Beliefs as Circuit Components


Geiger Counter

Geiger Counter

  • Beliefs are like electronic parts.
  • Each belief can serve several functions depending on relationships.
    (e.g., a capacitor can serve as a filter, blocking DC or it can damp changes in voltage.)
  • Beliefs have relationships to other beliefs and to the outside world (people, activities etc).
  • Using the same beliefs, we get get very different outputs, depending on connections.
    (e.g., imagine a radio and Geiger counter made from similar parts)
  • Using very different beliefs, we can get very similar output/functions. (e.g., a video tape player vs a dvd player)
  • This is how I view beliefs whether those beliefs are the web of beliefs in an atheist or a theist.
  • I care about the output.
  • I care about the relationships and connections
  • I care about the particular belief only secondary to output and relationships, and even then, more in an academic way.
  • As I wrote earlier, beliefs are always linked with emotions, so they play hugely in the mix too.
  • geiger_schematic

    Small Radio

    Small Radio

    Thus, I do not buy into the reductionist model of dissecting each belief and figuring out its individual, unconnected truth value as being meaningful in evaluating a person.  The object is greater than the sum of its parts, because those parts are in relationship.  This view must be common and have a name — can someone help me name it?  I just thought of the analogy tonight.  Before I was using the analogy of beliefs as clothing.  But I like this one better (for now ! smile).

Notes:  Here are some related posts on beliefs:


Filed under Cognitive Science

3 responses to “Beliefs as Circuit Components

  1. Very, very good way to put it. Love the creativity there.

    I am so, so weird, that the connections I make seem to be quite unlike what other people make, and it seems that my wiring is so strange that nobody else is wired quite like me. Thus, I have difficulty finding like-minded people to befriend.

    Being wired differently is quite lonely.

  2. Ian

    Sabio, Have you ever read ‘the society of mind’. I base most of my understanding of the mind on that kind of idea, and it seems to directly match lots of what you say. If you haven’t read it, it might be worth hunting down a copy. In my opinion it is one of the most underrated masterworks of the last 30 years.

  3. @Lorena — Friends are those folks who share certain sub-circuits. Indeed it is hard to find anyone that matches large swatches of our boards, unless we are fairly generic. That is the curse of reflection.

    @ Ian — actually, I saw Minsky’s book listed 6 months ago and the review sounded exactly like my view of mind so I bought it. Indeed, same view. So I only read 1/3 of it to date. Thanx for mentioning it though.

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