Cat scientists

[Martin Taylor 951122 16:20]

Bill Powers (951122.1200 MST)

I think Jack-the-cat is pussyfooting it out of the box and onto to track
leading from the sun-baked parking lot. Hope so.

We seem to be tracking perfectly in this post. I moved Jack's left foot
and you have followed up with a precisely placed move of his right (as
a human--controlled mainly by the left hemisphere).

Now I'd like to get back from Jack-the-human to Jack-the-cat, but before
doing so, we should note that Jack-the-human did find another way out
of the box--that is to say, JtH was able to control a perception other
than moving the stick in order to escape. I think we may come back to
this point further down the winding trail. But not now.

Jack-the-cat-in-the-box can't reason logically or symbolically as JtH can.
JtH can do this because he has been in other circumstances in which rods
were part of mechanical linkages, and has a perception of some possible
relationships that these other rods have made possible. JtCitB (that's
hard to type), we assume, can't do that. But JtC may have been in other
boxes with push-stick opening mechanisms, and has found that in box A there
is 100% correlation between door opening and Jack walking around the back
3-5 cm from the end and then lying on his left facing the clock; in box
B Jack has found a correlation of 0.93 between door opening and Jack sitting
at the back and then pouncing with a hiss toward the from; in box C Jack
has found a correlation of 0.73 between door opening and Jack walking in
an ever tightening spiral around the stick in the middle;... Obviously the
A world is more consistent than the B, and the C world is horrendously
unpredictable--but economics has to proceed, so let there be economist cats.

JtCitB is a scientist who has investigated several different domains of
knowledge. Jack has, in his career, been a social psychologist, a clinician,
an educator, and a human-factors expert. Jack has noticed that although
he may have seen the same people while he wore each of his hats, he had
to treat them quite differently each time. Jack has not seen the rods
and levers under the floor. Jack's science is not a unity, and he can't
bring to bear his knowledge (as an educator) that providing squeaky slates
for kids to write on is worse than giving them pencils and note-pads, when
he is figuring (as a sociologist) out what to do about the formation of
rival gangs in the school.

Back to the cat in the box.

JtCitB has been in many different boxes, in all of which the real way
of getting out has been the movement of a central stick. It is quite
possible that in some of these boxes, Jack has seen the stick, and
deliberately done something of which the stick movement is a component
perception. If so, that control will be part of the hierarchy when
reorganization stops, and in the next box, Jack may very well use it.
Jack's rituals (for that's all they are) will at least include the truly
effective perception, in just the same way that many folk medicines
contain truly active ingredients--willow tea has acetylsalycilic acid
(aspirin), for example. This kind of ritual will, for Jack, work quite
reliably, whereas rituals that don't include the effective perception
will not work in the next box and will eventually get reorganized away.

I'll stop here on the trail, for now, by quoting with approval:

    It works, every time, so he knows the theory is correct and
    complete. Or does he?

No, he doesn't. He doesn't have a theory at all. What he has is
_experience_. He knows, from past experience, what to do. He has no idea
at all of why he has to do that.

I love that word _experience_ in this context, thinking of how many people
use the same word to justify their very different (religious or secular)
faiths (rituals, stereotyped behaviours).