The mind is embodied
The mind is embodied
Jim is a young boy who considers his home to be a place to eat and to sleep and of little more. Jane is a young girl who considers her home is where she lives, plays, learns, is security, is where her family engages one another, where her parents interact and are sympathetic to her and her siblings’ needs and desires.
The ‘conceptual metaphor’ driven cognitive science considers the body and the mind to be one. The body and mind is a gestalt, the mind and body go together “like a horse and carriage”. Home determines to a large extent ‘who is Jane’; the body determines to a large extent ‘what is mind’.
It appears to me that cognitive science has two paradigms; symbolic manipulation, which is also called AI (Artificial Intelligence) and the second paradigm, is called ‘conceptual metaphor’.
I shall try to use Jim and Jane as an analogy to illuminate some of the difference between the two paradigms.
Western traditional philosophy and the philosophy supporting AI are more like Jim than Jane insofar as the mind body relationship is concerned. For AI the body is a machine that functions with software that is used for mental operations. Like our PC the body is hardware that performs the operations the software dictates. As Jim considers home to be a place to eat and sleep so AI considers the body is a place for satisfying the need for a place for the mind to abide.
We have in our Western philosophy a traditional theory of faculty psychology wherein our reasoning is a faculty completely separate from the body. “Reason is seen as independent of perception and bodily movement.” It is this capacity of autonomous reason that makes us different in kind from all other animals. I suspect that many fundamental aspects of philosophy and psychology are focused upon declaring, whenever possible, the separateness of our species from all other animals.
This tradition of an autonomous reason began long before evolutionary theory and has held strongly since then without consideration, it seems to me, of the theories of Darwin and of biological science. Cognitive science has in the last three decades developed considerable empirical evidence supporting Darwin and not supporting the traditional theories of philosophy and psychology regarding the autonomy of reason. Cognitive science has focused a great deal of empirical science toward discovering the nature of the embodied mind.
The three major findings of cognitive science are:
The mind is inherently embodied.
Thought is mostly unconscious.
Abstract concepts are largely metaphorical.
“These findings of cognitive science are profoundly disquieting [for traditional thinking] in two respects. First, they tell us that human reason is a form of animal reason, a reason inextricably tied to our bodies and the peculiarities of our brains. Second, these results tell us that our bodies, brains, and interactions with our environment provide the mostly unconscious basis for our everyday metaphysics, that is, our sense of what is real.”
All living creatures categorize. All creatures, as a minimum, separate eat from no eat and friend from foe. As neural creatures tadpole and wo/man categorize. There are trillions of synaptic connections taking place in the least sophisticated of creatures and this multiple synapses must be organized in some way to facilitate passage through a small number of interconnections and thus categorization takes place. Great numbers of different synapses take place in an experience and these are subsumed in some fashion to provide the category eat or foe perhaps.
Our categories are what we consider to be real in the world: tree, rock, animal…Our concepts are what we use to structure our reasoning about these categories. Concepts are neural structures that are the fundamental means by which we reason about categories.
Quotes from “Philosophy in the Flesh” by Lakoff and Johnson
Questions for discussion
Jim’s home is for utility alone. Do you think that using Jim’s home as an analogy for AI is apt?
Jane’s home is the ground for her life. Do you see this as an appropriate analogy for ‘conceptual metaphor cognitive science’?
Life is Fatal.
Jim's home is not part of his identity and therefore he doesn't find himself there. On the other hand, Jim probably finds his identity elsewhere and thus his AI is dependent on that object and its variables.
Originally Posted by coberst
Jane's identity often does associate with the home and it is a reflection of her self.
Both would suggest that AI requires purpose.