Counteracting the Effects of Evolution

The biases in our perception of the world show that we as genus ‘homo sapiens’ are part of the animal kingdom and are subject to evolutionary pressures. Our efforts to recognize and counterbalance the artifacts of our neurology show that we insightful, intelligent animals. The task is now to identify areas of certainties in our picture of the world which are nothing more than artifacts of our nervous system.

Prominent among the areas needing a re-evaluation is our concept of what is a unit. The newborn encounters the world at first by means of its skin. Tactile sensations have an impact on our convictions that cannot be overestimated. The skeptic’s “I’ll believe it when I see it” is trumped by “Pinch me, I can’t believe my eyes”. We ascribe reality to an object which is – at least conceptually – accessible to be hold in one’s hands. We are used to separate the logical categories of “logical object” and “logical relation”. If we discuss – in a traditional manner – matters of combinatorics, we understand well the question, how many distinct logical relations can be maximally generated using n objects with some symbols on them. Reversing the direction of concluding is unusual: ‘Having x logical relations, at least how many fractions of an object are necessarily present?’ borders on poetry. The proposal to use the number of logical relations as unit and deduct the number of actual objects as a result of combinatorics, or, more practically, to use a unit that is a half-way freak between a purely logical entity – like a possibility – and a logical entity, like the unit in terms of objects, that could – if it was real – be touchedis a step towards overcoming a dichotomy that is present in our culture, because we know the difference between reality and imagination.

Similarly, we have learnt to distinguish well between the place of an object and the object itself. It is self-evident that a thinking person can distinguish between the direction the Sun is shining from and the light it emits; the time of the tide and the water. Only imbeciles would confound where something is to be found and what it is. The rational view of the world is extremely snobby against members of society who are unable or unwilling to respect the properties of places, e.g. eating or rioting in a church, talking about secrets in an inappropriate place. The properties of the place and the properties of the objects are connected by culture: there are types and categories of things that do and do not match with types and categories of places. This distinction is not purely man-made: we observe animals to discharge waste according to topological criteria. The concept of territoriality itself is however not constant over all kinds of animals: there are nomadic versions that survive well.

Let us come forward with an educational tool which can be used to de-condition our conditioned reflexes and culturally motivated prejudices about what is rational and acceptable in a picture of the world. Before presenting the tool, we first have to introduce the collection of logical objects we shall use and the main method of dealing with the collection of logical objects.


powered by

powered by