RE: Study shows brain can learn without really trying

From: Vincent Campbell (
Date: Mon Nov 19 2001 - 16:21:29 GMT

  • Next message: Vincent Campbell: "RE: Study shows brain can learn without really trying"

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    From: Vincent Campbell <>
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    Subject: RE: Study shows brain can learn without really trying
    Date: Mon, 19 Nov 2001 16:21:29 -0000
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    >> Does that actually answer the question, or not, I'm not sure?

            <If we exist intrinsically, then clearly so do animals. Our mental
    self-nature is
    > founded atop the bodily self-nature of our hominid predecessors. Anima,
    > in turn, is an expression of the universal animation of time.>
            That's a no then...

    >> That's like, IIRC Baudrillard's contention that evidence that
    >> died from TB wasn't really possible because TB wasn't discoverd
    >> until the 19th century.

            <It's unlikely that the same ultra-rational methodology developed in
    > context of human consciousness evolved entirely unconsciously within the
    > animal nervous system. The guppy brain probably isn't calculating
    > positions
    > and movements the same way a computer would. We're projecting our
    > techno-logic onto nature.>
            Well, how else does a guppy move around then? It seems pretty clear
    to me that animal behaviour can be explained extremely effectively in terms
    of simply mathematical models that don't require consicousness to operate,
    from computer models of how ants move or birds fly in flocks, to game theory
    and the prisoner's dilema. Some mechanism is needed in the brain of
    organisms to set the parameters for their movement and response to stimuli
    (e.g. choice of foodstuffs, predator avoidance etc.). Algorithms, models
    whatever you want to call them are merely human descriptions of natural
    processes, they are not examples of anthropmorphism.

            <Animals do indeed have a kind of culture, a kind of language, a
    kind of
    > intellect, a kind of ego. But it's not what we mean when we use those
    > terms. The proto-language of chimps is incomparable to the
    > self-replicating
    > mental system that binds together human culture. Even among mammals,
    > which possess a general-purpose intelligence, there's no abstract "world"
    > within which the real one is modeled. There's no memetic environment in
    > which memes could thrive or fail.>
            Well that's your opinion, but I think acknowledging the possibility
    of a pre-cultural, or proto-cultural state in other organisms is important
    in trying to pin down exactly what we mean by human culture. The
    description you offer is essentially, at the moment, impossible to be sure
    about unless one can know the mind of another organism (the old Nagel
    questions of being like a bat). There is evidence that chimps are able to
    use abstract models and relate them to the real world (e.g. a scale model of
    their quarters is used to show them something being hidden, and they have to
    find it in the real room, which they are capable of). Whether such examples
    suggest that chimps in the wild have an abstract concept of world in their
    heads is virtually impossible to tell.

            part 2 to your part 2 to follow.


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