A Theory of Immediate Awareness: Self-Organization and Adaptation in Natural Intelligence
Estep (Myrna)
This Page provides (where held) the Abstract of the above Book and those of all the Papers contained in it.
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BOOK ABSTRACT:

Preface

  1. This book is multi- and interdisciplinary in both scope and content. It draws upon philosophy, the neurosciences, psychology, computer science, and engineering in efforts to resolve fundamental issues about the nature of immediate awareness. Approximately the first half of the book is addressed to historical approaches to the question whether or not there is such a thing as immediate awareness, and if so, what it might be. This involves reviewing arguments that one way or another have been offered as answers to the question or ways of avoiding it. It also includes detailed discussions of some complex questions about the part immediate awareness plays in our over-all natural intelligence.
  2. The second half of the book addresses intricate and complex issues involved in the computability of immediate awareness as it is found in simple, ordinary things human beings know how to do, as well as in some highly extraordinary things some know how to do. Over the past 2,500 years, human culture has discovered, created, and built very powerful tools for recognizing, classifying, and utilizing patterns found in the natural world. The most powerful of those tools is mathematics, the language of nature. The natural phenomenon of human knowing, of natural intelligence generally, is a very richly textured set of patterns that are highly complex, dynamic, self-organizing, and adaptive. We seek to understand those patterns by means of those powerful tools of mathematics and the aid of computers, looking for the most fundamental rules that bound or govern those patterns of natural intelligence. More specifically, we seek those fundamental principles of immediate awareness as it is exhibited in human know how.
  3. Some readers may find some sections a bit laborious and difficult to follow. For that I apologize. Where you find it a bit rough going, please feel free to simply skip over those sections and try to pick up where your understanding takes you. For some of the more intractable concepts and arguments, I've tried to clear more than one pathway, providing many examples, to allow the journey toward understanding to continue.
  4. For the sake of simplicity and to keep the book within manageable limits, there are issues I touch on here for purposes of clarifying the fundamental issues, but do not pursue to any great length. Included in these are issues related to indexicality in theories of language and theories of meaning acquisition. Most of these are more directly related to knowledge that issues that I largely set aside here so as to more fully focus upon the dynamics of natural intelligence as it is exhibited in knowing how and immediate awareness. However, I believe a fully developed theory of natural intelligence must develop theories showing the complex interrelations among all categories of knowing. There are other issues, for example mental representation theories that I also touch upon, but have not pursued. As the reader will quickly see, my primary focus here is upon experience that is present, not experience that is represented.

BOOK COMMENT:
  • Springer Science + Business Media, 2003
  • Downloaded during Springer promotion, Dec. 2015




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