He then speaks about signals that we emit and then about another class of information that tells us about the coding of messages or indications from the person. These he calls meta-messages (p. 122-123). In so explaining “logical types” he then says,
“All this is premised on the existence of levels whose nature I am here trying to make clear. We start with a potential differentiation between action in context and action or behavior which defines context or makes context intelligible. … I refer to the latter type of communication as meta-communication… A function, an effect, of the meta-message is in fact to classify the messages that occur within its contexts.” (p. 124).
“The more appropriate question would be: At what level of logical typing does genetic command act in the determining of this characteristic? The answer to this question will always take the form: At one logical level higher than the observed ability of the organism to achieve learning or bodily change by somatic process.” (175)
“In sum, each of these disasters will be found to contain an error in logical typing. In spite of immediate gain at one logical level, the sign is reversed and benefit becomes calamity in some other, larger and longer, context.” (189)
In describing the “levels of control of house temperature” Bateson used arrows to mark the direction of control in the system. It zigzagged from Personal status to Genetics and training to personal threshold, to “too cold” or “too hot” to bias to oscillating temperature. To all of this Bateson commented:
“With each zigzag of the ladder, the sphere of relevance increases. In other words, there is a change in logical typing of the information collected by the sense organ at each level.” (215)
“To jump downward two or more steps in the hierarchy is likewise undesirable … the effect of any such jumping of levels, upward or downward, is that information appropriate as a basis for decision at one level will be used as basis for decision at some other level, a common variety of error in logical typing.” (216)
In Steps to an Ecology of Mind (1972/2000), Bateson defines “logical types” in terms of levels of abstraction and quotes Korzybski’s map-territory distinction (p. 180). The following highlights his use of levels and types.
“… a frame is meta-communicative. Any message, which either explicitly or implicitly defines a frame, ipso facto gives the receiver instructions or aids in his attempt to understand the message included within the frame.
… Every meta-communicative or meta-linguistic message defines, either explicitly or implicitly, the set of messages about which it communicates, i.e., every meta-communicative message is or defines a psychological frame. (p. 188)
“No class can be a member of itself. The picture frame then, because it delimits a background, is here regarded as an external representation of a very special and important type of psychological frame — namely a frame whose function is to delimit a logical type.” (189)
In his chapter “Toward a Theory of Schizophrenia” Bateson describes “how humans handle communication involving multiple Logical Types” (p. 203). In that section he writes the following:
“Multiple levels of learning and the Logical Typing of signals. These are two inseparable sets of phenomena — inseparable because the ability to handle the multiple types of signals is itself a learned skill and therefore a function of the multiple levels of learning.” (204)
From Mind and Nature (1979), Bateson defines “mind” as involving processes of transformation that discloses “a hierarchy of logical types immanent in the phenomena.” (p. 122).
“I shall try to drive home the importance of this criterion by exhibiting cases in which the discrimination of levels of communication has been so confused or distorted that various sorts of frustration and pathology have been the result.” (122)
In the index of Bateson’s book Mind and Nature (1979), he writes this under the list of “Logical Types.” A series of examines is in order:
In another place Bateson defined logical types in the following way:
Logical Type: 1) The name is not the thing named but is of different logical type, higher than the thing named. 2) The class is of different logical type, higher than that of its members. (Mary Catherine Bateson, 1987, pp. 209-210).
Criteria for “logical levels:”
“The informational effects between levels and types is called feedback and is probably the major distinguishing feature of cybernetic systems.” (1983: 39)
“Differences of the same or different logical type interacting at different levels (hierarchical or logical respectively) will result in the modulation of the difference on the lower level.” (1983: 49)
A Logical Type: 1) The name is not the thing named but is of different logical type, higher than the thing named. 2) The class is of different logical type, higher than that of its members. (Mary Catherine Bateson, 1987, pp. 209-210).
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