Thought as Word Dynamics

On two occasions already on my French blog, I’ve written an article in a serialized format, posting each part whenever it was ready then creating a link to a copy of the whole text when it had reached a final form. In both instances has the process taken about two months (Les tâches et les responsabilités qui sont aujourd’hui les nôtres ; Ce qu’il est raisonnable de comprendre et partant d’expliquer).
I will proceed in the same way with Thought as Word Dynamics. I envision that the process will take longer as the text is structured at inception as having twenty-five chapters. I will try to post simultaneously an English and a French version.

I worked full-time as an Artificial Intelligence researcher from 1988 to early 1990. My final report for British Telecom (Martlesham Heath – U.K.) is entitled An alternative neural network representation for conceptual knowledge. My work at the Laboratoire d’Informatique pour les Sciences de l’Homme (Paris) led to a book entitled Principes des systèmes intelligents (Paris: Masson, 1990).

Thought as Word Dynamics

The model presented here has been built over a number of years from several angles, combining theoretical knowledge with feedback obtained from implementing it as a piece of software. I regard philosophy, a twenty-five century speculative pursuit by the best minds of every period, as a legitimate source of knowledge on cognition. Some other – and possible unlikely – sources have shown to be of essential benefit for both this study and my previous work in Artificial Intelligence: Freudian psychoanalysis, mediaeval contributions to logic and the work of the ancient Chinese logicians.

The ambition here is to provide a framework for speech acts, being specific enough about both its architecture and its dynamics to be testable as an Artificial Intelligence application. The test began several years back when, being part of British Telecom’s “Connex” Project, I designed ANELLA as an “Associative Network with Emergent Logic and Learning Abilities.”

I. General principles
1. Speech acts are generated as the outcome of a dynamics operating on a network
2. The network in question is stored in the human brain
3. A talking subject experiences the dynamics of speech generation as emotional or “affective”

II. Architecture
4. The network comprises a subset of the words (the “content words”) of a particular natural language
5. The individual unit in the network as far as speech generation is concerned is a word-pair
6. Each such word-pair has at any time an affect value attached to it
7. The affect value of the word-pairs results from Hebbian reinforcement
8. The network has two principles of organization: hereditary and endogenous
9. The hereditary principle is isomorphic to the mathematical object called a “Galois Lattice”
10. The endogenous principle is isomorphic to the mathematical object called a “P-graph”
11. The endogenous principle is primary
12. The hereditary principle is historical: it allows syllogistic reasoning and amounts to the emergence of “reason” in history

III. Dynamics
13. The skeleton of each speech act is a path of finite length in the network
14. A speech act is the outcome of several “coatings” on a path in the network
15. The generation of a speech act is a gradient descent in the phase space of the network when submitted to an affect dynamics
16. The utterance of a speech act modifies the affect values of the word-pairs activated in the act
17. The gradient descent (relaxation) restores an equilibrium in the network
18. Imbalance in the affect values attached to the network has four possible sources

1. Bodily processes experienced by the speaking subject as “moods”
2. Speech acts of an external origin, heard by the speaking subject
3. Speech acts of an internal origin: thought processes as “inner speech” or hearing oneself speak (being a sub-case of 2.)
4. Empirical experience (perception)

19. In the healthy subject, each path has inherent logical validity; this is a consequence of the topology of the network
20. Neurosis results from imbalance of affect values on the network impairing normal flow (Freudian “repression”)
21. Psychosis amounts to defects in the Network’s structure (Lacanian “foreclosure”)

IV. Consequences
22. Speech generation is automatic and only involves the four sources mentioned above (18)
23. Speech generation is deterministic
24. There is no room for any additional “supra-factor” in speech act generation than the four mentioned above (18)
25. One such superfluous “supra-factor” would be “intentionality,” triggered by consciousness or otherwise