|Learning: learning is acquiring the ability to establish relationships between signs, symptoms or symbols and objects. This also includes e.g. recognition and recollection of patterns, similarities, sensory perceptions, self-perception, etc. In the ideal case, the ability to apply generalizations to future cases is acquired while learning. See also knowledge, knowledge-how, competence._____________Annotation: The above characterizations of concepts are neither definitions nor exhausting presentations of problems related to them. Instead, they are intended to give a short introduction to the contributions below. – Lexicon of Arguments. |
Learning/Deacon: Learning always takes place in a special context, involving certain senses and motor actions. It is more than strengthening associations in memory. Learning requires that we find out what is relevant and how the relevant variables are related. It requires filtering and organizing what we have already learned.
Language acquisition: what prevents other species from learning a language? Is symbolic reference counter-intuitive? Does it require animals to see things in a radically different way than they are capable of seeing? Animals don not know what it is all about, even when confronted with simple forms of language.
Learning/Language Acquisition/Symbolic Learning/Deacon: Learning symbols is different from learning signs. While signs are about the projection of previously learned connections between object and sign into the future, this projection into the future is much more difficult in the case of symbols.
Symbolic learning: Symbols form a complex system among themselves, which in turn must be recognized, understood and learned. A special feature is that words with a similar meaning are not used together, but alternatively. At the same time, words with very different meanings tend to appear together.
Language acquisition: further problem: Sentences are seldom repeated exactly. The occurrence of a certain combination often happens only once.
Index-based learning/stimulus/response: Index-based learning (from the common appearance of object and sign) is therefore extremely unsuitable in the case of symbol systems (languages).
Learning/Deacon: it is helpful when the number of word types increases to create a richer network of relations between symbols. This makes it easier to learn new vocabulary.
Slots/Deacon: Thesis: New logical groups of words open new slots that can be filled. ((s) Slots/(s): are understood here as positions in sentences that can be filled with certain types of words.). Vocabulary: newly appearing slots must be quickly filled with new vocabulary.
Animal experiments: (Savage-Rumbaugh et al., 1978;1980 and Savage-Rumbaugh 1986) showed that no new correlations (sign/object) had to be learned if the classification in semantic categories was available.
Learning/adaptation/evolution/brain/Deacon: a disposition for learning specific things can be the consequence of a genetic assimilation, if constant conditions are given as well as an invariance of neuronal circuits beyond individuals. How can specific learning disposition be represented in the brain?
The ability to learn is not a general function that is independent of the type of learner. It is completely different for learning signs that stand isolated for one thing than, for example, for learning symbols that are in turn founded in systems.
Learning dispositions/Deacon: are both: result and cause of Baldwin's evolution (Baldwin effect). (See Evolution/Deacon)._____________Explanation of symbols: Roman numerals indicate the source, arabic numerals indicate the page number. The corresponding books are indicated on the right hand side. ((s)…): Comment by the sender of the contribution. The note [Author1]Vs[Author2] or [Author]Vs[term] is an addition from the Dictionary of Arguments. If a German edition is specified, the page numbers refer to this edition.
T. W. Deacon
The Symbolic Species: The Co-evolution of language and the Brain New York 1998
Terrence W. Deacon
Incomplete Nature: How Mind Emerged from Matter New York 2013