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Posts Tagged ‘Theory of Mind’

By using the term ecology, I mean the study of the interaction of people with their environment: the environment of human awareness and knowledge.

I think that most people, feel that they are aware of their surroundings.  Psychologists say that because you feel as though you are aware, you assume everyone else is as aware as you; more or less.  Unfortunately, it does not turn out that way.  There are a host of ill effects because  there seems to be very little in our awareness that any few people can agree upon.  The lack of shared knowledge, the lack of shared intelligence, have an affect on the different level or type or kind of awareness in societies of people everywhere.  If everyone were (explicitly) conscious of one and the same thing, then we could say that everyone is conscious of such and such.  But we cannot make such a statement or claim in this day and age.   A day and age of modern communications, computers and “open information” mind you.

Nonetheless human beings are modelers in this world or environment in that we build or construct models of it that suit us or satisfy us either by explaining or predicting the circumstances in which we find ourselves.  I should say that I take it for granted that there are both good and bad models.  I want to introduce you to a good model of the organism of intelligence (mentioned in my last post) that each of us use, even though most of us are not very conscious of it.  I expect that anyone can tell a good model from a bad one.  A good model is one that stirs or moves your awareness. It affects you in such a way as you are disposed, obliged even, to pay closer attention, as it obliges one to think more exactly about someone or something; it is one that warrants becoming more aware of it;  conscious of it, learning it: ultimately using it for enlightenment and for gain.

A model M is equivalent to a knowledge K. M=K because we employ models in making predictions about certain attributes just as we employ our knowledge. The term “attribute” is used here as a noun in an ordinary way to signify a quality or feature regarded as a characteristic or inherent part of someone or something. Every environment has attributes that are characteristic of it.

For example, the ecosystem is an environment that has the attributes of air, water, earth and fire. The goal is to find just those attributes (and no more) that are enough to quantify the valuable or significant changes that make a substantial difference; affect our surroundings in some way. That is, to generate or induce knowledge and awareness we must perform a transformation: we must transform (what is recognized to be) an attribute of the environment into a personal or individual affect. That may sound strange, so let me explain it a little further.

In the case of the ecosystem, the attributes air, water, earth and fire can affect us, and one might readily imagine how the presence or absence of water or air can induce different states of mind. In any case, they may be the cause of some serious condition that could affect any one of us; imagine the situation where there is no air to breath. This quality makes air a good attribute of this environment (the ecosystem) because we can readily imagine and predict how we could be affected given some arbitrary change in the situation. But: — are these attributes sufficient and all that is necessary to predict all possible changes in the environment that might affect us?

Imagine now, how difficult it must be for scientists, for anyone, to build a model of the environment of human knowledge, awareness and consciousness. In some circles of research, that is what AI and AGI engineers are trying, have been trying to do. It is true the engineers and programmers have not been up to the daunting task of it. Yet that does not diminish the fact that it is what needs to be done in order to produce an AGI, after all: we need to be able to model our own situational awareness.  By doing so, we may become better equipped to anticipate and reduce the affects of unwanted and harmful eventualities of which many people are all too aware.

For example, economists create models of economies with certain attributes and premises. For better or worse, this is done in order to deduce conclusions about possible eventualities. Economic models are useful as tools for judging which alternative outcomes seem reasonable or likely. In such cases the model is being used for prediction. Thus the model is part of some knowledge about the environment.

The model embodies the knowledge because it is itself a capacity for prediction. Thus, a model M can be considered to be fully equivalent to a knowledge. Therefore we can assume here that a model is synonymous with a knowledge. More specifically, it appears that a qualitatively relative definition of knowledge is warranted: “A Knowledge K is a capacity to predict the value which an attribute of the environment will take under specified conditions of context.”

Now let’s talk about people (sapients) and frame a model of their environment, that is, the environment of their awareness; of which they are aware (sapient). We can assume that everyone’s awareness changes in regular and predictable ways and each person has some knowledge that allows them to predict the value of attributes in their own awareness. Here, as you see, an awareness is equivalent to the environment in which we abide. We are intuitively surrounded by or abiding in the environs of sapience.

Before I begin the example let me reveal that I have a knowledge of the attributes of a denotative awareness that includes and subsumes all possible connotative environments. I will say there are eleven attributes to this environment of awareness but I will only introduce two of them we call “Self” and “Others” in this example. Like all the attributes of this rather explicit awareness, these two attributes, Self and Others, correspond with the real entities and their activities, self and others, in the world of ordinary affairs and situations. I am only using these two in order to keep the explanation simple and real and because that is all that is necessary to demonstrate the meaning of intelligence, which I will now define as: the organism or mechanism of the attributes of the environment to affect awareness.

So, to be clear, I am not going to give the complete specification of that organism or mechanism here, but I will show you how two of the attributes of the environment I have clearly in mind “affect” both my predictions and yours.  Incidentally, let me also define a “mind” as a (psychical) state space (e.g. abstract and mental space).  So we begin with an assertion: Besides my own self, there are others in my environment; the environment in which I exist and of which I am aware.

I embody the organism we call  intelligence (as do you)  and I have a knowledge K to predict that the value of a single measurement of the attribute Others, equivalent to and connotative of “wife” will be Gloria, just in case I am asked about it. This prediction is observed to be a transformation of the state space of the attribute Others, just like the state space of the attribute Self.  Under the specified conditions and in the context of my own environment, the state space is transformed, by my own knowledge K to be equivalent to my name=Ken. Under the same specified conditions of context: the connotative context “my wife” is connected to the denotative context (observable yet normally left tacit or unemphasized) by taking successive measurements (e.g. making interpretations) of these explicitly shared attributes of the environment of my awareness. I believe that once consumed, that much ought to become clear and self-evident, that is: I take it as being axiomatic.

I can also predict that additional measurements of the attributes Self and Others will yield different values equivalent to the connotative appearance of several other self-organized entities, things or activities, that become salient to my own environment from time to time. In this way (and only in this way) my Knowledge K is different than your knowledge T. It is peculiar to my thoughts and perceptions in the context of the environment situated where I live, i.e; to my awareness of that environment. You will have a similar situation –your own “context” (the particular circumstances that form the setting for an event, statement, or idea, and in terms of which it can be fully understood and assessed) of the environment of your own awareness. We don’t know each others knowledge or awareness. We (may only implicitly) know and share the explicit attributes of such a (sapient) awareness.

That is to say that I live in the same environment (of general awareness and sapience) as you. And I have a knowledge K of Self and Others, as attributes of this environment that (the relevance or significance of which) you may only now be becoming aware of. Both Self and Others are clearly attributes in our shared awareness. In fact, they are attributes of a universal environment for homo sapients. Remember that a knowledge T, K, …, or M is a capacity to predict the value which an attribute of the environment will take under specified conditions of context. Everyone has their own name, knowledge (whether implicit and explicit) and their own conditions of context. This is the private knowledge held inside them and perhaps also by relatives and friends.

Now we are able to make some observations and see some of the implications that flow from what has been stated above. We can intuit, for instance, that a wholesome knowledge K is evidenced whenever an organism produces information or reduces a priori uncertainty about its environment. I realize this is incomplete, though it demonstrates that (connotative and social) knowledge, text and all computer data is synthesized from (the transformation of) valid attributes A, which cannot be construed as being contained in or patterned by (computer) data nor by modern language.

Any invariant or regular and unitary attribute A (whereby individuals are distinguished) ought be seen as a continuity to be treated as valid– and used as a handy and trustworthy rubric for making or producing transformations (in the state space of a mind) applied in a context of the environment.  Each measurement produces a single valuation, that could be the same or different at any moment and from place to place –only appearing to be impossibly chaotic or complex.  For those that understand such things, such an attribute may be considered a correspondence.  This correspondence may be formalized as a functional mapping of the form A: Ɵ → Ɵ where Ɵ is the (denotative) state space of the environment mapped to the (connotative) state space of the environment.  We found more than a dozen types or configurations of functional mappings that are applied in variant connotative contexts.

So, to conclude: an environment of human awareness can be understood simply as the denotative and connotative surroundings and conditions in which the organism of the attributes (and capacity of independent awareness with a knowledge) operates, is asserted and is applied.

The good news is that now that we know that it is the organism of the attributes of the environment of awareness, consciousness, that is both explicit and universal (not connotative belief,  knowledge or perception or conception –which are all relatively defined) we can get down to resolving differences while  accommodating everyone.  To be specific, we can seek better understanding and control over perceptual and conceptual states of awareness in a decidedly invariant environment (awareness) of continuous change, where intelligence is any organism or mechanism of the attributes of an environment that affects such awareness and consciousness.

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We can also define semantics as the correspondence of both the denotative and connotative states of conception to the set of all possible functions given the attributes of the environment.  Now, if you want to know more details you will need to put me on a retainer and pay me.

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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;

therefore:

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.

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