Problem solving and systems thinking LO20304

Cowan, Keith (
Mon, 4 Jan 1999 12:29:35 -0800

Replying to LO20274 --

AM de Lange ( explains and I try to simplify:
>.....First, let
>us think about understanding (comprehension). Our understanding (by
>emergences and digestions) of any topic, say A, grows as we relate
>topic A to all our other experiences and perceptions of other topics.
>Our understanding grows only digestively and not also emergently when
>we restrict our attention to merely topic A. Hence we will slowly
>stagnate in our understanding.

Is this really possible? Can someone actually learn without invoking their
experiences and perceptions? If this is true, it is a new dimension to
learning that I never imagined...

>To avoid this stagnation, we must open
>ourselves up to more and more topics. But we have to do it along a web
>and not haphazardously. Thus we need a web which encompass all of
>reality. "Entropy production" affords us one possible way to trace
>this entire web.....

I believe that the study of neural networks and their parallel to how
human beings learn may be instructive here in plotting the web. I have a
vague appreciation of entropy from my days at university. For the benefit
of this discussion, I have lumped it into "the whole is greater than the
sum of the parts" and the example I would use is the laser. Are we saying
that the laser phenomenon can happen in the human learning process? That
would be dramatic!

K. C. Cowan
Orion Technologies (ORTG) at or 604-207-3809


"Cowan, Keith" <>

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