five parts for easier viewing.  One should listen to all five in order to form complete picture of semiotics and what it is semiosis is all about (at least in the sense that I have come to know it and what I have in mind when I refer to objectivity, meaning, relevance, semantic objects and structures, truth, etc.).

Here is the introduction and part one.

A sign, as ordinarily understood, is simply something that suggests the presence or existence of something else, a perceptible indication of something not immediately apparent. What’s so difficult about that? Why should that require the development of a whole new perspective on reality and experience, as so-called “semiotics”, as the study of the way signs works, claims? This video, a dialogue between a semiotician and a proponent of “realist” philosophy, addresses directly the question of what is the difference semiotics makes for our understanding of what is a sign. (by John Deely)

The Semantics of the Symbol.

In a 2008 post, Semantics Maps, Meaning and Other Nebulous Notions, I described how an alphabet represents a set of sound symbols that are interpreted as word formulas in readware technology. If you skip over my long-winded ranting about what is called semantics and ontology in the computer industry, you will see that I included Adi’s matrix for English near the bottom. This matrix semantically maps the (atomic) sound symbols of the language from the creative powers and substance of thought (a creative soul).

Essentially, this is a mapping from a unified awareness, or the essence of a world-building thought or mind, into the atomic symbols of the language. On the other hand, one might see it is a mapping of the symbols we use to make language about the world onto any resident human’s thoughts of the world. I did not characterize it in this way, as the formulable essence of a world-making soul, as I did in the post previous to this one. Instead, I just put the definition out there relating it to the ways words and thoughts represent the world, i.e., their semantics. Yet, no one seemed to understand the semantic functions of Adi’s elementary processes and polarities; at least few people shared any comments with me.

In the later half of this decade, I found that many computer professionals, especially writers and promoters in the field, were expecting breakthroughs in semantic technology, from existing efforts, and did not have the time of day to entertain something so different as the software we created.  Instead, they stayed with the status quo –which is how it has been for the last few decades. Nearly everyone, it seems, has taken up a position on the sidelines –waiting for the next big thing.

Now here we are in 2010 and I am here talking about the same things I was ranting about from 1998 to 2008, because there are serious problems with the way people seem to be thinking. When you mention “creative thinking,” for example, people tend to think of brainstorming and executive retreats with NLP.  This is so wrong-headed that it is just one more thing that tears us down. You don’t have to take my word for it.

In a recent Newsweek article about the crises in creativity, authors and writers talked about the fact in some detail, there is also an audio interview with the writer. While they mentioned that so-called “brainstorming,” practiced by corporations and educational facilities, does not work, they were not able to say how thinking works. They were reporting that, using the Torrance Creativity Quotient (CQ) scale, they could definitively show that creativity is on the decline –and has been since 1990– while the IQ scores of children are increasing about 10% per year due to the Flynn effect (where each generation of children show an increase in IQ score).

My experience is not with education but with reading and processing information and semantic recognition. In the process of implementing a semantic recognition system, for reading and understanding the meaningful relations of the expressions of a text, I learned about the powers of creative thinking, directly, by trial and practice. And I believe I understand creative thinking correctly when I characterize it as the intellectual power of a world-building soul. Calling it a world-building or world-making soul is a way of representing the necessary processes of creativity. It does not matter what we call it, as long as everyone understands what it is we are doing here (with language or with thought).

No one would debate that people do represent the world of experience with language, but the formal methods of functional grammar and lexical semantics seem only to help determine if a statement meets the truth conditions covered by a rule. Scientist and logicians in this field do not concern themselves with what is in the world or with the way the world works, the way thought works or with how the world is represented in thought. If you ask them, they proudly say –that’s not our call or concern.

Instead they concern themselves with structuring and mapping the logic of a belief, proposition or “speech acts” and with the sentimental composition of particular statements about some thing (usually in or related to the content or context), where such logical strictures are then related to each other and proven true or false either by logic or by contest.  If it is language or even knowledge that describes the way the world works, then the problem with linguistic, lexical and logical semantics is that there is no semantic thesis that adequately defines the all-important relationship that holds between one’s thought of the world and one’s language of the world.

Thought, it seems, does not represent the world in the same way as does a natural language –or even with a private language of thought as philosophers once mused. No scientist or layman familiar with this topic would deny that there is a transformation of structure between thought and language. The semantics of the symbol must capture this transformation and account for all its values.

This post will review, for my readers, the central premise of the search for artificial intelligence and recast the character of Adi’s semantic thesis: explaining how world-making is empowered by the intellect, enacted by thought or mind; revealing the semantic relationship between thought and symbol and the means to objectively interpret the meaning of words, phrases and other expressions of any natural language.

Apparently, very few authorities recognize the phonemes of language as symbols. There is no mention of phonemes or morphemes in the examples of symbols in the physical symbol system page at Wikipedia.  For computer scientists, the symbol functions as a representation according to a computational or representational theory of mind (CTM/RTM).  In this regard, a phoneme qualifies as a symbol.  In addition, the number and range of the inventory of phonetic sounds of the human language is relatively stable over a much longer period than some of the other symbols listed as examples.

This CTM-based approach has survived years of enormous effort. With more than fifty years of support, it has enjoyed large amounts of funding and a take-up in every computer science department at every university. Students and their professors and all manner of well-funded AI researchers have been working on CTM/RTM-driven efforts under the premise of the Physical Symbols System Hypothesis (1976, PSSH; original paper by Alan Newell and Herbert Simon).

Their hypothesis is that a physical symbol system (such as a computer system) has the necessary and sufficient means for intelligence.  That thesis has been hotly debated and any development of a general “intelligence” has remained illusive, but you needn’t have my word about it. Nils Nilsson’s 2007 paper is a good view on the status of PSSH since 1976, and its prospects today, where he writes:

Newell and Simon admitted that
The hypothesis could indeed be false. Intelligent behavior is not so easy to produce that any system will exhibit it willy-nilly. Indeed, there are people whose analyses lead them to conclude either on philosophical or on scientific grounds that the hypothesis is false. Scientifically, one can attack or defend it only by bringing forth empirical evidence about the natural world.

There has certainly been no shortage of intelligent, even brilliant, computer, cognitive and brain scientists working from this premise and the counter premise –that there is no “intelligence”; it is just a bunch of patterns, neurons and chemical reactions.  Unfortunately neither approach is completely satisfying or demonstrative of more than a kind of mechanical or algorithmic reckoning; acting out of a specific rule, or from initial conditions. These are so specific that these “physical symbol systems’ tend to break unless they are narrowly focused in a well defined domain. People, the other example of “physical symbol systems” in evidence, are far more resilient.

In my last post, I argued that the empirical evidence is that people have a soul (naturally) and computer systems don’t.  I hope that I identified that as the main problem in the field, and if not, I am doing so here and now.  I described the character that Tom Adi and I were looking for when we began our work on search and the semantic recognition problems in 1984. Tom and I had both been working in the computer industry since the late seventies, but not in AI and outside of university settings, and so I was not familiar with the PSSH or with Jerry Fodor’s Language of Thought Hypothesis (LOTH) from the same time period (at the time).

For different reasons, the affinity that Tom and I shared, was that: linguists, philosophers and logicians, and psychologists, had so far failed to give an adequate account of concepts.  None offered a semantic thesis sufficient to explain the way people represent the world in thought and language. Both of us saw this as a reason for the “meaning” failure in automatic translation systems. That is the problem that prompted Tom to organize and undertake an original semantic study into the roots of meaning –so to speak.

While I previously believed otherwise, since then, I have found that the conventions of language are not part of the foundations of thinking. According to Adi’s research and findings, they may be derived directly from Adi’s elementary objects of thought.  It not only seems right, as it is in one’s own experience, it makes sense that first comes the orderly form of thought then comes language.

Some writers seem to confuse the power to synthesize and generate ideas with mental faculties used in the production of language out of the human disposition (claims/conclusions) and the ensuing expression and discourse in the chain of events.  I did that myself in the early part of my career. What took years of reconciliation for me to learn (in light of Adi’s results), is that: each and every true thought is an enactment –either the act of enacting, or the state of being enacted– an activity that is quite apart from but linked (through the disposition) to the faculty of language in people.

I want to now introduce readers to a fresh application of the psychological notion of thinking; how human thought (or mind) operates, and; what mind operates on (Adi’s objects and processes); how Adi’s semantics link those intellectual processes –the objects of thought– to language, and; how this formative intellect is encoded and carried by the physical symbols of the world of experience. In that regard, let me first define what I mean here by the term thinking.

I don’t mean to define the mental faculties, such as pattern recognition, memory, logical reasoning and the rest; this post is not about those mental faculties and processes.  I will not bring out Adi’s formal definitions here as they are available on another page (accessible using the tab at the top of this blog). Here I will attempt to characterize the activity of thinking as the transformation and synthesis of sensation, information and perception into the substance of the universal essence –the intellectual power of a world-making soul.

At the end, I hope to have demonstrated how it is this essence, this formulable essence found by Tom Adi, that is the essence of ANY material or matter, indeed, any phenomena within the psychological world of experience. For if this notion were not so; if the essence of world-making were not so formulable –so capable of being easily formulated– how could any child represent the world in their thought and thinking –either with or without language.

I hope to demonstrate to my reader not only that the intellectual powers and essence to thought are formulable, functional and instrumental to symbolic representation, but how so. I will show that it is the true thought’s substantial essence and intellectual power that becomes, as it manifests itself in every disposition and dispensation (i.e., the intellectual power of thought issuing from the authority to use it; e.g., the authority to assign a name) every inference we make and all the reckoning we do.

Before I do that I want to explain why the objects in the psychological world of experience, including natural languages, logical propositions and other accepted physical symbols, are insufficient for general intelligence in our artificial symbolic processing systems.  Because, by focusing on words and ungrounded propositions in a psychological world that is in flux with emotion and full of uncertainty, scientists seem to have reached a dead-end.  No amount of sequencing can straighten it out. This is because the world of experience is to thinking (and intellectual thought processes) what the quantum world is to the world of classical mechanics.

In the Ontology of Action/Enactment below, we have the universe of action and reaction represented by the science of physics and its major fields or divisions. Opposite, as if a mirror image on the right, we have the universe of enactment (and the state of either enacting or being enacted) and reenactment (and the state of either reacting or being re-enacted).  One side is material, the other immaterial.  Both sides (along with the nature of each respective universe) are implicated in the world-building nature to life.

While quantum mechanics is rendered below the horizon and opposite consciousness it can only be associated for a short time.  It is a transformation of thinking to consider and realize how classical mechanics is more descriptive of the nature of thought or mind than quantum mechanics.  In a sane person, the mind is as decisive, orderly and determined as our solar system in spite of current experience that is so often disorderly and absurd.

Being in the world of experience is unpredictable; it is full of uncertainty. There are swarms of composite particulars and indefinite substance made up of all kinds of individual and material particles and immaterial ideas –ambiguity at every turn– corresponding to visible and invisible particles, attractions and repulsions. That everything has a spin, including language, should not be lost on the modern individual in tune with events of the last decade.

True and considered thought, on the other hand, must summon from the disposition of a world-building soul, the powers of world-making –for discovering the set of laws or principles and the physical operations– the powers for enacting the set of forces and constraints, those governing the lawful composition and destruction of bodies, along with the operations for moving, aggregating and separating them. These are the powers the human race needs to survive.

The human mind seeks to control the character and motions of the bodies that are distributed within the boundaries and in the domain and range of things in the psychological world of experience. Thought works through the action and the force of intellectual and creative powers. It is a biological function: to think is to become, to be –to manifest thought and make manifest its grand schemes. Thinking with the objects of thought produce the symbols, words, sentences and statements, science, art, and all manner of institutions along with the rest of culture.

Thinking is a creative and evolutionary procedure. Aggregated true or provisionally-true thought –some might call that a meme or a unit of cultural transmission– progresses along the onto-genetic trajectory of a world-making soul. It should be no surprise that thinking, like life, is a biological process on an evolutionary path. Life is the union of both passable and impassable aspects to being.

The intimacy everyone knows and feels with thought and art is the indubitable knowledge people have to rise above other creatures (and creature-habits). The power to become cultured and to build a world suitable and similar to one’s most cultured ideal of being. This is about wielding the power that once was the exclusive domain of the Pharaoh’s of Egypt, the Princes of Arabia and Persia, India and China, the Emperors of Rome and all the Popes and Kings that came before us.

If I were to carry this metaphor out, one might imagine a combination of powers to be required, including the power of dominion: authority and control. It is necessary to have authority (or control) over the necessary functionality as well as all internal or external constituents in the function, domain and range of one’s thought, for reason of establishing the identity, appearance and order of authority; for example.

One would need the power and authority to name, assign, dispose or dispense with any matter. One needs be capable of decreeing any event or occurrence, either actual or potential, or material or immaterial, to be, happen or to take place. This, for the sake of the unified control over the distribution of functions of the human imagination (and motor skills) and one’s reason and power to distinguish and determine the constituents, including the language, in the function, domain and range of one’s thought. Thirdly, one would need the power and ability to accommodate, order and unify all the external and internal constituents determined to be relevant, into the unification function, domain and range of one’s thought. I call this unity and these powers the power of thought.

These powers are credible enough to explain how things come into being, and; in the formal semantic theory proposed by Tom Adi, they comprise the formulable essence of the psychological experience of all the things we find in material existence. They are: the power of assignment, the power of manifestation, and; the power of containment. Adi calls these elementary processes implicating the process of assigning, the process of manifesting and the process of containing, without commenting further. I identify them with the intellectual powers of thought (mind or consciousness). Let’s examine them one by one.

The Power of Assignment:  The power, authority, faculty and liberty and the necessary and sufficient process to confer status (such as equality, e.g., A=A) property, rights or truth, to confer is to bring together and also to compare; it is a movement (to give) to name, to identify, to indicate, point to, attend to, etc. In business, the power of assignment is indispensable, as it is in nearly all aspects of one’s own life and personal affairs.

The Power of Manifestation: The power, authority, faculty and liberty and the necessary and sufficient process to create, project, appear or make some thing or entity to appear, happen or take place. Just like one manifests one’s own thoughts in their behavior. When you make a decision to go to a location different from where you presently are, you use this power to enact that disposition and make it actually happen. Your motor functions react to your intellectual will power. If your intellectual will power is strong it will happen.

The Power of Containment: The power, authority, faculty and liberty and process necessary and sufficient to accommodate, quantize, structure, frame and otherwise create order out of chaos.

According to Adi’s theory, assignment, manifestation and containment are elementary processes. They combine into a power set (the formulable essence of the set of intellectual powers) available to the consciousness of any individual. It is my view, that Adi’s processes are consumed by the mental (cognitive, imaginative, rational) faculties of thinking by splitting them into formative functions (e.g., thinking as an influential experience).

The semantic matrix at the top represents these ontic and formative functions distributed over the potential of perceived relationships within the domain (of thought, mind) and ranging over all world-making operations. These are expressed with operations typical of simple and compound and polarized actions, reactions, interactions, and bonds; enabling simple and compound compositions, and so forth. This is part of Adi’s semantics and derives from the semantic matrix where each phonetic symbol is taken as the sign of a specific, selective and formative operation or function in the domain and range of one’s own thought.

In one language study conducted in English, Tom Adi compiled statistics of the distribution of these ontic functions over about 30,000 frequently-used words; (complex lexical symbols) expressing such polarized actions and interactions using the English language. Every part of speech was represented according to how commonplace each part of speech is in regular use. All the words included in the study had three or more letters. We found out many interesting things, not the least of which is: there is an absence of action and interaction by containment (there is no word in English expressing a containment mapping applied to a defined domain set) in any of the vocabulary we tested.

Tom interpreted this as a natural law of complex systems. As a law of system control– there is no direct control. That is: No process or object can directly control (exercise a mapping of containment on) another process or object. Control of others (other interacting objects) is either enacted by assignment (control by instruction, the most common form) or by manifestation (control by action causing a reaction).

Adi found that control, in the great majority of interactions (925/991 or about 93% of the vocabulary falling into this group), is enacted by assignment, i.e. by issuing instructions that others execute (machine control, obedience, cooperation in good faith). In a small percentage (66/991 or about 7%) of interactions, control is the enactment of a manifestation causing a reaction (e.g., a behavior causing a reaction: imitation, following a leader, reacting to a catalyst or provocateur). This has interesting personal and social implications. For example, a human community is never directly coerced to do anything.

I would like to go further but, seeing as this post is longer than the last, and having laid out the link between thought and the symbols of language, I will leave my reader to absorb these notions and to sort out some of the rest of the implications.  While this post has been mainly about the semantic link between (atomic) thoughts and atomic symbols. In the next post, I will get to the semantics of molecular symbols (words). I will show some examples of how they influence the disposition and how we learn from them.

The Semantics of the Soul

Scientists say the brain is the organ of intelligence and imagination and the human soul or psyche is widely understood as the wrapper or envelope for a singularly distinctive intellect often simply called: the mind. By way of stating the obvious, I wish to underline that the powers of the human intellect and the capacity to think, calculate and reason, are attributes of beings with a particular kind of soul (a psyche) with a perceptive mind of a certain kind of character.

I am someone who would not dispute that all living things in this world of experience partake in amounts, more or less, of a single soul-substance on the basis that there is only way of being alive in this world. That is the genesis and evolutionary trajectory of the biological process of life. Together with life itself, there are a multitude of ways of life (deen in Arabic) and living things. The unity of these might comprise what I will call here, the World Soul – or the World-Making soul. The purpose of making up the world is part of the topic of this post.

On this stand, each living thing, then, should also have or display some aspect of life of only one kind or mind, that is, a world-making mind. The implications of such a view could be the subject of some debate, although; I wish to narrow this discussion to the subject of the human variety of souls, and; the kind and character of mind and intellect we might enjoy from any fellow human being, irrespective of their language or society.

I beg my reader will allow the loose definition of the mind as a unity, an intellectual potentiality or intellect united with will; both necessary and functional parts of life as a human being. I can further define the intellect as being a cognitive power sufficient for the making/creation of all manner of intelligent dispensations and dispositions –both actual, and only imagined or potential.– as it is, in any case, quite truly a topic more involved than my topic here.

The psyche or soul can be demonstrated to be the immaterial part of the body, (a purposeful) part of us (persons, individuals, human agents) that imbues us with intentional knowledge and perception and a unified awareness of mind and movement. What is called the human soul or psyche is that part of the living creature that accommodates a mind. The soul, mind and body comprise a unity, achieving the instrumentality of a cosmic syzygy –the form of a natural body having life potentially within it. Together they comprise the object of a unified awareness that does think and has intention, knowledge and perception along with the powers to create, and the reason to make dispensations and dispositions.

In that sense what we call the psyche is a composite of soul, mind or intellect, and the body with which it unites for a time. The soul-substance can be understood as the incorporeal yet purposeful part of the material body for what follows here below.

It is my claim here that such a substance as a soul is necessary for any natural or artificial body, for any reckoning agent, to be capable of comparing (grasping/holding, recognizing) that which is befitting the natural intellect or mind –available upon recall just in case of one’s pending disposition or dispensation. Before anyone raises the objection of soul as substance or that computing machines can not have a soul of any kind, let me offer up Aristotle’s definition of kinds of bodies and the all-important soul, found in this translation of his treatise on the soul:

“Among substances are by general consent reckoned bodies and especially natural bodies; for they are the principles of all other bodies. Of natural bodies some have life in them, others not; by life we mean self-nutrition and growth (with its correlative decay). It follows that every natural body which has life in it is a substance in the sense of a composite. But since it is also a body of such and such a kind, viz. having life, the body cannot be soul; the body is the subject or matter, not what is attributed to it. Hence the soul must be a substance in the sense of the form of a natural body having life potentially within it. But substance is actuality, and thus soul is the actuality of a body as above characterized…”Aristotle, De Anime, Book II, Chapter 1: (translation by J. A. Smith)

Aristotle might not have imagined a composite body quite like a (non-intelligent) computer system, an artificial body –composed of a central processor or CPU, memory and I/O devices, software applications and programs — although his definition allowed for reckoned bodies –of which a computer system is an exemplar in both the potential and actual sense.

Yet, here, it is the necessary and sufficient actuality –that substance or formulable essence “of a natural body having life potentially within it” – that is absent of the “intelligent computer system”. The correct kind of soul is altogether absent from this otherwise stellar exemplar of the whatness of a reckoning (yet neither thinking nor perceiving) body that we refer to as a computer or system, and also as a “search engine” when applied as such.

I have argued that if we intend our computational or reckoning bodies (our search engines) to become intelligent, or become capable of intelligent behavior, and if we also desire them to think as any layman does, then they must be given the same formulable essence as has a natural human body. This should not be seen as a strange claim or new idea as it is an ancient and well-accepted one. A little farther on from the passage above, Aristotle continues:

“…the soul is the first grade of actuality of a natural body having life potentially in it. The body so described is a body which is organized.”

This hints at what one might look for –that is, a body (a self-contained computing system) organized by the soul-substance (a composite and formulable form) of a natural (living) body. That formulable essence might be called the semantic matrix of life, a unified composite of being in existence and having intention (a directive-mind). This form of being, by way of orientation and creative powers, would have all the knowledge necessary to (imaginatively) actualize being; not just a passive being; a thriving actuality (a well-ordered, organized, and cultivated being) able to acquire, possess and use knowledge. The master, Aristotle, goes on to define a soul:

“What is soul?-an answer which applies to it in its full extent. It is substance in the sense which corresponds to the definitive formula of a thing’s essence. That means that it is ‘the essential whatness’ of a body of the character just assigned. Suppose that what is literally an ‘organ’, like an axe, were a natural body, its ‘essential whatness’, would have been its essence, and so its soul; if this disappeared from it, it would have ceased to be an axe, except in name. As it is, it is just an axe; it wants the character which is required to make its whatness or formulable essence a soul; for that, it would have had to be a natural body of a particular kind, viz. one having in itself the power of setting itself in movement and arresting itself.” – Aristotle, De Anime

This is what the “intelligent computer” cries out for. As it is, the computer is just a computer, the web is just a web, and networked intelligence is just a dream. Artificial Intelligence has no soul and it has all but ceased to be, except in name, “intelligence” at all. For most practitioners, it has already thrown off the name and put on the new moniker: the semantic web –not being any the more intelligent at all. It is the same for the body social. That crowd calls out for a soul.

Nonetheless, the science of AI wants the character which is required to make its whatness or its formulable essence characterize a human psyche –the form of the human intellect. This may not be just any kind of soul, it is worth repeating, but a soul with a particular kind of character –that of a living, cultivating, directed/oriented human being. This, of course, is paramount to one “having in itself the power” (or power schema) “of setting itself” (a natural body) “in movement and arresting itself”. That power would be the form of the intellect or the mind.

Notwithstanding certain progress in the field of robotics, sometimes called nouvelle AI, and other than the language and semantic research of Dr. Tom Adi and our work together on semantic recognition and intelligent search systems, there has been very little R&D along these lines. Philosophers have been unable to define mind. What is called cognitive psychology or cognitive science is not the same thing at all. The closest field of psychology to this school of thought would be that of the ecological psychology espoused by James, Gibson and Shaw.

Ecological psychology is characterized by the interdependence of living organisms in an environment. An ecologically minded soul is concerned with preserving the environment and natural resources so that such resources are used in sensible ways (e.g., not to profit the few). This is the character of a mind and intellect involving a soul in intelligent action and movement in a sensible direction.

Such a disembodied mind needs the sensitivities and effectivities of a body to process information. It needs to learn or know that (for the effect to transpire) there needs be cooperation of the natural body (independent agents, people) and in the appropriately tuned soul (cultivated persons, societies, culture) to institute and realize such interdependence in the world of individual experience and ego.

Returning now to the semantics of such a soul; it is the formulable essence –the form and field– of being a World Soul, then, what is missing from Artificial Intelligence (AI). It is what continues to be absent from the “semantic web” and “semantic search engines,” and all manner of software agents and expert systems.

This claim is based upon the long-lasting definitions above and the following observations of the research and developments in the computer industry that have stood since (at least) 1975.

–The arithmetic logic unit, truth table and memory of the modern microprocessor is not a soul (of the character described).

–A set of physical symbols is not a characteristic soul. The so-called physical symbol system is, to-date, a poorly fashioned conglomerate of socially unstable and unsuitable symbols (or psychological propositions) miming (by heritage alone) some expressed, and largely (to-date) unformulated, yet believed, essence of being human.

–Since 1975, the leading theories (not including but derived from PSSH), namely; LOTH and CTM/RTM have failed to fulfill the requirements for producing general intelligence in or on or with silicon or software (not to deny chess playing computers, some toys, and creeping incremental-ism seen in smart phones). Empirically, with regard to strong or weaker forms of AI, and with particular reference to the representational theory, these theories are proving to be more in error than true, thus:

–There is a set of physical symbols, processes and operations that formulate, in essence, the character we seek, and such a formulable essence has proven sufficient to bind the human intellect, as is in ample evidence. Yet there is little about its character that is compatible with the language of thought hypothesis or a computational/representational theory of mind that depends heavily on that grammar of natural language.

–Any modern computer system, also a physical symbol system –a collection of symbols and algorithms (software) running on hardware comprised of a microprocessor with I/O devices, and recordable/alterable memory –has, still, only the actuality of calculating and recording according to a rule or fixed logical procedure, and; there is no foundation to reason about the world –no sense of a world-making soul, therefore, no justifiable belief that such a “computer system” will ever become “intelligent” in the ways we human beings expect.

Today many people are occupied in an economic war, culture wars, knowledge wars and holy wars as well. Those engaging in these wars are certainly not enjoying a unified awareness of the character described or they would be more accommodating. Contrary to those who hope intelligence will magically emerge from the content on the Internet, the content is not a reflection of a unified world soul-substance but of its abuse. The reflection seen by many, comes off the much grittier cloud of confusion, doubt, depravity and inhumanity running rampant and out of control in a crowd of independent beings –some human, some not. It is getting harder and harder to know the difference.

As it is, the computer system is without the formulable essence of being human; how might it tell the difference? It is also my claim that no amount of experience will make up for the lack of a soul of the character described. That is that which I have referred to as the human soul or psyche — the form or envelope of the intellect and mind, at-one –to borrow a phrase from Aristotle– with the body, i.e.; the formulable essence of the unity and awareness of being human (and being capable of making, creating and cultivating one’s world).

And who can deny the incredible world we have made for ourselves. There are many incredible man-made achievements that shine. I am here focusing on the very best computer systems we have fielded. The so-called semantic search engines (linguistic and logical algorithms and programs), Hakia, Bing (Microsoft and Powerset,) Cognition, among many others (linked are those brands that have had the time to prove themselves), have content –though they are without the necessary and sufficient soul to determine its relevance.

What they offer instead is to structure content for independent access (such as Yahoo has done with their index) or frame it in a vehicle supporting sharing and free expression (as, the Semantic Web Initiative, Google, Facebook and other social networks are doing) among groups and communities. Adding edicts and structure to confusion artificially orders it –but at what cost. Is that where the scarce resources of personal and capital should be applied? Has anyone any idea of how many trillions of dollars are spent in this regard? What is wrong with the natural order, the cosmic order –the order of things that last eons delimiting chaos in its wake?

What these modern technology vendors offer is for the better; one might argue that it is for the greater good, and that is good enough to make money for them and their shareholders. That is the object of the soul of the enterprise. It is hard for market leaders to move out of such a zone of economic certainty and confidence, to summon the courage it inevitability takes. Maybe Steve Jobs could, though few others have shown such strength of conviction towards such simple elegance in the technology business. Yet this is another topic altogether.

It is, or should be, clear that it is the embodied dispensation and disposition of things perceived –enactments of the mind– that are the causes for their public representation by way of the physical symbols we are the most familiar with, or that are found to be the most appropriate. The physical symbols, appearing here and anywhere, are the artifacts we use to convey some past intelligent action, where a text is only a passive (often confused) record of the result of some actions of intellectual actuality –it is not the intelligent activity itself, nor the form of it.

The atomic symbols of oriented speech are the only objective utilitarian representations we have (though this may be a disputed fact, it is a fact). These representations are conveniently, if not stoically, used as indicators or pointers, and signs. They represent the formulable processes and essence they are intended to represent. This is interpreted by the subject (you and I) and rendered into language and other conventional forms of art and science.

It may be that simply by way of sensing the representational appearance, occurrence or instantiation, (as information) in the flow of experience, that an original act is reformulated, re-enacted or animated using the imagination, such that the animation either impinges on conscious awareness or springs to mind and is recognized by one’s intuitive presence in the cosmic syzygy of a unified awareness. No one knows for certain, but here above is considerable doubt about a representational or computational theory of mind.

In a world full of confusion and doubts, shadows and wispy reflections, there is nothing to be-soul the network of computers we all call the Internet or the web (version whatever). It is found to be both necessary and sufficient for mind to take a form determinate in order that judgment –the true thought– may ensue. For the judgment to express its nature to be true and just, it seems to me that the form of the judgment must not be reduced and therefore lacking in definition. While the fact today, is that for the general case –there is no general form– no definition at all.

It seems that everything, whether as a matter of fact or of essence, in essence, is considered relative. The implication of this is evident on the surface of so called semantic web or AI-based systems now making their way into social computing, and by nothing more than superficial examination thereof. The sad implication is that, as a reflection, it reflects the superfluous, indeterminate, indisposed, disinterested and disengaged nature of the society and modern culture dominated by relative skeptics, dogmatic incrementalists and capitalists.

At some time it becomes necessary to take a stand and to hold a position. That takes courage, determination –indubitable knowledge– and fidelity, above all else, to the correct or higher knowledge. That is the matter of opinion that matters in many circles. Many economists as well as computational engineers, and certainly a majority of statisticians, consider the highest form of knowledge to behold is the statistical probability of the event certain. This differs from this opinion that the highest form of knowledge is that of the world-building soul.

I believe that it makes all the difference in the world. What is your opinion?