Brownian thought space

Cognitive science, mostly, but more a sometimes structured random walk about things.

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Location: Rochester, United States

Chronically curious モ..

Thursday, August 10, 2006

Vespe!

Or wasps! Although the Italian word sounds better... it creates this impression of striped insects on little flying scooters. Presumably with crash helmets with the buckle untied and flapping. And mean, goggled ommatidia. Anyhow, I had to put an end to this colony: Which rather reminds me of a previous post. The question, therein really: the nest is beautifully organized, and made up little by little as a coherent structure; does the insect have any kind of representation of the rules? Is there a bit of hardware which, essentially, represents any abstract structural property of the final structure? Or are there just little, stimulus-driven subroutines? And won't they at some level require an abstraction of some sort? One extreme view that I once discussed with Ansgar & Gary (on the lovely island of San Servolo). Basically, these two represent for me the two opposite extremes: Gary believes there are real symbols; Ansgar believes there aren't anything of the sort at all. I'm somewhere in the middle. On the one hand, what else have we got apart from cells in the space between the ears? On the other, where does the systematicity and generative power and great abstractive thought come from? For me, as ever, the answer is somewhere in the middle, and finding it through empirical science will keep me busy for pretty long... :)

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