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Re: [ontolog-forum] FW: Maxwell's Equations for Knowledge

To: "'[ontolog-forum] '" <ontolog-forum@xxxxxxxxxxxxxxxx>
Cc: "L. Ludwig" <mail@xxxxxxxxxxxx>
From: John F Sowa <sowa@xxxxxxxxxxx>
Date: Thu, 10 Apr 2014 21:59:19 -0400
Message-id: <53474C77.9090202@xxxxxxxxxxx>
Lars and Dick,    (01)

> introspection is an integral part of many useful experimental paradigms
> in psychology and cognitive science. It is thus rather a matter of how
> you make use of introspection that determines its scientific value
> and its 'objectivity'.    (02)

I very strongly agree with that point.  In my previous note I cited
the book _Consciousness and the Brain_ by Stanislas Dehaene.  He uses
introspective reports from subjects in an fMRI scanner as *data*.  By
correlating what they say while they're solving a problem with the
areas of their brain that are most active, Dehaene can determine what
areas are being used for which kinds of problems.    (03)

For example, the temporal lobes (which are used in language) are most
active when the subjects are doing addition, but the parietal lobes
(which encode patterns) are more active for subtraction.    (04)

That point is related to the way children learn arithmetic.  They
memorize verbal tables (Two plus two is four) for addition, but
they learn procedures for subtraction and division.    (05)

> By relying on the reviews of other people, you are missing some
> insights into Rand's character.  I can remember her writing that
> there were details of our brain functions that were unknown, and
> would have to be discovered through future research.  She wrote
> ITOE in the 1960s.  She did not claim to know everything.    (06)

That's fine.  I have no objections to mining older material for
insights that have been overlooked.  My favorite philosopher,
C. S. Peirce, died in 1914.  Much of his work has been assimilated
into the mainstream, but there are still many "paths not taken"
that are worth exploring.    (07)

But there has been a huge amount of new work in the past 50 or
100 years.  When doing that data mining, it's essential to link
those forgotten byways to the latest research.    (08)

Since you used Maxwell's equations as a metaphor, note that Maxwell
himself received his most important insights from Faraday -- who had
a tremendous ability to "visualize" electromagnetic fields.  But
Faraday had very little mathematical training.  Maxwell collaborated
with Faraday to combine the best of both.    (09)

Summary:  Analyzing Ayn Rand's writings, by themselves, may be
interesting for historical reasons.  But to move forward, you have
to combine and update those insights with the latest R & D.    (010)

John    (011)

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