Monday, December 13, 2010


This is a purely speculative post, I just wanted to put some ideas down on 'paper' when I wrote this. A bit of brainstorming if you will. A possible flow-chart on how we move from observable, sensory data towards a model that represents knowledge.

Observation > Analysis > Categorization > Correlation > Inference > Elimination > Synthesis > Deduction > Confirmation > Knowledge

First, we make observations. These can come from external or internal sources (we can hear , feel , or think about something).

Our brain then analyzes the data, breaking it up into chunks and ultimately categorizes it (that is a cat, that is a dog, that is the word 'brain'). There are probably many layers of categorization, e.g., visual processing, language processing, etc.

We then make correlations with the data against previous data, looking for patterns which we draw inferences about. Many of those inferences will be wrong which begins the pruning process where we Eliminate as many fallacious and false inferences as possible.

Synthesis begins the process of putting things together from the inferences, thus creating hypotheses to be tested using more deductive forms of reasoning. This is, I suspect, the first time we reach the level of conscious thought in the process.

We then seek out Confirmation of our conclusions and when we get Confirmation we store that bit of information away as knowledge.

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