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General Cognitive Principles & The Structure of Behaviour

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  1. General Cognitive Principles &The Structure of Behaviour Prolegomena for a big ToE William Edmondson Computer Science, University of Birmingham

  2. Plan of Talk Background Language and Behaviour Functional Specification Wacky Experiment Some Principles and a Model Some more Principles Conjectures GCP & MOC

  3. Background • Sign Language Morphology - 1970s research • The study of biologically necessary properties of language is a part of natural science: its concern is to determine one aspect of human genetics, namely, the nature of the language faculty. Perhaps the effort is misguided. We might discover that there is no language faculty, but only some general modes of learning applied to language or anything else. If so, then universal grammar in my sense is vacuous, in that its questions will find no answers apart from general cognitive principles.Noam Chomsky, Rules and Representations, 1980. GCP & MOC

  4. Phonology -> behaviour • Non-linear phonology as model of general linguistic behaviour. • Linguistic behaviour as instance of general behaviour. • Linguistic behaviour as model of general behaviour. • General cognitive principles and the structure of behaviour. • ===> Functional specification of the brain. GCP & MOC

  5. Functional specification • What is the brain for? • Information processing? • Autopoiesis/homeostasis? • Controlling behaviour? • Compare: heart, lungs, kidneys…. • The brain is the organ which enables a creature to deal with the……………………….. GCP & MOC

  6. Sequential Imperative GCP1 Sequentiality in behaviour is forced physiologically. • Cor1: Sequence penetrates the corporeal boundary. • Cor2: Sequence is semiotically free. GCP & MOC

  7. GCP2 & GCP3 GCP2 Cognitive entities are: • Inherently atemporal • Dual in nature GCP3 Behaviour is sequencing; Perception is de-sequencing GCP & MOC

  8. PANTOME • Developed to organize the multiple independent sources of specification of aspects of speech when deriving speech from text. • Bi-directional coupling of atemporal, co-occurring, characterizations with sequential data. • Expresses first 3 GCPs. GCP & MOC

  9. GCP & MOC

  10. GCP & MOC

  11. GCP & MOC

  12. Other Cognitive Principles GCP4 Learning serves the sequential imperative. GCP5 Attention is the management of the processes of sequencing and de-sequencing. GCP6 Thought is the production of cognitive entities. GCP & MOC

  13. …& 2 more GCP7 Affect is an attentional mechanism. GCP8 Cognition and affect can be distributed: in environment - space, objects, others (not just con-specifics) in time - historical, personal GCP & MOC

  14. Conjectures • Specification of functionality will lead to better, implementable models. • Exploration of models will uncover: • Incomplete functionality, • Unrecognized functionality, • Functional opportunities. • Consciousness might occupy a spandrel. GCP & MOC

  15. Consciousness might be… • Temporal span of attention. • Planning, Life goals, Flexibility of time-scales. • Breadth of attention. • Multi-tasking. • Breadth of inattention. • Automaticity. • Focus of attention. • Inner/outer bias. GCP & MOC

  16. Consciousness might be…… • The sensation of directed attention. • Noting that such attention is a behaviour… • not necessarily destined for externalisation. • BUT is this just introspection leaking into theory? GCP & MOC

  17. contd…. • Attributions of causality to sensations &/or consciousness may also reflect introspection leaking into theory. • Correlation may be the better notion, not least because behaviour which might appear to be conscious does not have to be. • Consciousness does not obviously have a function, and thus does not need to be modelled when building robots. • Different architectures may not offer the spandrel(s) required (cf different species). GCP & MOC

  18. Where next? Weizenbaum argues….“that an organism is defined, in large part, by the problems it faces. Man faces problems no machine could possibly be made to face.” [Computer Power and Human Reason, 1976] Maybe we should be designing machines to face problems no man could possibly face - robots, sure, but do they have to be conscious? And maybe then we could be build implementable theories of consciousness which permit augmentation of human consciousness and intra-species experiencing of other consciousnesses? GCP & MOC

  19. Er….. That’s it. GCP & MOC