Understanding and Learning to Reconcile Differences between Disciplines through Constructing an Artificial Personality
Constructing a model of reality is the essence of understanding, and learning is the recursive process of validation and updating of a conceptual model. Our individual and unique models of reality are what make our outlooks so different and sometimes incompatible. Constructing an artificial model of personality offers an opportunity to reconcile different outlooks of disciplines that may seem irreconcilable at first sight. An example is the difference between the cognitive linguistics of Noam Chomsky and B. F. Skinner’s approach to behaviourism.
Chomsky is a linguist who believes that the medium of thought is natural language, he asserted that the structure of sentences is overwhelmingly similar to the structure of thought and that language is the mirror of the mind. So, inherited human disposition to learn language separates (cognitive) humans from (motivational) animals, and the structure of language follows formal logic rules, while animals and their behaviour have “nothing to teach us about our thought processes and languages.” This understanding set the stage for a collision course with the leading animal behaviourist B.F. Skinner in a well publicized critique of the latter’s work.
Chomsky argued that laboratory concepts, such as stimulus, response, and response strength, are inadequate when applied to human behaviour. Skinner argued that there is no reason to assume that animals under laboratory conditions will behave differently from being outside and suggested that animal behaviour extends to humans. Chomsky suggested that language structure leads to “near infinite” number of combinations and it would be impossible to learn them through rote memorization. The near infinite linguistic variety contrasts sharply with a small number of categories of animal motivations. To a cyberneticist this is revealing; while the jump in variety from near infinite to a single thread of behaviour seems impossible, the existence of intermediate non-linguistic stages of reduction is a realistic assumption, and the different varieties point to the likelihood that the arguments of linguists and behaviourists are not mutually exclusive. The artificial personality is constructed on a structure that limits the diversity of motivational contexts, thus reflecting a B.F. skinner scale of diversity and providing a transitional diversity for a Chomsky near infinite scale of linguistic diversity.
Another example is the difference between the higher diversity of the emotions with other motivations. The emotions are displays of feelings; feelings are the subjective representations of the emotions, yet both are separate subjects of academic research and have their own varieties enumerated by scholars, mostly without reference to a structure that can limit their growth. One noted exception is the Plutchik model, where different emotions and feelings are located on two dimensional coordinates over a wheel with 8 spokes, representing 8 primitive emotions which are common with animals and form the basis for higher diversity of emotions. Plutchik placed the primitive emotions in the centre of the wheel and the higher diversity radiating outwards. The location on the wheel describes how the emotions are related uniquely to each other and can be understood as projections from the dimensions of the artificial personality.
In both cases we have a situation of higher diversity that is bound by structure and a lower diversity with no apparent structure, the artificial personality reconcile the diversities by adding structure to the lower diversity.
Observing the differences and similarities between diversities is a process of recursive learning and construction of a structured model of reality.