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LC2

Miriam during The Intimate Study

Analyzing Natural Learning

What is really profound in this work?Learning is what makes our minds, My research has advanced the study of human learning in both common and unusual situations. See Comments in Review of “Computer Experience and Cognitive Development.”.
Good Questions:
from Artificial Intelligence for Genetic Epistemology:
studies addressed by the first five chapters in
Computer Experience and Cognitive Development:
1. how do goals develop?
2. how does disparate experience generate cognitive structure?
3. does programming experience invigorate systematic thinking?
4. how does strategic thinking develop?
5. how does the path of learning affect cognitive structure?
Chapter 6 is a summary of finding and conclusions.
Chapter 7 offers reflections on structural change
New opportunities: the dawn of the computing age.Years of programming knowledge into computing machines showed the contrast might help us understand how people learn and become who they are. A respected friend told me the best person in the world working on such research was Marvin Minsky and that I should join him at MIT. I did.
New ideas: Minsky argued programming was the mathematical language of process, and that mechanistic theories of learning were essential to understand the self-construction of the human mind. He challenged his students with a shared goal, to develop a theory of the emergence of the control structure of mind. Seymour Papert imagined that early access to programming activities would change the structure of children’s minds and their capabilities,Papert, “Piaget’s mathematician” for five years, had a deep understanding of and keen appreciation of his theories, but was a friendly skeptic, as in this birthday tribute:
“There is a more important question than the truth of the theory propounded by Piaget, that of its necessity: if by some unfortunate chance, this theory turns out to be false, what would be the next development ?… I even think I could anticipate the answer: it would be the establishment of a new theory which would likewise be an equilibration theory. ” (1976)
Inspiration: Peirce on Scientific Advances; Gould on Scientific Revolution; Case studies: R. W. White, J. Piaget, Barker and Wright, H. Gruber, Jane Goodall. The issue of commitment to “subjects” in a long study was resolved by raising my children. A Research Proposal for The Intimate Study (literary form).
More detail on the plan.
Methods: John Flavell’s suggestion: try joining the methods of Ecological Psychology with a structural focus typified by Piaget.Because learning leads to changes in the mind before they are manifest in behavior, tracing changes and inferring causes requires lots of detail at a sufficiently fine grain to capture small, intermediate changes as parts of a larger development. With such information, it is sometimes possible to relate specific changes in performance to inferable changes in mind, then credibly ascribe those changes to specific experiences in particular situations. Process oriented descriptions of knowledge are key to representing how changes in the structure of processes become manifest as changes in behavior.
The Psychology of the Particular: a Would-be Science.
Goals: the finale of my proposal for “The Intimate Study.”
my confidence in AI inspired psychology justified the risks in this research, despite opposition and warnings of impossibility.
Men have long argued over the relative import of intrinsic and extrinsic factors in development. With the newly specific ideas of artificial intelligence, I hope to trace the interaction of psyche and settings to see how of the concrete world we encounter:

"Nothing of him that doth fade
      But doth suffer a sea-change
           Into something rich and strange" ...
the human mind.
Outcomes: validation of the fruitfulness of the methodestablished credibility of empirically grounded interpretations.
detailed studies of how local knowledge forms general skills.
epistemological stance: the particularity of knowledge matters in understanding learning; it is obscured by later learning (below).
Theory: for interpreting learningBegin at the competent end; work back in time to identify precursors. Ask how their integration produces end results.
Theory: for thinking about thinking, learning, knowledge & education: beyond equilibration by structural completion to structure creation through local processes with reorganization through micro-view cluster nucleation.Translation into English:
First, you learn “what” and “how,” in various ways. Sometimes, later, you figure out why “how” must-be. “Generalization” occurs by replacement of an initial generative model by competition from another more fit to related situations. This “cognitive evolution” makes sense in a mind of self-reconstructing memories, such as Barlett characterized in “Remembering.”

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