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Author Topic: Senoria, Learning and Goals  (Read 2730 times)
Silmenume
Member

Posts: 467


« on: May 22, 2004, 03:46:55 PM »

I broke this off from a post on my earlier thread What is the metagame goal of Sim? It is a legitimate topic though way off from where I was interested in going into on that particular thread.

Contracycle let me ask you this Ė What is your name?  As you know, mine is Jay.  It is about time I did a formal introduction.  Hello!

Regarding learning, let me phrase my position this way, which I think helps me, if unfortunately no one else, come to a closer understanding of what I am trying to get at.  Who knows, I feel like I am grasping at straws.

For the sake of my argument let us assume that sensoria must occur before learning.  To me learning is a process whereby sensorial events can impact behavior in a way that allows said intelligence to predict the future and thus alter behavior accordingly.  Knowledge is the fruit of sensoria, but one does not automatically lead to the other.  For the sake of the argument I will also argue that sensoria cannot be shared while knowledge can.  I can experience the color of blue, but I cannot directly share that sensory experience.  I can point to something that is blue and utter the word blue and another person can agree to the label I have assigned to that hue of the object I am pointing, but his sensorial experience of blue is his alone and my sensorial experience of blue is mine alone.  We can share our reactions to that sensorial experience, but not the sensorial awareness itself.  Not all sensorial events are turned into knowledge such as in those poor individuals who suffer from Anterograde amnesia as a result of damage to the hippocampus.  All their senses can be fully intact and they may enjoy the stimulation of those senses immensely, but they carry no memory or knowledge of ever having experienced them.  Such a person might enjoy a painting deeply and powerfully, via the sensorial event of sight, but never remember having ever done so even after many exposures.  Knowledge is a layer of abstraction over and above sensorial experience.

Obviously players cannot suffer Anterograde amnesia and function in a game, but it does mean that sensorial events can be enjoyed as an event unto itself without it always being an instrument to knowledge acquisition.  I donít know about you, but I would rather experience sex than have knowledge of it!  Also, to me, sensorial events are by their nature temporal, while knowledge tends to be more permanent in nature.  So while I may have knowledge of sex, I would like to repeat the sensorial experience of it time and again.  I would lump emotions into this mix as well for the same exact reasons.  They are experiential in nature, the experience cannot be directly transmitted, and just knowing or remembering having had an emotional experience is not the same as experiencing that emotion time and again.

This is why I argue against Discovery or Knowledge seeking/accumulation as the metagame goal of Sim.  Nor am I saying that the over riding/metagame goal of Sim excludes Discovery or Knowledge seeking/accumulation.  The experience of roleplay is wider than the accumulation of facts.  Given one of the definitions of Discovery as the increase of knowledge, whoís to say then that Gamist play with the pursuit of winning strategies is really not a process of Discovery with the intent to seek or find novel strategies?  Or that Narrativism isnít really a subset of Simulationist Discovery is so far it might be an attempt to learn about the human condition via theme creation and learn something about the players as they address Premise?  IOW if the Simulationist metagame goal is Discovery, which includes sensorial and knowledge accumulation, why are exemptions made for Gamist and Narrativist games that also generate bodies of experience and knowledge?  Why wouldnít they be considered subsets of the Simulationist Discovery process?

Aure Entaluva,

Silmenume

PS - additional thought - I am not arguing that Discovery isn't a legitimate goal, but that it is too broad, i.e., it can cover all the CA's, and converesly it is too narrow in that it lumps together experiential processes with data accumulation.
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Aure Entuluva - Day shall come again.

Jay
Silmenume
Member

Posts: 467


« Reply #1 on: May 22, 2004, 05:00:16 PM »

AAAAAAAAAAAAAAAAAAAAAAAAAAAAAAAGh!

I meant to spell Sensoria in the title!

Aure Entaluva,

Silmenume
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Aure Entuluva - Day shall come again.

Jay
montag
Member

Posts: 172


« Reply #2 on: May 22, 2004, 09:58:00 PM »

Not sure if this helps, but ...
Quote from: Silmenume
Given one of the definitions of Discovery as the increase of knowledge, whoís to say then that Gamist play with the pursuit of winning strategies is really not a process of Discovery with the intent to seek or find novel strategies?  Or that Narrativism isnít really a subset of Simulationist Discovery is so far it might be an attempt to learn about the human condition via theme creation and learn something about the players as they address Premise?  IOW if the Simulationist metagame goal is Discovery, which includes sensorial and knowledge accumulation, why are exemptions made for Gamist and Narrativist games that also generate bodies of experience and knowledge?  Why wouldnít they be considered subsets of the Simulationist Discovery process?
AFAIK you're confusing the priorisation of Discovery (=Sim) with Exploration as the basis of all roleplaying here. Obviously discovery (Exploration) is part Gam and Narr play as well, but what distinguishes Sim play is that it's Discovery is the priority. At least as far as I know.

Quote
PS - additional thought - I am not arguing that Discovery isn't a legitimate goal, but that it is too broad, i.e., it can cover all the CA's, and converesly it is too narrow in that it lumps together experiential processes with data accumulation.
The distinction between experiential processes and data accumulation is occasionally useful for theory as far as I'm concerned, but useless in practice IMO.
For instance in perception, I know of no instance, where top-down processes (cognition guiding experience) do not play a role alongside bottom-up processes (perception leading to cognition). Heck, the corpus geniculatum laterale (CGL, basically the second step in "vision", after the eye) receives about twice as much information from the cortex as from the eye, and only 40% of retinal nerve impulses are sent from CGL to the cortex.
Not even colour perception/experience is "pure" in the sense that cognition wouldn't enter into it, as evidenced by the fact that your perception of colours doesn't really change when you go inside, despite the fact that your sensation changes, because artificial light has a different spectrum than sunlight. Object perception, depth perception are all impossible without top-down processes (as patients with object agnosia "demostrate") and so on.
Patients with anterograde amnesia can still acquire procedural knowledge, that is, knowledge about "how to do" stuff, e.g. learning to play the piano. Other research clearly demonstrates, that they in fact do learn and remember what they see, but have trouble recalling the stuff consciously. When then are however tested using "recognition" tests (instead of "recall"), for instance sentence-completion, association tests or familiarity ratings, it becomes obvious that "something remained".

So, as far as "enjoying a sensation" in itself is concerned, I'm with you, it can be done without a motivation to acquire knowledge. Everybody in fact does it all the time. But if you want to argue it can be done without acquiring knowledge I'd say the evidence is not in your favour.
Now, maybe all this is going past your intentions and you'd want to distinguish conscious from unconscious acquisition of knowledge or emotionally relevant from irrelevant sensations or motivated from unmotivated behaviour and we'd pick it up from there. But as far as the distinction between sensation and perception goes, I'd say it's a red herring. It's may be useful for theoretical work, for instance when teasing apart top-down and bottom-up processes, but I'm not aware of any evidence which suggests it has a counterpart in human experience or behaviour, which AFAIK invariably contains both top-down and bottom-up processes.
Maybe, if you look at it that way, the connotations "Discovery" seems to carry for you won't seem so wrong anymore.

Hope this helps
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markus
------------------------------------------------------
"The real problem is not whether machines think but whether men do."
--B. F. Skinner, Contingencies of Reinforcement (1969)
Silmenume
Member

Posts: 467


« Reply #3 on: May 23, 2004, 12:52:42 AM »

Montag thank you for taking the time to respond and for providing so much information in your post.

Quote from: montag
AFAIK you're confusing the priorisation of Discovery (=Sim) with Exploration as the basis of all roleplaying here. Obviously discovery (Exploration) is part Gam and Narr play as well Ö


You confuse me here, but Iíll plunge ahead anyway.

Exploration, by definition is process oriented.  CA, both limits and inspires.  IOW CA shapes the Exploration process (although CA is not the only influence on our decision-making and creative acts).  The elements of Exploration are grist.  Exploration is the process of running grist through the mill; CA is an expression of what kind of grist we want to run through the mill.  I am saying that Discovery is so broad that it can cover the other two major categories of grist as well.

You misread me.  I am not saying that Discovery equals Exploration.  I am saying Discovery fails because it can cover all CAís.  In a way it is impossible for it to fail a test because knowledge/understanding can be stretched to cover everything that defines a Gamist or Narrativist moment.  A person can simply say I want to understand what it is like to win.  Or I want to know more about the human condition.  Or I want to know how I would react under those circumstances.  Even in-game (within the SIS) what appears to be a Gamist or Narrativist act can be subsumed under the umbrella of knowledge/understanding seeking.  What is there in the seeking of knowledge that precludes the knowledge gained when creating a series of conditions that lead to a Victory?

Quote from: montag
So, as far as "enjoying a sensation" in itself is concerned, I'm with you, it can be done without a motivation to acquire knowledge. Everybody in fact does it all the time.  But if you want to argue it can be done without acquiring knowledge I'd say the evidence is not in your favour


Yea!  Iíve been arguing this intent/motivational split for a while.  So youíll agree that sensation/perception is not the same as knowledge?
 
Quote from: montag
But as far as the distinction between sensation and perception goes, I'd say it's a red herring.


Fair enough.  Iíll rephrase.  And maybe you can either help me out here with the phrase or process I am looking for or explain where I am confusing things.  I am trying to make a distinction between sensations/perceptions and the process where perceptions are turned into concepts that can then be manipulated abstractly.  To me, it is when a sensation/perception becomes abstracted that it becomes knowledge, or the type of knowledge that I am trying to make reference to.  If sensation/perception and knowledge are not the same then could it be said that pursuing one is not necessarily the same as pursing the other?

Itís late.  Iím going to bed.

Aure Entaluva,

Silmenume.
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Aure Entuluva - Day shall come again.

Jay
montag
Member

Posts: 172


« Reply #4 on: May 23, 2004, 04:19:38 PM »

Quote from: Silmenume
Quote from: montag
AFAIK you're confusing the priorisation of Discovery (=Sim) with Exploration as the basis of all roleplaying here. Obviously discovery (Exploration) is part Gam and Narr play as well Ö
You confuse me here, but Iíll plunge ahead anyway.
Exploration, by definition is process oriented.  CA, both limits and inspires.  IOW CA shapes the Exploration process (although CA is not the only influence on our decision-making and creative acts).  The elements of Exploration are grist.  Exploration is the process of running grist through the mill; CA is an expression of what kind of grist we want to run through the mill.  I am saying that Discovery is so broad that it can cover the other two major categories of grist as well.
You misread me.  I am not saying that Discovery equals Exploration.  I am saying Discovery fails because it can cover all CAís.  In a way it is impossible for it to fail a test because knowledge/understanding can be stretched to cover everything that defines a Gamist or Narrativist moment.  A person can simply say I want to understand what it is like to win.  Or I want to know more about the human condition.  Or I want to know how I would react under those circumstances.  Even in-game (within the SIS) what appears to be a Gamist or Narrativist act can be subsumed under the umbrella of knowledge/understanding seeking.  What is there in the seeking of knowledge that precludes the knowledge gained when creating a series of conditions that lead to a Victory?
The confusion is mutual. Now until someone more qualified in theoretical matters comes along, I'll try my best to rephrase my understanding of it. AFAICT all your points in the last paragraph apply to Exploration as well. The term can be stretched to "exploring winning strategies, exploring the moment of victory, exploring the human condition". "Discovery", or "Exploration squared" or a similar term does not exclude other CAs in the sense that "acts informed by a G or N CA can't be explained in terms of an S CA." AFAIK that a recurring problem with defining Sim, that it can only really be detected when the other two alternatives have been rejected. The term "Discovery" does not solve that problem IMO.

Quote
Quote from: montag
So, as far as "enjoying a sensation" in itself is concerned, I'm with you, it can be done without a motivation to acquire knowledge. Everybody in fact does it all the time.  But if you want to argue it can be done without acquiring knowledge I'd say the evidence is not in your favour
Yea!  Iíve been arguing this intent/motivational split for a while.  So youíll agree that sensation/perception is not the same as knowledge?
Unfortunately, no, I would not agree. However, I think the particulars depend on the definitions one uses. AFAIC "sensation" is "stimulation of sensory organs", "perception" is roughly "interpretation of sensory information" and "knowledge" is not a useful term ;). More seriously, I'd define knowledge through memory, such that "knowledge" is "any information stored in the organism". If I were to expand this ad-hoc definition, I'd have to consider excluding genetic information (probably yes), and would have to find a phrasing which allows me to retain "knowledge" stored in my limbs (AFAIK the debate is not over, but there is decent evidence, that physical constraints (limb length) inform movement patterns despite the fact, that the physical constraint does not seem to be "stored" in the brain [IIRC Kelso, S. "Dynamic Patterns" contains some relevant stuff]
Quote
Quote from: montag
But as far as the distinction between sensation and perception goes, I'd say it's a red herring.
Fair enough.  Iíll rephrase.  And maybe you can either help me out here with the phrase or process I am looking for or explain where I am confusing things.  I am trying to make a distinction between sensations/perceptions and the process where perceptions are turned into concepts that can then be manipulated abstractly.  To me, it is when a sensation/perception becomes abstracted that it becomes knowledge, or the type of knowledge that I am trying to make reference to.  If sensation/perception and knowledge are not the same then could it be said that pursuing one is not necessarily the same as pursing the other?
Sounds like you're talking about the point where knowledge becomes "symbolic". (Mr. Lehrich, your case.) Which is Ė to my knowledge Ė the holy grail of cognitive science. Traditional accounts of human cognition in terms of symbolic computation (a metaphor based on computers and considerations of Turing machines) have been challenged since roughly 1980 and clearly since 1986, when McClelland and Rummelhart introduced parallel-distributed-processing (neural networks; sub-symbolic) to a wider audience. Recent attempts to merge the two approaches include cellular automata (I don't know much about the details, though) and pointing out that each approach does very fine at a certain level and for certain problems and leaving it at that for the time being.
Anyway, your term "abstract knowledge" works quite well for me, it brings to mind schemata, scripts, semantic networks etc. A related term is explicit knowledge, which in turn might be described as all knowledge which is available for conscious recall (and recognition as well) or, in other words, knowledge which can be expresses (however imperfectly). This is indeed different from sensation/perception on a conceptual basis, and thus might be a separate goal. However, the distinction is a lot easier to draw on a conceptual level (I'm repeating myself here. The excursion on symbolic computation and PDP above is meant to highlight the problem from a theoretical perspective.) than on the basis of human behaviour and experience.
Consider the questions: Was there a 3rd of May last year? Where you breathing at 3 AM today? Was the sky blue yesterday? Your answer is most certainly yes to all, but I'm willing to bet you didn't perceive and commit that information to memory at the respective time and recalled it now. That's just one example of knowledge you have, which can be accounted for in terms of symbolic computation, yet I doubt you'd call it "abstract knowledge". Similarly, you can drive a car (I assume) and may even remember learning to do it, yet you'd be hard pressed to explain clearly how you do it (at least most people are). The process has become automatic. You also know how to behave in a restaurant, including such steps as "asking the waiter for a table", "sitting down", "waiting for the menu", "reading the menu", ordering drinks", waiting for drinks", "ordering meals". That complex process (seriously, think about all the ways you could screw up the order of steps or the steps themselves) is mastered by little kids and can be described reasonably well in terms of "scripts", again, using symbolic computation. So it's very "abstract knowledge", but I guess one would not intuitively consider it to be abstract.

I could go on, but this post is long enough as it is, so I'll summarise. Yes, you can distinguish sensation/perception from abstract knowledge and if that distinction is useful to you, just go ahead. We can worry about the remaining grey areas another time. If, on the other hand, the distinction is a stumbling block for you, let it rest, as the distinction is difficult to make in terms of human experience and behaviour. You won't step into the same river twice or smell the same flower twice.

It's late, but it makes sense to me _now_. I hope it's useful. Somehow.
best
markus
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markus
------------------------------------------------------
"The real problem is not whether machines think but whether men do."
--B. F. Skinner, Contingencies of Reinforcement (1969)
M. J. Young
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Posts: 2198


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« Reply #5 on: May 23, 2004, 07:43:00 PM »

First, let me ask what ever gave anyone the idea that "knowledge" and "discovery" were limited in meaning to articulable data? All that we experience is knowledge, and experiencing it again is additional knowledge. Reaching an emotion is discovery of that emotion, understanding it through experience, and thus knowledge. It may not be articulable knowledge, but it is still knowledge, and it is still discovered. The ancient phrase "Know thyself" was never taken as an instruction to compile vast amounts of information, but rather as a directive to come to understand who you are--knowledge and discovery, but not articulable data.

Quote from: Regarding discovery as the goal of simulationism, Jay
In a way it is impossible for it to fail a test because knowledge/understanding can be stretched to cover everything that defines a Gamist or Narrativist moment.  A person can simply say I want to understand what it is like to win.  Or I want to know more about the human condition.  Or I want to know how I would react under those circumstances.  Even in-game (within the SIS) what appears to be a Gamist or Narrativist act can be subsumed under the umbrella of knowledge/understanding seeking.  What is there in the seeking of knowledge that precludes the knowledge gained when creating a series of conditions that lead to a Victory?

Absolutely nothing. But seeking the knowledge of how to achieve victory is not a gamist goal; it is a means to a gamist goal, namely, achieving victory. The person who plays a wargame to find out what it would take for side A to win a battle which historically was won by side B is playing in a simulationist mode--he is seeking to learn what it would take to win. The person who is playing to learn about the human condition, without any interest in making a statement about it, is playing simulationist, because a narrativist seeks to make a statement about it. If all you want to do is understand tactics or morals, strategy or human problems, you are playing simulationist. If you want to use those tactics and strategies to win you are playing gamist, and if you want to make a statement about those morals and problems you are playing narrativist. That's the difference. Anything you can explore in the other agenda you can explore in simulationism, up to the point where the other agenda use that knowledge to make a statement. The statement made by simulationism is, "I get it." I learned something. Gamism says "I did it." Narrativism says "I said it."

A lot of what Markus says in his first post here is quite good, but it's getting late for me and I've a lot to read yet, so I'll not highlight it beyond saying that. Hopefully this will help.

--M. J. Young
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Ron Edwards
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« Reply #6 on: May 23, 2004, 09:00:26 PM »

Hello,

Markus & M.J., that was a great series of posts. Here's my take, which is perhaps overly basic.

Jay, I think the word "explore" is throwing you. When its meaning is confined to its jargon usage of imagination, especially in the sense of enjoying and communicating what's being imagined, then the whole thing becomes so much clearer.

1. Exploration is a necessary but not sufficient feature of role-playing, as an activity. I trust this is non-controversial.

2.The Right to Dream = some specific aspects of Exploration being focused upon, without need for further "achievement" based social/creative priority. I trust it's non-controversial to say that role-playing may be carried out in this context. (If anyone wants to call this "discovery," they can, but past experience shows me that "too active!" "too passive!" debates over terms will go on forever.)

That's Simulationism. Its diversity arises from the composition of the five components of Exploration, which shouldn't be surprising. I've outlined those different compositions in the Simulationism essay.

Easy as pie. I really think you're making the whole thing much harder than it has to be.

I also have a suggestion: post in Actual Play. At some point, recently or long ago, you participated in role-playing. What game was it? How many people were involved, of what ages, relationships, and genders? How long did you play, per session and overall? What kind of satisfaction did you gain, and for what? How did the real-person relationships change relative to in-game events, and how were they related, in your view? What aspects of the system did you enjoy immensely and which were annoying? Why? Did others in the group agree or disagree about that?

I am convinced that a few conversations of this sort would go a long way to removing the need for these (forgive me) arcane discourses of the what-if-buts of various subtle and abstract aspects of what is, ultimately, an abstraction in the first place.

Best,
Ron
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