Intelligent Systems And Their Societies Walter Fritz

Rationalism

 

Rationalism says, "Reality, can be explained by reasoning". Here "reality" means the cause of all sensations.

Why yes, that is true, the artificial IS has mental processes (it "reasons") and by this gains much useful knowledge in the form of concepts and response rules. To reason, means that the artificial IS performs internal processes of comparison and abstraction. These processes are different from those the human uses, as far as materialization goes. By "materialization" we mean the way the function is performed by physical elements. An electronic calculator uses physical processes different from those a human would use to get the result of a sum. But the function is the same. The IS uses concepts and experiences to make predictions and to decide what response to select. Predicting the environment means creating in our mind scientific laws (or laws of nature). Note that these "laws of nature", that are expressed as relations of concepts, exist only in our mind. They are not a part of the environment, the "cause of all sensations".

So rationalism seems to be correct. But only reasoning, as rationalism prescribes, without paying attention to our senses, would result in an incorrect structure of concepts. We generate concepts from experience, and only by using them in choosing responses, and taking note of the results, can we know which are useful and to be kept and which are useless and have to be abandoned.

For instance a young child may know a cat. When seeing a dog, it says incorrectly "cat", its concept for a small four legged animal. Only with time its concepts become more exact, it differentiates "cat" from "dog" and even differentiates various types of dogs. This happens not only to children but also to scientists: "phlogiston" the heat fluid, was used in physics and chemistry some centuries ago, but by making many experiments, this concept was found to be useless and was eliminated.

So concepts need the contact with the environment, both when we generate them and when we try them out.

 

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Last Edited 30 July 2013 / Walter Fritz
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