From: "Phil Roberts, Jr." 
Subject: Re: Robot Evolution
Date: Tue, 26 Dec 2006 00:18:55 -0500 (EST)
X-Received-Date: Mon, 25 Dec 2006 21:15:00 PST (

Glen M. Sizemore wrote:

> "John Edser"  wrote in message 

>>Induction: from the particular to the general.
>>Deduction: from the general to the particular.
>>Machines cannot induce a thing because nobody knows how a mind makes an
> No, but we know some particulars concerning "induction" in animals. Indeed, 
> a great deal is known about it. Please see the entire history of the 
> experimental analysis of behavior, some of which can be found in the 50 
> years of the Journal of the Experimental Analysis of Behavior.  One could 
> say that not only is the study of operant conditioning the study of 
> intention, it is also the study of much of what we call induction.

In my own introspectively based attempt to get a
handle on "reasoning", I found it helpful to begin
by dividing the cognitive realm into two broad
divisions, higher cognition and lower cognition.
And I felt it was important to focus on the
process that leads to an increase in knowledge,
or understanding, or rationality, or whatever term
you prefer.  And in this regard I came up with the
following two categories:

Higher Cognition ("Reasoning"):
     The cognition of abstruse similarity and difference.
        Electricity is like water flowing in a pipe.

Lower Cognition (Conditioning):
     The cognition of obvious similarity and difference.
        This A + B sequence is like ones previously observed
          (e.g., Pavlov's dogs).

Here is what I had to say on these two categories in my
paper, 'Rehabilitating Introspection' available at my

Higher Cognition:

Not uncommonly, deductive syllogisms such as 'Socrates is a
man, all men are mortal, therefore Socrates is mortal', are
offered as examples of reasoning.  This is not how I am
employing the term in the phylogeny, which is why it appears
in quotation marks.  I mean for it to refer to whatever
thought process lies at the heart of ampliative inference, a
process often associated with 'Aha!' or 'Eureka!'
experiences, but commonly falling below the threshold of an
identifiable event in which much, if not most, of the
processing is not introspectively available.  Even so, by
applying a bit of the abstraction and generalization
prescribed by our procedure (and in contrast to the Nisbett
and Wilson approach to the study of "higher order, inference
based responses'), I believe enough is available for us to
make a reasonable guess that the cognition of similarity and
difference (analogical/metaphorical "reasoning') does most
of the heavy lifting.  But then I am hardly the first
introspectionist to arrive at that conclusion:

     All kinds of reasoning consist in nothing but a
     comparison and a discovery of those relations either
     constant or inconstant, which two or more objects
     bear to each other (Hume, 1739).

Lower Cognition:

My unorthodox definition of conditioning as 'the cognition
of obvious similarity and difference' stems from my
unorthodox definition of reasoning as 'the cognition of
abstruse similarity and difference' which, when combined
with the former, offers a number of explanatory advantages:

1. It allows for continuity between the two concepts and, as
   such, allows for an appreciation of how "reasoning' might
   have evolved from conditioning.  In this view, the ability
   to understand electricity by comparing it to how water flows
   in a pipe is just an extension of the process that underlies
   an organism's ability to understand a currently observed A +
   B sequence (e.g., Pavlov's dogs) by comparing it to ones
   previously observed.

2. It allows one to forego syllogistic deduction ('Socrates
   is a man...', etc.) as a paradigm for reasoning in that, based
   on the analogy with conditioning, concluding that Socrates
   is mortal can be viewed as analogous to a conditioned mouse
   remembering it must go left at the fourth fork in a maze.
   In much the manner the mouse's recollection would be
   construed as more a manifestation of conditioning THAT HAS 
   ALREADY OCCURRED, we might also conclude that deducing
   Socrates is mortal is more a manifestation of reasoning
   which has already occurred, and perhaps closer to
   remembering than reasoning, at least in an ampliative sense
   of coming to a deeper understanding of the nature of
   reality, and thereby serving to produce a net increase in
   one's rationality.

     If analogy were merely a special variety of something
     that in itself lies way out on the peripheries, then
     it would be but an itty bitty blip in the broad blue
     sky of cognition.  To me, however, analogy is anything
     but a bitty blip -- rather, it's the very blue that
     fills the whole sky of cognition - analogy is
     everything... (Hofstadter, 2001).

3. It allows for a naturalistic indeterminism in that one
   can surmise that once an event sequence or feature has
   become cognized it is easy to appreciate how one might then
   have the option of following the sequence or conforming to
   the feature or not, and thereby becoming less determined by
   it, i.e., aware of more options than prior to the cognition.
   Another way of saying this is that it lends itself to the
   suspicion that there might well be an inverse correlation
   between 'being cognizant' or 'being rational' and 'being

4. It affords a linkage between "reasoning' in the
   ampliative sense and rationality, in that rationality could
   be construed simply as 'the psychical product of "reasoning"
   (ampliative inference)' with the Latin/Greek origin of
   'ratio' meaning 'to compare'.

                    Rehabilitating Introspection
     A Procedure for a First Person Psychical Science