Logical Levels

[...]Philosopher and mathematician Bertrand Russell developed his "theory of logical types" in an attempt to help resolve the types of problems which can arise from self-referential paradox and circularity. According to Gregory Bateson (Steps to an Ecology of Mind) "the central thesis of (the theory of logical types) is that there is a discontinuity between a class and its members. The class cannot be a member of itself nor can one of the members be the class, since the term used for the class is of a different level of abstraction - a different Logical Type - from the terms used for members".

[...]Anthropologist and communication theorist Gregory Bateson applied Russel's theory of logical types as a means to help explain and resolve a number of issues relating to behavior, learning and communication. Acording to Bateson, the notion of different logiacal types was essential to the understanding of play, higher level learning and pathological thinking patterns. Bateson believed that confusions of logical types were largely responsible for what we have been calling "limiting beliefs" and "thought viruses".

As an example, Bateson pointed out that "play" involved distinguishing between different logical types of behavior and messages. Bateson noted that when animals and humans engage in "play" they often display the same behaviors that are also associated with aggression, sexuality, and other more "serious" aspects of life (such as when animals "play fight", or children "play doctor"). Yet, somehow, animals and humans were able to recognize, for the most part, that the play behavior was a different type of class of betavior and "not the real thing". According to Bateson, distinguishing between classes of betavior also required different types of messages. Bateson referred to these messages as "meta messages" - messages about other messages - claiming that they too were of a different "logical type" than the content of a particular communication.

[...]Bateson pointed out that this ability to learn patterns or rules of a class of conditioning procedure was a different "logical type" of learning and did not function according to the same simple stimulus-response-reinforcement sequences used to learn specific isolated behaviors.

[...]According to the Neuro-Logical Levels model, [...]

ENVIRONMENTAL FACTORS determine the external opportunities or constraints a person has to react to. Answer to the questions "where" and "when".

BEHAVIOR is made up of the specific actions or reactions taken within the environment. Answers to the question "what".

CAPABILITIES guide and give direction to behavioral actions through a mental map, plan or strategy. Answers to the question "how".

BELIEFS and VALUES provide the reinforcement (motivation and permission) that supports or denies capabilities. Answers to the question "why".

IDENTITY factors determine overall purpose (mission) and shape beliefs and values through our sense of self. Answers to the question "who".

[Source: Robert Dilts - Sleight of mouth]