• Posted: October 2012
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Logical Levels 1

Bateson on Logical Levels
In his work Steps to Ecology of Mind, Gregory Bateson references Bertrand Russell and his theory of Logical Types for how human beings learn and organise experiences. Russell’s and Bateson’s work inspired logical levels and chunking in NLP. Bateson used the terms logical type and logical level interchangeably and in Whispering in the Wind, Bostic and Grinder offer clear definitions.

Bateson said that learning takes place on different logical levels, i.e. learning, learning to learn, learning how you learned to learn. For example I can learn to do addition, subtraction and multiplication without understanding how they work. On the next level up, I learn to do my own calculations and work out how to do division. On the next level I learn how I learned the process for the calculations, and immediately move up another level, opening many more learning opportunities in the sets below.  Bertrand Russell states that the name is not the named thing i.e. there is set of sensations in your circuitry that you label happiness, but the name is not the sensation, it is in a different set. 

Gregory Bateson pointed out that in the process of learning, changing and
communicating, there are several natural hierarchies of classification. The function of each level is to organise the information on the level below it, and the rules for changing something on one level were different from changing a lower level. Changing something on a lower level could, but does not necessarily, affect the upper levels; but changing something in the upper levels does change things in the lower levels in order to support the higher level change. Bateson noticed that the confusion of logical levels often created problems.

Hierarchies in FA and natural language
We order our experience in unconscious hierarchies. The hierarchies in FA are of a different logical type (category) than the hierarchies presented through natural language in our linguistic mental maps. FA hierarchies are sensory based and iconic, while linguistic hierarchies are obviously language based. Problems can occur if FA and linguistic hierarchies conflict. For example, a person has well ordered linguistic map for how they want to be, but the way they pre–consciously represent the sensory data stream at FA presents an altogether different response. If this person seeks to change the issue in the linguistic representation by discussing in detail, he is not working in the domain of where the real issue is represented.

Logical Levels in the Linguistic Map
The hierarchies that are present in natural language (F2 and Linguistic Map) fit the criteria of logical inclusion or logical levels. Logical inclusion is the ordering principle for generating the sets in logical level hierarchies. The two formal characteristics of hierarchies specified by logical inclusion are:

Constriction – reduced coverage under each successive partition induced by relative clause formation.
Inheritability – the preservation of set membership criteria

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