31.5 Cognitive and connectionist nets
For some decades now, cognitive psychologists have modeled mental processes in
terms of cognitive or connectionist networks. These have often been formally defined
in terms of semantic associations. My question now is whether these semantic networks
can be re-worked to explicitly derive the manner of existence of ideas or thoughts
in some kind of associative space. What kind of metric would be implied for such
an associative space?
Part of the answer here depends on which kinds of operations are needed
describe cognitive processing. Operations are the modification of those ideas and
those semantic connections. Very often these are defined in terms of algorithmic
procedures attached within the semantic net itself. From the viewpoint of theistic
science, however, these procedures should be taken as approximate treatments of
the dispositional character of the several dispositions then present and active.
Section 22.2 has discussed how the theistic
science ontology may give rise to functions and procedures. Now we are asking whether
existing procedural modeling in cognitive psychology could be mapped back onto ontologies
Most existing work on cognitive nets involves what theistic science would regard
as a single level and perhaps also the neighboring levels in order to implement
procedures and memories. To understand the general operation of multilevel structures,
we could look for guidance at the work of Pacherie
(2008), who draws up the flow diagrams of intention, action control and feedback
involving at least three levels of psychological processing. Suggestions have been
made to generalize the structure of cognitive or connectionist networks.
Thompson (1990) has talked about ‘layered networks’,
and Commons (2008b) has talked about ‘stacked neural
networks’, but neither has yet been implemented or tested.