Logic and levels

[From Bill Powers (930901.1030 MDT)]

Michael Fehling (930831.1452) --

I subscribe to an alternate view; namely, that we can use
logical structures and operations to "refer to" (as you say)
aspects of the cognitive/connative/affective mechanisms, but
that such logical descriptions are not to be confused with the
mechanisms themselves.

My "program" level is defined as containing the operations that
support logic, rule-driven processes, and so forth. After all, if
we human beings can use logical processes, the model has to
contain provision for them. Consider a person who writes the
following lines:

a(b+c/a) = ab + c

ab + ac/a = ab + c (expand left side)

ab + c = ab + c (simplify left side)

0 = 0 (subtract ab + c from both sides)


What levels of perception and control are required for the person
to go through this little proof? All levels from at least
configuration control through at least logic or programs seem to
be required. There is implied directionality (transitions), maybe
events (in writing the characters), relationship, category,
sequence or ordering, and rule-driven manipulation. We can
_perceive_ this as a proof. We can recognize what the steps are
accomplishing, and what the overall sequence of steps
accomplishes. There was clearly some goal in writing the steps
out, and "QED" indicates that it was reached.

What does it mean to say that one perception "refers to" another?
What kind of operation is "referring?" We experience this
operation all the time, but what kind capacity do we have to give
the model so that the _model_ can do it? I don't have an answer
to this one yet.

This is how I got to my levels, by trying to catch myself doing
things that required abilities that were not in the model. It's
devilishly hard. We always seem to occupy some set of processes
that are "about" other perceptions, and fail to notice the
perceptions right under our noses. One of the hardest processes
to notice is reasoning itself (particularly for the likes of us
on this net). When we're reasoning, we're reasoning about
_something else,_ and the reasoning itself is just a murmer in
the background. So we get confused between an activity of the
brain (the sentences and symbols we push around according to the
rules we know) and the processes that support this activity
(about which we can only conjecture). It's very hard (I know it
was hard for me) to see thought processes as simply perceptions
of something going on, without identifying with them. Yet that's
what you have to do in order to bring these processes to the
center of attention instead of just looking at the world through
them, like looking through a pane of colored glass. You have to
back off from the window far enough to see that the glass, not
the world, is colored. When we look at the world through the
logic level, the world looks logic-colored.

There was a woman named Joanna Fielding (???) who, a long time
ago, wrote a book called "A mind of one's own." I think I learned
how to model brains from her. She wrote about "catching
butterflies," a process of noticing things that flit in and out
of awareness, things that are perfectly clear and obvious except
that they go past too quickly to catch -- unless you're looking
for them. Once you catch them you wonder how you could have been
ignoring them all this time. I had this experience repeatedly
while trying to construct definitions of a hierarchy of
perceptions. It took me a very long time, for example, to realize
that relationships are perceptions. Even just saying that sounds
ridiculous now, but I can remember when relationships simply
existed in the world, given, without any sense on my part that I
had any influence on what relationships I would perceive.

Logic was a latecomer to the model, too. I used logic all the
time (and related processes like mathematics), but it simply
never occurred to me that this was something my own brain was
doing, and that it belonged in the model. Logic just sort of
existed and got applied. I now call this level the program level,
because of noticing other processes that had to be included.

Logic and mathematics and symbolic reasoning look quite different
to me now. They're much more optional than they used to be for
me, and considerably less able to push me around. When I get too
submerged in them I go out on my back deck and look at the
mountains, or start up Flight Simulator.

You've obviously done some exploring along these lines. What have
you come up with?



Bill P.