[Date Prev][Date Next][Thread Prev][Thread Next][Date Index][Thread Index]

[Xmca-l] Re: Unit of Analysis



I was away from a computer in the mountains for a few weeks and so had to
put this fascinating discussion on hold. Thanks, Mike for your two
fascinating points.

First, I did find a u-tube simulation of the giant component formation from
udacity at (https://www.youtube.com/watch?v=mpe44sTSoF8). It doesn't allow
input of the parameters, but starts with 1,000 dots. As the largest
component increases in size (due to new connections), the giant component
emerges at about 40 seconds into the video. In this model the outlier nodes
are gradually pulled into the giant component until all nodes are in it.

If we could input, or better yet, add parameters, we would start to form
more complex models. The star-logo programs that Gerry Balzano was working
with at LCHC a few decades ago would allow us to separate components based
on the number of near simultaneous occurrences. Adding a practice parameter
to often repeated components would allow us to replicate the sort of
plateaus that Lashley observed as typists moved with experience from
hunt-and-peck to whole-word to phrase typing. My Visual Basic is rusty, but
it could also be done in Excel using the keyboard matrix on one sheet,
several thousand lines of text in another, some code that increase a
cluster's strength parameter with each new encounter of letter sequences in
the text, and a third sheet that would add clusters as words whenever the
strength got strong enough. Some more code to calculate time from cluster
strength would show the Lashley plateaus.

Secondly, you're "good luck" implication is absolutely right -- we can't
really tame intelligence any more than the old circus "tamers" could really
tame their lions. But out goal in the book proposal is to give some
cognitive and social tools that people can use to help protect themselves
from artificial intelligence and the knowledge explosion.




On Tue, Sep 12, 2017 at 4:05 PM, mike cole <mcole@ucsd.edu> wrote:

> Is there a computer simulation/
> ​visualization of the network producing a giant component you wrote about
> available, David?
>
> Good luck taming the human capacity you call intelligence!
>
> mike
>
> On Tue, Sep 12, 2017 at 9:24 AM Andy Blunden <ablunden@mira.net> wrote:
>
> > What do you mean by "unit" David?
> >
> > Andy
> >
> > ------------------------------------------------------------
> > Andy Blunden
> > http://www.ethicalpolitics.org/ablunden/index.htm
> > On 13/09/2017 2:16 AM, David Dirlam wrote:
> > > I've been on vacation in a spot with no internet or cell phone service
> --
> > > cut off from civilization, perhaps, but that's not as bad as being cut
> > off
> > > from this fascinating discussion :-)
> > >
> > > An idea from each of Alfredo's and Andy's posts generated visceral
> > > reactions in me. Out in the mountains, I spent many hours with a former
> > > student of mine, who has been a licensed clinical social worker in the
> > > western Virginia coalfields for 20 years. We're proposing a book on
> > "Taming
> > > Intelligence" to address the human side of dealing with AI changes in
> > work.
> > > I did a long developmental interview of her (a way of helping people
> > > organize their professional experience) and the 9 needs of Manfred
> > Max-Neef
> > > turned out to be most of the dimensions for organizing her expertise.
> > They
> > > happen to be the topic of one of the 7 chapters we have planned for the
> > > book, but I didn't expect to find them so deeply embedded in the
> > > therapeutic process (my ignorance, probably). Where they fit into modes
> > of
> > > practice are that one of the parameters for describing changes in the
> > > frequency of a practice over time is resources and the 9 needs spell
> out
> > > the internal effects of resource availability (off the top of my head
> > they
> > > are health-safety, sustenance, leisure, creativity, understanding,
> > liberty,
> > > love, identity, and belonging).
> > >
> > > About the usefulness of a complex nested hierarchy, like biology's, it
> is
> > > essential to the taming intelligence argument. Repetitive practices (up
> > to
> > > procedures and recipes) are those most vulnerable to automation. We
> > toured
> > > a former coal mine that exhibited what happened to the miners when the
> > > "continuous miner" machine was introduced. Two men could accomplish in
> an
> > > hour what it took a dozen to achieve in a day before it was introduced.
> > The
> > > devastating effect on miners and their families in the mid-20th century
> > was
> > > similar to the effect that the flying shuttle had on weavers two
> > centuries
> > > earlier.
> > >
> > > Adaptive practices require ongoing changes like the sort of learning
> that
> > > my voice recognition software does, but also like transformative
> learning
> > > and the development of expertise. They are more resistant to change,
> but
> > > call-centers, customer-service personnel, and even journalists are
> being
> > > affected by them.
> > >
> > > Finally, collaborative and institutional practices are most resistant.
> We
> > > don't collaborate well until we begin to understand what others know
> and
> > > can do that we do not. Group and institution formation begins to work
> > when,
> > > I believe, the division of labor occurs. But that is a topic that
> others
> > on
> > > this list have more expertise than me (of course I'd love to read more
> on
> > > how they relate to units of practice from contributors). In any case,
> > > machine discovery of these are farther away than for the simpler
> > practices
> > > that actually occur within them.
> > >
> > > Another aspect of the usefulness of multiple levels of units came up
> > during
> > > my interview of my colleague. She is a very versatile counselor, used
> to
> > > many populations and therapeutic approaches, She mentioned the
> usefulness
> > > of some behavior therapy approaches derived from animal behavior
> research
> > > and memory research for helping patients with PTSD begin to fell secure
> > in
> > > public. The examples she used work best at the repetitive behavior
> level.
> > > When we discussed transformative learning or belonging, the approach
> > > changed to more cognitive and social methods.
> > >
> > > I have found network theory's concept of the giant component extremely
> > > useful for thinking about nested units. It starts with random nodes
> > > (envision dots on a paper) and adds links one at a time (lines between
> > the
> > > dots). Little twig compnents appear all over the paper when this is
> done.
> > > However, when the number of links begins to get close to the number of
> > > dots, there is a sudden change in the size of the linked components
> that
> > > results in a "giant component" that links nearly all nodes. This giant
> > > component is a model of the next level of unit.
> > >
> > > All for now. Thanks much for your thoughts.
> > >
> > >
> > > David D
> > >
> > > On Mon, Sep 11, 2017 at 11:01 AM, Alfredo Jornet Gil <
> > a.j.gil@iped.uio.no>
> > > wrote:
> > >
> > >> Thanks Andy, the sense of 'visceral' is much more nuanced in your
> text,
> > >> yes, and quite different from what one could grasp from the previous
> > >> e-mail. ​​​And I ​now follow your elaboration on micro- and macro-unit
> > much
> > >> better, so thanks for that. I was hoping, however, that the
> elaboration
> > >> would lead to some acknowledgement of the role of needs, real needs,
> as
> > key
> > >> to what the word 'visceral' was suggesting here. I was thinking that
> > rather
> > >> than a 'grasping', we gain more track by talking of an orienting,
> which
> > is
> > >> how I read Marx and Engels, when Marx talks about the significance of
> > >> 'revolutionary', 'practical-critical' activity, the fundamental fact
> of
> > a
> > >> need and its connections to its production and satisfaction.
> > >>
> > >> A
> > >>
> > >> ________________________________
> > >> From: Andy Blunden <ablunden@mira.net>
> > >> Sent: 09 September 2017 03:30
> > >> To: Alfredo Jornet Gil; eXtended Mind, Culture, Activity
> > >> Subject: Re: [Xmca-l] Re: Unit of Analysis
> > >>
> > >>
> > >> Yes, it is tough discussing these topics by email. All the issues you
> > >> raise are treated in http://www.ethicalpolitics.
> > org/ablunden/pdfs/Goethe-
> > >> Hegel-Marx_public.pdf
> > >>
> > >>
> > >> I am *not* dividing the world into 'immediate, bodily, and sensuous'
> and
> > >> 'mediated, disembodied, and a-sensuous'. The whole point is to begin
> by
> > >> *not* dividing. By contrast for example, Newton explained natural
> > processes
> > >> (very successfully!) by describing a number of "forces"; a force is an
> > >> example of something which is not visceral or sensuous (and also not
> > >> discrete so it can't be a 'unit'). The "expression" of a force can be
> > >> visceral (think of the effect of gravity) but gravity itself is an
> > >> invention needed to make a theory of physics work (like God's Will)
> but
> > has
> > >> no content other than its expression. People got by without it for
> > >> millennia. This is not to say it does not have a sound basis in
> material
> > >> reality. But it is abstract, in the sense that it exists only within
> the
> > >> framework of a theory, and cannot therefore provide a starting point
> or
> > >> foundation for a theory. To claim that a force exists is to reify an
> > >> abstraction from a form of movement (constant acceleration between two
> > >> bodies). Goethe called his method "delicate empiricism" but this is
> > >> something quite different from the kind of empiricism which
> uncritically
> > >> accepts theory-laden perceptions, discovers patterns in these
> > perceptions
> > >> and then reifies these patterns in forces and such abstractions.
> > >>
> > >>
> > >> If you don't know about climatology then you can't guess the unit of
> > >> analysis. Marx took from 1843 to about 1858 to determine a unit of
> > analysis
> > >> for economics. Vygotsky took from about 1924 to 1931 to determine a
> > unit of
> > >> analysis for intellect. And both these characters studied their field
> > >> obsessively during that interval. This is why I insist that the unit
> of
> > >> analysis is a *visceral concept* unifying a series of phenomena,
> > something
> > >> which gets to the heart of a process, and which therefore comes only
> > >> through prolonged study, not something which is generated by some
> > formula
> > >> with a moment's reflection.
> > >>
> > >>
> > >> Each unit is the foundation of an entire science. But both Marx's
> > Capital
> > >> and Vygotsky's T&S identify a micro-unit but quickly move on to the
> real
> > >> phenomenon of interest - capital and concepts respectively. But
> capital
> > >> (which makes its appearance in chapter 4) cannot be understood without
> > >> having first identified the real substance of value in the commodity.
> > The
> > >> rest of the book then proceeds on the basis of this unit, capital
> > (i.e., a
> > >> unit of capital, a firm). To ignore capital is to depict bourgeois
> > society
> > >> as a society of simple commodity exchange among equals - a total
> > fiction.
> > >> Likewise, Vygotsky's real aim it to elucidate the nature and
> > development of
> > >> concepts. He does not say it, and probably does not himself see it,
> but
> > >> "concept" is a macro-unit (or molar unit in ANL's term), an aggregate
> of
> > >> actions centred on a symbol or other artefact. The whole point of
> > >> introducing the cell into biology was to understand the behaviour of
> > >> *organisms*, not for the sake of creating the science of cell biology,
> > >> though this was a side benefit of the discovery.
> > >>
> > >>
> > >> Andy
> > >>
> > >> ________________________________
> > >> Andy Blunden
> > >> http://www.ethicalpolitics.org/ablunden/index.htm
> > >> On 9/09/2017 5:31 AM, Alfredo Jornet Gil wrote:
> > >>
> > >> Andy, thanks for your clarification on the ​'visceral'. The way you
> > >> describe it, though, suggests to me an empiricist position that I know
> > you
> > >> do not ascribe to; and so I'll take it that either I've missed the
> > correct
> > >> reading, or that we are still developing language to talk about this.
> In
> > >> any case, I assume you do not mean that whatever our object of study
> > is, it
> > >> is divided between the visceral as the 'immediate, bodily, and
> sensuous'
> > >> and something else that, by implication, may have been said to be
> > >> 'mediated, disembodied, and a-sensuous' (you may as well mean
> precisely
> > >> this, I am not sure).
> > >>
> > >>
> > >> I do not know what the climatologist's unit of analysis is when
> > discussing
> > >> hurricanes either, but I do think that Hurricanes Irma, José, etc, are
> > >> expressions of a system in a very similar way that ​any psychological
> > fact
> > >> is a expression of the society as part of which it occurs. I was
> > thinking
> > >> that, if we assumed for a second that we know what the unit for
> > ​studying
> > >> of hurricanes is (some concrete relation between climate or
> environment
> > and
> > >> hurricane), ​'feeling' the hurricane could be thought of in may ways,
> > only
> > >> some of which may be helpful to advance our scientific understanding
> of
> > >> human praxis. The way you seemed to refer to this 'visceral' aspect,
> as
> > >> 'immediate, embodied, and sensous' would make things hard, because,
> are
> > we
> > >> 'feeling' the hurricane, or the wind blowing our roofs away? In fact,
> > is it
> > >> the wind at all, or the many micro particles of soil and other matter
> > that
> > >> are smashing our skin as the hurricane passes above us, too big, too
> > >> complex, to be 'felt' in any way that captures it all? And so, if your
> > >> object of study is to be 'felt', I don't think the definition of
> > >> 'immediate, embodied, and sensuous' helps unless we mean it WITHOUT it
> > >> being the  opposite to ​​'mediated, disembodied, and a-sensuous'. That
> > is,
> > >> if we do not oppose the immediate to the mediated in the sense just
> > implied
> > >> (visceral is immediate vs. ​'not-visceral' is mediated). So, I am
> > arguing
> > >> in favour of the claim that we need to have this visceral relation
> that
> > you
> > >> mention, but I do think that we require a much more sophisticated
> > >> definition of 'visceral' than the one that the three words already
> > >> mentioned allow for. I do 'feel' that in most of his later works,
> > Vygotsky
> > >> was very concerned on emphasising the unity of intellect and affect as
> > the
> > >> most important problem for psychology for precisely this reason.
> > >>
> > >>
> > >> I have also my reservations with the distinction that you draw in your
> > >> e-mail between micro-unit and macro-unit. If the question is the
> > production
> > >> of awareness, of the 'experience of having a mind' that you are
> > discussing
> > >> with Michael, then we have to find just one unit, not two, not one
> micro
> > >> and one macro. I am of course not saying that one unit addresses all
> the
> > >> problems one can pose for psychology. But I do think that the very
> idea
> > of
> > >> unit analysis implies that it constitutes your field of inquiry for a
> > >> particular problem (you've written about this). You ask about
> Michael's
> > >> mind, and Michael responds that his mind is but one expression of a
> > >> society. I would add that whatever society is as a whole, it lives as
> > >> consciousness in and through each and every single one of our
> > >> consciousness; if so, the unit Vygotsky was suggesting, the one
> denoting
> > >> the unity of person and situation, seems to me well suited; not a
> > >> micro-unit that is micro with respect to the macro-activity.
> > >>
> > >>
> > >> If you take the Spinozist position that 'a true idea must agree with
> > that
> > >> of which it is the idea', and then agree with Vygotsky that ideas are
> > not
> > >> intellect on the one hand, and affect on the other, but a very special
> > >> relation (a unity) between the two, then we need a notion of 'visceral
> > and
> > >> sensous' that is adequate to our 'idea' or field of inquiry. We can
> then
> > >> ask questions about the affects of phenomena, of hurricanes, for
> > example,
> > >> as Latour writes about the 'affects of capitalism'. And we would do so
> > >> without implying an opposition between the feeling and the felt, but
> > some
> > >> production process that accounts for both. Perezhivanie then, in my
> > view,
> > >> is not so much about experience as it is about human situations;
> > historical
> > >> events, which happen to have some individual people having them as
> > inherent
> > >> part of their being precisely that: historical events (a mindless or
> > >> totally unconscious event would not be historical).
> > >>
> > >>
> > >> I am no fun of frightening away people in the list with too long posts
> > >> like this one, but I think the issue is complex and requires some
> > >> elaboration. I hope xmca is also appreciated for allowing going deep
> > into
> > >> questions that otherwise seem to alway remain elusive.
> > >>
> > >>
> > >> Alfredo
> > >>
> > >>
> > >>
> > >> ________________________________
> > >> From: Andy Blunden <ablunden@mira.net><mailto:ablunden@mira.net>
> > >> Sent: 08 September 2017 04:11
> > >> To: Alfredo Jornet Gil; eXtended Mind, Culture, Activity
> > >> Subject: Re: [Xmca-l] Re: Unit of Analysis
> > >>
> > >>
> > >> Alfredo, by "visceral" I mean it is something you know through your
> > >> immediate, bodily and sensuous interaction with something. In this
> > sense I
> > >> am with Lakoff and Johnson here (though not being American I don't see
> > guns
> > >> as quite so fundamental to the human condition). Consider what Marx
> did
> > >> when began Capital not from the abstract concept of "value" but from
> the
> > >> action of exchanging commodities . Commodity exchange is just one form
> > of
> > >> value, but it is the most ancient, most visceral, most "real" and most
> > >> fundamental form of value - as Marx shows in s. 3 of Chapter 1, v. I.
> > >>
> > >> I have never studied climatology, Alfredo, to the extent of grasping
> > what
> > >> their unit of analysis is.
> > >>
> > >> In any social system, including classroom activity, the micro-unit is
> an
> > >> artefact-mediated action and the macro-units are the activities. That
> is
> > >> the basic CHAT approach. But that is far from the whole picture isn't
> > it?
> > >> What chronotope determines classroom activity - are we training people
> > to
> > >> be productive workers or are we participating in social movements or
> > are we
> > >> engaged in transforming relations of domination in the classroom or
> are
> > we
> > >> part of a centuries-old struggle to understand and change the world?
> The
> > >> action/activity just gives us one range of insights, but we might
> > analyse
> > >> the classroom from different perspectives.
> > >>
> > >> Andy
> > >>
> > >> ________________________________
> > >> Andy Blunden
> > >> http://www.ethicalpolitics.org/ablunden/index.htm
> > >> https://andyblunden.academia.edu/research
> > >> On 8/09/2017 7:58 AM, Alfredo Jornet Gil wrote:
> > >>
> > >> I am very curious about what "visceral" means here (Andy), and
> > >> particularly how that relates to the 'interrelations' that David D. is
> > >> mentioning, and that on the 'perspective of the researcher'.
> > >>
> > >> I was thinking of the Hurricanes going on now as the expressions of a
> > >> system, one that sustains category 5 hurricanes in *this* particulars
> > ways
> > >> that are called Irma, José, etc. How the 'visceral' relation may be
> like
> > >> when the object is a physical system (a hurricane and the climate
> system
> > >> that sustains it), and when it is a social system (e.g., a classroom
> > >> conflict and the system that sustains it).
> > >>
> > >> Alfredo
> > >> ________________________________________
> > >> From: xmca-l-bounces@mailman.ucsd.edu<mailto:xmca-l-bounces@
> > >> mailman.ucsd.edu> <xmca-l-bounces@mailman.ucsd.edu><mailto:
> > xmca-l-bounces@
> > >> mailman.ucsd.edu> on behalf of David Dirlam <
> modesofpractice@gmail.com
> > ><
> > >> mailto:modesofpractice@gmail.com>
> > >> Sent: 07 September 2017 19:41
> > >> To: Andy Blunden; eXtended Mind, Culture, Activity
> > >> Subject: [Xmca-l] Re: Unit of Analysis
> > >>
> > >> The issues that have arisen in this discussion clarify the conception
> of
> > >> what sort of entity a "unit" is. Both and Andy and Martin stress the
> > >> importance of the observer. Anyone with some experience should have
> some
> > >> sense of it (Martin's point). But Andy added the notion that experts
> > need
> > >> basically to be able to agree reliably on examples of the unit (worded
> > like
> > >> the psychological researcher I am, but I'm sure Andy will correct me
> if
> > I
> > >> missed his meaning).
> > >>
> > >> We also need to address two other aspects of units--their
> > classifiability
> > >> and the types of relations between them. What makes water not an
> > element,
> > >> but a compound, are the relations between the subunits (the chemical
> > bonds
> > >> between the elements) as well as those with other molecules of water
> > (how
> > >> fast they travel relative to each other), which was David Kellogg's
> > point.
> > >> So the analogy to activity is that it is like the molecule, while
> > actions
> > >> are like the elements. What is new to this discussion is that the
> > activity
> > >> must contain not only actions, but also relationships between them. If
> > we
> > >> move up to the biological realm, we find a great increase in the
> > complexity
> > >> of the analogy. Bodies are made up of more than cells, and I'm not
> just
> > >> referring to entities like extracellular fluid. The identifiability,
> > >> classification, and interrelations between cells and their
> constituents
> > all
> > >> help to make the unit so interesting to science. Likewise, the
> > constituents
> > >> of activities are more than actions. Yrjo's triangles illustrate that.
> > >> Also, we need to be able to identify an activity, classify activities,
> > and
> > >> discern the interrelations between them and their constituents.
> > >>
> > >> I think that is getting us close to David Kellogg's aim of
> > characterizing
> > >> the meaning of unit. But glad, like him, to read corrections.
> > >>
> > >> David
> > >>
> > >> On Wed, Sep 6, 2017 at 10:08 PM, Andy Blunden <ablunden@mira.net
> > ><mailto:
> > >> ablunden@mira.net> wrote:
> > >>
> > >>
> > >>
> > >> Yes, but I think, Martin, that the unit of analysis we need to aspire
> to
> > >> is *visceral* and sensuous. There are "everyday" concepts which are
> > utterly
> > >> abstract and saturated with ideology and received knowledge. For
> > example,
> > >> Marx's concept of capital is buying-in-order-to-sell, which is not the
> > >> "everyday" concept of capital at all, of course.
> > >>
> > >> Andy
> > >>
> > >> ------------------------------------------------------------
> > >> Andy Blunden
> > >> http://www.ethicalpolitics.org/ablunden/index.htm
> > >> https://andyblunden.academia.edu/research
> > >>
> > >> On 7/09/2017 8:48 AM, Martin John Packer wrote:
> > >>
> > >>
> > >>
> > >> Isn’t a unit of analysis (a germ cell) a preliminary concept, one
> might
> > >> say an everyday concept, that permits one to grasp the phenomenon that
> > is
> > >> to be studied in such a way that it can be elaborated, in the course
> of
> > >> investigation, into an articulated and explicit scientific concept?
> > >>
> > >> just wondering
> > >>
> > >> Martin
> > >>
> > >>
> > >> On Sep 6, 2017, at 5:15 PM, Greg Thompson <greg.a.thompson@gmail.com
> ><
> > >> mailto:greg.a.thompson@gmail.com>
> > >>
> > >>
> > >> wrote:
> > >>
> > >> Not sure if others might feel this is an oversimplification of unit of
> > >> analysis, but I just came across this in Wortham and Kim's
> Introduction
> > >> to
> > >> the volume Discourse and Education and found it useful. The short of
> it
> > >> is
> > >> that the unit of analysis is the unit that "preserves the
> > >> essential features of the whole".
> > >>
> > >> Here is their longer explanation:
> > >>
> > >> "Marx (1867/1986) and Vygotsky (1934/1987) apply the concept "unit of
> > >> analysis" to social scientific problems. In their account, an adequate
> > >> approach to any phenomenon must find the right unit of analysis - one
> > >> that
> > >> preserves the essential features of the whole. In order to study
> water,
> > a
> > >> scientist must not break the substance down below the level of an
> > >> individual H20 molecule. Water is made up of nothing but hydrogen and
> > >> oxygen, but studying hydrogen and oxygen separately will not
> illuminate
> > >> the
> > >> essential properties of water. Similarly, meaningful language use
> > >> requires
> > >> a unit of analysis that includes aspects beyond phonology,
> > >> grammar, semantics, and mental representations. All of these
> linguistic
> > >> and
> > >> psychological factors play a role in linguistic communication, but
> > >> natural
> > >> language use also involves social action in a context that includes
> > other
> > >> actors and socially significant regularities."
> > >>
> > >> (entire chapter can be found on Research Gate at:
> > >> https://www.researchgate.net/publication/319322253_Introduct
> > >> ion_to_Discourse_and_Education
> > >> )
> > >>
> > >> ​I thought that the water/H20 metaphor was a useful one for thinking
> > >> about
> > >> unit of analysis.​
> > >>
> > >> ​-greg​
> > >>
> > >> --
> > >> Gregory A. Thompson, Ph.D.
> > >> Assistant Professor
> > >> Department of Anthropology
> > >> 880 Spencer W. Kimball Tower
> > >> Brigham Young University
> > >> Provo, UT 84602
> > >> WEBSITE: greg.a.thompson.byu.edu
> > >> http://byu.academia.edu/GregoryThompson
> > >>
> > >>
> > >>
> > >>
> > >>
> > >
> >
> >
>