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Part 1: Two Systems 
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Post Re: Part 1: Two Systems
I wonder how much this two system approach reflects an intuition of dualism between spirit and matter that has been central to philosophy since Socrates. Plato describes it well in the Phaedrus, with the two horses representing desire and reason. And of course Saint Paul held that the spirit gives life while the way of the flesh is death. Then Descartes formulated the famous Cartesian dualism.

All of this makes sense to me as indicating how language is a representation of reality, so a dualism of symbolic idea and real entity is inevitable. An idea is not a thing, but an idea is real. To some extent it maps to Kahneman's dualism of reason and intuition, except that the conventional dualism is far too simplistic in saying spirit good matter bad.


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Fri Sep 14, 2012 11:43 am
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Post Re: Part 1: Two Systems
I think the existence of the two-part system is based on analysis instead of intuition. The two systems are fictions, Kahmnman says, but they are useful fictions in that we can broadly distinguish two modes of thinking, and the modes to some extent have dedicated areas of the brain, as denise pointed out. I don't see the 2-part system as an iteration of mind-body dualism, but I guess it's possible.

I'm interested in how we form assessments and judgments, and Kahneman goes into this at the end of this section of the book. He tells us that System 1 continuously provides us with up-to-date basic assessments of what we see before our eyes. We adjust our responses according to whether there is need for action, but what we most favor is the cognitive ease of cruise-control. When it comes to less basic assessments, about matters that may be remote rather than directly in experience, which Kahneman seems to call judgments, we also have basic assessments we can use as substitutes for the more laborious effort needed to gather relevant information, evaluate it, and form a conclusion. This is how people use face recognition assessments to decide whom to vote for. Kahneman says that voters who watch the most TV, and receive their "information" about candidates mostly from it, rely on the primitive means of judging fitness for office by impressions of trustworthiness in faces. Voters less dependent on TV may actually study the issues, thereby reaching a truer judgment of whom they should vote for.

The trickiest area in judgment is determining accurate magnitude, proportion, degree, or perspective. A lot of arguments seem to be around these matters, and it's very hard to state just what it takes to have more credibility in these rather than less. This could be where experience is irreplaceable. As we get older, our ability to gauge these things tends to increase, simply because we have a greater backlog of experience. On a matter we've discussed, the question of the Historical Jesus, one reason I hesitate to believe the naysayers who don't go along with the tradition is that they don't generally have the immersion in the subject that would be necessary to put matters into perspective and proportion. What does it signify that we have so few references to Jesus? If you are immersed in the historical period and know about hundreds of other figures and the references to them, maybe the scarcity of Jesus mentions becomes less significant. But in any case there can't be a substitute for this deep, painfully acquired knowledge that in experts can begin to function much like intuitions. Kahneman has a section later on about expert intuition.



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Fri Sep 14, 2012 7:43 pm
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Post Re: Part 1: Two Systems
Still in part one of the book, as i am quickly trying to catch up. also went quickly through the discussion board for part I. Someone (sorry cant remember which post) mentioned there wasnt a central theme or focus of the book, i just wanted to bring our attention to the authors words "The premise of this book is that it is easier to recognize other people's mistakes than our own". (sorry, my kindle does not have page numbers). I find the premise of the book very apropos when non-religious people denigrate religious thought and vice-a-versa.



Mon Oct 01, 2012 2:26 pm
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Post Re: Part 1: Two Systems
Interbane wrote:
Quote:
And another thing, are we really pre programmed to be afraid of spiders?


It wouldn't surprise me. I find that I'm pre-programmed to enjoy looking at boobs. Looking at a spider tickles the same caveman part of my brain, but in a bad kind of way. 8)


Would you look at a spider if it was walking across a boob? Or would you instinctively smack it and end up in a heck of a lot trouble with the owner of the boob.

:lol:



Sun Oct 28, 2012 4:48 pm
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Post Re: Part 1: Two Systems
Interbane wrote:
Is there any scanning/testing to show underlying mechanisms to these categories, or are they arbitrary? It sounds like a useful distinction, but only in the sense that it's one of many heuristics for understanding human thought. Simplify simplify simplify.


I am about to place a bet on a horse - I really do like the roan - why? Well, 'cause I like looking at it - it's a beautiful animal. But the roan has come in second to last in every race run in the past two months.

ThunderBalls is running - an ugly looking beast - splotchy coloring, like somebody took a sponge dipped in bleach and dabbed it all over. But TB has won every race it ran in the past three months.

Hmmmm ... I really do like that roan; beautiful creature. If I take the time to think of this I might put my money on ThunderBalls. But if I just haul on up to the wicket like a shot outta' hell, I might go with my basic intuition and bet on the roan.

And there goes my money - and there goes the roan, having lost but one more race. ThunderBalls proudly brings in the lead as the winners buy another round of drinks for their friends.

Maybe I should move over to one of their tables. I might learn to think things out more carefully in future.

You wanted simple? That's how simple it is - THINK! Don't just go with a gut feeling.

(I rarely go to racetracks, btw - just remembered a roan I bet on when I was in my late teens and thought I'd use the experience)



Sun Oct 28, 2012 5:09 pm
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Post Re: Part 1: Two Systems
Penelope wrote:
My book just arrived this morning so I haven't begin to read it yet. Having read the posts though, I would just like to say that I like spiders. OK, I don't want their webs all over my living space, but I don't mind how many live with the bats in our coach-house.


I don't mind any of them - spiders, snakes - gorillas, for that matter - as long as they don't jump out at me.

A CoachHouse - ohhhhhhhhh ... how nice!



Sun Oct 28, 2012 5:15 pm
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Post Re: Part 1: Two Systems
Penelope wrote:
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Interbane: It wouldn't surprise me. I find that I'm pre-programmed to enjoy looking at boobs. Looking at a spider tickles the same caveman part of my brain, but in a bad kind of way. 8)


You like looking at boobs? You're a young and ultra intelligent bloke with lots of life-force....of course you like looking at boobs!!!

Now what is puzzling is that I am not supposed to have any libido. But I like a certain British Actor called Sean Bean. He once played Mellors the Gardener in a BBC production of 'Lady Chatterley's Lover'. Phrooor!! This week I saw him in one of a series of plays on TV, called 'The Accused' - He played a transvestite. He is so butch looking. He is famous for playing 'Sharp' in the Bernard Cornwall Series of historical/military novels. In this play, he played a transvestite, and I can't stop thinking about him.....What's wrong with me? Well, I don't care. I'm glad. It's the life-force, and I've still got a libido. Hurrah!!!!!!! :lol:


***** Well, yeah - I'm old enough to be over all that too, but I'll tell ya what ... George Harrison can leave his shoes under my bed any time.

:wink:



Sun Oct 28, 2012 5:18 pm
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Post Re: Part 1: Two Systems
denisecummins wrote:
By the way, my profile still says "creative writing student". Anyone have any idea how to change that? My user profile has accurate information, and I don't know where this "creative writing student" label is coming from. Thanks.


Ha ha! Look at Robert's title ... The Lord of Replies.



Sun Oct 28, 2012 6:58 pm
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Post Re: Part 1: Two Systems
Penelope wrote:
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Interbane wrote:

I just reached the point where he mentions blood glucose levels correlate to how much executive control is allocated to difficult functions.


Does that mean that type2 diabetes sufferers are more stupid? :o


Ohhhh ... I have diabetes II ... if this is so, then I now have an excuse for everything. Instead of them saying - Carly! I expected more of you!

They can now say - Well, what can I expect ...

:lol:



Sun Oct 28, 2012 7:12 pm
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Post Re: Part 1: Two Systems
I had let this thread slide. I'm going to re-read and respond. I feel ashamed!


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Sun Oct 28, 2012 7:22 pm
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Post Re: Part 1: Two Systems
Interbane wrote:
I had let this thread slide. I'm going to re-read and respond. I feel ashamed!

No shame in that. I've got to say that, because I've let it slide, too. There's a lot in the book, though, that can be applied directly to what we do here (I've read about 200 pp). It has had an unsettling effect on me, which can be a good thing. I'm less sure that I really know anything or can think that I'm right about more than a very simple proposition. My information is always partial, and I apply heuristics and respond to biases even when I think I'm using System 2.



Mon Oct 29, 2012 6:11 am
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Post Re: Part 1: Two Systems
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I'm less sure that I really know anything or can think that I'm right about more than a very simple proposition. My information is always partial, and I apply heuristics and respond to biases even when I think I'm using System 2.


I actually found comfort in the book. It gave a face to many of the demons in our machine. The picture he paints is still missing some of the the more influential factors that shape our conclusions, touched on by Shermer and Dennet.

The way to think about it is that you will never have absolute knowledge of the world around you, even within a small specialized framework. Reality is too complex, and the human mind is finite. We rely in information compression to store "thin sliced" chunks of abstracted reality - the important points, the highlights.

That is what should make you uneasy. The heuristics and biases that are mentioned in this book are the consequences of compressing information. Everything from the anchoring effect to WYSIATI. Additionally, the fallacies that people incorrectly use to shore up support in their conclusions, which aren't mentioned in this book, are heuristical. Baculum and Populum primarily.


I'm excited to see progress in this field and in neuroscience in the next few decades. The guiding theme is energy conservation. Even the neuron mechanisms have energy conservation integrated into the way they operate. The method of logic for some neurons at least is that they must have simultaneous inputs before they fire in response. The added redundancy would cut back on misfirings - false positives.


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Mon Oct 29, 2012 10:22 am
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Post Re: Part 1: Two Systems
Your profile title is currently 'book slut' - ha ha!

Maybe the person who creates those labels oughta get into system 2.

Do you have any examples of how your way of thinking has changed on account of what you've read in the book?



Mon Oct 29, 2012 11:25 am
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Post Re: Part 1: Two Systems
I've got a 'genius' title!



Mon Oct 29, 2012 11:26 am
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Post Re: Part 1: Two Systems
WildCityWoman wrote:
Your profile title is currently 'book slut' - ha ha!

Maybe the person who creates those labels oughta get into system 2.

Do you have any examples of how your way of thinking has changed on account of what you've read in the book?

Book Slut is fine with me--I hope to be able to live up to it! I'll need to make it last by not posting too often.

I'm employed in a field--mental health--that Kahneman would call a low-validity environment. Basically, there are few "regularities" in this environment that make it easy, or perhaps even possible, for anyone to make definitive judgments or predictions about mental health clients. Yet most in the agency operate as if there are. Kahneman cites work by Meehl that established the deplorable reliability of clinical prediction of all types. I would also say that diagnostic validity is always suspect; that's why a person can get three different diagnoses from three evaluators. The book has raised my antennae about all of this. I like his chapter on intuition, which is what people often say they're using when they make clinical judgments. kahneman pretty much says that intuition can't function accurately when a practitioner hasn't had the opportunity to learn the regularities of a system, in this case because the regularities haven't been established. Intuition is in fact most like memory, not a magical ability that comes out of thin air. It's always based on something that a person has learned, and what the person does is recall the information. If he's not aware consciously of the recall, he might assume he just divined the answer through some psychic means or other.



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