dimanche, mars 13, 2016

Herman Dooyeweerd: Artificial Intelligence and Intuition

Published on Mar 12, 2016
From transcript: Google's artificial intelligence software has won its third straight match against a grandmaster of an ancient board game called Go. Google's program, AlphaGo, won the first three games in a series of five against Lee Sedol, who's considered one of the world's best Go players [...] Deep neural networks, like the ones used in AlphaGo, are becoming increasingly important to Google's business [...] Go is played on a 19-by-19-square board, so there are a huge number of possible moves during a match. That's why a lot of Go players say it's a game of intuition as much as anything else.
Korean grandmaster Lee Sedol went on to win game 4, but lost game 5. 
Read full account at:
NOTE: Though 'Artificial intelligence' was doubtless far from Herman Dooyeweerd's mind at the time, the following extract from 'A New Critique of Theoretical Thought' raises relevant considerations in the light of his description of human intuition

It is well worth clarifying what Dooyeweerd means by the terms "religion" and "religious". He is NOT referring as such to the adherence of some people to a "Religion". Rather he intends the reality of God's image in EVERY human being. This is absolutely key to Dooyeweerd. The image of God within us means that every human being in his or her deepest selfhood is "supratemporal" (time-transcending) now (not just when we die) -
"But according to our view, the Christian understanding of a person, the 'individual I' can no more be sought within time...The individual selfhood is through and through religious, supratemporal." (Herman Dooyeweerd 'De Crisis in de Humanistische Staatsleer', Amsterdam: Ten Have, 1931) 
"According to my modest opinion, and in the light of the whole Scriptural revelation concerning human nature it is just this possession of a supratemporal root of life, with the simultaneous subjectedness to time of all its earthly expressions, that together belong to the essence [wezen] of man, to the image of God in him by means of which he is able to not only relatively but radically go out [uitgaan] above all temporal things. And that is how I also understand Ecclesiastes 3:11 'He has also set eternity in the human heart'." [Dooyeweerd’s 'Second Response to the Curators', Oct. 12, 1937, Trans. by J. Glenn Friesen]
The above view is of course utterly contrary to the materialist-reductionist view espoused by Humanism, and has profound implications for discussions of, eg, 'artificial intelligence'.

It is paramount to appreciate that Herman Dooyeweerd wrote as a philosopher and not as a theologian. That distinction was central to him.
(Also called Aspects/ Modes/ Modalities/ Meaning-sides)

"Dooyeweerd says that theoretical thought is characterized by what he calls the 'Gegenstand-relation'. In this relation, our act of theoretical thought, which functions in the logical [analytical] aspect, is set over-against one or more of the other aspects. Those other aspects are the ‘Gegenstand’ of our theoretical thought." (from J Glenn Friesen's note re: 'Gegenstand')

A very useful resource: 
Glenn Friesen's Dooyeweerd Glossary
by Herman Dooyeweerd

The inter-modal synthesis of meaning is a subjective cognitive act. Its super-individual universal validity depends on the cosmic temporal order, which makes it possible. As an actus it presupposes the transcendent super-temporal I-ness or selfhood which, according to the Archimedean point of our cosmonomic Idea, shares in the religious root of the whole of temporal reality. In the direction of the meaning-synthesis to the selfhood, possible only in the transcendental direction of the cosmic temporal order, we discover the transcendental condition of the cognitive inter-modal meaning-synthesis. In the selfhood as the religious root of all cognitive activity, we find its transcendent condition. But while our theoretical reflection on the possibility of the synthesis of meaning chooses the transcendental direction, our attention is again drawn to the relation between the deepened theoretical analysis in which we have performed our analytical ἐποχή [epoché, "suspension"], and cosmic time, in whose continuity this ἐποχή is brought about. The theoretical concept of the analytical aspect proved to be a theoretical abstraction. That which is abstracted from in order to grasp the analytical modality itself in the theoretical synthesis, proved to be the cosmic continuity of time, in the meaning-systasis of temporal reality.

Actual analysis exceeds the modal limits of the analytical law-sphere.
If this is so, actual analysis must be something more than the modal analytical function which we can grasp as the product of a synthetic abstraction. The excess lies in that which cannot be theoretically isolated in the analytical modus. It is that temporal bottom layer of the latter by means of which our analytical function of thought is embedded in cosmic time itself. Through this bottom layer our thought is in continuous temporal contact with all the other modal functions which our selfhood can claim in time as its own. This temporal bottom layer of actual analysis is our intuition. Since PLATO every epistemology that wanted to reach greater depths has tried to shed light on this intuition. But its true character is bound to evade philosophy, as long as a priori the latter eliminates cosmic time from its epistemological reflection.

Our intuition cannot be theoretically isolated just because [for the simple reason that] it has a continuous temporal character. The continuous meaning-coherence in the temporal refraction of meaning is immediately grasped by it behind all theoretical conceptual limits. Intuition is thus a cosmic intuition of time. Whoever thinks he can isolate it theoretically, turns it into a theoretical synthetical concept eliminating exactly that which is essential to intuition, viz. its being embedded in the temporal continuity of the cosmic meaning- coherence. In its temporal actuality, however, intuition is nothing without the selfhood transcending time.

In the transcendental temporal direction of theoretical intuition, our selfhood becomes cosmologically conscious of itself in the temporal coherence and diversity of all its modal functions. It is human personality that operates in cognition; it is not one or more of its abstracted modal functions. In its religious root this personality transcends its temporal acts and modal functions. This holds good no matter whether the cosmological self- consciousness, in the cognitive activity, is directed in Christ to the true Origin of all things, to the sovereign Creator and Heavenly Father, or, in sinful apostasy, seeks itself and the Origin in the temporal.

Self-reflection on the modal functions as being our own.
The modal aspects of temporal reality are not alien to us in the sense of transcending the human selfhood. They are cosmically our own. Apart from the religious root in which the creation finds its totality of meaning and in which our selfhood shares, they have no meaning. In the intuitive self-reflection on the modal functions, as our own in cosmic time, is revealed the possibility of our synthetic knowledge of the modal law-spheres. In our intuition, the analytical and non-analytical functions of experience come to an actual and conscious contact which does not affect their modal diversity. In this way our selfhood experiences the temporal coherence between the modal aspects of reality. In this experience the I-ness remains the central point of reference. Intuition, being bound to time, cannot transcend the modal diversity of meaning. So long as the analytical function has not been deepened in the transcendental direction of time, and remains inert in the foundational direction of the temporal order, our intuition does not arrive at a free synthesis of meaning. Then it remains at rest in the systasis of the datum. Or rather the other way round: it is by means of our intuition that the modal analytical function enters continuous cosmic time. So long as our intuition remains at rest in the foundational direction of the cosmic temporal order, the modal analytical function cannot unfold itself by deepening its meaning. Then we are not actually operating in the transcendental freedom of theoretical thought on the road to inter-modal meaning-synthesis.

The intuition which simply rests in the cosmic meaning-coherence is typical of the attitude of thought in naive experience. All of us, no matter whether we are men of science or not, adopt the naïve attitude as soon as we are not theoretically engaged. In the resting pre- theoretical intuition we have an enstatic conscious 'Erleben' of the full temporal reality as it presents itself in the typical structures of individuality and their relations. This conscious 'Erleben' or 'Hineinleben' into reality primarily unfolds itself in the integral experience of temporal reality to which any kind of theoretical meaning-synthesis is still alien. This integral experience of reality must not in any way be misinterpreted theoretically in accordance with the functionalistic viewpoints of immanence-philosophy (e.g., as something of a purely sensory psychical nature, or as a synthetical logical arrangement of sensory impressions). The conscious enstatic 'Hineinleben', as an entering into reality, although by no means detached from the analytical function of thought, lacks theoretical insight into the modal aspects of our experience. But theoretical insight, originating from antithetical disjunctive thought, and reading the disclosed and opened modal aspect as its "Gegenstand", cannot itself reveal this modality to us as our own. The true datum is never that which has been merely theoretically read.

Only as the disclosure, opening, and theoretical deepening of the real datum in pre- theoretical conscious 'Erleben', is theoretical insight possible. Conscious 'Erleben' is the temporal basic layer of all cognition.

The misconception with regard to the possibility of non-intuitive knowledge. All theoretical knowledge rests on conscious insight. 
It is a misconception to think that actual synthetical thought is possible without intuitive insight. The analytical law-conformity of thought must itself be known intuitively, if analysis is to be possible. And it is a fortiori an indispensable condition of scientific knowledge that we have an intuitive insight into the "Gegenstand".

As soon as my intuition is inoperative, I do not know anything. Neither the modal subjective psychical, nor the modal subjective logical function, without our theoretical intuition, can give us conscious insight into the sensory impressions or analytical coherences revealing themselves in it.
(Herman Dooyeweerd, A New Critique of Theoretical Thought, Vol 2, pp 472-475)
Related links to theme of Artificial Intelligence:

'The Self: The Material Soul' 
- Transcribed interview on current neuroscience. 
'Robocop Takes on Philosophy of Mind' 
- Musings on 'Robocop' movie remake (2014)
'Artificial Intelligence with Dooyeweerd' 
- 8min YouTube with Prof Andrew Basden 
'Intelligent design without a creator? Why evolution may be smarter than we thought'
- "gene networks evolve like neural networks learn"...
'The Venus Project: The Choice is Ours' (2016)
- Bit of a 'Brave New World' redux. This 1hr 40mins youtube is a journey into a future world "saved" and governed by a technological reductionism. Not sure how influential this 'project' is, but it certainly picks up on current themes. A key term to track is "values". Christianity is explicitly and summarily "dispensed with" towards the end.
For those interested in exploring Dooyeweerd's thought further:

'Aspects and Ground-motives: Brief Intro to Dooyeweerd': (Short informal article)

There are two MAIN WEBSITES for further consideration of Dooyeweed's thought:

Dr J. Glenn FRIESEN: Studies Relating to Herman Dooyeweerd
- Emphasis on profundity of Dooyeweerd's key "supratemporal heart" insight, on his experiential non-dualism, and on the historical roots and continuity of his thought. 

Andrew BASDEN: The Dooyeweerd Pages
- Very extensive ongoing contextual engagement with implications of Dooyeweerd's thinking for society, technology, and all areas of life.