Re: Turing Machines and Physical Computation
From: David Longley (David_at_longley.demon.co.uk)
Date: Sat, 27 Nov 2004 13:57:17 +0000
In article <email@example.com>, dan
michaels <firstname.lastname@example.org> writes
>patty <pattyNO@SPAMicyberspace.net> wrote in message
>> > ON THE COMPUTER "METAPHOR"
>> > 'It has always bothered me that models of psychological
>> > processing were thought to be inspired by our understanding of
>> > the computer. The statement has always been false. Indeed, the
>> > architecture of the modern digital computer - the so-called Von
>> > Neumann architecture - was heavily influenced by people's (naive)
>> > view of how the mind operated. Perhaps I had better document
>> > this. Simply read the work on cybernetics and thought in the
>> > 1940's and 1950's prior to the development of the digital
>> > computer. The group of workers included people from all
>> > disciplines: See the Macy Conferences on Cybernetics, or "Her
>> > Majesty's Conference on Thought processes". Read the preface to
>> > Wiener's book on cybernetics. Everyone who was working together -
>> > engineers, physicists, mathematicians, psychologists,
>> > neuroscientists (not yet named) - consciously and deliberately
>> > claimed to be modelling brain processes.'
>> > Reflections on Cognition and Parallel Distributed Processing
>> > D.A. Norman
>> > (Ch 26, p534, Parallel Distributed Processing Volume 2)
>> > McClelland J and Rumelhart D 1986
>> I get that computer behavior and human behavior are essentially
>> different. Why they are so different is certainly what we came here to
>Hi patty, every couple of weeks I click on a post totally at random to
>find the same silliness repeated, with 0.999 confidence.
>The problem with presenting a disembodied fragment is that it possibly
>implies what the fragmenter wants it to implie, but it hardly tells
>what the original writer actually "meant". Follows are parts of the
>**REST** of Norman's story .... [caps are mine] ...
>.... here we are talking about a new form of COMPUTATION ...
>... these MODELS are highly parallel, with thousands of elements
>INTERACTING primarily through actviation and inhibition ...
>... each ELEMENT is highly interconnected with perhaps tens of
>thousands of connections ....
>...these NEUROLOGICALLY INSPIRED COMPUTATIONAL PROCESSES pose new
>requirements on our understanding of computation, suggest novel
>THEORETICAL EXPLANATIONS of PSYCHOLOGICAL PHENOMENA, and suggest
>powerful new ARCHITECTURES for MACHINES OF THE FUTURE ....
>.... carry on a tradition that has long existed .... a tradition of
>BUILDING MODELS of NEUROLOGICAL PROCESSES ....
>[and later on .....]
>... the whole point for the cognitive scientist is to UNDERSTAND
>COGNITION ... to do so, we insist upon explanation of the INTERNAL
>PROCESSING STRUCTURES THAT GIVE RISE TO COGNITIVE ACTIVITIES ....
>.... this is why we have spoken of REPRESENTATION, of MECHANISMS of
>memory and attention ...
The rest of what Norman said was NOT important. I clearly disagree with
what he goes on to say (at least, as it appears prima facie) as what he
says is just bog standard cognitive psychology, and I've been
*criticising* that as a behavioural scientist!
Nor was the point that *Norman*, as an individual researcher (or
representative of cognitive psychology) said what he did about the
history, but that the history about the context of the origin of the Von
Neumann architecture was as it was, that people generally misunderstand
that history, and that on top of that (given what was actually known
back then, and what has been borne out by the empirical research - cf.
the Putnam quote and "Fragments"), the folk doing what they were doing
back then, *were fundamentally misguided*.
You don't understand a) the history, b) the nature of the controversy
over ANNs or c) the nature of behaviour analysis and how ANNs relate to
that work. You should look at the equipment which ran the original
operant labs (cf. "the pigeon lab" EAB papers I referenced which have
pictures), where its "spaghetti" components came from, and what I have
said ANNs basically reduce to statistically. I said you should also look
up Skinner's critique of Bush and Mosteller, Hull, and what people like
Guthrie (earlier) and Estes (later) were doing. It might also help if
you looked up what Rescorla said about classical conditioning in 1988.
This is far more sophisticated than you and many others appreciate. The
scope might surprise you.
There is a Copernican revolution here which you, and many like you have
missed because you haven't bothered to look into the subtleties of the
history or think you already know (this is studied empirically under the
guise of pre-exposure effects like "latent inhibition" or "sensory
preconditioning" - another angle on "intensional biases".
As a consequence you make very naive statements which reflect your very
shoddy grasp of the history of "behaviour analysis". You and others
really do need to think about this as you literally have your facts
wrong. It isn't a matter of opinion or values - it really is a matter of
fact. Just how much time have you spent questioning whether what you
think or believe is accurate or true?? What formal training have you
had, and what practice have you had empirically? Unless you can answer
these questions with confidence, I suggest you look at what you think
and believe with extreme circumspection. That's how scientists think, or
at least, how they should think (cf. normative vs. descriptive).
You should ask yourself what "psychologists" are studying when they
study "cognition"? Here's a clue: what are psychiatrists studying when
they study schizophrenia or the affective disorders? What are
anthropologists studying when they study witch-doctoring, voodoo and
differing cultural practices? What is superstitious behaviour and how
does it relate to "theory"? What's the difference between normative and
descriptive models? What's the difference between actuarial versus
clinical judgement? What are the intensional heuristics and what are
they prone to?
As always you're either too stupid, too ignorant, too arrogant or too
unselfcritical to grasp the point that's been made so often. Instead,
you delight in counting posts! ironically grasping what has been
explained once might have sufficed to put you on a more pragmatically
What I have been trying to teach some of you here is why the NAIVE view
*was* very naive - to the point of being entirely misguided, and how it
is still around today. There's therefore no point at all in you, or
anyone else here or elsewhere, repeating the errors of those who have
not fully appreciated why they are misguided, unless you wish to serve
as yet another illustrative example of just how misguided folk can be -
Why did I refer people here to Kahneman and his 2002 Nobel? What does
that have to do with "The Matching Law"? What is behavioural economics?
Unless you can grasp (even dimly) what all this refers to, you will, I
suggest, just continue to make silly, ignorant statements which show how
little you understand the history of psychology and philosophy. This is
something that most people who post here do (albeit inadvertently - and
that includes some of the so called luminaries so don't look to
celebrities for reassurance). If each of you were to just spend a little
time reflecting self-critically upon your own training relative to those
of us who have expertise within these fields, you might begin to learn
something to replace the nonsense you currently believe. As it is, you
have no idea, and you won't have your errors pointed out and corrected
either. This makes you appear idiotic. It's as if you are saying that
you are entitled to an opinion on these matters even when what you are
saying is clearly false!
You should think on that, and whilst you are at it, instead of CYC, look
into the predicates used in PROBE.
What was the important (subtle) difference between CYC and PROBE? Have
you asked yourself why you're so happy telling a research psychologist
that you know better? Before you spew out a silly defensive answer, look
into what is going on today within the context within which the PROBE
project was developed. Consider how serious this field is and what it
costs. Along the way, give some careful thought to what I have said
before about "contingency controlled" vs. "rule governed" behaviour and
how that pertains to "evidence based" practice (that's a key word, and
clue, I advise you to look into it). Just how much of any of this do you
think you have grasped? What are "regimes" and what are they writ large?
What do people work to?
Finally, do you have any idea why I have cited work done back in 1981
and where that work was done? Look at the date that the PDP volumes came
out and do some thinking about what I have said in the past about LTP,
afferent and efferent systems, primary, secondary, teritary nuclei etc.
It's all been said here over the years - try reading some of the posts
rather than *counting* them.
Maybe there's more to this than you know.........
-- David Longley http://www.longley.demon.co.uk