thinking = manipulating memory?
I just began to read Rudolf Flesch's The Art of Clear Thinking. It's pretty old, published around 1950, so the psychology within the book is most likely out of date. But his opening chapter was captivating.
He begins by comparing and contrasting the difference between a computer designed to calculate numbers or play games against a human. He notes that a human knows how to play tic-tac-toe because of past experiences with the game stored in the memory, and the computer knows how to play because all the moves and calculations of the game are programmed into the computer's memory, as well as programmed to use that memory in each game situation. However, a human minds is subject memory lapses and emotions clouding judgment, as well as insights and intuition playing factors in our thinking, while a computer's memory is flawless and performs the same calculations every time, just as it is programmed to, and is not subject to memory lapses (assuming the hardware is not damaged) or emotions or instinct.
He then moves to an old experiment (1914) with apes where a group of apes with no experience using sticks were placed in a cage with a stick in the cage and bananas just outside of their cages just beyond their reach. The apes would try to reach out and then complain and whine out of frustration, until one of the apes, who had past experience using sticks, looked at the bananas and back and forth a couple times between the stick and the bananas, when it grabbed the stick and reached the bananas with it. Then the rest of the apes where given three days to horse around with sticks and when they were tested again, they quickly figured out how to grab the stick and pull the bananas inside the cage with it.
Thus, Flesch, and psychologists (at least of that time), conclude that our "insight" and ability to think, especially with problem solving, is based on our memories from past experiences. This includes a human mind which has gone through numerous life experiences, or a computer with a programmed memory. He finishes off the chapter by defining "thinking" as "the manipulation of memories."
What do you think? I'm also curious to know if newer psychological data has superseded what this chapter has.
"Everybody wants to go to heaven. They just don't want God to be there when they get there." Paul Washer