What is Language?

I think language begins with the ability to perceive two sensory patterns that are different (because they are always different) as the same. I think of this as a clustering process, the carving of chunks from a continuous space. It’s a choice of saying these are the same, when the aren’t. It’s an imposition of a compartmentalized structure (concept) on continuous chaos (reality). This could be seen as a filtering process.

These (prelinguistic) clusters at the atoms of perception. We build the perceptual world from these chunks of assumed sameness. These chunks are also the material from which we learn predictions of the world, we learn constraints and periodicity by predicting the occurrence of these clusters.

linguistic symbols are build up layer by layer of these clusters, forming meta-clusters that hold abstract notions such as “object”. Additionally, the notions such as causality, justice, good and evil all result from abstractions of the predictions (via a similar clustering process) combined with emotional valence. I think this is pretty close to Barsalou.

Post Creativity and Cognition

I am back in town for almost a week and still struggling with jet-lag. The conference went well, and I will post my paper as soon as the proceedings are on the ACM website. The papers in the conference leaned quite a lot to the HCI side, so I felt like my work was quite a bit at odds with the community. Still it was a good opportunity to meet people and see Australia for the first time.

Read more