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Help a philosopher...!

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Help a philosopher...!

Postby ocki » Tue Mar 10, 2009 11:31 pm

Hi everyone! I'm a philosophy student looking for some info. I'm attending an epistemology (theory of knowledge) course and our teacher is giving us some introductory info about the biological origins of human cognition.
Well, just for the sake of controversy and curiosity satisfaction he faced us with a question: Let's assume that our cognition is univocal (that is, let's take human cognition as, broadly speaking, a collection of cognitive functions that is particular of our species and that is enjoyed and exhibited by all healthy individuals to some extent). We can call this "the univocity of human cognition" (we philosophers exist for creating this kind of pompous labels). This assumption, at a very superficial level, seems unproblematic. Now the question is: Which kind of circumstances/factors would be a sufficent cause for our species to develop a new, qualitatively distinct, form of intelligent cognition (eugenics excluded)? Would it be possible that just a part of human population (maybe due to prolonged isolation leading to mutation, or the alike) would develop this brand new cognition? Do we have reasons for thinking that our actual cognition is susceptible to evolution, or is it in some way "stable"? And if it can evolve, how would it happen? Or even fantasizing a bit; what kind of process would lead to the development, from non-human primates, of new cognitive abilities resulting in a very strong homology between their cognition and our cognition?
I need to take to the class an article/paper or something similar that draws on this kind of scenarios, and explain it to my classmates. After exposing each other papers, there's gonna be a debate about the possibility of the existence of intelligent cognition different from ours (on a very informal level). I know the whole thing is a bit too fictional and speculative, but if you know some sources of information about this possibilities I would be very very grateful to you.

Thanks for reading, and sorry for my English. I hope the ideas are at least intelligible. Bye :D !
Last edited by ocki on Wed Mar 11, 2009 12:41 am, edited 1 time in total.
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Postby mith » Wed Mar 11, 2009 12:05 am

You're going to have to define those terms you're using.
Living one day at a time;
Enjoying one moment at a time;
Accepting hardships as the pathway to peace;
~Niebuhr
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Re:

Postby ocki » Wed Mar 11, 2009 12:36 am

mith wrote:You're going to have to define those terms you're using.


Ok. Just tell me which terms are ambiguous or wrongly used, or which sentences are obscure.

The idea is to make a mental experiment and find plausible causes for the appearance, via evolution, of new forms of cognition. If someone has readed something about anything related to this, that's what I'm looking for.

Thanks anyway.
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Postby futurezoologist » Wed Mar 11, 2009 9:21 am

ok how bout we start with the term cognition??
A wise man once said to me:
"Build a man a fire, and he'll be warm for a day. Set a man on fire, and he'll be warm for the rest of his life."

Only the fittest chickens cross the road.
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Re: Help a philosopher...!

Postby wbla3335 » Wed Mar 11, 2009 2:37 pm

Has your prof introduced you to Daniel C. Dennett? He's a philosopher who is trying to apply evolutionary theory to some of the standard philosophical questions. (My, what a radical idea - philosophy based on the real world!) Sounds like your prof may be heading in that direction, too.
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