Friday, April 8, 2016

Seaking ultimate O-terms

In his Aufbau project Carnap argued that all concepts could be constructed from a similarity relation and a few logical concepts (like AND, OR, NOT). These would be, in effect, Lewis' ultimate O-terms.  Asa H has (one or more) similarity measures and NOT built in (innate) and can learn sequences that implement AND or OR.

In addition to Anna Wierzbicka's 63 semantic primes Locke offered 8 ultimate conceptual primitives: extension, solidity, mobility,perception, motivity, existence, duration, and number (Essay Concerning Human Understanding, book2, chapter 21, 1690). But some of these can be decomposed into other primitive concepts (more primitive ones?). Solidity can be learned as a sequence of actions involving touch, force or pressure application, and observed degree of deformation/deflection.  Mobility can be learned as a sequence of detecting, touching, grasping, lifting, and carrying. (Note that outputs, actions, as well as inputs, sensations, are involved.)

In this way we can try to find a more primitive (most primitive?) set of O-terms.  Or, by recombining the basic conceptual elements (subelements?) could we hope to operationalize our project to reconceptualize reality? Physicists, for example, might wish to combine Locke's perception and existence into one single concept.  The idea being that what exists is whatever can be detected/measured by sensors/instruments.

Empiricists like Lawrence Barsalou and Jesse Prinz believe that all the most primitive concepts are acquired by direct perception alone. (Furnishing the Mind, Bradford Book, 2004) In that case intelligences with the same senses might expect to share the same (or at least similar) fundamental concepts. We might expect Asa H to reconceptualize reality due to its ability to perform radio ESP, echolocation and ranging and to directly sense GPS location, electric fields, magnetic fields, atmospheric pressure,  and nuclear radiation.

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