Logic and Abstraction as Capabilities of the Mind: Reconceptualizations of Computational Approaches to the Mind

IGI (2010)

David J. Saab
Pennsylvania State University
In this chapter we will investigate the nature of abstraction in detail, its entwinement with logical thinking, and the general role it plays for the mind. We find that non-logical capabilities are not only important for input processing, but also for output processing. Human beings jointly use analytic and embodied capacities for thinking and acting, where analytic thinking mirrors reflection and logic, and where abstraction is the form in which embodied thinking is revealed to us. We will follow the philosophical analyses of Heidegger and Polanyi to elaborate the fundamental difference between abstraction and logics and how they come together in the mind. If computational approaches to mind are to be successful, they must be able to recognize meaningful and salient elements of a context and engage in abstraction. Computational minds must be able to imagine and volitionally blend abstractions as a way of recognizing gestalt contexts. And it must be able to discern the validity of these blendings in ways that, in humans, arise from a sensus communis.
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