[John Kirkland 20131121]
Whilst the rest of the flotilla is sailing into a later chapter my life-raft is bobbing along at a much slower pace.
I have to admit chapter 14 was rather hard going, partially because it introduced yet another set of amazing ideas to chew over.
There’s been quite a bit of press recently about ‘machine learning’ (see http://online.stanford.edu/course/machine-learning ). Is this an elaborated version of what BP calls problem-solving programs? Bill’s prescient comments regarding this type of learning (last sentence, final para p 180) provide an insight about possible future directions for robotics.
Reoranisation appears to be like structural transformation. It remains a puzzle to me how something is not the same but remains so (a variation on Zeno’s paradox). The emergent butterfly has the same genetic code embedded in it’s chrysalis, caterpillar and egg phases, yet each of these expressions represents a structural transformation. I wonder if less attention to the abstract notion of structure and more to function may be useful. And as Rick commented rightly to me earlier, it’s reverse engineering. From function to structure and back again. These are inter-twinned.
The shock of this chapter was finding out more of this inter-twinning. My focus had been primarily upon the flexible, malleable, plastic aspects of engagement processes: the nervous system’s business no less and it’s coping with sensed error etc. Then here the twin is introduced, the reorganisation system which is primarily to do with endrocrine systems (the gamut of communicating mechanisms relatively independent of the nervous system).
Does the concept ‘range of reaction’ have a place to play here, with reorganisation systems? And, how is this linked to ‘genetic source’ (which is known to change through a life-span and which is usually referred to as ‘endowment’). There’s bound to be a big arrow pointing at ‘genetic source’ as well since it too is an emergent system and not a taken-for-granted start-from-scratch inviolate presence. My hunch is that the ‘learned hierarchy of control’ has limits; for whatever reason (genetic, inborn error of metabolism, severe illness, chemical and radiation poisoning, and so on), there are ceilings. At times during this course I had thought mine was being reached and breached. I’m also fascinated at delevation (the opposite of going up, the downside of becoming less capable as with, say, age-related performance depreciation, Alzhiemers’ and so on) and how this may be accounted for with and by PCT. Bill mostly comments about increasingly complex skill acquisition. Yet, of course, it works both ways. Life is short and it’s getting shorter.
The endrocrine system is much slower than the nervous system. I’m unsure where or how hysteresis occurs. That is to say whilst there are connecting links from one twin to the other in Fig 14.1, this routing is not likely to be instant and immediate. For some people moods tend to down-grade the quality of their hierarchy of control. And this suppression may linger for hours, or years (depression).
Bill does not mention ‘personality’. Personality is the integration of the body politic, endrocrine, nervous and so on and so forth. I’m mentioning this because there are concepts like ‘temperament’ around (mentioned too in The Wonder Weeks). And, additionally, from our team’s extensive reworking of Block’s CCQ (California Child Questionnaire) we arrived at three primary dimensions which stood up to every empirical data set we’d laid hands on and could throw at it. In another set of studies our team mapped the semantic space of emotion words as well as, separately, an interactional set (I wanted to move away from in-person concepts like ‘angry’ and try to make these more social, as in ‘angry towards’). I’m not so much interested in elaborating this distinction here. The point I’m getting to is when these sets were applied to target concepts (in particular attachment’s autonomous, dismissive, preoccupied etc.) we arrived at stable vectors. I mention attachment theory as it’s been described as the only viable developmental theory of emotional development. Regardless of these little studies, my opening point was about ‘personality’ and its absence.
In brief, I found this chapter exciting, invigorating, challenging and well worth the effort to try and understand some implications. It’s terse, compact, to the point and demands re-reading several times.
Yes, and there a sections I’m still struggling with. Any gentle nudges would be welcomed. But why gentle? If the reorganising system is going to do what it’s designed for, maybe it needs a jolt out of the blue. And that brings me to the pedagogy, the final frontier.
As usual, comments and suggestions welcomed.
With kind regards
On Fri, Oct 25, 2013 at 5:52 AM, Richard Marken email@example.com wrote:
[From Rick Marken (2013.10.24.0950)]
Rupert Young (2013.10.24 16.15 BST)–
(Rick Marken (2013.10.21.1940)
Please go ahead and read the next chapter, Chapter 15, on Memory.It seems to me that this is an area where the least work has been done. It would be nice if the discussion about this chapter could focus on approaches to studying memory from a PCT perspective.
As the chapters are now longer than the earlier ones I wonder if we could do them over two weeks?
Yes! I have to do a workshop this weekend and then I’ll be up in Seattle visiting granddaughter so waiting an extra week sounds great to me.
Richard S. Marken PhD