Complexity and a Pragmatic Theory of Knowledge

Abstract

Complexity can be viewed either as the way we interact with reality, as a mechanism we impose on the real world, or it can be viewed as a property of certain kinds of systems in the world. However, since our interaction with the external world is through moment by moment serial experience, our primary interaction is with an internal model of the outside world contained in our own minds. As a result, we can only impose our complex conceptions on that model. To learn whether or not a special complex structure exists in reality, we must test each such conception through immediate experience: the results of those tests are then transferred to the model.

Our only direct interaction with reality is through immediate experience using the mechanism of short term memory, which itself is a serial process. Long term memory, where our internal model is stored, is a parallel neural network. Information in this network instead of being addressed in temporal sequence is addressed by association. The transition from the serial moment by moment interaction to parallel model development is the experience of cognition, the addition, modification, and re-evaluation of accepted facts which is the ultimate source of all knowledge.

Complexity and a Pragmatic Theory of Knowledge

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