Motivation: Classical definitions of information, such as the Shannon information, are designed for open loop systems because they define information on a channel which has an input and an output. The main motivation of this paper is to present a closed loop information measure which is compatible with constructivist thinking. Design: Our information measure for a closed loop system reflects how additional sensor inputs are utilised to establish additional sensor-motor loops during learning. Our information measure is based on the assumption (...) that it is not optimal to stay reactive and that it is beneficial to become proactive through increased learning about the environment. Consequently our information measure gauges the utilisation of new sensor inputs to generate anticipatory actions. We call this information measure "predictive information" (PI). Findings: Our PI is zero if the organism uses only its reflex reactions. It grows when the organism is able to use other sensor inputs to preempt reflex reactions and is able to replace reflexes by anticipatory reactions. This has been demonstrated with a real robot that had to learn to avoid obstacles. Conclusion: PI is a new measure which is able to quantify anticipatory learning and, in contrast to the Shannon information, is calculated only at the inputs of an agent. This information measure has been successfully applied to a simple robot task but its application is neither limited to a certain task nor to a certain learning rule. (shrink)
Open peer commentary on the article ““Black Box” Theatre: Second-Order Cybernetics and Naturalism in Rehearsal and Performance” by Tom Scholte. Upshot: My aim is to show that “truthful” acting that emerges through improvisation is equivalent to the development of mutual forward models in the actors. If these models match those of the audience members, this is perceived as “truthful.”.
Upshot: We acknowledge that our model can be implemented with different reinforcement learning algorithms. Subsystem formation has been successfully demonstrated on the basal level, and in order to show full subsystem formation in the communication system at least both intentional utterances and acceptance/rejection need to be implemented. The comments about intrinsic vs extrinsic rewards made clear that this distinction is not helpful in the context of the constructivist paradigm but rather needs to be replaced by a critical reflection on whether (...) one has truly created autopoietic agents or just an engineering system. (shrink)
Open peer commentary on the article “Constructivism and Computation: Can Computer-Based Modeling Add to the Case for Constructivism?” by Manfred Füllsack. Upshot: The environment is not slowly constructed by the agent but is an integral part of being an agent because both, agent and environment, are part of a closed loop system. By identifying the perturbations impacting on the loops, with the help of second-order cybernetics, the agent can identify them as its environment.
Purpose: This article investigates the emergence of subsystems in societies as a solution to the double contingency problem. Context: There are two underlying paradigms: one is radical constructivism in the sense that perturbations are at the centre of the self-organising processes; the other is Luhmann’s double contingency problem, where agents learn anticipations from each other. Approach: Central to our investigation is a computer simulation where we place agents into an arena. These agents can learn to (a) collect food and/or (b) (...) steal food from other agents. In order to analyse subsystem formation, we investigate whether agents use both behaviours or just one of these, which is equivalent to determining the number of self-referential loops. This is detected with a novel measure that we call “prediction utilisation.” Results: During the simulation, symmetry breaking is observed. The system of agents divides itself up into two subsystems: one where agents just collect food and another one where agents just steal food from other agents. The ratio between these two populations is determined by the amount of food available. Key words: Social systems, constructivist paradigm, cybernetics, double contingency, symmetry breaking, emergence. (shrink)
The author reflects upon her role as a public health nurse striving to attain practice authenticity. Client assessment and nursing interventions were seemingly sufficient until she became curious about ‘Who is this person sitting across from me?’ and ‘What are her experiences in the world as a lone parent living in poverty at the margins of society?’ The author begins to think that she could shift from mere client investigation to pure wonderment about the Other by imagining herself as a (...) researcher, an explorer of another's life world. Ultimately this process enables her to enhance the ‘caring’ in her practice with the knowledge gained of the perceptions and meanings impoverished clients assigned to their everyday lives. Jurgen Habermas’ theory of communicative competence serves as the reference map guiding exploration. The author uses Habermas’ theoretical principles of intersubjective mutuality – the validity claims of comprehensibility, truth, sincerity, and legitimacy. Comprehensibility embodies understanding, an attitude of unconditional acceptance, and care respect of another's individual person and self‐defined reality. Intersubjective mutuality also requires that one dwell in the moment with the Other, satisfied that communication is founded on truth. Sincerity implies fostering the Other's expression of authentic self apart from oppressive distracters. Lastly, legitimacy reconciles the author's altruistic pursuit to know the Other's ontological truth with the reality of the present world. (shrink)
Housed in one volume for the first time are several of the seminal essays on Du Bois's contributions to sociology and critical social theory: from DuBois as inventor of the sociology of race to Du Bois as the first sociologist of American religion; from Du Bois as a pioneer of urban and rural sociology to Du Bois as innovator of the sociology of gender and culture; and finally from Du Bois as groundbreaking sociologist of education and cultural criminologist to Du (...) Bois as critic of the disciplinary decadence of the discipline of sociology. Unlike any other anthology or critical reader on Du Bois, this new volume offers an excellent overview of the critical commentary on arguably one of the most imaginative and innovative, perceptive and prolific founders of the discipline of sociology. (shrink)
H. B. D. Kettlewell's field experiments on industrial melanism in the peppered moth, Biston betularia, have become the best known demonstration of natural selection in action. I argue that textbook accounts routinely portray this research as an example of controlled experimentation, even though this is historically misleading. I examine how idealized accounts of Kettlewell's research have been used by professional biologists and biology teachers. I also respond to some criticisms of David Rudge to my earlier discussions of this case study, (...) and I question Rudge's claims about the importance of purely observational studies for the eventual acceptance and popularization of Kettlewell's explanation for the evolution of industrial melanism. (shrink)
Bob B. He: Two-dimensional X-ray diffraction Content Type Journal Article Category Book Review Pages 1-2 DOI 10.1007/s10698-011-9135-8 Authors George B. Kauffman, Department of Chemistry, California State University, Fresno, Fresno, CA 93740-8034, USA Journal Foundations of Chemistry Online ISSN 1572-8463 Print ISSN 1386-4238.
This paper seeks to reinterpret the life and work of J. B. S. Haldane by focusing on an illuminating but largely ignored essay he published in 1927, "The Last Judgment" -- the sequel to his better known work, "Daedalus" (1924). This astonishing essay expresses a vision of the human future over the next 40,000,000 years, one that revises and updates Wellsian futurism with the long range implications of the "new biology" for human destiny. That vision served as a kind of (...) lifelong credo, one that infused and informed his diverse scientific work, political activities, and popular writing, and that gave unity and coherence to his remarkable career. (shrink)
In the World Library of Psychologists series, international experts themselves present career-long collections of what they judge to be their finest pieces - extracts from books, key articles, salient research findings, and their major theoretical and practical contributions. Jonathan St B T Evans is amongst the foremost cognitive psychologists of his generation, having been influential in spearheading developments in the psychological study of reasoning from its very beginnings in the 1970s up to the present day. This volume of self-selected papers (...) recognises Professor Evan's major contribution to the psychological study of thinking and reasoning by bringing together his most influential and important works. Early selections in the book focus upon experimental studies of reasoning - matching bias in the Wason selection task, belief bias in syllogistic reasoning, and also seminal work on the understanding of conditional statements. The later selections include Evans' work on more general forms of dual process and dual system theory, and his recent account of two minds in one brain. The volume also contains chapters which highlight Evans' contribution to the topic of human rationality, and also his influence on the development of the "new paradigm" in the psychology of reasoning. The key developments in the psychology of reasoning are paralleled by those in Evans's own intellectual history, and the book will therefore make essential reading for all researchers in the psychology of reasoning, and a wider audience of graduate and upper-level undergraduate students with an interest in reasoning and/or dual process theory. (shrink)
This essay explains the inescapability of moral demands. I deny that the individual has genuine reason to comply with these demands only if she has desires that would be served by doing so. Rather, the learning of moral reasons helps to shape and channel self- and other-interested motivations so as to facilitate and promote social cooperation. This shaping happens through the “embedding” of reasons in the intentional objects of motivational propensities. The dominance of the instrumental conception of reason, according to (...) which reasons must be based in desires of the individual, has made it harder to recognize that reasons shape desires. I attempt to undermine this dominance by arguing that the concept of a self that extends over time is constructed to meet the demands of social cooperation. Prudential reasons to act on behalf of the persisting self's desires are often taken to constitute the paradigm of reasons based on desires of the individual. But such reasons, along with the very concept of the persisting self, are constructed to promote human cooperation and to shape the individual's desires. (shrink)
Among moral attributes true virtue alone is sublime. … [I]t is only by means of this idea [of virtue] that any judgment as to moral worth or its opposite is possible. … Everything good that is not based on a morally good disposition … is nothing but pretence and glittering misery. 1.
The paper illustrates how organic chemists dramatically altered their practices in the middle part of the twentieth century through the adoption of analytical instrumentation - such as ultraviolet and infrared absorption spectroscopy and nuclear magnetic resonance spectroscopy - through which the difficult process of structure determination for small molecules became routine. Changes in practice were manifested in two ways: in the use of these instruments in the development of 'rule-based' theories; and in an increased focus on synthesis, at the expense (...) of chemical analysis. These rule-based theories took the form of generalizations relating structure to chemical and physical properties, as measured by instrumentation. This 'Instrumental Revolution' in organic chemistry was two-fold: encompassing an embrace of new tools that provided unprecedented access to structures, and a new way of thinking about molecules and their reactivity in terms of shape and structure. These practices suggest the possibility of a change in the ontological status of chemical structures, brought about by the regular use of instruments. The career of Robert Burns Woodward (1917-1979) provides the central historical examples for the paper. Woodward was an organic chemist at Harvard from 1937 until the time of his death. In 1965, he won the Nobel Prize in Chemistry. (shrink)