Basic Orientation
Book1: R-E Living & "Homo Rationalis"
Book2: Humanianity
Book3: Mind-Body Problem
Preface
Introduction
Causation and Explanation
Physical and Mental Worlds
Modeling
Subjective Experience
Subjective Model
Objective Model: Linguistics
Objective Model: Agreement
Objective Model: Rationality
Objective Model: Measurement
(More)
Book4: (Future Possible Development)
Child Rearing Issues
Philosophico-Religious Issues
Psycho-Socio-Cultural Issues
The Twelve Articles
Relevant Autobiography
 
"HOMO RATIONALIS" AND HUMANIANITY
 
HELPING TO PROMOTE OUR THIRD EXPONENTIAL CHANGE
 

MODELING



So first we will now need to be clear about what I am meaning by the concept, "modeling," or "model." What I mean by "modeling" should become increasingly clear in what follows, but a "model" (as used in this presentation) is anything that is constructed or formed that allows for predictions about that which is being "modeled" (that which it is a "model of").


Please note that I did not say that a model was something constructed for the purpose of making predictions. I said that a model allows for such predictions. If a stone rests on mud that subsequently dries up, the impression left in the mud would be a model of the surface of the stone, as the term "model" is being used in this presentation. The impression in the mud could indeed be used to predict what the surface of the stone would be found to be like, but the formation of that model simply happened, it did not take place because of some "purposeful act." So "model," as I am using the term in this presentation, is anything that could be used to predict something about something else. And that "something else" would be what was "modeled" by the model, according to our terminology.


So, please note that, also, the stone (or one surface of it) could be considered a model of the impression in the dried mud.


Also, please note that we are labeling as a "model" an entity that already exists (or could exist, or could not exist, etc.). Taking an entity that exists and labeling it as a "model" does not bring something new into the world; doing so is simply stating the existence of a relationship that exists between two or more things. So whenever we are using the word, "model," we are talking about a relationship between two or more things. Whatever a model is made out of, calling it a model does not change what it is made out of. "Model" is a noun, so a model is an entity, but the entity is brought into existence by definition only, and the bringing into existence of a "model" does not change the world other than how we think about it.


But to understand better, it will be helpful to think of examples of what we would call "purposeful" modeling, or the creation of a "model."


(And remember that when we talk about creating a model, we are talking about creating a thing in such a way that we can also call it a model because of certain characteristics of the thing, characteristics that enable us to do something, namely, predict something about something else.)


For us humans, a model car, would be an example. With that model car, if it is accurate, we can predict certain things about the car that the model is of, even if we have never seen the actual car. Architects may construct models of what they intend to build, those models enabling predictions to be made about the future, when the project has been completed. But, as other examples, science uses mathematical and statistical models, allowing for very precise predictions. And maps, pictures, and graphs can also be considered models. They allow us to predict where things will be found, what they will look like, and what some measurements of them will turn out to be.


And we can think of examples of purposeful modeling that is done somewhat automatically.


A sentence (or set of sentences) or a verbal description can be considered a (linguistic) model of that which one is talking about, essentially being a prediction of what we would find if we ourselves checked out what was being said or written. And our imagination of something is a model of that something, a prediction of what it will or would be "like" (look like, sound like, etc.), just as our memory of something is a model of something that presumably existed or happened in the past, meaning that we can or could predict now what we would find if we looked at all the evidence we have of what happened in the past (or even, if such were possible, we magically went back in time and watched it happening).


Note that, within mathematics, a graph of an equation is a model of that equation, just as an equation can be a model of a graph. Given one, things about the other can be predicted.


Any model is constructed by (consists of) the arrangement of something or some things. A model car is constructed, perhaps, with plastic and metal and various paints, arranged in a specific way. A graph is constructed with ink on paper or pixels on a screen, arranged as lines, etc. A picture is constructed with some sort of media, arranged in a particular way. Mathematical equations are constructed with mathematical symbols arranged according to certain rules. Sentences are constructed with words (symbols) arranged in a certain way according to the rules of syntax. Memory is constructed with parts of memories of experience, arranged to be consistent with what actually happened. And imagination (or fantasy) is constructed with parts of memories of experiences, arranged to represent something new or something not present.


But now I believe it will be quite helpful to broaden this concept to include modeling that naturally (as opposed to "purposefully") happens, as I already have mentioned in the discussion about the rock and the dried mud, and then to include "modeling" by animals in general, at least some animals, rather than just humans. More specifically, if we watch a rat get to "know" a particular setting, such as a cage or a maze or a natural environment, we will note that the rat seems to become able to predict what direction will lead to success in its efforts to get somewhere or accomplish something. For instance, in the maze, it will learn where food is, that is, how to get there. So there develops in that rat's brain something, perhaps a network of enhanced synaptic connections, that corresponds to things about its environment. If we really understood exactly how the brain works, then by studying that rat's brain, we ourselves should also be able to understand (predict) where the food is. Thus, the rat's brain contains a model of its surroundings, constructed probably out of enhanced neuronal connections arranged in some sort of way. With that model, the rat can be successful in finding food. "It knows where the food is." "It has a belief as to where the food is, and that belief, that model, is accurate." That belief, or model, enables the rat to predict successfully where the food will be found. The belief, or model, works. (And if it doesn't work, then by definition it is not accurate, and it leads to "mistakes," or outcomes of behavior different than predicted.)


(Note again that the formation of this model in the rat's brain happens just naturally and automatically. It is not something the rat "purposely does." The rat doesn't know anything about neurons, or models, or learning processes.)


So we are saying that animals (including humans), as they learn, develop beliefs, which are models in the brain or central nervous system about the way the world is, was, or will be, and that these beliefs or models allow the animals to predict what is going to happen, either in general in a given situation or as an outcome of their own potential or actual behavior in that situation. And those predictions are more likely to turn out to be what does indeed happen if the beliefs, or models, are accurate. Inaccuracy of belief leads to surprises, and behavior based upon inaccurate beliefs leads to unintended outcomes, or mistakes, which often are undesirable (even possibly tragic or fatal), though of course not always.


Please note that I am using the word "belief" with dual meanings, at least at first glance. We know that "belief" is usually a term assigned to an entity assumed to exist in the "mental world." But I am also using it to refer to whatever it is in the brain (a part of the "physical world"), perhaps a network of enhanced neuronal connections, that is arranged such that it corresponds to (models) something about the world. This dual meaning is an example of how we think of the world as having two "aspects," a "physical" and a "mental" aspect, of what is actually the same thing. But this issue has yet to be discussed. Nevertheless, I believe you will find no problem occurring by virtue of using the term "belief" in this way, for the purposes of this presentation. And the explanation of this dual usage will be discussed below, since it is part of what this whole presentation is about.


We might mention here that we use the word "understanding" to refer to our set of beliefs about something. The rat understands how to get to the food. We understand what makes people behave a particular way. We understand why the moon circles the earth. And that understanding may be very accurate, very inaccurate, or somewhere in between, because beliefs vary with respect to accuracy, that is, their ability to produce predictions that turn out to be what actually happens (or would happen under certain circumstances).


Also, let us recognize that the term "assumption" means a belief that is accepted as accurate without necessarily having been legitimized (demonstrated to be likely to be accurate by meeting a legitimization criterion), and is thus a model and probably a basic part of a larger model (larger set of beliefs). We well know that when a belief system is being questioned because of inaccurate predictions (evidence arising against the belief system), one possibility that is often considered is that certain assumptions within that belief system may be inaccurate or incorrect, and should therefore be questioned. Within a mathematical or logical system, an "assumption" would be equivalent to an "axiom," and thus these two terms would be further examples of terms referring to a "model" as used in this presentation.


So we are considering a number of different words and the concepts they stand for to be simply examples of some states that parts of the brain may be in, having to do probably with the enhancement of synaptic connections among neurons (though we may find out differently in the future), and those states that the brain may be in we are considering to be models of things or situations, for instance, models of the way things are, or have been, or will be (or, for that matter, the way things could be, could have been, or could be in the future, etc.). These words (and the concepts they stand for) include "perception," "belief," "assumption," "axiom," "prediction," "understanding," "imagination," "memory," etc. These are all "models," as the term is used in this presentation.


The brain contains models of the world . That is why the brain can successfully "figure out" and "decide" what to do. And note that we are using terms that usually refer to mental entities and assuming that they refer to some states of affairs within the brain. So this equivalence that we are allowing for currently still contains the problem that we are dealing with, the unclear relationship between physical and mental entities.


Now, armed with all this terminology, we need to continue the approach to the problem of what the difference is between the mental world and the physical world, if indeed there are those two worlds. This approach will involve, I believe, the necessity for sustained effort involving the thinking of new thoughts, never an easy undertaking. To be successful, we will need to continue to be as precise as possible in the meanings of words as used in this specific discussion.