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J Maloney

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Jan 31, 2008, 1:45:02 PM1/31/08
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Hi –

This blogger seems well on their way...

Managing the Value Network, Informative Post - Toledo,OH,USA, Firms also expand their value networks through partnerships where they gain innovation from networking and collaboration. A recent example of this is ...

http://tinyurl.com/yoem77

 

Shame they use ‘manage’ and ‘maximize’ – two things you can’t do with value networks. Better is to ‘serve’ and ‘optimize’ value networks.

 

-j

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ejhoffer

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Jan 31, 2008, 4:07:43 PM1/31/08
to Value Networks
I can understand your issue with the use of "manage" from an inside-
the-network perspective, and preference for the use of "serve".

Given that not all participants within a VN dynamic are necessarily
aware of the full dynamic, nor particularly focused on the benefit of
the network (vs their own particular objective), perhaps "understand"
and "navigate" would be more appropriate.

From the perspective of a firm as a whole though, seeking ways for it
to capitalize on network dynamics (and their prospects) and networking
such, "managing" or at least "orchestrating" seems appropriate.

I'm less clear on the issue with the use of "optimize" vs "maximize".

On Jan 31, 1:45 pm, "J Maloney" <jheuris...@gmail.com> wrote:
> Hi -
>
> This blogger seems well on their way...
>
> Managing the Value Network, Informative Post - Toledo,OH,USA, Firms also
> expand their value networks through partnerships where they gain innovation
> from networking and collaboration. A recent example of this is ...
>
> http://tinyurl.com/yoem77
>
> Shame they use 'manage' and 'maximize' - two things you can't do with value

jheuristic

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Jan 31, 2008, 5:47:19 PM1/31/08
to Value Networks
In any ecosystems, maximal organisms and inhabitants are malignant and
near death. Maximizing is tantamount to death. Maximized entities
choke out diversity and kills interdependence. In contrast, optimal
organisms and inhabitants of the value network are robust, resilient,
prosperous and benign. -j

Snowden Dave

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Jan 31, 2008, 10:50:28 PM1/31/08
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In the western genre, those with white hats are very very good and those with black hats are very very bad
It makes it easier to follow ....


Dave Snowden
Founder & Chief Scientific Officer
Cognitive Edge Pte Ltd

Now blogging at www.cognitive-edge.com

ejhoffer

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Feb 1, 2008, 12:06:44 AM2/1/08
to Value Networks
There is a yin-and-yang of near-term and long-term interests.
Maximizing value does not necessarily imply getting as much as you can
NOW, (doing so could clearly wear a black hat and jeapordize survival
of the network). But isn't maximizing over the long-term (keeping
perpetuation in mind) the same as optimization - from the perspectives
of both node and network?

On Jan 31, 7:50 pm, Snowden Dave <dave.snow...@cognitive-edge.com>
wrote:

christia...@telenet.be

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Feb 1, 2008, 3:33:57 AM2/1/08
to Value Networks
Aha. Is that the reason why in de Bono's thinking hats, the white
ones are factual, neutral, unbiased, and the black ones are critical,
the Devil's advocate? ;-)


Christian.

On Feb 1, 4:50 am, Snowden Dave <dave.snow...@cognitive-edge.com>
wrote:
> > prosperous and benign. -j- Hide quoted text -
>
> - Show quoted text -

jheuristic

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Feb 1, 2008, 7:20:51 AM2/1/08
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Maximization is not the same as optimzation. It is not a temporal or
differential property. Optimization is harmonious and fragile. There
IS a very diffiicult shift for people. 20st Century b-school and mgmt
always urged 'maximize' profits or 'maximize' production. All the
firms pursing those strategies are gone. It is just not sustainable.
Malignant cancer alway will get you in the end unless treated and
brought back from a maximal state. -j

christia...@telenet.be

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Feb 1, 2008, 7:35:09 AM2/1/08
to Value Networks
Indeed, maximizing a dimension is ALWAYS to the detriment of other
ones...


Christian.
> > - Show quoted text -- Hide quoted text -

Verna Allee

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Feb 2, 2008, 1:03:06 AM2/2/08
to Value Networks
I know this was not the focus of your post but I was suddenly
captivated by your offhand reference to the perspective of the
network. Nodes have perspective because they are real people looking
at the network, but does the network have a perspective? Or is it
humans that have the perspective OF the network?

Just playing. I am a little tired tonight so I may be incoherent.

Verna

On Jan 31, 9:06 pm, ejhoffer <ejhof...@gmail.com> wrote:

Snowden Dave

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Feb 2, 2008, 4:26:36 AM2/2/08
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Why do you restrict the definition of a node to an individual?  I have also seen network nodes as providing organising capability, so they can be collectives, ideas, processes or functions as much as individuals.

The interactions within a network will create emergent patterns which will constrain network members and thus produce perspectives that belong to the network rather than individuals or aggregations of individuals.  Nodes (as per my definition above) perform a similar function, the the network as a whole displaying fractal characteristics.

As a complex system (and nearly all networks are complex) then the agents within the system are constrained and constrain in turn so if you change individuals to agents (which allows of individual, group, idea etc) then both statements are true?



Dave Snowden
Founder & Chief Scientific Officer
Cognitive Edge Pte Ltd

Now blogging at www.cognitive-edge.com


David Meggitt

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Feb 2, 2008, 7:58:24 AM2/2/08
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Dave,

Verna referred to nodes being people which includes groups of people.
The restriction is to people, in any number from 0 to n, where 0
refers to a role play (by person/people) to be created. Associated
with the role plays are processes, and all the attributes (including
cognitive processes) of human beings and their behaviours.

So, at this level, both statements seem to coincide.

In response to Verna's question: "but does the network have a
perspective? Or is it
> > humans that have the perspective OF the network"?

Here is a thought: when people trust each other within the network and
know how they think and feel over issues, then the "field" is a
*thing* that helps align network participants: a perspective of their
collective being emerges.Think also of couple-hood in say a marriage
between two people.

On the question of restricting definitions, I have understood what I
think of as authentic value network analysis as being people centric.
Colleagues have suggested that nodes could be intelligent agents
(within the VNA framework) and that it would be interesting to
simulate the system, and see what emergent patterns appeared. As a
partial model of reality, that would be a fascinating exercise.

David Meggitt


On Feb 2, 9:26 am, Snowden Dave <dave.snow...@cognitive-edge.com>
wrote:

Snowden Dave

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Feb 2, 2008, 9:59:38 AM2/2/08
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Still seems a bit aggregative and atomistic David but thanks for the clarification



Dave Snowden
Founder & Chief Scientific Officer
Cognitive Edge Pte Ltd

Now blogging at www.cognitive-edge.com


ejhoffer

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Feb 10, 2008, 11:10:44 PM2/10/08
to Value Networks
Verna - I've been thinking some about your question before responding,
as I don't want this to become too esoteric [at least for me ;) ]. It
was an important element though, of what I was trying to articulate
(and work through, for that matter), so thank you for picking up on
it.

When I referred to "the perspective of the network", this was in the
context of a collective understanding within the network - i.e. across
the nodes. I think David M was onto it when he wrote: "when people
trust each other within the network and know how they think and feel
over issues, then the "field" is a *thing* that helps align the
network participants: a perspective of their collective being emerges"

Addressing the other question about whether a node was comprised of a
singular element, I was making (at least for this discussion) assuming
a node to be a player in a dynamic - regardless of whether comprised
of an individual person, company, group of people, or even group of
companies - bringing a particular offering and with a particular take-
away in mind.

So back to the question about whether a perspective belongs to a
network, or instead, the perspective is OF (as in "about") the
network, I think that *both* are valid - and this is true at two
different levels of magnification.

In the context of a single network, each node within it has its own
objectives. As I referenced earlier, some are near-term objectives,
while others are with a longer view. If/when the longer term
objectives are focused on the benefit and continuity of the network
(forgetting, for now, the fact that it is likely the basis for such
may well be its own best interest) - it is acting in a way that
enables the ecosystem to remain in balance and survive (as John
implies is their responsibility). If there is is such a view, this
could be considered the perspective that belongs TO the network.

There is another dimension where the perspective can be considered to
belong to the network - and that relates to the scenario where a
network collectively represents a single node within a larger scale
network (i.e. a set of nodes of a particular type, say U.S.
semiconductor companies, for example, as a node within the global
network of semiconductor manufacturers - or individual U.S companies
of any type for that matter as a network - and collectively as a
single node within the global economy). The common interests of the
players within such a node (i.e. the US companies) are the perspective
of the network of individual US companies (each of which may have a
different perspective in the smaller context).



On Feb 2, 9:59 am, Snowden Dave <dave.snow...@cognitive-edge.com>
wrote:
> Still seems a bit aggregative and atomistic David but thanks for the
> clarification
>
> Dave Snowden
> Founder & Chief Scientific Officer
> Cognitive Edge Pte Ltd
>

Paul Prueitt

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Feb 11, 2008, 12:32:41 PM2/11/08
to Value-N...@googlegroups.com, Paul Werbos, Daniel S Levine

>>>> Nodes have perspective because they are real people looking
>>>> at the network, but does the network have a perspective? Or is it
>>>> humans that have the perspective OF the network?


The validity of an assertion that a "social network" and a "person"
have viewpoints is seen in the concepts of "group think" and
collective intelligence. Clearly we assume that "individual persons
may have viewpoints" is true, but actually persons will sometimes
have multiple viewpoints that express contextually and even somewhat
incoherently (at times).

The concept of a field is applicable in all cases: an individual
having a single viewpoint, an individual having a set of viewpoints
that are expressed somewhat contextually, and a collective as having
a social field. The concept of a field, in turn, depends on the
concept of coherence.

Coherence will pull energy that is free energy into itself, up to a
certain point. This is seen in physical system like lasers.

However, there are limits to the degree that a single coherent field
will gather all free energy. We see this in how the human brain
deals with a need to shift attention. One observed that an
individual must be able to shift individual viewpoint. The mechanism
that support shifts in viewpoints has been a focus of studies in
neuro and cognitive science.

The collective experience must have a similar mechanism, one that
allows and supports a shift in collective viewpoint. This mechanisms
have so far not been the focus of scholarship, to the degree that is
required.

This ability to allow diversity of viewpoint is one that has been
difficult for many cultures, including those where terrorism is
arising. Here in the business sector, winners are selected based on
having a single focus that is driven hard forward in such a way that
competitors are destroyed.

David Hawthorne

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Feb 11, 2008, 4:32:15 PM2/11/08
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Does a network have a perspective? Only if it has consciousness.

What if we were to look at this from a social ecology standpoint.

Imagining people as systems on a stability landscape

Assume it is reasonable to talk about "networks" in terms of graphs. Is it
reasonable to describe individual people as unique sub-graphs within the
total social graph?

Further, is it reasonable to think of the individual as belonging to more
than one sub-graph (i.e. participating in multiple networks)? Is it
reasonable to describe the mechanism of participation in a network as a
"role?"

Further, is it reasonable to see "networks" clustered around activities that
they are about (banking, education, gardening, football, a political party,
etc.)? And finally, is it reasonable to see the person who plays multiple
roles (each 'role' suited to a set of activities around which sub-graphs
have clustered) as "turning his/her attention" alternately from one
sub-graph cluster to another?

If yes, then the person can be said to be a sub-graph/system on a stability
landscape with multiple "basins of attraction" formed by each activity in
which s/he has a role to play.

Each "basin of attraction" has its own complete environment. Were it the
only "basin of attraction" the person could exist within it for as long as
the "role" s/he plays is required for the activity.

The empirical evidence, however, suggests that humans always live upon a
stability landscape with multiple basins of attraction, each exerting some
influence on the individual's dynamics (keeping them focused on a current
role, or calling their attention elsewhere with varying degrees of
intensity.

The person/sub-graph/system cannot exist without the dynamic forces of the
stability landscape anymore than the universe can exist without gravity.
Each role we play is a special instance of the same identity.

If we imagine a person on a stability landscape with multiple basins of
attraction, it would be reasonable to depict them as a sub-graph/system that
is simultaneously "present" in each of the basins. We would depict the
"role" the person is playing by alternately illuminating the appropriate
sub-graph in each basin as the person became active in that role.

I don't think of the "network" as having a perspective. Rather, whatever
perspective there is, is merely a degree of concurrence among sub-graphs
about the value of the roles being played. I think this might explain, to
some extent, why the "comings" and "goings" of people in organizations can
have such impact on the viability of the "basin system". The "company"
doesn't want to "succeed," its people want it to succeed for as long as they
have a vital role to play in keeping it going. Maybe Bishop Berkley's famous
question should be: "If a tree falls, and everyone who could possibly notice
has left the forest, does it matter?" From a social ecology perspective, the
basin would simply be filled in by other landscape features and its energy
would be dispersed across the total network, perhaps sufficient to form new
basins elsewhere... or not.

Just thinking out loud.

-David Hawthorne

christia...@telenet.be

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Feb 12, 2008, 4:54:50 AM2/12/08
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I certainly agree with David when he says that the "network" cannot
have a perspective (or opinion or anything else for that matter), the
same way a "company" doesn't want to succeed...

We got used to (abusive use of) metonymy, saying things like the
company's goals are..., the white house says..., the network's
perspective is..., etc. It is an easy way of expressing ourselves,
but it is wrong! It are the people in the company that have
(sometimes common) goals, it is the president's spokesperson that
communicates, it are the participants in the network that have a
(sometimes congruent) perspective, etc.


Christian.

Paul Charlton

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Feb 12, 2008, 12:05:03 PM2/12/08
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What sort of networks have consciousness? At a physical level, does the
human body have consciousness?

The physical human body is a good example and metaphor for a complex network
of cooperating but differentiated nodes.

The physical graph of a human body is starting to be well documented all the
way down to a genetic and atomic level, but there are still many identified
processes which have no understood metabolic or electrical pathway.

An individual cell as a node can have many concurrent "roles", as consumer,
warehouse, producer, or information router.

What can we learn of value networks from research into existing complex
networks such as the human body?

food for thought,
Paul

Don Steiny

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Feb 12, 2008, 1:26:14 PM2/12/08
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Paul,

The person who is arguably the leading theorist of social networks,
Harrison White, argues that a "person" is not atomic, it is not a source
of action, but a construct of attempts to maintain consistent style
across multiple networks. Part of his point here is that organizations,
and perhaps even networks (though I do not think of them this way)

The idea of a person having intention has been pretty put paid by
Wittgenstein. In the end "free will" is more of a legal/religious
concept that one that makes much sense at a mechanical level. Our wiring
causes to see cause and effect. In then end, what am I to you but some
scraps of information about you me that you have put together into some
coherent whole. In that sense, I am no different than an organization.
The idea that there is something essential that motivates me is an
hypothesis that does not stand up well to scrutiny.

To say it another way, persons, organizations and networks are all
abstractions and if we reduce any of them far enough, we run in to
difficulties mapping the levels of abstraction. Locating consciousness
in a specific place or action of the brain, for instance. From that view
point organizations can just as much have intentions as a person can.

That being said, I, personally, back away from reifying networks. If
they are removed from the purpose the abstraction served, we will have
to find a new on it their place. Since it is easy to think of networks
as physical things in 3d space that we can see and touch, it is easy to
think of them as "things." There is a strong current in network
research lead by physical scientists and some in the network community
to think of the job of network analysis as analyzing physical networks,
exploring their properties and so on. This is a valuable contribution,
but there are a number of us that use networks as a piece in ways of
talking about the world that acknowledges that there is no single point
where decisions or observations are made. They are, to us, a very
incomplete descriptive tool. It makes sense in this view to talk of a
network excluding some people, though in our particular jargon we would
say that they were excluded by disciplines and rhetorics. The networks
themselves are not thought of that way.

-Don

-Don

Snowden Dave

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Feb 12, 2008, 2:35:58 PM2/12/08
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Don you really need a basic update on philosophy and free will
Cognitive science (or modern philosophy) simply does not support your free will concept



Dave Snowden
Founder & Chief Scientific Officer
Cognitive Edge Pte Ltd

Now blogging at www.cognitive-edge.com


Don Steiny

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Feb 12, 2008, 2:48:03 PM2/12/08
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Dave,

You statement it too cryptic, certainly Timothy Wilson does not believe
in consciousness. DaMasio's take on it consciousness make it not so
much a "thing" but rather a "feeling." The idea of self a cobbled
together is certainly present in Dennet, who, as he is still alive,
might be considered a modern philosopher. It is true that they type of
view I am proposing is at odds the the main threads of cognitive science
(older cognitive science) in that they were strongly influenced by
Chomsky's symbol processing models. But that is just a story too, the
question is which story works best?

-Don

Message has been deleted

David Hawthorne

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Feb 12, 2008, 8:00:40 PM2/12/08
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There are many complex adaptive systems (or as some mystics might like to
think, there is really only one big one to which everything can be
ultimately mapped). As a class, however, those systems that I can
distinguish (in my cosmic dream) share many similar dynamics. There is no
doubt that we can learn a good deal from studying them. (Of course, if it's
merely a concurrent dream, then some or all of us are likely to forget the
whole thing upon waking up.)

The trail I'm on for now is a about human social systems. It may be that
functions in any CAS will be the same as functions found in all, but for the
time being, I'm trying to keep my attention on the behavior of human social
networks (or, more robustly, "social eco-systems"). If we define
consciousness as simply a "blink" instead of a "wink," we are going to
follow a lot of electrical noise down dead-end pathways.

Some people may argue that "freedom" or "beauty" or "greed" are merely
consequences of some atomic phenomenon that sparks arbitrarily aligned
elements into action, and that our understanding of those events is nothing
more than a coherent retrospective delusion. Other people might conclude
that accidentally shooting someone to death is different from murder (but
only legally). If most of us can see the distinction between acts that are
intentional and acts that are unintentional, we have to conclude that
"something" is responsible for the actions other than an occasional neuronal
storm.

If we dice a "conscious" entity finely enough, consciousness seems to
disappear This implies that "consciousness" is somehow a special condition
of complex organization. Further, it seems that this "special organization"
comes into experience only when the system in question has interactions of
some sort with external systems. (I don't know how we might prove this since
it seems unlikely that we can build a place where no rules of the universe
are operating but if there were such an environment, wouldn't our CAS
dematerialize the moment we placed it in the void?)

Even black holes, as far as I understand it, have a "surface" even though
they do not have an "inside" and "outside" as we normally think of them. We
do not know what happens to stuff when it is drawn into a black hole, but
physicist seem quite certain that nothing that falls in can ever come out
again. So, my point is that human "observation" of the physical thing itself
(under the rules that apply on this side of space-time) is sufficient
evidence of its existence (pending evidence to the contrary). Physicists
seem to believe in black holes because they can see the effects of their
properties, if not the properties themselves, just as we believe there is a
manifest difference between a "wink" and a "blink."

Paul Charlton

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Feb 12, 2008, 8:29:00 PM2/12/08
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Intention:

As another thought experiment, consider the molecules of water in a glass of
water. They exist at many different energy levels. What if only 1 percent
of those molecules possess the quality called "intention"? Those that
possess intention and ability to organize the other 99% are similar to
"leaders" in a social ecosystem. Can those with intention, but no ability,
effectively organize and create a complex network? Can those with ability,
but no intention, have similar influence?

Can we define the essential minimal set of attributes which allow a
meaningful value network to be formed/shaped by intention?

-Paul

Snowden Dave

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Feb 12, 2008, 9:32:50 PM2/12/08
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You made some very definitive statements Don such as "The idea of a person having intention has been pretty put paid by Wittgenstein"

Read up on some the naturalising epistemologists, the material (from complexity) about distributed conciousness  Look at the work which disproved Chomsky (Deacon, Freeman).  Boghossian might also be worth a visit


Dave Snowden
Founder & Chief Scientific Officer
Cognitive Edge Pte Ltd

Now blogging at www.cognitive-edge.com


Paul Prueitt

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Feb 12, 2008, 8:00:33 PM2/12/08
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Oh my.

These philosophical statements are interesting, but perhaps not
focused on the nature of value.

The intention of a "system" can be seen in various ways, particularly
in how the nature of value is "processed". So, a "hidden" value
might be one that is active in the shaping of the organizational
identity, but that is not so easy to nail down on a balance sheet.


"For fear of sounding dramatic - to say a
network has a perspective is more about there being a truth about what
will sustain / destroy it, regardless of what any of its members /
participants / elements / nodes think."

I agree..

ejhoffer

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Feb 12, 2008, 9:28:40 PM2/12/08
to Value Networks
Reposted as lost in the shuffle:

Steering a bit back to whether the network itself can have a
perspective...

There are things that seem to be agreed here about "the network":
* its individual elements each likely embody multiple
perspectives, dynamically focused on the various basins (as David
refers to them ) which relate to it, and
* it does not itself have a consciousness;
* it (or a company, or human body, as Christian and Paul mention)
doesn't "want";

But it may have needs (i.e. for its perpetuation, survival, or
"optimization"). Some things are good for "it" and some things are
bad - whether we're talking about a network, physical being,
company... The determination of whether the impact is positive,
negative or neutral to the whole (the ecosystem, as John refers to it)
is from the perspective of the network.

The well-being of a network is not necessarily in alignment (may or
may not have a high "degree of concurrence" as David says) with the
perspectives of its players. For fear of sounding dramatic - to say a
network has a perspective is more about there being a truth about what
will sustain / destroy it, regardless of what any of its nodes /
members / elements / participants think.

Eric

Don Steiny

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Feb 13, 2008, 4:43:44 AM2/13/08
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Dave,

Ok, but perhaps the only issue is the way I worded it. Using intention
in a cause and effect chain has no empirical value and there is no
conceivable means of falsifying statement about it. I am, personally,
am naturalist in that I do not believe in magical beings, ESP and the
like. However, it is also quite common to be a hard nosed empiricist
and also question reductionist explanations.

One of the people strongly associated with natural epistemology is
Herbert Simon, who is a great man but till a behaviorist. You can
mention "modern" philosophy until you turn blue in the face, but the
philosophical choices that economics made ties their hands. I was
talking with Simon's coauthor of his famous book on organization, Jim
March, about this a couple of months ago. In order to make economics an
empirical science, economists study behavior. The core of the theory is
that people chose what is most beneficial to them and select those
things. Simon added the caveat that they have "bounded rationality," but
the key point is that they are acting on their preferences. What gets
bizarre about the claim to empiricism is that preferences are not
observable so economists resolved this by the idea of "revealed
preferences." What this means is that preferences are revealed by the
choices one makes and thus we can empirically know what preferences are.
This is perfectly circular, a tautology. Note that in this they had to
eliminate the idea of ranking of preferences, something earlier
economists considered, because that is not observable.

Even if we go along with this simplification and reduce our behavior to
binary choices, it still leaves the question: what is making the choice?
I certainly believe that the brain is the major part of it, and, my
brain at least, is hooked to my body that lives in a world and my body
and brain are all very busy doing things of which I am completely
unaware. DaMasio, in DeCarte's Error, discusses numerous cases where
people that have part of their emotional subsystems damaged cannot make
rational decisions. People can decide one way one hour another the next
given the exact same stimulus.

The behaviorist view reduces human interaction to what seems very much
like an "if" statement in a computer program "if prefers X and has
resources then acquire X." But, where is the accumulator in the CPU
that is making that choice? In my view it is only there because we
conceive of it, but not there in the physical world. In fact, I think
this kind of view leads to many problems, for instance, the myth of
creativity as individual inspiration. When I think about it it leads to
an anti-natural view and has built into it an assumption that somehow
much in provided that decision point by something supernatural. Where
does the information come from, a wormhole to god?

Consider the simple example of pecking orders in fish and chickens,
something extensively studied by Ivan Chase and his students. The
animals form hierarchies remarkably fast and then they remain stable.
There is no way of predicting what they be and in fact, if they separate
the fish for a few months and put them back together, more often that
not, a different hierarchy forms. If they remove the top fish the
ordering of the lower fish does not remain the same. The latest work
Ivan is doing is trying to make mathematical models of how this happens,
but they are predictive, they take into account the huge random element,
and they are not explanations, any more than economists explain human
choices (though Kahanaman and others are working on it, they are still
behaviorists).

White's book Chains of Opportunity and much of his subsequent work has
shown that social roles are remarkably stable. It seems so obvious that
it is not worth even thinking about, but if someone gets a job doing,
say tech support at a company, then he or she does not get to decide who
he or she will talk to, whose direction her or she will follow, what he
or she does with her time, and on and on. In a sense, that role exists
independently of the person that occupies it. Whose head do we scan to
find that role? Even if we find it in someone's brain, it will still be
there if that person is gone. In the type of network work I do we can
systematically predict reported similarities between people by network
positions with a high degree of accuracy. What are we seeing when we
see a role? Sure it lives in our brains, but if we look there, what
does our neurology correspond to? If we respond to someone as a judge,
an doctor, or such, sure it might be the robes or white coat, but I know
that at cocktail parties when judges and doctors are not dressed as
professionals, they are treated in special ways. Where does that role
live? Is it in our brains, sure, but if we were not there the role
still would be. I, personally, think they are important. The part of
networks I am into uses networks as a way of talking about them and
developing empirical tests for them.


I like to consider multiple points of view. I have very good friends
that spend their time making agents that supposedly pass culture and so
on using the atomic/economic model. Maybe we will learn something from
it. I don't know.

Mark Granovetter once recommended a book to me, On Liberty by Issiah
Berlin (or was 4 essays on liberty, I am in Finland for a few months and
do not have my library at hand). He covers all this ground very well.

RE: Chomsky. Many people have "disproved" Chomsky and I was fortunate
enough to learn TG while it was still en vogue and have moved on. I do
not care for Chomsky for a number of reasons, but I do appreciate his
statement, which I will paraphrase: the purpose of a model is to push it
as far as you can and see what you learn when it disintegrates.

If anyone cares, I am not a big fan of complexity theory. I have been
aware of it and its roots for many years. I learned about chaos theory
from Ralph Abraham and UCSC and have most of Hayek. To me it mostly
*not Hayek, he is more subtle) looks like yet another functionalist
project, systems theory, Cybernetics Parsons, Luhmann, now complexity.
But, valuable insights came from all of those, for the exact reasons in
the Chomsky paraphrase above, so I don't discourage anyone from
following their interests.

I also do not think consciousness is a concept that has much utility.
I am in Timothy Wilson's camp here. I just can't see what the idea buys
us. At least for now. If someone were to give me a reason that the idea
of consciousness is useful, I could be persuaded, I am not dogmatic, but
I haven't come across one. Just telling me I am wrong doesn't cut it.

-Don

Donald Steiny

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Feb 13, 2008, 8:22:12 AM2/13/08
to Value-N...@googlegroups.com
Snowden,

> You made some very definitive statements Don such as "The idea of a
> person having intention has been pretty put paid by Wittgenstein"
>
> Read up on some the naturalising epistemologists, the material (from
> complexity) about distributed conciousness Look at the work which
> disproved Chomsky (Deacon, Freeman). Boghossian might also be worth a
> visit
On another point, where in any of this do they take exception to
Wittgenstein? The overriding issue goes back to Hume and the question
of the nature of induction. It is basically a type of faith. Since
simple things tend to do the same things under the same conditions we
can use the idea of cause and effect to great benefit in some
circumstances, but it is basically meaningless when we talk of complex
things, like persons or organizations. Hayek was another who emphasized
this. I found the argument is PI quite effective so it seem to me that
someone would have to show that there were either essential causes or
that we could make the same kinds of predictions with complex systems
we can with simple systems. Wittgenstein simply showed that we make
mistakes in language that put complex systems into the same grammatical
slots as simple ones and confound ourselves into thinking that it is not
poor (and as Hayek points out, dangerous) analogy.

-Don

Donald Steiny

unread,
Feb 13, 2008, 8:37:44 AM2/13/08
to Value-N...@googlegroups.com
Paul,

The way you use the word "value" it seems like there it is some sort
of cause. Is this what you meant? If a "hidden value" can "help shape"
"identity" it seems like you are talking about hidden causes of highly
abstract things. That is exactly why functionalism has repeatedly
failed. I must be misunderstanding you. In our network world values (of
this sort) are explanations, not causes.

-Don

Paul Charlton

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Feb 13, 2008, 11:04:04 AM2/13/08
to Value-N...@googlegroups.com
as Arthur C Clarke and others have noted: "any sufficiently advanced science
is indistinguishable from magic" ... a question of perspective based on
"education" and "understanding", not empirical fact.

re " am naturalist in that I do not believe in magical beings ... "


> -----Original Message-----
> From: Value-N...@googlegroups.com [mailto:Value-

Snowden Dave

unread,
Feb 13, 2008, 11:44:05 AM2/13/08
to Value-N...@googlegroups.com
We can agree that in human systems it is rare to see any linear cause an effect chain or relationship.  Complex systems are governed by modulators and formed by attractors and boundaries as well as other factors.  

We can also agree that reductionist explanations are not appropriate in a complex system

However it does not follow from that that there is no such thing as intentionality.  Consciousness is interesting (it always has been, but doubly so these days).  However I think there is increasing acceptance that humans do make choices, that they exhibit intentionality.  We don't yet know exactly how, but that is the task of Neuroscience (As Searle has stated).

People do not always exercise intentionality, they can get caught in flows.  Some aspects of our genetic structure, our experience or the stories we tell or are told can limit the range of options we consider and bias or influence choices we make.  However all of this is compatible with intentionality, there is no need to fall into post moderinist relativism or social constructivism.  These can be the stabilities to which you refer.  Take away one element (it could be an idea as well as a fish) and the system will reform, in unpredictable ways.  Again all good stuff but nothing that invalidates intention.  Roles (Judge, IT Support in your email) are one manifestation of identity and they limit choice, however the fact that our choices are limited, does not mean that we cannot make choices

I think Simon is loosely connected to naturalising epistemology which owes more to Dewey and the pragmatists.  Bounded rationality was an interesting idea on a journey, but the journey has moved on.  Yes you can find cases where people with certain types of brain damage make different choices, but that does not invalidate choice, nor to I have to limit myself to  binaries.  Intention can steer a direction independent of choice per se.

I don't buy behaviourism, or information models of the human brain - and neither do any of the Cog Scientists I know or read.  That means that mathematical models are limited in applicability.  Agent based modelling (which people often link with complexity theory and it can be a part, but is not the whole) is similarly limited.  Not sure how you can like or not like complex adaptive systems theory.  Rather like saying you don't like quantum mechanics.  I dislike certain manifestations of it; purely computational models for example, deterministic approaches that don't recognise the unique aspects of complex systems in humans where issues of identity and intention add layers of complexity.  Also you should not confuse complexity theory with chaos theory, they are different.

Consciousness as a distributed function, a coalesence gets really interesting.  You can see a lot of this in the post-Churchland writings and those might interest you.  Just telling someone they are wrong, obviously does not cut, but when someone makes an unsupported (and to my mind unsupportable) assertion as you did in respect of the Austrian, then it is a legitimate first response.


Dave Snowden
Founder & Chief Scientific Officer
Cognitive Edge Pte Ltd

Now blogging at www.cognitive-edge.com


Paul Prueitt

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Feb 13, 2008, 12:26:39 PM2/13/08
to Value-N...@googlegroups.com

Bohm also had a theory of hidden variables, or symbolic
representations of causes. This is so that certain phenomenon might
be given a description.

What is called "functionalism" may be flawed if the emergence of
function from a substrate is not a deterministic processes. How a
(conjectured) mechanism, of non-deterministic selection, might work
is via a process whereby a symmetry is created. Such symmetry
induction is observed widely in biological systems.

This symmetry leads to a delay in induction (be this induction of
cognitive form or induction of phase coherence). Gerald Edelman
describes this as a many to many mapping where selectionist
mechanisms ultimately act. (Neural Darwinism) Reductionism may be
applied to Edelman's selectionist theory, of course; but ultimately
the issue of intentional selection seems non-resolvable using
reductionism. (If fact reductionism precludes the concept of
intention, yes?)

In general the symmetry induction mechanism serves to select
compositional elements (atoms) that meet functional needs, i.e. as
responding to ecological affordance (J. J. Gibson). (See also C. S.
Peirce)

If there is somehow an orthogonal cause, we see as "intention", one
might suppose that the symmetry induction (occurring during the
"emergence" of function out of a composition of substance) would be
where this intention would occur. Empirical evidence for intention
would then be found as these symmetries are overcome.

I have written more about this in my on line book... but I have to
say that most do not agree with my approach.

The shifting of viewpoint would occur in a way that reflects shifts
on coherence (physical and mental).

For me this discussion about viewpoint should not be philosophical
point counter point. The problem of value seems to suggest value for
something that is intentional, and anticipatory. The utility of
making an assumption that "systems acting coherently" have
intentionality seems clear only if one is wanting to know what the
demands of these systems are naturally.

The alternative is "supply side", where one group of individuals, or
system of individuals, pretend that there is no intentionality while
strong imposing their intentions on others.

This level of dishonesty is essentially what we have running the
world at this time.

Don Steiny

unread,
Feb 13, 2008, 2:42:58 PM2/13/08
to Value-N...@googlegroups.com
Dave,

> We can agree that in human systems it is rare to see any linear cause
> an effect chain or relationship. Complex systems are governed by
> modulators and formed by attractors and boundaries as well as other
> factors.

Cause and effect is a matter of faith. I don't agree there is any
linear cause to anything.


> We can also agree that reductionist explanations are not appropriate
> in a complex system
>
> However it does not follow from that that there is no such thing as
> intentionality. Consciousness is interesting (it always has been, but
> doubly so these days). However I think there is increasing acceptance
> that humans do make choices, that they exhibit intentionality. We
> don't yet know exactly how, but that is the task of Neuroscience (As
> Searle has stated).

I don't believe consciousness is a useful construct, and I challenge
you to figure out any way we could know about any decision ex-ante. I
agree with Hume, nothing causes anything, cause and effect are
explanations we have for regularities. It is interesting that you
espouse complex systems and then take an essentialist stance. The idea
of "free will" is a social/legal construct that allows society to hold
people accountable for their actions. It is ex-post, and explanation,
not a cause.

>
> People do not always exercise intentionality, they can get caught in
> flows. Some aspects of our genetic structure, our experience or the
> stories we tell or are told can limit the range of options we consider
> and bias or influence choices we make. However all of this is
> compatible with intentionality, there is no need to fall into post
> moderinist relativism or social constructivism. These can be the
> stabilities to which you refer. Take away one element (it could be an
> idea as well as a fish) and the system will reform, in unpredictable
> ways. Again all good stuff but nothing that invalidates intention.
> Roles (Judge, IT Support in your email) are one manifestation of
> identity and they limit choice, however the fact that our choices are
> limited, does not mean that we cannot make choices

Relativism and social constructionivism are not synonyms and social
constructionism is not at odds with positivism and empiricism. I have
good friend who writes often on social construction that considers
Hempel to be his mentor and is hard nosed about evidence. There are weak
and strong versions, in the strong version, everything is socially
constructed, in the weak version, some things are. If you do not adopt
the weak version you are left with the chore of explaining a great deal
of human experience, including the term you use so loosely "identity" in
some other way. No cheating by taking of "distributed consciousness"
because they you would have to explain specifically what the difference
is between that and weak social construction.

> I think Simon is loosely connected to naturalising epistemology which
> owes more to Dewey and the pragmatists. Bounded rationality was an
> interesting idea on a journey, but the journey has moved on. Yes you
> can find cases where people with certain types of brain damage make
> different choices, but that does not invalidate choice, nor to I have
> to limit myself to binaries. Intention can steer a direction
> independent of choice per se.

It is easy to explain what people do by saying they choose to do
things. It is easy to explain the earth and the universe by saying "god
created it." It explains everything but does not allow us to understand
to predict anything. I often facetiously take a purely structuralist
stance, but no matter how socially constructed an individual is, they
can always switch roles, for instance, shaving their heads and moving to
an Ashram in India. They still do not have the ability to be something
that no one can recognize, even if the role is outcast and stranger. I
think we are way better off looking for predictable regularities in
things we can seen and measure, like social interactions, than things we
cannot see or measure (and have no reason to believe exist) like
intentions and consciousness.

> I don't buy behaviourism, or information models of the human brain -
> and neither do any of the Cog Scientists I know or read.

You missed Jerry Fodor, Dominic Massarao, Urlich Neisser, who coined
the term, and even Chomsky, who is often credited with being the
philosophical foundation of cognitive psychology. To get an idea you
might check out the Wikipedia entry on Cognitive psychology which says:

Ulric Neisser coined the term 'cognitive psychology' in his book
published in 1967 (Cognitive Psychology),
wherein Neisser provides a definition of cognitive psychology
characterizing people as dynamic information-processing
systems whose mental operations might be described in computational terms.


http://en.wikipedia.org/wiki/Cognitive_psychology

It is interesting to speculate about the cognitive psychologists you
have read if they are unfamiliar the very purpose of their special
branch of psychology.

> that mathematical models are limited in applicability.

Why does it mean that? Of course, any model is, by definition,
limited. Cognitive scientists tended to make information processing
models, state machines, finite automata and such. the bases for neural
nets.

> Agent based
> modelling (which people often link with complexity theory and it can
> be a part, but is not the whole) is similarly limited. Not sure how
> you can like or not like complex adaptive systems theory. Rather like
> saying you don't like quantum mechanics.

Why is that? Quantum mechanics has empirical tests for its ideas. It
is more like saying I don't like string theory, which I think is much
like complex adaptive systems theory in that it can make any claim it
cares to because the claims cannot be tested.

>I dislike certain
> manifestations of it; purely computational models for example,
> deterministic approaches that don't recognise the unique aspects of
> complex systems in humans where issues of identity and intention add
> layers of complexity. Also you should not confuse complexity theory
> with chaos theory, they are different.

Chaos theory came first. I was just dating my interest. Of course,
Hayek was a parallel thread, but even today his ideas are not that well
known.

>
> Consciousness as a distributed function, a coalesence gets really
> interesting. You can see a lot of this in the post-Churchland
> writings and those might interest you. Just telling someone they are
> wrong, obviously does not cut, but when someone makes an unsupported
> (and to my mind unsupportable) assertion as you did in respect of the
> Austrian, then it is a legitimate first response.

Ok,but still, you have not countered or even mentioned a single one of
Wittgenstein's arguments and you have certainly not made a dent in
convincing me he was mistaken. If you had followed cognitive psychology
since the beginning, as I have (or near, I got Cognitive Psychology in
1975 or so and got up to speed then) you would see how people Fodor
tried to address Wittgenstein and failed. It boils down to the simple
point is that there is no such thing as cause and effect, it is just a
thing our brain does to organize the world. Simple things follow regular
patterns so the mistake is a useful one, complex things do not so the
mistake is not a useful one.

-Don

Snowden Dave

unread,
Feb 13, 2008, 3:13:17 PM2/13/08
to Value-N...@googlegroups.com
Sigh ....



Dave Snowden
Founder & Chief Scientific Officer
Cognitive Edge Pte Ltd

Now blogging at www.cognitive-edge.com


On 13 Feb 2008, at 19:42, Don Steiny wrote:


Dave,

We can agree that in human systems it is rare to see any linear cause  
an effect chain or relationship.  Complex systems are governed by  
modulators and formed by attractors and boundaries as well as other  
factors.

Cause and effect is a matter of faith. I don't agree there is any
linear cause to anything.
Well that kills of Newtonian Physics even for large mass objects




We can also agree that reductionist explanations are not appropriate  
in a complex system

However it does not follow from that that there is no such thing as  
intentionality.  Consciousness is interesting (it always has been, but  
doubly so these days).  However I think there is increasing acceptance  
that humans do make choices, that they exhibit intentionality.  We  
don't yet know exactly how, but that is the task of Neuroscience (As  
Searle has stated).

I don't believe consciousness is a useful construct, and I challenge
you to figure out any way we could know about any decision ex-ante.  I
agree with Hume, nothing causes anything, cause and effect are
explanations we have for regularities. It is interesting that you
espouse complex systems and then take an essentialist stance.  The idea
of "free will" is a social/legal construct that allows society to hold
people accountable for their actions.  It is ex-post, and explanation,
not a cause.
Well if you agree with Hume (in that interpretation) then we cannot make progress - Searl (as I mentioned) deals with we I think.  I can't see anything in what I said that takes an essentialist position so I in the absence of any evidence I will treat that as name calling.
Free will self-evidentally exists, the issue is how the brain achieves it, something that many people are looking at 



People do not always exercise intentionality, they can get caught in  
flows.  Some aspects of our genetic structure, our experience or the  
stories we tell or are told can limit the range of options we consider  
and bias or influence choices we make.  However all of this is  
compatible with intentionality, there is no need to fall into post  
moderinist relativism or social constructivism.  These can be the  
stabilities to which you refer.  Take away one element (it could be an  
idea as well as a fish) and the system will reform, in unpredictable  
ways.  Again all good stuff but nothing that invalidates intention.   
Roles (Judge, IT Support in your email) are one manifestation of  
identity and they limit choice, however the fact that our choices are  
limited, does not mean that we cannot make choices

Relativism and social constructionivism are not synonyms and social
constructionism is not at odds with positivism and empiricism.  I have
good friend who writes often on social construction that considers
Hempel to be his mentor and is hard nosed about evidence. There are weak
and strong versions, in the strong version, everything is socially
constructed, in the weak version, some things are. If you do not adopt
the weak version you are left with the chore of explaining a great deal
of human experience, including the term you use so loosely "identity" in
some other way. No cheating by taking of "distributed consciousness"
because they you would have to explain specifically what the difference
is between that and weak social construction.

Of course they are not synonyms, which is why I separated them (although you seem to be adopting both, possibly in a weak form)
Identity can be considered a strange attractor - gives a much better explanation that abandoning it
Distributed consciousness is a growing understanding from Cognitive Science.  Its not cheating, we no longer have to take a crude mind/brain same or different position.  The nervous system, hormonal and other systems are engaged.  If you want some references on this I can did them out for you and they are science based. nowt to do with social construction I am afraid.


I think Simon is loosely connected to naturalising epistemology which  
owes more to Dewey and the pragmatists.  Bounded rationality was an  
interesting idea on a journey, but the journey has moved on.  Yes you  
can find cases where people with certain types of brain damage make  
different choices, but that does not invalidate choice, nor to I have  
to limit myself to  binaries.  Intention can steer a direction  
independent of choice per se.

It is easy to explain what people do by saying they choose to do
things.  It is easy to explain the earth and the universe by saying "god
created it." It explains everything but does not allow us to understand
to predict anything.  I often facetiously take a purely structuralist
stance, but no matter how socially constructed an individual is, they
can always switch roles, for instance, shaving their heads and moving to
an Ashram in India.  They still do not have the ability to be something
that no one can recognize, even if the role is outcast and stranger. I
think we are way better off looking for predictable regularities in
things we can seen and measure, like social interactions, than things we
cannot see or measure (and have no reason to believe exist) like
intentions and consciousness.

I love the leap from "people choose" to "god chooses"
The existence of choice is not predicated on prediction, to say so is a nonsense.  


I don't buy behaviourism, or information models of the human brain -  
and neither do any of the Cog Scientists I know or read.  

You missed Jerry Fodor, Dominic Massarao, Urlich Neisser, who coined
the term, and even Chomsky, who is often credited with being the
philosophical foundation of cognitive psychology. To get an idea you
might check out the Wikipedia entry on Cognitive psychology which says:

Ulric Neisser coined the term 'cognitive psychology' in his book
published in 1967 (Cognitive Psychology),
wherein Neisser provides a definition of cognitive psychology
characterizing people as dynamic information-processing
systems whose mental operations might be described in computational terms.

I am talking about Cognitive Science rather than cognitive psychology (sorry I thought that was clear) and I have little time for characterising people as information processors, it doesn't stack up


http://en.wikipedia.org/wiki/Cognitive_psychology

It is interesting to speculate about the cognitive psychologists you
have read if they are unfamiliar the very purpose of their special
branch of psychology.

that mathematical models are limited in applicability.

Why does it mean that?  Of course, any model is, by definition,
limited. Cognitive scientists tended to make information processing
models, state machines, finite automata and such. the bases for neural
nets.
You really are into this information processing model stuff aren't you.  Better to think of patterns and realise that chemicals are there with neurons in the human brain 





Agent based  
modelling (which people often link with complexity theory and it can  
be a part, but is not the whole) is similarly limited.  Not sure how  
you can like or not like complex adaptive systems theory.  Rather like  
saying you don't like quantum mechanics.  

Why is that?  Quantum mechanics has empirical tests for its ideas.  It
is more like saying I don't like string theory, which I think is much
like complex adaptive systems theory in that it can make any claim it
cares to because the claims cannot be tested.

CAS has made many claims which can be tested.  I'm partly with Penrose on String Theory but that is in a different place





I dislike certain
manifestations of it; purely computational models for example,  
deterministic approaches that don't recognise the unique aspects of  
complex systems in humans where issues of identity and intention add  
layers of complexity.  Also you should not confuse complexity theory  
with chaos theory, they are different.

Chaos theory came first.  I was just dating my interest.  Of course,
Hayek was a parallel thread, but even today his ideas are not that well
known.
Poincare and others might disagree but its not important.  Glad to see you now the difference




Consciousness as a distributed function, a coalesence gets really  
interesting.  You can see a lot of this in the post-Churchland  
writings and those might interest you.  Just telling someone they are  
wrong, obviously does not cut, but when someone makes an unsupported  
(and to my mind unsupportable) assertion as you did in respect of the  
Austrian, then it is a legitimate first response.

Ok,but still, you have not countered or even mentioned a single one of
Wittgenstein's arguments and you have certainly not made a dent in
convincing me he was mistaken.  If you had followed cognitive psychology
since the beginning, as I have (or near, I got Cognitive Psychology in
1975 or so and got up to speed then) you would see how people Fodor
tried to address Wittgenstein and failed. It boils down to the simple
point is that there is no such thing as cause and effect, it is just a
thing our brain does to organize the world. Simple things follow regular
patterns so the mistake is a useful one, complex things do not so the
mistake is not a useful one.

Which Wittgenstein?  I always preferred the early one myself but never mind.
We are not going to agree on this, but there is a whole body of literature which at least makes Wittgenstein's views (as you interpret them) controversial 

Don Steiny

unread,
Feb 13, 2008, 3:16:26 PM2/13/08
to Value-N...@googlegroups.com
Paul,

`I think there is a bit of equivocation on the words "intention" and
"induction" here. I was talking about "intention" in the sense of the
"cause" of a human decision and induction in the sense of logical
induction, which assumes repetitions of patterns.

From the Stanford Encyclopedia of Philosophy entry on functionalism:

But, though many functionalists argue that the considerations discussed
above show that there is no in principle bar to a functionalist theory
that has empirical force, these worries about the normativity of
intentional ascription continue to fuel skepticism about functionalism
(and, for that matter, any scientific theory of the mind that uses
intentional notions).

Likewise, any theory of society. Anytime someone says to me that
something has intention, purpose or function, my skeptic radar starts
pinging.


-Don

David Hawthorne

unread,
Feb 13, 2008, 4:46:30 PM2/13/08
to Value-N...@googlegroups.com
Do we fairly conclude, Don, that it is not your "intention" to beat this
horse to death, but instead, you are driven to persist in beating it by some
endless cosmic chain of events that could only have a dead horse as its
consequence? (I understand the nights are long in Finland this time of
year.)

-David Hawthorne

-----Original Message-----
From: Value-N...@googlegroups.com
[mailto:Value-N...@googlegroups.com] On Behalf Of Don Steiny
Sent: Wednesday, February 13, 2008 3:16 PM
To: Value-N...@googlegroups.com
Subject: Re: shifts in viewpoints

Paul Prueitt

unread,
Feb 13, 2008, 5:04:11 PM2/13/08
to Value-N...@googlegroups.com

No equivocation intended, or realized.

The school of thought is just different.

Induction is formative, even in mathematical induction; and thus it
is in the formation of a whole to achieve function, from an
aggregation of substance, that I see "intentionality" as expressing.

In the brain system, the neuro wave equation in Karl Pribram's 1991
book (Brain and Perception) is an equation describing a field dynamic
where various stability landscapes are forming, ie are emerging from
substrate substance. The character (as seen in the consequence) of
the emerging stability landscapes is driven by the need to fulfill
function (at some level). EEG measures these fields.

So the stability landscape might be seen as an induction of a mental
state.

The forces involved are all of the usual ones that reductionist
science would agree to, field forces, metabolic reaction signals,
etc. However, in the formation of these inducted fields there is an
opening for small forces resulting in large effects. If there is
intention, then perhaps this dynamics is where intention has come to
be exerted. This is merely a theory, but the theory has support from
the neuroscience.

The rejection of philosophy around these concepts seems perfectly ok,
since these arguments are often grounded in argumentation having poor
grounding in science. However, there is a science about
consciousness arising and those who do the philosophy might wish to
cease the argumentation and look at the science with a fresh mind.

Snowden Dave

unread,
Feb 14, 2008, 1:19:00 AM2/14/08
to Value-N...@googlegroups.com
Well said



Dave Snowden
Founder & Chief Scientific Officer
Cognitive Edge Pte Ltd

Now blogging at www.cognitive-edge.com


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