Monday, October 4, 2010

Relying on Previous Percepts

I think I have been a little misguided regarding my thoughts on the necessity of percepts in my studies. Previously, I had thought that I would need to constantly be exposed to the same percepts over and over again in order to obtain objective knowledge, but now I've realized that there's a shortcut in the process. Simply, when dealing with perceptual-level concepts, I only need to observe enough instances of a concept in order to form it properly, by which then I can just depend on the mentally retained information.

Take the concept "chair" for instance. If you have formed this concept properly, then in speaking about it there's no need whatsoever for pictures. Picture in your imagination a rocking chair with the palest wood possible. I provided no picture for it, but since you've mentally retained the various attributes of a rocking chair you're still able to picture an instance of the concept. You're relying on previously seen percepts in order to deal with concepts in the present.

I see now that it isn't necessary for me to be exposed to particular percepts all the time, but rather that I only need enough percepts to form the concept, be reminded of its essentials, and to work with it. When I'm studying, say, a book that's pure words without pictures, the concepts are all that I need.

This will certainly make my study of Good Calories, Bad Calories a bit easier. In my prior post on percepts I mentioned that cholesterol is just an empty word to me since I've never experienced it (by touch, sight, smell, etc.). Now I know that all I would really need to do in order to form the concept properly is go online and seek photographs of the substance, perhaps even a few videos to see how it reacts to motion. Given my past knowledge of certain touch attributes (e.g. sponginess, syrupy, softness), verbal descriptions would be sufficient in order for me to fully ground the concept. Sure, it would be ideal for me to deal with the substance directly, but I have no inclination to seek out a medical clinic nor spin my own blood in a centrifuge. The above will be sufficient. Given my central purpose in life, what is really necessary of me is to have direct experience with certain cooking techniques and practices, as they are what will be most relevant to my mode of acting.

I think I'll alter my studies by keeping a running list of important concepts that I need to establish perceptuals for. For instance, if I come across "cholesterol" and "lipoprotein" in my readings and they are of significant importance to my understanding, I'll document them under "Percepts" and then later get online and look up perceptual instances of them. Think of this as a variation of my conceptual exercises with pictures; I might even need to look up multiple percepts in order to fully ground the concept(s).

There is still the question, however, as to how I should go about experimentation, which will soon be a part of my studies due to my central purpose in life. Of course, this is but merely a more complex version of obtaining percepts, but the procedures and whatnot still need to be worked out. Nonetheless, I am still glad that I have at least worked out the role of percepts to the extent above, as it will allow me to be more at ease with my studies due to more certainty.

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