[Martin Taylor 2005.08.29.16.39]
[From Bill Powers (2005.08.29.0757 MDT)]
Martin Taylor 2005.08.28.22.31 --
I think you and I use the word memory differently.
Only in the range over which the word is used.
I don't think that is the only difference.
I don't know what the current thinking is on the various different kinds of memory, but in more colloquial terms, the memory of how to do something is quite separate from episodic memory. You may forget how to do something, just as you may forget what you had for dinner last Thursday, but when you do remember how to, say, ride a bicycle, you just do it, whereas when you remember what you had for dinner, you may re-perceive some aspects of the dinner.
We don't really care what "current thinking" is, do we?
I do, when it is not incompatible with PCT. I find it a good guide. But that's sort of irrelevant in this context, since I explicitly said I wasn't using it!
I don't see the difference you see. "How to do" something, in PCT, becomes simply a reference signal.
Not at all. A reference signal is "what to achieve", which has no real connection with "how to achieve it (aka. "How to do it"). "How to do" it is embodied in the developed structure of the perceptual input functions, the output functions, and their interrelationships produced by reorganization.
Forgetting how to do something is no different from forgetting any other kind of recorded perception. If you forget the recorded phrases or images in which the rules of chess are, for you, couched, you have forgotten how to play chess.
I'd say that "forgetting how to do" something could be caused by subsequent reorganization, by changes in output functions, or by changes in perceptual input functions. And I'll add a caveat here on behalf of Dag (and myself, too, really), that perceptual memory of the episodic kind may indeed be a part of the input to perceptual input functions, even though that kind of linkage falls outside of canonical HPCT.
Perceptual input functions that are not directly determined by genetics, and that develop differently consequent to different experiential history, would be similar in principle to the memory for how to do something.
"Similar in principle" is a weasel term. It means "they're different, but I still say they're the same."
I don't think it's a weasel term at all, no matter how often you reiterate that it is. It's a shorthand way of saying that the underlying structures are functionally the same, although the surface manifestations may be different. It's the same as saying that a sandpile avalanche is similar in principle to the instability of the Bomb in the Hierarchy. No weasel there, either. You understand one, you understand the other.
A perceptual input function generates an output (perceptual) signal that is a function of current values of input signals. What is learned is not any particular value of the perceptual signal, but the form of a function.
So the principle of remembering and the principle of perceiving are totally different.
Of _episodic_ remebering.
(Both, presumably, would be the result of reorganization, but that's a PCT-theoretic statement that isn't required for this discussion).
But that's the basis of your claim that there is a similarity between remembering and perceiving: they both come into being through reorganization during experience with the world. If you leave that out, no vestige of similarity remains. I don't agree that this is a real similarity, but you seem to be claiming that similarity of origin implies similarity in the product.
Not in the slightest. What is a reasonable definition of "memory" but the present representation or effect of a past state? A "memory" that allows the re-evocation of a perceptual moment is one such representation. A memory that comes from the experience of many repetitions of some state is another. It's still memory, and I can't see any other way that perceptual input functions or output functions can develop in ways that permit perceptual control in a complex and dynamic environment. And then there's reorganization, too, which has a different kind of relation to the past experiences of the organism. It's the "winter leaf" effect -- if it ain't broke, don't fix it. Maybe that doesn't deserve the name of "memory", but it's an arguable point.
A thermometer can generate representations of temperature without either using or embodying memories of temperature -- under my definition. What would you say about a thermometer-type input function?
That depends on how it developed. If it developed because the organism, not being born with a predefined temperature sensor, had experienced different kinds of temperature in contexts where that made a difference to some controlled perception, then yes, the temperature sensor would embody memory.
I think this confuses the form of a function with a record of past values of signals generated by that function.
You may do the confusing, but I don't. I'm talking about the generation of the function.
A thermometer performs the function of converting its own temperature to the length of a column of fluid.
One kind of constructed thermometer does. How do the ones that allow you to perceive that you are touching a warm or cold surface do it?
That, not any particular temperature reading, and certainly not how the thermometer came into being, is what makes it a thermometer.
Of course, what makes it a thermometer is its ability to turn temperature into some other signal. I never intended to talk about the derivation of the word "thermometer", and you didn't ask me to. You asked whether a thermometer (not "a thermometer") embodied memory, and I answered with what I though was a tautology: if the thermometer developed because of the memory of past states, then "yes", but if its construction did not involve any of its past experience with temperatures, then "no".
Memories are replayed records of past values of signals generated by a perceptual input function.
Episodic memory again.
The essence of memory is that it be recoverable.
Really? But I guess that if you force that statement into a definition, then you can use it to make what argument you want about what is or is not memory. It's a bit like saying that the essence of civilization is that the people in it swear allegiance to the Stars and Stripes every morning, and then using that to argue that the Chinese aren't civilized.
I think that conceptions of memory in psychology, like conceptions of learning, have mixed together a lot of very different and incommensurate ideas.
That, precisely, is what several decades of conventional psychologists have been disentangling. I think that's one baby you shouldn't throw out with the bathwater. No matter what the background theory, it's hard to deny that there's a difference between remmebering how to ride a bike and remembering what you had for dinner last Thursday, and that both involve what most people would call "memory".