Understanding: unpacking another suitcase
By Andrés Monroy-HernándezSociety of Mind, Spring 2006Professor Marvin Minsky
In this paper I try to unpack Understanding using the framework and style for theunpacking of Consciousness presented in Chapter IV of the Emotion Machine. The relevance of this analysis for Artificial Intelligence is exemplified by thefierce debate over John Searle’s Chinese Room Argument . Similarly, this topicis also the focus of study of educators, particularly those interested in apedagogy centered on teaching for understanding, as eloquently stated by DavidPerkins. My goal is to bring together different perspectives on the subject tobetter dissect it or, as Minsky would put it, to unpack the suitcase of Understanding.
The nature of Understanding
To understand is to perceive patterns
Understanding is joyous.
Peace cannot be achieved through violence, it can only be attained through understanding.” —
Understanding is the reward of faith
Saint AugustineWhile not as
as consciousness, understanding is yet another everyday word that Minsky would identify as a “suitcase word”. It used for “manytypes of processes, and for different kinds of purposes”, we apply it to “feelings,emotions and thoughts” .Definitions are not useful either. For example, we find short definitions like“mental grasp”  being too broad, while others too specific that do not fully