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Re: [xmca] concepts
On 18 April 2011 20:14, Monica Hansen <firstname.lastname@example.org>wrote:
> The difficulties with referring to activity as information processing are
> not just those of affiliation. Referring to the substance/stimulus of
> sensation and perception, and therefore recognition and memory, as
> "information" is problematic in itself. It implies, to which Andy alludes,
> of the conception of the mind as a machine. Which inherently implies that
> mind (and software) is predesigned. (Not all cognitive scientists are of
> this school of thinking, however, and please be reminded that thinking of
> the brain as having a computational ability, does not mean that the brain
> then a machine.) Thinking of the mind in this way allows some to preclude
> the possibility that the very structure and function of the brain are
> flexible and can change over the course of time by influence from
> outside/external/ecological forces including physical environment and
> sociocultural, and by self design. Skipping this important and
> characterizing aspect of human development (and brain development)
> diminishes the value of both individual agency in the role of development
> and also the importance of the social interaction and interrelation.
This, to me, appears to be more of a spectrum of 'conceptions of cognition'
rather than a single discipline. There's quite a difference between
Miller's 'chunks' and Maturana's 'living system'.
Personally, I am happy thinking of activity as 'that which self-regulatory
entities do over time'.
Another important trait for me in any theoretical system of activity,
cognition and use of concepts is affect and feeling which, to my mind, are
concurrent with 'thinking'. The other side to mediation as knowing and
mediation as experiencing are the affordances and constraints within the
thinking and feeling unity.
> In the debate over the format of how knowledge is stored in the brain,
> is also the question of "in what format". Those of the information
> processing view might tend toward the propositional representation or
> declarative knowledge (good discussion in Kosslyn's The Case for Mental
> Imagery). Adhering to the idea that all thought is propositional in nature
> (like that of a logic based computer language with syntax) closes a
> discussion of teaching and learning into a narrow focus on transmission.
Content is already coded by experts and is transmitted into students. Once
> again, the learner is passive. The role of the society then is to ordain
> content? Who generates the content then? Who is allowed? Who decides?
There are some people who like to think in terms of nuts and bolts (and
closed systems for that matter). We've known since Babbage that we can
implement logic in different ways and that's enough for me. I think the
fixation on implementation in cognition/neuroscience can distract from the
wider picture. Architectural insights we gain in this area will still be
compatible with the insights from social processes and observations of
> A discussion of the format for how we remember and how we use our
> as remembered and as imagined must involve more than preordained content
> synthesis thereof or truly there would be nothing new. Vera brought up
> mental imagery with Einstein. Is it so difficult to conceive that multiple
> forms of thinking/conceptualizing might be the source of variation and also
> the need for discrimination, categorization, explanation and "proposition"?
This is why we're interested in mediation. :)
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