Before I can move on to the assignment paper I need to get back to the networks on the three layers (or domains or whatever): Neural, Conceptual, and Social/ External. I really do not understand the single theory covering the all, and I think there is no need for one, either, since IMO it is interesting enough to look at the individual layers and their interrelationship.
If we start and investigate the details within these three layers, much interesting work has already been done for the social level, and very promising issues are facing us on the conceptual level. On the neural level, however, I could not see a difference from the already well-established Connectionism.
When we look at the interactions between the respective layers, this is still rather speculative as far as the neural level is concerned. Of course it is intuitive to guess that conceptual connections can be somehow drilled down to neural ones, and probably psycholinguistics will show it. But for now, it is still unknown.
If the three are not depicted as layers but arranged in a circle, the social level (or social “domain”, for that matter) adjoins directly to the neural domain, and topics like “social ganglion” (by H. Bloom who was discussed last week), or “Conservative Anterior Cingulate Cortex” pop up. But I think these are even more speculative.
So what remains is the interaction between conceptual level and social/ external level connections. It is here that connectivism can IMO be most fruitful. This is not only due to the groundbreaking web 2.0 affordance which is visible in book networks (“people who read this also read that”). Also, if you think of the blog vs. forums controversary, this can be discussed under the aspect that in blogs, concepts are somehow closer tied to individual people while on forums, a different style applies. And the preference for conceptual hierarchies vs. networks is often heavily influenced by the corresponding attitude towards social hierarchies or networks.
So there is plenty of research to be done on social and conceptual connections and their interactions, without an immediate need for a unifying theory.