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Friday, June 12, 2015

Sharing of Knowledge: Culture, Community, Conceptual Spaces and Economics (Gärdenfors)

"Culture, in the form of interaction between people, may in itself generate constraints on conceptual spaces. For example, Freyd (1983) puts forward the intriguing proposal that conceptual spaces may evolve as a representational form in a community just because people have to share knowledge (Freyd 1983, pp. 193–194):

There have been a number of different approaches towards analyzing the structures in semantic domains, but what these approaches have in common is the goal of discovering constraints on knowledge representation. I argue that the structures the different semantic analyses uncover may stem from shareability constraints on knowledge representation. [. . . ] So, if a set of terms can be shown to behave as if they are represented in a three-dimensional space, one inference that is often made is that there is both some psychological reality to the spatial reality (or some formally equivalent formulation) and some innate necessity to it. But it might be that the structural properties of the knowledge domain came about because such structural properties provide for the most efficient sharing of concepts. That is, we cannot be sure that the regularities tell us anything about how the brain can represent things, or even “prefer” to, if it didn’t have to share concepts with other brains.
Here Freyd hints at an economic explanation of why we have conceptual spaces: they facilitate the sharing of knowledge." p.17.

From: Gärdenfors, P. (2004) Conceptual Spaces as a Framework for Knowledge Representation. Mind and Matter. Vol. 2(2), pp. 9–27.