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John Collier [72]John D. Collier [12]
  1. John Collier, Formalism, Foundations, and Forecast.
    Goodman’s account of the ‘grue’ paradox stands at a crossroads in the history of twentieth century epistemology. Published in 1954, Fact, Fiction, and Forecast is a reaction to the logical empiricist views that held sway in the first half of the last century and anticipates many of the conventionalist and/or relativist moves popular throughout the second half. Through his evaluation of Hume’s problem of induction, as well as his own novel reformulation of it, Goodman comes to reject a number of (...)
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  2. John Collier & Patrick Lenta, Howard College Campus.
    This paper has three parts. You are to do all three parts. Read the instructions for each part carefully. The exam is worth 300 points, 100 points for each section.
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  3. Patrick Lenta, John Collier & Douglas Farland, Howard College Campus.
    This paper has three parts. You are to do all three parts. Read the instructions for each part carefully. Each part is worth 100 marks. The total value is 300 marks.
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  4. John Collier, A Brief Introduction to Distributed Cognition©.
    Distributed Cognition is a hybrid approach to studying all aspects of cognition, from a cognitive, social and organisational perspective. The most well known level of analysis is to account for complex socially distributed cognitive activities, of which a diversity of technological artefacts and other tools and representations are an indispensable part.
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  5. John Collier, A Dynamical Approach to Identity and Diversity in Complex Systems.
    The subject of this chapter is the identity of individual dynamical objects and properties. Two problems have dominated the literature: transtemporal identity and the relation between composition and identity. Most traditional approaches to identity rely on some version of classification via essential or typical properties, whether nominal or real. Nominal properties have the disadvantage of producing unnatural classifications, and have several other problems. Real properties, however, are often inaccessible or hard to define (strict definition would make them nominal). I suggest (...)
     
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  6. John Collier, A Unified Approach to Species.
    There are a number of different species concepts currently in use. The variety results from differing desiderata and practices of taxonomists, ecologists and evolutionary theorists. Recently, arguments have been presented for pluralism about species. I believe this is unsatisfactory, however, because of the central role of species in biological theory. Taking the line that species are individuals, I ask what might individuate them. In other work I have argued that dynamical systems are individuated by their cohesion. I present here a (...)
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  7. John Collier, Bénard Cells: A Model Dissipative System.
    differential from bottom to top, depth of fluid, and the coefficients of expansion, viscosity and thermal Bénard convection, is one of the more intensely conductivity of the fluid. Even though it is a simple studied dissipative systems, both theoretically and..
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  8. John Collier, Bridging the Gap Between Pattern and Process.
    Systematics, along with the other comparative biological sciences and certain astronomical disciplines, is much more concerned with form and organization than other biological and physical sciences, in which dynamics plays the central role. Within the biological sciences, Nelson (1970) characterizes disciplines that study diversity and patterns “comparative” and those that search for process and dynamics “general.” The goal of “general” science is to uncover the mechanisms that unify observed phenomena. Whether the physicist sees herself, like Newton (1953: 3-5), to be (...)
     
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  9. John Collier, Change and Identity in Complex Systems.
    Complex systems are dynamic and may show high levels of variability in both space and time. It is often difficult to decide on what constitutes a given complex system, i.e., where system boundaries should be set, and what amounts to substantial change within the system. We discuss two central themes: the nature of system definitions and their ability to cope with change, and the importance of system definitions for the mental metamodels that we use to describe and order ideas about (...)
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  10. John Collier, Conditions for Fully Autonomous Anticipation.
    Anticipation allows a system to adapt to conditions that have not yet come to be, either externally to the system or internally. Autonomous systems actively control the conditions of their own existence so as to increase their overall viability. This paper will first give minimal necessary and sufficient conditions for autonomous anticipation, followed by a taxonomy of autonomous anticipation. In more complex systems, there can be semi-autonomous subsystems that can anticipate and adapt on their own. Such subsystems can be integrated (...)
     
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  11. John Collier, Critical Notice of Richard D. Alexander, The Biology of Moral Systems, New York: Aldine de Gruyter 1987. Pp. Xxi+301.
    Richard Alexander's second book on biology and morality is a continuation and amplification of the project he reported on in Darwinism and Human Affairs1. The Biology of Moral Systems is more abstract than the earlier book. It does not broach any new empirical ground, but puts Alexander's views into a broader context of philosophical and sociological discussions of morality. It discusses and criticizes alternative philosophical and biological views of morality, and presents his views on the significance of biology to moral (...)
     
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  12. John Collier, Complexly Organised Dynamical Systems.
    Both natural and engineered systems are fundamentally dynamical in nature: their defining properties are causal, and their functional capacities are causally grounded. Among dynamical systems, an interesting and important sub-class are those that are autonomous, anticipative and adaptive (AAA). Living systems, intelligent systems, sophisticated robots and social systems belong to this class, and the use of these terms has recently spread rapidly through the scientific literature. Central to understanding these dynamical systems is their complicated organisation and their consequent capacities for (...)
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  13. John Collier, Dealing with the Unexpected.
    Typically, we think of both artificial and natural computing devices as following rules that allow them to alter their behaviour (output) according to their environment (input). This approach works well when the environment and goals are well defined and regular. However, 1) the search time for appropriate solutions quickly becomes intractable when the input is not fairly regular, and 2) responses may be required that are not computable, either in principle, or given the computational resources available to the system. It (...)
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  14. John Collier, Emergence of the Internal Perspective in Western Science.
    A major characteristics of modern they appear within science itself. It has become thought is the pervading tension between the..
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  15. John Collier, Functionality and Autonomy in Open Dynamical Systems.
    In Robert West’s talk last week, dynamical systems theory (DST) was applied to a specific problem involving interacting symbolic systems, without much reference to how those systems are embodied or related to other types of systems. Despite this level of abstraction, DST can yield interesting results, though one might be left wondering if it really leads to understanding, or what it all means. In particular, Robert noted problems he has in convincing referees that the sort of explanation he gave can (...)
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  16. John Collier, Fundamental Properties of Self-Organization.
    In these notes I want to address some issues concerning self-organization that seem to me to apply generally from the micro-physical through the biological and social to the cosmological. That is, they are a part of the general theory of self-organization. I prefer to distinguish the theory of selforganization from the analysis of the concept of self-organization (which Maturana claims is oxymoronic, since there is no self that organizes1). General usage gives us something to which the term 'self-organization' refers. We (...)
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  17. John Collier, Holism in the New Physics.
    Developments in science in the last few decades have led to doubts about the validity of the mechanical paradigm that has dominated science since the Scientific Revolution. The new views, coming from recently founded disciplines like non-equilibrium thermodynamics, chaos theory and the theory of dynamical systems, are rooted in physics. Nonetheless, much of their motivation comes from fields as diverse as weather prediction, ecology, economics, the study of traffic flow, and the growth of cities. Although Quantum Mechanics also led to (...)
     
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  18. John Collier, Information.
    Information is commonly understood as knowledge or facts acquired or derived from, e.g., study, instruction or observation (Macmillan Contemporary Dictionary, 1979). On this notion, information is presumed to be both meaningful and veridical, and to have some appropriate connection to its object; it is concerned with representations and symbols in the most general sense MacKay 1969 ). Information might be misleading, but it can never be false. Deliberately misleading data is misinformation. The scientific notion of information abstracts from the representational (...)
     
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  19. John Collier, Information, Causation and Computation.
    Causation can be understood as a computational process once we understand causation in informational terms. I argue that if we see processes as information channels, then causal processes are most readily interpreted as the transfer of information from one state to another. This directly implies that the later state is a computation from the earlier state, given causal laws, which can also be interpreted computationally. This approach unifies the ideas of causation and computation.
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  20. John Collier, Information Increase in Biological Systems: How Does Adaptation Fit?
    Progress has become a suspect concept in evolutionary biology, not the least because the core concepts of neo-Darwinism do not support the idea that evolution is progressive. There have been a number of attempts to account for directionality in evolution through additions to the core hypotheses of neo-Darwinism, but they do not establish progressiveness, and they are somewhat of an ad hoc collection. The standard account of fitness and adaptation can be rephrased in terms of information theory. From this, an (...)
     
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  21. John Collier, Interactively Open Autonomy Unifies Two Approaches to Function.
    Functionality is essential to any form of anticipation beyond simple directedness at an end. In the literature on function in biology, there are two distinct approaches. One, the etiological view, places the origin of function in selection, while the other, the organizational view, individuates function by organizational role. Both approaches have well-known advantages and disadvantages. I propose a reconciliation of the two approaches, based in an interactivist approach to the individuation and stability of organisms. The approach was suggested by Kant (...)
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  22. John Collier, Information Originates in Symmetry Breaking.
    We find symmetry attractive. It interests us. Symmetry is often an indicator of the deep structure of things, whether they be natural phenomena, or the creations of artists. For example, the most fundamental conservation laws of physics are all based in symmetry. Similarly, the symmetries found in religious art throughout the world are intended to draw attention to deep spiritual truths. Not only do we find symmetry pleasing, but its discovery is often also surprising and illuminating as well. For these (...)
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  23. John Collier, Information Theory as a General Language for Functional Systems.
    Function refers to a broad family of concepts of varying abstractness and range of application, from a many-one mathematical relation of great generality to, for example, highly specialized roles of designed elements in complex machines such as degaussing in a television set, or contributory processes to control mechanisms in complex metabolic pathways, such as the inhibitory function of the appropriate part of the lac-operon on the production of lactase through its action on the genome in the absence of lactose. We (...)
     
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  24. John Collier, Organized Complexity: Properties, Models and the Limits of Understanding.
    Complexly organized systems include biological and cognitive systems, as well as many of the everyday systems that form our environment. They are both common and important, but are not well understood. A complex system is, roughly, one that cannot be fully understood via analytic methods alone. An organized system is one that shows spatio-temporal correlations that are not determined by purely local conditions, though organization can be more or less localizable within a system. Organization and complexity can vary independently to (...)
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  25. John Collier, Order From Rhythmic Entrainment and the Origin of Levels Through Dissipation.
    Rhythmic entrainment is the formation of regular, predictable patterns in time and/or space through interactions within or between systems that manifest potential symmetries. We contend that this process is a major source of symmetries in specific systems, whether passive physical systems or active adaptive and/or voluntary/intentional systems, except that active systems have more control over accepting or avoiding rhythmic entrainment. The result of rhythmic entrainment is a simplification of the entrained system, in the sense that the information required to describe (...)
     
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  26. John Collier, Organization in Biological Systems.
    Biological systems are typically hierarchically organized, open, nonlinear systems, and inherit all of the characteristics of such systems that are found in the purely physical and chemical domains, to which all biological systems belong. In addition, biological systems exhibit functional properties, and they contain information in a form that is used internally to make required functional distinctions. The existence of these additional biological properties is widely granted, but their exact nature is controversial. I will address first the issue of biological (...)
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  27. John Collier, Simulating Autonomous Anticipation: The Importance of Dubois' Conjecture.
    Anticipation allows a system to adapt to conditions that have not yet come to be, either externally to the system or internally. Autonomous systems actively control their own conditions so as to increase their functionality (they self-regulate). Living systems self-regulate in order to increase their own viability. These increasingly stronger conditions, anticipation, autonomy and viability, can give an insight into progressively stronger classes of models of autonomy. I will argue that stronger forms are the relevant ones for Artificial Life. This (...)
     
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  28. John Collier, Symmetry, Levels and Entrainment.
    We find symmetry attractive. It is often an indicator of the deep structure of things, whether they be natural phenomena, or artificial. For example, the most fundamental conservation laws of physics are all based in symmetry. Similarly, the symmetries found in religious art throughout the world are intended to draw attention to deep spiritual truths. Not only do we find symmetry pleasing, but its discovery is often also surprising and illuminating as well. For these reasons, we are inclined to think (...)
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  29. John Collier, Some Limitations of Behaviorist and Computational Models of Mind.
    The purpose of this paper is to describe some limitations on scientific behaviorist and computational models of the mind. These limitations stem from the inability of either model to account for the integration of experience and behavior. Behaviorism fails to give an adequate account of felt experience, whereas the computational model cannot account for the integration of our behavior with the world. Both approaches attempt to deal with their limitations by denying that the domain outside their limits is a part (...)
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  30. John Collier, Saving the Distinctions: Distinctions as the Epistemologically Significant Content of Experience.
    Published in: Johann Christian Marek, Maria Elisabeth Reicher (ed.) Contributions of the Austrian Ludwig Wittgenstein Society XII (Austrian L. Wittgenstein Society, Kirchberg, 2004) pp. 373-375..
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  31. John Collier, The Dynamical Basis of Information and the Origins of Semiosis.
    Every manifestation of information, semiosis and meaning we have been able to study experimentally has a physical form. Neglect of their dynamical (energetic) ground tends towards dualism or idealism, leaving the causal basis of semiosis and the causal powers of representations mysterious. Consideration of the necessary physical requirements for the embodiment of semiotic categories imposes a discipline on semiotics required for its integration into the rest of science, especially for the emerging field of biosemiotics, as well as any future extensions (...)
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  32. John Collier, The Prospects for Reconciling Sellars' Images: Forty Years Later.
    Wilfrid Sellars (1963) described his Manifest Image and Scientific Image as (roughly) idealizations of our common sense and scientific views of the world, including our own special role in the world as humans. If, as Sellars suggested, there is an irreconcilable conflict between these images, it may not be possible to reconcile science with common sense. The Scientific Image, as we have inherited it, has a strong reductionist element that seems to imply that things are not really as they appear (...)
     
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  33. John D. Collier, Timeless Laws in a Changing World: Reconciling Physics and Biology.
    Keywords: cosmology, laws, non-equilibrium thermodynamics, information, time, evolution ABSTRACT A major goal of science is to discover laws that underlie all regular phenomena. This goal is best satisfied by eternal principles that leave fundamental properties unchanged and unchangeable. Science has been forced to accept that some processes, especially biological processes, are inherently time oriented. It can either forgo the ideal of universal principles, and account for temporality through specific boundary conditions, or else incorporate the sources of change directly into fundamental (...)
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  34. W. D. Christensen, John Collier & C. A. Hooker (forthcoming). Adaptiveness and Adaptation: There's More Than Selection. Biology and Philosophy. Submitted.
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  35. John Collier (forthcoming). United States Indian Administration as a Laboratory of Ethnic Relations. Social Research.
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  36. John Collier & Michael Stingl (2013). Evolutionary Moral Realism. Biological Theory 7 (3):218-226.
    Evolutionary moral realism is the view that there are moral values with roots in evolution that are both specifically moral and exist independently of human belief systems. In beginning to sketch the outlines of such a view, we examine moral goods like fairness and empathetic caring as valuable and real aspects of the environments of species that are intelligent and social, or at least developing along an evolutionary trajectory that could lead to a level of intelligence that would enable individual (...)
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  37. Argyris Arnellos, Luis Emilio Bruni, Charbel Niño El-Hani & John Collier (2012). Anticipatory Functions, Digital-Analog Forms and Biosemiotics: Integrating the Tools to Model Information and Normativity in Autonomous Biological Agents. Biosemiotics 5 (3):331-367.
    We argue that living systems process information such that functionality emerges in them on a continuous basis. We then provide a framework that can explain and model the normativity of biological functionality. In addition we offer an explanation of the anticipatory nature of functionality within our overall approach. We adopt a Peircean approach to Biosemiotics, and a dynamical approach to Digital-Analog relations and to the interplay between different levels of functionality in autonomous systems, taking an integrative approach. We then apply (...)
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  38. John D. Collier (2011). Holism and Emergence: Dynamical Complexity Defeats Laplace's Demon. South African Journal of Philosophy 30 (2).
    The paradigm of Laplacean determinism combines three regulative principles: determinism, predictability, and the explanatory adequacy of universal laws together with purely local conditions. Historically, it applied to celestial mechanics, but it has been expanded into an ideal for scientific theories whose cogency is often not questioned. Laplace’s demon is an idealization of mechanistic scientific method. Its principles together imply reducibility, and rule out holism and emergence. I will argue that Laplacean determinism fails even in the realm of planetary dynamics, and (...)
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  39. John Collier & Graeme Cumming (2011). A Dynamical Approach to Ecosystem Identity. In Kevin deLaplante, Bryson Brown & Kent A. Peacock (eds.), Philosophy of Ecology. North-Holland. 11--201.
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  40. John Collier (2008). A Dynamical Account of Emergence. Cybernetics and Human Knowing 15 (3-4):75-86.
    Emergence has traditionally been described as satisfying specific properties, notably nonreducibility of the emergent object or properties to their substrate, novelty, and unpredictability from the properties of the substrate. Sometimes more mysterious properties such as independence from the substrate, separate substances and teleological properties are invoked. I will argue that the latter are both unnecessary and unwarranted. The descriptive properties can be analyzed in more detail in logical terms, but the logical conditions alone do not tell us how to identify (...)
     
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  41. Christian Fuchs & John Collier (2007). A Dynamic Systems View of Economic and Political Theory. Theoria 54 (113):23-52.
    Economic logic impinges on contemporary political theory through both economic reductionism and economic methodology applied to political decision-making (through game theory). The authors argue that the sort of models used are based on mechanistic and linear methodologies that have now been found wanting in physics. They further argue that complexity based self-organization methods are better suited to model the complexities of economy and polity and their interactions with the overall social system.
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  42. Don Ross, James Ladyman & John Collier (2007). Rainforest Realism and the Unity of Science. In James Ladyman (ed.), Every Thing Must Go: Metaphysics Naturalized. Oxford University Press.
  43. Werner Callebaut & John Collier (2006). Biological Information. Biological Theory 1 (3):221-223.
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  44. John Collier (2005). Pragmatist Pragmatics: The Functional Context of Utterances. Philosophica 75.
    Formal pragmatics plays an important, though secondary, role in modern analytical philosophy of language: its aim is to explain how context can affect the meaning of certain special kinds of utterances. During recent years, the adequacy of formal tools has come under attack, often leading to one or another form of relativism or antirealism.1 Our aim will be to extend the critique to formal pragmatics while showing that sceptical conclusions can be avoided by developing a different approach to the issues. (...)
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  45. Michael Stingl & John Collier (2005). Reasonable Partiality From a Biological Point of View. Ethical Theory and Moral Practice 8 (1-2):11 - 24.
    Speculation about the evolutionary origins of morality has yet to show how a biologically based capacity for morality might be connected to moral reasoning. Applying an evolutionary approach to three kinds of cases where partiality may or may not be morally reasonable, this paper explores a possible connection between a psychological capacity for morality and processes of wide reflective moral equilibrium. The central hypothesis is that while we might expect a capacity for morality to include aspects of partiality, we might (...)
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  46. John Collier (2004). Autonomy, Anticipation and Novel Adaptations. In Irina Dobronravova & Wolfgang Hofkirchner (eds.), Science of Self-Organization and Self-Organization of Science. "Abris". 64--89.
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  47. John Collier (2004). Reduction, Supervenience, and Physical Emergence. Behavioral and Brain Sciences 27 (5):629-630.
    After distinguishing reductive explanability in principle from ontological deflation, I give a case of an obviously physical property that is reductively inexplicable in principle. I argue that biological systems often have this character, and that, if we make certain assumptions about the cohesion and dynamics of the mind and its physical substrate, then it is emergent according to Broad's criteria.
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  48. John Collier (2004). Self-organization, Individuation and Identity. Revue Internationale de Philosophie 2:151-172.
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  49. Michael Stingl & John Collier (2004). After the Fall: Religious Capacities and the Error Theory of Morality. Behavioral and Brain Sciences 27 (6):751-752.
    The target article proposes an error theory for religious belief. In contrast, moral beliefs are typically not counterintuitive, and some moral cognition and motivation is functional. Error theories for moral belief try to reduce morality to nonmoral psychological capacities because objective moral beliefs seem too fragile in a competitive environment. An error theory for religious belief makes this unnecessary.
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  50. Konrad Talmont-Kaminski & John D. Collier (2004). Saving the Distinctions: Distinctions as the Epistemologically Significant Content of Experience. In Johann Christian Marek & Maria Elisabeth Reicher (eds.), Contributions of the Austrian Ludwig Wittgenstein Society Xii. Austrian L. Wittgenstein Society, Kirchberg.
    To account for a perceived distinction it is necessary to postulate a real distinction. Our process of experiencing the world is one of, mostly unconscious, interpretation of observed distinctions to provide us with a partial world-picture that is sufficient to guide action. The distinctions, themselves, are acorrigible (they do not have a truth value), directly perceived, structured, and capable of being interpreted. Interpreted experience is corrigible, representational and capable of guiding action. Since interpretation is carried out mostly unconsciously and in (...)
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