089. "Seeking chances" ed esperire

Hereby some short comments about a book I read recently ("Seeking Chances: from biased rationality to distributed cognition", E. Bardone, Springer) to clarify how key concepts already explored, deepened and masterfully presented by other authors, for example Peirce, Woods (agent based perspective and epistemic bubble), Hutchins,   Magnani (distributed cognition, moral mediators...),  Simon (docility), Adam Smith (moral and sympathy), Harry Frankfurt (bullshit), Hansen... can be presented in a new original way.  I consider it a very good summary of all arguments set out by leading experts in the field of cognitive science, that means very  useful for those who want to have an overview of this topic. The author has a very good blog about this topic too (chance cognition).

From Homer Simpson ("Episode Homer Defined, Homer saves the Springfield nuclear power plant from meltdown. He saves it by performing a childrens's nursery rhyme that allows him to guess which button should be pressed to avert the disaster"), through Sun Tzu ("when we do not have any idea how to make the required decision") arriving to the notion of distributed cognition the author argues that it is through various manipulations of the environment that we gain new and more reliable "chances" which can be used to de-bias our rationality.Through manipulation or even creation of our environment new niches for human cognition are created so that cognition could be described as a "chance-seeking system".

The author creates, in my opinion, an interesting building to express, in other words and with some more details, the concept of EXPERIENCE, including distributed cognition, in its broadest sense as masterfully presented by C.S. Peirce:

"No doubt experience is our great and unique teacher. When I make this statement, I do not want to enunciate any doctrine of tabula rasa. On the contrary, I would like to introduce and support the idea that there was no principle in science, from the biggest to the smallest , which is not derived from the power of the human mind to create true ideas. This power, despite everything that it has been able to achieve, is so weakened that as soon as the ideas flow from the human mind, the true ideas are almost submerged by the wave of false notions: the task of experience is to filter out false ideas and gradually, through a sort of splitting, to delete them and allow the truth to flow freely. But how is realized this action of experience? Through a series of surprises..anyway, most of the findings are the result of experiments... experiments that don't meet our expectations are the most instructive... experience is that status of cognition that the course of life in some part of it has imposed as a finding to a person, generally the conditions of experience are due at least in part to the action of the person who makes the experience.... There is the imposition, the absolute constraint that forces us to think differently from how we thought ... The way in which the experience contributes to knowledge is very particular and generally not recognized ... This means that philosophs and scientists have the habit of using expressions that indicate that kind of reasoning not clearly and mixing several errors, without having understood precisely the authentic meaning ... The first property has as effect those proverbial inferences from experience which are based on probability, the second condition states that the method of experience reasoning is induction...." (free translation, C.S.Peirce, Esperienza e percezione, Edizioni ETS).

Therefore, "chances" in this context are to be intended as human experience, as described.

Also Dewey argued that experience is never a dualism between a subject of experience and an object, but interaction between subject and object, between organism and environment, ie transaction. The evolution shows how the subject is a life form in continuity with the environment. The experience is not primarly "knowledge", but "ways to do and to suffer" and the notion of experience is much broader and complex than the notion of knowledge, considering just the fact that ignorance is one of the main aspects of experience. Experience to Dewey is not mere registration of a given, it includes prevision of experiences in the future, is not limited to here and now, but takes place in a diachronic dimension. There is a fundamental relationship between experience and inference by virtue of the anticipatory character. So, experience is even or especially predictive capacity (see also Nr. 225).