Daniel Kahneman and so called, “dual systems”

The Dual Process view of the mind, is essentially an upgrade to the archaic theory of intelligence.  I am not confident that these models, as they are worked out, will lead to perfect models of ‘intelligence’, but I am hopeful they will be improvements.

This post is dedicated to two criticisms, of Kahneman’s take on the mind, based on his book, Thinking Fast, Thinking Slow.  

1. Kahneman generally advocates that there are two independent forms of reasoning (though he admits, that they are not bound by two physically separate systems)

This is a common view among many psychologists.  And the dichotomization is both convenient and preferred by proponents of the analytic. It’s really a way to throw the shit on ‘System 1’, and keep the glory on ‘System 2’ (IQ).  But, in fact, a number of authors have proposed that these systems can work together in many ways to facilitate rational thought and creativity.

2. Khaneman treats System 2 as if it is transcendental (Kantian), and System 1 as it is heavily bound by temporal and spatial cues.  

Such an attempt to romanticize System 2, and put in line with the transcendental philosophy of Immanuel Kant, has also been made by other researchers (ie; Jonathan Sbt Evans, in his perverted takes on dual-process).

Gestalt law of proximity (temporal-spatial cues)

This is an ironic contradiction of fact, because in reality, in the absence of System 1, we are bound by our short term memory (System 2), which can only process elements that are immediately available.  Without System 1, we would be stuck creating ideas based on plain old Gestaltian spatial and temporal grouping cues, which is only adequate for dealing with small systems.


Common type, sequence reasoning problems

One of my gripes, with sequence reasoning problems (which I used to uphold as prime measures of reasoning); is that half the answer is already provided.  In these types of problems, the first thing that happens is the application of Gestalt law of proximity.  The brain collects items that are proximal and groups them as part of the same model.  This type of set comes cheap, and is good for dealing with small systems.  However in a complex systems, such as math, physics or other sciences, where there are far too many variables to be examined at the same instant, in one place, the brain is often forced to generate it’s own sets.  These sets can be used to create thought experiments, which by some combination of inductive and deductive thought, can lead to new insights.

Kahneman, D. (25 October 2011). Thinking, Fast and Slow. Macmillan. ISBN 978-1-4299-6935-2.
Sowden, P. T., Pringle, A., & Gabora, L. (2015). The Shifting Sands of Creative Thinking: Connections to Dual Process Theory. Thinking & Reasoning, 21, 40-60. doi: 10.1080/13546783.2014.885464

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