Concept formation


JennaW

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I'm still looking at the perception/conceptualization aspects of both my field and Rand's philosophy, and how they are convergent, divergent, etc. I know MSK mentioned that the parts on concept-formation needs to be fleshed out, and I have independently come to the same conclusion.

So I'd like to open a thread where anyone who has read new research on cognition to contribute what they find out, and to invite MSK to share how he would flesh this out; I will also be sharing as soon as I've thought it out. For starters though, I've found that current research supports:

1. The "similarity" between objects are considered in order for them to be conceptualized.

2. Categories are learned first before similarity comparisons happen.

3. Essentialism -- an object's essence determines its identity-- is inaccurate because not all categories provide identity. Basic-level categories are defined in this way, not all categories.

4. Concepts tend to arise in systems, not individually; as well as there being emergent properties abour predicates not known at a "lower level". Therefore, the reductionistic view of concept theory-- that complex predicates are made up of or decomposed to smaller ones-- is rejected by current research.

5. The eye engages in some form of interpretation.

6. Beliefs about what is being perceived affects what is perceived, even in 14-month-olds.

7. The disctinction between perceptual and conceptual properties is tenuous (not clearly delineated).

8. Inductive inference depends on cultural and linguistic convention.

9. Similarity-based approach (where people discriminate between objects based on likeness) provides the most well-specified models and phenomena.

10. But the authors always conclude that there are a plurality of procedures and mechanisms that people use to make concepts or inductions.

11. Mental representations are neurally plausible, semantically rich, flexible, and meaningfully symbolic. Representational knowledge is based on dynamic binding of relational roles, fillers, role-filler bindings, and composition into complete propositions.

From The Cambridge Handbook of Thinking and Reasoning, ed. Holyoak and Morrison

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Jenna,

That's a pretty tall order. My own knowledge of other theories of concepts is not as deep as yours (and you do present an amazing amount of material you have digested and are digesting). What I will be able to do is go through each item from the traditional Objectivist standpoint and add my comments and speculations (and any other incidental research I may do because of it).

I hope some others chime in to help out and I will need a bit of time.

I will get back to this later.

Michael

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Jenna,

That's a pretty tall order. My own knowledge of other theories of concepts is not as deep as yours (and you do present an amazing amount of material you have digested and are digesting). What I will be able to do is go through each item from the traditional Objectivist standpoint and add my comments and speculations (and any other incidental research I may do because of it).

I hope some others chime in to help out and I will need a bit of time.

I will get back to this later.

MSK,

No rush at all; this IS my field (~40% of my life) so of course I would have to know it in order to do anything in it. I don't expect the same thing from people who are not in my field; you've got your own field and I most likely know very little about it! :)

I'm basically interested in exchanging ideas on Oist concept-formation theory in relation to new research; any bit of info could help, so I am basically hoping for anyone to contribute to this, at their convenience.

--J

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Jenna,

To start with, let's take the first.

1. The "similarity" between objects are considered in order for them to be conceptualized.

Rand states this, but she calls the act of considering similarities "differentiation," "isolation" and "process of abstraction." Then the word "conceptualized" in the above statement is "integration" in Rand's terms. Here is a quote from ITOE (p. 10), but presupposing the idea of "unit," which I believe is implicit in your quote because it talks about "objects."

The units involved may be any aspect of reality: entities, attributes, actions, qualities, relationships, etc.; they may be perceptual concretes or other, earlier-formed concepts. The act of isolation involved is a process of abstraction: i.e., a selective mental focus that takes out or separates a certain aspect of reality from all others (e.g., isolates a certain attribute from the entities possessing it, or a certain action from the entities performing it, etc.). The uniting involved is not a mere sum, but an integration, i.e., a blending of the units into a single, new mental entity which is used thereafter as a single unit of thought (but which can be broken into its component units whenever required).

I see the first observation from The Cambridge Handbook of Thinking and Reasoning being perfectly in line with Rand's theory, merely using different words. (More coming as I get time.)

Michael

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I see the first observation from The Cambridge Handbook of Thinking and Reasoning being perfectly in line with Rand's theory, merely using different words. (More coming as I get time.)

Awesome! When I read ITOE, she was right about a ton of stuff.... but still vague because of course, when you're actually studying cognition, etc. as a field, it's like reading an Algebra book when you're a math major. Yes, it's true.. but, it can get so much deeper, and algebra can explain a whole lot but also can be vague. That's my main point here. :)

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