randomness of behavior

[From Bill Powers (980212.1545 MST)]

Tracy Harms (980212.13) --

Hi, Bill. As you see I've decided to jump back into your pond.

Hi again. Plenty of room in here.

In keeping with Gary Cziko's
line of theorizing we can expect that there is a significant randomness
involved in all *learning*. (We wouldn't want to exempt adults from
learning, right?!)

Lifelong learning is a nice idea, but it slows down a lot as we get older.
Presumably we find solutions to various problems that reduce the need for
reorganization. If we went through life having to reorganize just as fast
at the end as at the beginning, one would wonder just how useful a process
it is.

Unfortunately, this doesn't mean we end up with the _best_ solutions --
just good enough solutions to avoid most of the pain.

Don't miss my main point, though. If you look at the way people build
things, fix things, accomplish things, it becomes perfectly obvious that
the random component in behavior is extremely small. It's really
astonishing that anyone could miss all this precision and regularity, and
think that a correlation of 0.6 is good.

Best,

Bill P.

[From Tracy Harms (980212.13)]

quoting Bill Powers (980212.0307 MST)

It's time to stop blaming the inadequacies of our theories
on the inherent randomness of behavior. There is essentially
no randomness in normal adult behavior.

Hi, Bill. As you see I've decided to jump back into your pond.

The first of these sentences is great and I'll champion it for you. But
you go too far with the second, methinks. In keeping with Gary Cziko's
line of theorizing we can expect that there is a significant randomness
involved in all *learning*. (We wouldn't want to exempt adults from
learning, right?!)

Tracy Harms
Bend, Oregon