Topic: models of reality

topics > science > Group: psychology

natural language
philosophy of science

information as knowledge
knowledge representation
law of nature
meaning by social context
mental models, consistency, and interface metaphors
probability assessment
reality is a machine
science as measurement
sense perception
sensory prediction in coordinated motion
software models of reality


We apparently have a model of reality that organizes our sense perceptions and helps us predict and explain interactions. It shapes or even distorts our understanding of reality. Coordinated activity requires a model to have a goal for the activity.

Models of reality are an important part of a scientific understanding of the world. Scientific models tends to emphasize a unitary view of the world, while personal models emphasize a diverse view of the world.

Reality can also be its own model, especially for simple intelligences. (cbb 5/94 3/98)

Subtopic: conceptual scheme up

Quote: conceptual schemes organize experience; reality is relative to a scheme; translation may not be possible [»daviD11_1974]
Quote: identify conceptual schemes with languages and the soul; can languages be non-translatable [»daviD11_1974]
Quote: the third dogma of empiricism is a dualism between a schema that organizes experience and the experience itself; it is vacuous [»daviD11_1974]

Subtopic: model of reality up

Quote: a model or world view is a basic system of constructs used to describe reality [»kentW_1978]
Quote: our universe is not chaos; we perceive and name beings and objects that have stable structures [»thomR_1975]
Quote: mental models are pervasive; they help predict and explain interactions [»normDA_1986]
Quote: our image of the world largely governs our behavior; i.e., the world of reasonably stable relations--"if I do this, then that will happen" [»weinGM_1979]
Quote: "primitive" people assume an underlying reality that is more complicated and elaborate than ours [»mitcR_1979]
Quote: young children and tamarins expect all falling objects to fall straight down, despite evidence to the contrary [»hausMD_2000]

Subtopic: spatial information up

Quote: all animals process spatial information and use dead reckoning; supplemented with specialized devices [»hausMD_2000]

Subtopic: models of thought from obstacles up

Quote: can check models of thought by component analysis of tasks, error analysis, and by stressing the system; e.g., forbidding external aids [»pylyZW3_1978]
Quote: add artificial obstacles to discover the goal or purpose of a behavior; the invariants represent the goals [»ohalJJ_1980]

Subtopic: intentional stance up

Quote: physical, design, and intentional stance; simple objects predicted by physical laws, designed objects modelled by their purpose, other people modelled by beliefs and intentions [»yeeKP12_2002]

Subtopic: world model for motor program up

Quote: the central nervous system needs a world model to build movement programs [»pickL_1984]
Quote: localization of motor programs is some form of projection of external space [»bernN_1935]

Subtopic: gestalt, personal world model up

Quote: personal world models are nonformal, like images or memories [»dreyHL_1979]
Quote: our image of the world largely governs our behavior; i.e., the world of reasonably stable relations--"if I do this, then that will happen" [»weinGM_1979]
Quote: a gestalt is an organization of elements; like a rhythm [»dreyHL_1979]
Quote: though no two people perceive reality the same, views overlap enough to allow cooperative work [»kentW_1978]
Quote: since the world is a continuum, a network of concepts is at best a workable approximation [»sowaJF_1984]
Quote: conjecture of inconsistency: any axiomatizations of human knowledge is uniformly inconsistent [»hewiC4_1985]
Quote: a model shapes and limits our view of reality; it can distort reality to make it fit the view [»kentW_1978]
Quote: men measure all things by themselves; e.g., since we grow weary of motion, all things seek respose of its own accord
Quote: every individual has unique information about particular jobs, people, local conditions, and special circumstances

Subtopic: model vs. reality up

Quote: should there be multiple religions (i.e., views of a system) or only one?
Quote: reality is closer to one true religion because there exists a global reality that subsumes all local views [»wegnP10_1986]
Quote: the complexity of an ant's behavior is due to its environment; perhaps the same holds for humans [»simoHA_1981]
Quote: for simple level intelligence, it is better to use the world as its own model [»brooRA1_1991]
Quote: the real world is its own best model; up to date, detailed, symbolic representation irrelevant; need to sense it appropriately and often enough
Quote: reality is not separate from our understanding of reality; reality makes our sentences true or false [»daviD11_1974]

Subtopic: mathematics as model up

Quote: it is harder to understand the electromagnetic field than to understand invisible angels; the former requires a vivid imagination of a myriad of complex waves [»feynRP_1964]
Quote: mathematical analysis is a language for learning the internal harmony of the world, the only true objective reality
Quote: non-demonstrative inference confirms an hypothesis with evidence; what is the origin for the hypothesis used to infer a model of reality?

Related Topics up

Group: natural language   (16 topics, 539 quotes)
Group: philosophy of science   (10 topics, 406 quotes)

Topic: abstraction (62 items)
Topic: information as knowledge (17 items)
Topic: knowledge representation (41 items)
Topic: law of nature (28 items)
Topic: meaning by social context (33 items)
Topic: mental models, consistency, and interface metaphors (49 items)
Topic: probability assessment (26 items)
Topic: reality is a machine (48 items)
Topic: science as measurement (36 items)
Topic: sense perception (55 items)
Topic: sensory prediction in coordinated motion (9 items)
Topic: software models of reality
(24 items)

Updated barberCB 9/04
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