Re: Kosko Profile in IEEE Spectrum

Jive Dadson (
Tue, 20 Feb 1996 23:57:07 +0100

In <> Rameshsharma Ramloll <dan> writes:
>Hello Fred,
> I had the opportunity to read the book and found it a little
>biased against the Western Philosophies.

He gives insult where credit is due.

> I think chapter headings such as Aristotle v/s Buddha may turn off
> some readers.

Yes indeed. I have a great respect for Eastern philosophies. I have
read the Tao Te Ching a dozen times. Whereas many Western philosophers
force-fitted their ideas to the prevailing superstitions, Loa Tsu
frankly admitted that the Tao (read, the way of the universe) is a
mystery. That is no reason to trash those Western thinkers who did make
sense. For better AND worse, the magnificent, tenuous structure of
modern culture and technology that buys Dr. Kosko all that hot-tub time
is the direct result of their intellectual work. The Space Shuttle uses
Newton's physics to get from place to place you know; It doesn't cast
I Ching hexagrams.

>I think the language
>is a little strong against people favouring the 'probability school'.

Kosko is inventing boogie men. There is no conflict between "fuzzy" and
"probability". The probability school has been using "fuzzy" for
decades. They call it "smoothing" rather than "fuzzification", but it
is the same thing.

>I found the chapter concerning Fuzzy Cognitive Maps very interesting.
>In fact, it is surprisingly useful in soft knowledge domains.

I found it interesting too, but I couldn't quite figure out what he was
really getting at. Admittedly, I did not work at it very hard.
Superficially it looks a little like Pearl's Bayesian belief networks.

David Jones