Ooca theory + Compare/Contrast Mental Templates

The "other" ERE. Societal aspects of the ERE philosophy. Emergent change-making, scale-effects,...
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karff
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Ooca theory + Compare/Contrast Mental Templates

Post by karff »

Orders Of Causal Abstraction (ooca)

This is a model of human development stages in terms of causal thinking. The homeostatic mechanism is dissatisfaction from focusing too much on one end of the causal function, resulting in a focus on the other end.

In the model, there is an assumption of mental templates which we automatically apply to new information. In the case of causal thinking, we have a different kind of causal template for each order.

The orders roughly correspond to Kegan levels (and, I think, explain them better).

1st order - Knowing.
The mind focuses on the end effects on the senses, integrating and differentiating the world based on those effects. At this stage it is predicting cause and effect, but not interfering to change it.

The organism becomes dissatisfied with just predicting, not controlling the effects, so it focuses on the other end - the cause end

2nd order - Doing with knowledge.
Entire chains of cause and effect are integrated into effects and categorized by an additional kind of cause - doing. The mental template of doing assumes that any effect has a doing cause behind it, or it could be influenced by doing. (which is what makes it abstract - you assume “doing” even when you don’t see it).

The organism becomes dissatisfied with the wider area and longer term side effects of doing (those effects not experienced in the 1st order, and not considered in the 2nd).

3rd order - Categories of doing.
The chain of doing-1st order effects is integrated into a single cause and categorized by wider and longer term side effects - Some doings are “Right”, some “Wrong”, and so on. The mental template of the 3rd order thinker automatically assumes this abstract category when observing a behavior, a doing. They assume that any behavior has an unseen (but felt as real by the 3rd order thinker) attribute of Right, Wrong, Stupid, Smart, and so on. It’s abstract because this category cannot be directly observed by observing the behavior, or even observing the direct near term effects. 3rd order thinkers follow rules even when the benefit of doing so is not directly evident (2nd order thinkers only follow rules when it’s directly beneficial to do so.)

The organism becomes dissatisfied with the even longer term effects of following the rules, and the inconsistent nature of following rules. Sometimes it works out well, sometimes it doesn’t. So the mind focusses back on the cause end of the function.

4th order - Theory of categories.
The mind looks for the underlying causal mechanism for why rules work (or don’t). The 4th order thinker can now create rules without relying on trial and error. Because every phenomena is an underlying causal mechanism of some other phenomena, and so on, the 4th order thinker creates a system of underlying causal mechanisms - a theoretical understanding of the world. The predominant mental template of the 4th order thinker automatically assumes hidden causes, and hidden causes to those causes - the three preceding orders have no mental slot in their causal templates for that. One becomes much better at conceptual perspective taking when there is an assumption that there is an underlying causal mechanism (UCM) behind a person’s behavior. And a UCM behind that, and one behind that, and so on.

Transitioning between levels involves using the predominant mental template of a level to facilitate its transition.

Encouraging the observation of the self doing things facilitates transition from 1st to 2nd. Encouraging a baby to experiment with interfering in their world to observe the effects uses their obsession with effects to transition to doing.

Consistent (but not necessarily harsh) discipline in a group environment encourages the transition from 2nd to 3rd. In team sports, or the military, the widespread and longer term effects of one’s actions are visited on the self (which is why military recruits in training are punished as a unit). This uses the preoccupation with immediate effects of doing to transition to an interest in categories of doing.

To facilitate the transition from 3rd to 4th, make a rule of learning by always looking for the underlying causal mechanism. When taught to always follow this rule, the slot for the UCM will be gradually added to the causal mental template. So, to transition a population from majority 3rd order thinking to majority 4th order thinking, always teach, learn, and communicate with The Rule of the Underlying Causal Mechanism. This uses the 3rd order rule-following template to produce the 4th order UCM template. After following the rule, the mind will automatically look for UCMs, and UCMs of those, and so forth.

3rd order vs 4th order arguments. (Justification vs Explanation)
A common argument occurring in current events discussion is where a 4th order thinker will explain a phenomena with UCMs. The 3rd order thinker, having no slot in their mental template for UCMs, mistake the explanation for a categorization of Good or Bad. The 3rd order thinker will then try to prove the Goodness or Badness (or Stupidness, Smartness, Deceptiveness, etc.). The 4th order thinker will assume this is an explanation, and counter with an explanation, and the 3rd order thinker counters with a justification. The 4th order is trying to explain why things happen, the 3rd order is trying to prove whether those things are good, bad etc. They mistake the other for doing what they themselves are doing, just very incorrectly.


There is also 5th and 6th orders.

5th order- Philosophy of theories.
Focussing back on effects, picking different and inconsistent theories based on their uses.

6th order- Theory of philosophies.
Focussing back on causes, seeing the assumptions going into the philosophies that pick theories.
Last edited by karff on Fri May 31, 2024 6:45 am, edited 1 time in total.

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Re: Ooca theory

Post by jacob »

This seems very close to https://en.wikipedia.org/wiki/Model_of_ ... complexity ?

What's most interesting to me about models with a generator for the next step (also see Bateson's recursive feedback model) is how it at some point becomes impossible to talk or even think about it. While possible to write it out mathematically, we simply lack the words or experience beyond a certain N to connect it to anything "real".

karff
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Re: Ooca theory

Post by karff »

Yes, I came across that model after I had developed ooca theory, and felt the similarities meant I might be on to something.

karff
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Re: Ooca theory

Post by karff »

jacob wrote:
Sat May 25, 2024 8:40 am
While possible to write it out mathematically, we simply lack the words or experience beyond a certain N to connect it to anything "real".
Yeah, I tried to figure out what a 7th order might be like and couldn't do it.

karff
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Re: Ooca theory

Post by karff »

Most development models, developed by psychologists, assume that we think about the rest of the world the way we think about ourselves. That is, we make some breakthrough, or transition, about how we think about our “self”, and we then apply that way of thinking to the rest of the world. Maybe it’s the other way around. The ooca model assumes we start thinking differently about the rest of the world, then apply that thinking to ourselves. First we start thinking in underlying causal mechanisms about the multitude of phenomena out in the world, then we apply UCM thinking to ourselves. I think it makes more sense, as we think of millions of things besides ourselves, AND we usually become self-aware last (we can see a fault in others long before we admit we might be the same way).

The self-first approach might make some intuitive sense at first, especially to a psychologist, whose entire discipline is about the self. But, where has it gotten us? I think it’s a red herring, and a dead-end.

Specifically, in respect to k3-k4. K3s range across the entire social spectrum, some of them introverts, who don’t participate much in society, others extroverts, participating greatly in society. And, those traits stay that way their whole lives. Same with k4s. If they’re social and want to be more a part of society, they’ve been that way through all the stages before, and will continue that way. Ditto for introversion/being more apart.

But.
K3s do not think in underlying causal mechanisms. And k4s do. That is the difference between them. K3s follow rules and tips and tricks, and k4s “see” the underlying structure of reality (their version, anyway). When it comes to a “role”, the k3 will follow the rules associated with that role, while the k4 understands why the rules exist and can alter them to better fulfill the purpose of the role. It’s the difference between understanding categories of behavior and understanding the underlying causal mechanism of how those categories came to be.

karff
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Re: Ooca theory

Post by karff »

Abstraction on each level.

1st order
Babies integrate sensory data into objects and so forth until they hold them in their minds when they’re no longer around - they’re an abstract version of that phenomena.

2nd order
In order to do anything for a specific effect, one must hold the end effect in mind when not actually experiencing it. And vice versa. When experiencing an effect, an agent’s actions which initiated the effects can be held in mind. When thinking about the world in this way, over time, an automatic template of agency is created. Every phenomena is the result of an agent’s actions (probably why early religion is animistic - every phenomenon is automatically ascribed to an agent - if you can’t see the agent, it must be an invisible “spirit”.)

3rd order
When observing the doing and immediate effects of behavior, one cannot directly experience the widespread and/or longterm side-effects of the behavior. And when experiencing those side-effects, the doing-immediate effects phenomena are not directly experienced. So, it requires an extra level of abstraction, this time on the effects side. Over time, thinking like this produces a mental template where all behaviors (and objects) must automatically have one of these unseen attributes attached. All behaviors must automatically have a Good, Bad, Smart, Stupid, Deceptive, Honest attribute, even if unseen at the time.
This results in the ability, and even desire, to follow rules even when the immediate effects are not seen, or are even negative. It’s the “Right” way to do something, even if it’s uncomfortable at the time.

4th order
When doing something for effect, you are, in actuality, initiating a hidden cause-effect relationship where neither side of the function is directly experienced. This requires an extra level of abstraction, this time on the cause side. When one thinks in this way for a while, a mental template is built up where one automatically assumes there to be those hidden cause-effect relationships when observing any phenomena. An underlying causal mechanism (UCM).
After thinking in UCMs for a while, the mind has started to connect them all together in a universal Theory of Everything. Solid 4th order thinkers who haven’t started transitioning to 5th order are constantly trying to build an internally consistent model of how their universe works. If two theories are at odds in their UCMs, it must be because one of them is wrong. And other 4th order thinkers who have different Theories of Everything must be incorrect.

5th order
While the 4th order believes they are simply uncovering Truth, the 5th order realizes that theories are purpose built for particular uses. A further level of abstraction is created, on the effects side, where the 5th order thinker automatically assumes an intended use for a Theory of Everything. The 5th order thinker can easily tolerate inconsistencies in those Theories, picking and choosing the parts of various Theories for different uses. Because of this inconsistency, the 4th order sometimes mistakes the 5th for being the 3rd. This method of picking Theories can be called, for lack of a better word, a Philosophy of Theory. At this stage, the 5th order thinker does not realize the biases, or assumptions that have gone into picking those theories.

6th order
This is where there is the realization that there is a problem in consistency. If you are picking different theories for different uses, you are picking them for their inconsistencies, for their differences. If you have a consistent UCM across all Theories you are using, that’s actually a problem. It’s a blindspot where you just assume the world works that way, without realizing it. The awareness of those consistencies in Philosophies results in a further level of abstraction, on the cause side. For lack of a better word, a Theory of Philosophy.

In the ooca model, thinking improves with consistency from 1st order to 4th order. It improves with inconsistency from 4th to 6th.

7Wannabe5
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Re: Ooca theory

Post by 7Wannabe5 »

Interesting. One of my downfalls as an educator is my inability to create the envronment of consistent discipline needed for transition from 2nd to 3rd. I've often found it helpful to have another adult human who is at K3-rules oriented-in the room. I do find it rather fascinating working on math with young children, because their differing cognitive bases will sometimes very clearly pop out. For example, the child who is behind in math due to being punted around to multiple foster homes will exhibit her greater potential by being the only 6 year old in my group who can hold in her mind the concept that the number 10 means that 10 balls are hidden behind a rectangle.

Anyways, I would assume that Level 5 is where/when you no longer believe in personal agency except as an effective filter and/or U (you)-trap?

karff
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Re: Ooca theory

Post by karff »

7Wannabe5 wrote:
Sun May 26, 2024 12:11 pm
Anyways, I would assume that Level 5 is where/when you no longer believe in personal agency except as an effective filter and/or U (you)-trap?
I'm not clear exactly what you're asking. I'm assuming you're equating personal agency and free will (which is what I did when describing 2nd order thinking).
I think it would depend on the society you were in. And what the focus of much of your 4th order theorizing is on. There are lots of 4th order Theories of Everything that assume free will. And a society that had mostly free will based Theories would create 5th order thinkers who would keep that subconscious bias.

Personally, I think of free will and agency as opposites (despite conflating them as the same in my description of 2nd order thinkers). The less you know about your own decision making process, the more you believe in free will, and the less agency you have. The more you actually understand how you make decisions, the more agency you have, and the less you believe in free will. (Note: this idea is completely separate from the ooca model)

karff
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Re: Ooca theory

Post by karff »

In the ooca model, the saying of “you can’t solve problems by thinking on the level they were created" is quite literal. Problems are more efficiently solved by thinking in the order above.

1st order solving problems in the 0 order.
The problem of having no causal abstraction is the inability to predict effects. They just happen randomly. By holding chains of cause and effect in the mind, the 1st order thinker can “see” causes from just witnessing the effects, and vice versa.

2nd order solving 1st order problems.
The great problem of the 1st order is the inability to initiate effects. For positive effects, you just have to wait around for them. For negative effects, there is no avoidance/elimination strategy. But the 2nd order, able to hold the doing part in mind when just experiencing the chain of cause and effects, or vice versa, can initiate desired effects, and avoid undesired effects.

3rd order solving 2nd order problems.
The great problem of the 2nd order is not being able to manage wider and longer term side effects. 3rd order thinkers automatically have that slot in their mental templates. With this, they can be more disciplined (solving longer term effects problems), and behave in prosocial ways, excluding antisocial ways (solving wider spread effects problems).

4th order solving 3rd order problems.
The problem of the 3rd order, is they don’t know precisely why the rules work. In 3rd order thinking, rules are made through long experience and trial and error, and from being passed along from individual to individual (giving the impression, I think somewhat mistakenly, that 3rd order thinkers are more “Communal” than they really are). 4th order thinkers understand the underlying causal mechanisms of why rules work, and so can change them much more efficiently, or create entirely new collections of rules (which leads to 3rd order thinkers mistaking the 4th order for the 2nd, as they are “just making up their own rules”)

5th order solving 4th order problems.
The problem for the 4th order, is they mistake their understanding of underlying causal mechanisms to be the truth, and so try to keep them all in agreement with each other, striving for internal logical consistency across their mental Theory of Everything. So, sometimes the rules they create from theory do not work well, even if that theory is consistent with their larger Theory of Everything. The 5th order thinker realizes that the underlying causal mechanisms are just inexact models, and different models are useful for creating different collections of rules. Therefore, they can go around looking and picking models that work, even if those don’t agree with other models.

6th order solving 5th order problems.
The problem for the 5th order, is they are picking from extant theories, and they also tend to have unrealized biases in their method - unquestioned assumptions they are making about reality. So, sometimes a Philosophy will pick many differing theories, and none of them will produce satisfactory rules. And the 5th order thinker is stumped by why that is. The 6th order thinker realizes that these biases exist and goes looking for them by looking for any consistency in the theories of a Philosophy. If there is a consistent part across all the theories in a Philosophy, that’s a good candidate for the unconscious bias that is creeping into all the rules. Knowing these biases, the 6th order thinker can now create theories that do not include it, trying out the rules to see how they work.

For instance, ooca theory is a model of cognition that is not “object” based. And, it’s a model of human development that is not “self” based. Objects and self concepts being a consistency across nearly all models of cognition and development. If those are left out, a causal function based model can be developed, and different rules can be made from it (like an emphasis on teaching underlying causal mechanisms to 3rd order students).

karff
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Re: Ooca theory

Post by karff »

3rd order justification vs 4th order explanation

In a discussion, or argument, the 3rd order will attempt to prove that a behavior falls into a particular category. This argument can be identified by thinking of it as “effects-forward” arguing. It’s used to justify a stance toward that behavior and or it’s initiating agent. And to justify a further behavior toward the agent.

If it can be proven that the agent falls into the Bad category, then it’s justified to treat them badly. If it can be proven the agent falls into the Deceptive category, then it’s justified to disregard any of their communication.

As a strong 3rd order thinker has no mental template for underlying causal mechanisms (UCMs), they rarely look backward to see what caused the agent to behave the way they did. Their arguments are “effects-forward”. If you explain any UCM to the 3rd order, they will assume you are trying to justify a category. If you explain the UCM of bad behavior, they will assume you are attempting to justify it, place it in a “Good” category. If they cannot deduce what sort of category you are justifying, they will assume you’ve lost your mind, talking about nonsense.

From my youth, when I was more prone to argue for sport, I can remember many 3rd order thinkers staring at me in that perplexed way wondering what to make of the nonsense I had just spouted (really, a UCM they could not figure out how to categorize.)

The 4th order seeks to explain behaviors by looking for their UCMs. This can be identified by thinking of it as “causes-backward” arguing. The 4th order assumes the 3rd order is trying to explain a behavior, just doing it badly. They respond to the effects-forward category-justifying of the 3rd with a cause-backward UCM explanation. And they never seem to see eye to eye.

For example, a generic environmental crisis.
The 4th will give a UCM, explaining how the crisis was caused, the particular human activity.
The 3rd will assume the 4th is categorizing that activity as Bad, and try to prove that the activity is not bad.
The 4th assumes this is an explanation, albeit a poor one. The 4th will give another UCM - “These scientists are quite certain this is the UCM of how this crisis is occurring”
The 3rd assumes the 4th is putting the scientists in the Smart category, and responds with “actually, scientists have been wrong before, thus putting them in the Stupid category”
The 4th responds with, “But there is lots of different evidence from lots of scientists for this UCM”
The 3rd responds “But here is some evidence that scientists are in the Deceptive category, so they’re not to be trusted”

And so it goes on and on. It is not much better to have a 3rd order justifier on the “side” of the environment, as they will categorize all who oppose environmentalism as “Bad”, reducing chances of intra-society cooperation on the issue.

Or international affairs.
Currently in the Middle East there is a conflict where the majority of both sides are engaged in effects-forward justifying of their own aggressive behavior, as the other side is in the category of “Bad”. Unfortunately, they outnumber the 4th order cause-backward explainers who understand the UCMs of a cycle of violence. In fact, if these 4th order explainers air their views, they get shouted down as trying to categorize the other side as “Good”.

Or the domestic politics of any nation.
There is a rise in authoritarianism across the world at the moment. The UCM of authoritarianism is fairly simple, but still ungraspable to the 3rd order. A preference of personalities over institutions. Also, when one understands the UCMs of institutions, it’s clear as to why they are preferable to personalities. But 3rd order thinkers can be induced to categorize an institution as Bad, and a personality as Good.
My own hypothesis is that the internet has encouraged 3rd order news and communication, and reduced 4th order explanations.

The above is not to start any kind of culture war argument, as the explanations are applicable to any society across time or space.

The solution, I think, is not to directly try to educate people about the UCMs of current events. It’s to educate them broadly of UCMs, so they already have the template in mind when considering the news. “Yes, but what caused that?” they will automatically ask, as they have gotten used to asking that question consuming information from other less controversial subjects in that way.

7Wannabe5
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Re: Ooca theory

Post by 7Wannabe5 »

karff wrote:Personally, I think of free will and agency as opposites (despite conflating them as the same in my description of 2nd order thinkers). The less you know about your own decision making process, the more you believe in free will, and the less agency you have. The more you actually understand how you make decisions, the more agency you have, and the less you believe in free will. (Note: this idea is completely separate from the ooca model)
I suppose my perspective is towards bibliophile permaculturalist in that I think of the formation of a complex intention as being something like a suddenly released clump of matter from a filter or trap through which influences flow. So, I agree with your thought that these could be opposite and inverse in the sense that the greater awareness of influence/causal factors tends towards limiting outcomes probabilistically. Simple example being the 6 year old who believes that he will be able to eat the entire Quadruple Burger.
karff wrote:There are lots of 4th order Theories of Everything that assume free will. And a society that had mostly free will based Theories would create 5th order thinkers who would keep that subconscious bias.
Until they read Sapolsky :lol: . Also, reminds me of this often discussed bit from Harari's "Sapiens":
According to the science of biology, people were not 'created.' They have evolved. And they certainly did not evolve to be 'equal.' The idea of equality is inextricably intertwined with the idea of creation. The Americans got the idea of equality from Christianity, which argues that every person has a divinely created soul, and that all souls are equal before God. However, if we do not believe in the Christian myths about God, creation, and souls, what does it mean that all people are 'equal'? Evolution is based on difference, not on equality.

karff
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Re: Ooca theory

Post by karff »

The TLDR version of Orders Of Causal Abstraction Theory.

When thinking in cause and effect, you cannot think systemically without abstracting the causal function twice. Abstract the effects end twice, and the cause end twice, resulting in 4 orders of abstraction.

That's the difference between those who can think in systems, and those who cannot - the former has abstracted the back-end of the causal function twice, and the latter has not.

7Wannabe5
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Re: Ooca theory

Post by 7Wannabe5 »

karff wrote:That's the difference between those who can think in systems, and those who cannot - the former has abstracted the back-end of the causal function twice, and the latter has not.
I believe this is also what happens at Level 6 on the Sexuality Wheaton Table. Weinberg in "Introduction to General Systems Thinking" writes a bit about systems that have boundaries inclusive of those that are analogous to membranes or ports. Ergo, if one were to abstract the back-end of such a system at least twice with a strong causal function, one might even achieve climax at Level 7.

The following may also prove relevant:

Image

https://matt.might.net/articles/phd-school-in-pictures/

karff
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Re: Ooca theory

Post by karff »

Compare/Contrast Descriptions of Mental Templates?

I didn’t want to start yet another thread, but this is different enough from ooca to be one.

Mental templates are abstracted versions of specific phenomena. We use them to tell whether we are seeing part of something, all of it, or something else in addition. To form a template, we must experience several instances of the phenomena, the template being the common features abstracted.

For example, if you had never seen a car before, and then only saw one, you would not have the template of “car” in your mind. If you saw another car without its wheels, you would be unsure whether it was missing anything. Or, if you saw another car with a large stuffed rabbit mounted on its hood, you would be unsure if that was a normal part of a car, or not. But, if you saw a hundred cars, you would immediately realize that a car without wheels is missing something, and a giant stuffed rabbit is not a normal part of a car.

Templates are generally subconscious, so we see them better from observing others.

An example of comparing contrasting.
Some consumerists and hoarders seem to have a template where the gratification of acquiring/owning/having an object is included in the mental template of an object, but not its usefulness. When assessing an object they own, or are about to acquire, they consider the gratification of acquisition and “having”, but the usefulness is outside the template, superfluous.

On the other hand, some minimalists are opposite. When assessing an object, the gratification from acquisition and “having” might exist, but it’s outside the template. The usefulness, however, is inside the template.

Another example, from my obsession with causal thinking.
Conspiracy theorists seem to assume the intent of an agent in any phenomena. Any phenomena they observe must have been the intention of an actor, and unintended consequences seem to be outside the template.
On the other hand, people with a less conspiratorial bent assume unintended consequences are part of any action. Any phenomena they observe might be either intended or unintended.

So, I’m curious about any mental templates you see in use. Specifically, the difference between those who leave something out normally included, and those who include things normally excluded.

karff
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Re: Ooca theory + Compare/Contrast Mental Templates

Post by karff »

Teach Theory Using Examples Instead of Teaching Examples Using Theory.

A common way to teach subjects is to give an overview of the theory first, then teach some examples. This method assumes the student is already a theoretical thinker. A theoretical thinker will automatically assume the theory, the underlying causal mechanisms taught first, is an abstracted version of the examples. The examples will automatically be connected to the theory in the student’s mind. So, they are really learning one thing, nuanced by the examples.

A non-theoretical thinker will assume the theory is just a statement of fact, somehow related to the following examples, but not the abstracted version of the examples. They will remember the theory, then remember the examples as separate facts. If they are good at remembering, they will regurgitate those facts on a test, then forget them soon after, as they are not connected to any framework.

The theoretical thinker may forget the examples, but they still retain the theory, connected to other theories in their mind.

So, an emphasis on using examples to teach the theory is necessary. This takes more time upfront, but it eventually pays off, as the student learns to be a theoretical thinker. Emphasize the relationship between the example and the theory. This will seem unnecessary to a theoretical thinker, as it’s a lot of repetition.

Then test the student on how well they can reproduce examples using the theory (not how well they can remember the given examples)

A seeming drawback to this method would be fewer examples being taught - apparently less knowledge is being stored in the student’s mind. But, if you teach examples using theory to a non-theoretical thinker, they will forget everything, making the entire exercise a complete waste of time. Better to teach them the theory at the expense of examples, so they will have a framework to hang examples on in the future. And, they become more of a theoretical thinker, capable of learning new subjects more efficiently.

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