2013년 4월 17일 수요일

[발췌] Hayek's Evolutionary Epistemology, Artificial Intelligence, and the Question of Free Will

지은이: Gary T. Dempsey


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※ 발췌(excerpts): 

( ... ) it should be noted ( ... ) that it was in the area of theoretical psychology that he first raised the issue of self ordering in complex systems. Indeed, in the winter of 1920, one year before going to work with his eventual mentor, economist Ludwig von Mises, Hayek wrote a manuscript that asked 'how can order create itself within our neural fibers?' 1 That manuscript would be supplemented and was eventually published in 1952 under the title The Sensory Order: An Inquiry into the Foundations of Theoretical Psychology.

Throughout The Sensory Order and later writings, Hayek makes it clear that the apparatus that allows us to know the world—the mind—is itself subject to evolution; that is, it is a 'work in progress' prone to modification by experience. The mind, he explains, is “incessantly changing” (1984, p243) and its contents constitute an adaptive “capacity to respond to [its] environment with a pattern of actions that helps [it] to persist” (1973, p18). This view puts Hayek squarely in the camp of the evolutionary epistemologists. Indeed, like Donald Campbell (1960, 1974), Karl Popper (1972, 1984, 1987), Konrad Lorenz (1977, 1982), and other expositors of the evolutionary model of human knowledge, Hayek maintains that knowledge is the product of trial-and-error learning and that our minds are characterized by gains in adaptive advantage due to the selective retention of useful representations of the physical world.

It is not surprising, then, that scholars have concluded that Hayek's epistemology has an essentially “evolutionary character” (Kukathas 1989, p49), or that Hayek takes the “evolutionist standpoint” (Gray 1986, p11) or the “evolutionary perspective” (Vanberg 1994, p96) in his epistemology. ( ... ) Finally, I explain how Hayek's epistemology undermines the idea of free will and how he responds to this claim.


The Connectionist Mind

At bottom, Hayek is a materialist. For him, there is no mind-body split. Instead, all our thoughts, memories, and ambitions result from the operation of matter. Indeed, for Hayek, “the assertion that...mental phenomena are 'nothing but' certain complexes of physical events [is] probably defensible” (1989, p88). Or more assertively, “mind is...the order prevailing in a particular part of the physical universe—that part of it which is ourselves” (1952, p178).

Hayek's materialism begins with the recognition that the locus of the mind—the human brain—is made up of a vast weave of fibrous cells called neurons; ( ... ) Each of these neurons, in turn, can be functionally connected to neighboring neurons via junctions called synapses; the potential number and complexity of connective patterns that can be built up between them is therefore practically unlimited. It is out of this universe of possibility, says Hayek, that the order we call 'the mind' emerges.

( ... ... )

The Implication for Free Will and Hayek's Response

Hayek's view that the mind is a complex adaptive system or “spontaneous order” holds a significant implication for the age-old controversy about free will—defined as a will that is not the exclusive and necessary result of the interaction of physical material. As far as we have seen, the mind consists of matter and its relations, and since everything can be realized in these materialist terms, there is simply no room for freedom of will. Indeed, it is another way of saying that our choices, judgments, and decisions are determined by the operation of the material that constitutes ourselves and the world, or as Oxford scholar John Gray summarizes Hayek's view, “our ideas are merely the visible exfoliation of spontaneous forces” (1986, p30). But if this account is correct, why should we do anything purposeful at all? Doesn't Hayek's materialism destroy the idea of goal-directed action?

Not so fast, responds Hayek; we can never introspectively predict how our mind is to be determined. Instead, “we can know [our mind] only through directly experiencing it” (1952, p194). With regard to the issue of goal-directed action, then, Hayek makes it clear that his materialism makes no practical difference in our daily lives; we must still conduct ourselves as if we are free because we can never know how we are meant to behave. Indeed,
we may...well be able to establish that every single action of a human being is the necessary result of the inherited structure of his body (particularly of its nervous system) and of all the external influences which have acted upon it since birth. We might be able to go further and assert that if the most important of these factors were in a particular case very much the same as with most other individuals, a particular class of influences will have a certain kind of effect. But this would be an empirical generalization based on a ceteris paribus assumption which we could not verify in the particular instance. The chief fact would continue to be, in spite of our knowledge of the principle on which the human mind works, that we should not be able to state the full set of particular facts which brought it about that the individual did a particular thing at a particular time (1989, pp. 86-87).
Hayek thus salvages the idea of goal-directed action from the grips of materialism by maintaining that we cannot avoid acting as if we are free because we are never in a position to know how we are determined to behave. In other words, Hayek does not assert that our will is free, but that we are incapable of knowing how to behave like our will is unfree.

In order to gain a fuller understanding of this argument, we must begin with the recognition that Hayek is a materialist without being a reductionist. Or as he puts it, “those whom it pleases may express this by saying that in some ultimate sense mental phenomena are 'nothing but' physical processes; this, however, does not alter the fact that in discussing mental processes we will never be able to dispense with the use of mental terms [for] we shall never be able to explain [them] in terms of physical laws” (1952, p191). Our minds, he contends, “must remain irreducible entities” (ibid.).

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