Concatenation of Different Levels of Cognitive Processing
“By the subject we know psychologically, by the mental image we know logically and by the object we know ontologically. The inseparability of these three spheres argues favorably for the credibility of metaphysical judgments.”
In a previous Chapter 1 we said: “To know something " (in nature) supposes an act of the understanding…”, i.e., it is realized when we experience an external object or event (or recall our idea of it if either one is physically absent) and then are able to distinguish it, 'gnoscere'. But a distinction is always a comparison. To understand an object is to have a clear idea of its primary and secondary characteristics (accidents). When we assign a meaning to that ‘perception’ as captured internally by our visceral or externally by our special senses, we are adding another dimension to our understanding, the psychological. When we have thus acted, we have formulated a conscious judgment about the perception, we have thought about it.
The empirical information input is processed at different organizational levels of our understanding according to its content, as evidenced by our judgments, expressed or not. In this way a synthetic 'a-posteriori' judgment is a mere representation of an empiric intuition of an object (or event) of the experience where we do not worry about its origin but of that distinctive ontological materiality present in it externally. When the informational input originates viscerally or from the ‘mind’, the analysis is more complex and will require a separate discussion later on. By means of this judgment something new may or may not be added to our previous experiences, as we will discuss below.
We hope again that the reader will realize that the natural object and our idea of it ARE autonomous entities, the latter one in a higher degree when it can affirm its independence of the physical presence of the natural object. What is important is that the idea of the natural object or event cannot ever take place without a previous sensory impression originating in nature from the object. As we have said elsewhere, the object IS there, independent of what or who caused it to be (or not to be!), if anything did! That first sensory impression is instantaneous and immediate and will have the form of an empiric intuitive knowledge, according to which, accessing successively higher levels of understanding, we inferentially compare its attributes and relations to previous recorded events coded into either the genetic or social memory of the observer. When not previously recorded in either database, the new information will persist in temporary storage until further similar encounters will reinforce it and cause it to be incorporated into more permanent memory. If the ‘de novo’ object or event acquires biological survival value in a recurrent fashion, it gets eventually incorporated into the genetic memory of the species.
We routinely make synthetic judgments a priori about objects or events based on the accumulated data base of previous empiric intuitions that we have formed after having experienced their macro / micro behavior. That allow us to formulate operational and / or logical concepts that will form the basis for our future adaptive responses, from the reflex, rapid stereotypical responses mediated by the amygdaloidal body (first level) when biological survival of the species is compromised with, to the more sophisticated, abstract, pondered, delayed responses or inhibition.
If I judge that a given object I see now moving at a distance is a living dog, I don't need of additional experiences, external to my pre-formed concept of a dog as a domesticated quadruped animal that wags the tail to friends and barks to strangers, or that, at another organizational level, must always analyze for carbon, phosphorus, hydrogen, nitrogen and sulfur, among other things or behaves metabolically according to certain known biochemical pathways. Nothing much additional is required outside of that concept to understand it. Starting from that concept a priori now we can return to nature and, based on the principle of subject identity, the predicate "is alive" is extracted to describe the quadruped. The previous formulation of the concept a priori precedes and influences all of future similar experiences. This is nature's way to store and retrieve cortical information from a database we may call a social memory (to distinguish it from a genetic memory, to be discussed briefly below, see Biopsicosociologia, Limusa 1987).
We have argued elsewhere how a metaphysical analysis can help understanding how those synthetic a priori propositions are formed or used for comparison purposes. They necessarily offer an additional dimension to the primitive empiric intuition that begins in the special senses. The scientific value of this methodology resides in the apodictic certainty that reason is able to guarantee to its synthetic a priori judgments. In these conclusions, unanimity exists as to the ontological being in existence in the sensory experience while, at the same time, is independent of it.
We have asked before, how can an observer conclude that living objects exist in nature, i.e., how can he structure an a-priori concept of life? What is ‘living’ to begin with? Because the abstract concept had its origin in association with an empiric intuition subject to an objective scientific study is important because the analytic (as opposed to synthetic) method allows us to presuppose that such abstract knowledge is also real since, through the methodology of the natural sciences and mathematical logic we are able to harmonize the object of the sensory experience with the possible a-priori intuitions that we have formed previously of similar objects we have no quarrel with about their ‘vitality’. This way a priori abstractions remains necessarily connected with the facts, from which they necessarily originated. The existence, in time and space, of the fact authenticates the reality of the concept abstracted therefrom. As such, the analysis doesn't require being deducible from other concepts in abstract, particularly in biology. To intuit an a-priori concept of life doesn't have consequences for the materiality of the physical phenomenon observed because the concept thus formed refers exclusively to the form of the mental intuition in time and space.
Something similar happens when e.g., we intuitively relate the geometry of a prism after viewing the pyramids in Mexico. The self-evident reality captured by our sensibility, gives us a phenomenal appearance of the object (without caring about its Kantian ‘reality in itself’, something totally outside of our possible understanding) and this I relate comparatively with something unknown, its internal geometrical intuition. It is often argued by talented cosmologists whether there can be a one to one correspondence between the abstract intuition a priori and the physical form of infinity in itself. An object's pure form can never be modified by the accidents of its predicates! Therein the importance of reconciling, however possible, the abstract foundations of cosmology (or consciousness for that matter) with as many facts from sensory or instrumental experiences as possible, keeping in mind that ‘correspondence’ is VERY different from identity.
Every good observer is familiar with the multitude of predicates that are attributed to living entities. These predicates don't belong to the object under scrutiny but to their appearances; outside of the object they don't enjoy their own independent existence. We speak about their form, shape, their pigmentation, their locomotion, behavior, etc. If we meditate a little we discover that subjacent inside their appearances (secondary qualities) primary qualities coexist as are their materiality, extension, place, space, etc. against which an argument contrary to their essential reality could not be sustained because they don't depend on the appearance of the object to be validated. The real existence of these primary qualities is not cognized by denying the very existence of objects, like in the idealist position, neither can we pretend having gained knowledge about the object in itself. Instead its reach is limited to correlate the living object of my sensory perception with my a-priori intuition or synthetic judgment about it. In this form our understanding ponders on the phenomena, not its causes, aspiring to have reached the maximum certainty on that determination. Who could ask for anything more from a human observer of proven serious limitations in his resolution for sensory perceptions and a demonstrated limited memory retention capacity to handle complex combinatorial matrices unless aided by fast main frame computers.
Regarding the capacity to generate the autogenous movement as we observe in the living organisms of our sensory experience, to use an example, that experience teaches us what it is and what it is like, nothing more and nothing less. But, what can we say about ‘vitality’ in 'experiences' like chemical reactions, outside of the possible limit of resolution of my senses, where allowable ‘scientific’ inferences indicate an autogenous movement MUST be invoked to explain the required approximation of interacting reactants to obtain the resulting product? Should the scientist take the inference seriously, or should the phenomenon be considered as belonging to an extra physical domain, is it real? We are now in a position to better appreciate the arguments of Chapter 1 above on cognition at the logical level to be further discussed below.
By the subject we know psychologically, by the image we know logically and by the object we know ontologically. By an affirmation of the inseparability of these three domains or spheres, we have even argued elsewhere the possibility of a knowledge of insensitive life.
The discussion that follows illustrates how cognitive science has become more of a cross-disciplinary enterprise than a ‘new’ discipline. Ever since cognitive science escaped in the 70’s from the prison positivism and behavioral science had locked it in, a systematic enquiry into the operation of the mind opened up. Chomsky’s generative grammar opened the way for an understanding of that most exclusively human adventure, being self-conscious. Soon thereafter language users began to be focused on their ability to produce it and information theory was born. Every discipline has an idea of how a cognitive system may work, here we are suggesting how the different methodologies, from the computational simulations of AI, the verbal protocol manipulations in neuropsychology and psycholinguistics, the evoked potentials measurements in neuroscience and the brainstorming heuristics of neurophilosophers, etc., may be integrated into a coherent whole unit.
Inductive Processing. Defining the operation of the unconscious, psychologic, logic and ontological subsets of the reality domain.
Cognition at the unconscious level.
We anticipate that a future systematic study of ‘implicit memory’ that I have called ‘genetic memory’ will forever define one of the most fundamental attributes of being human, in act and potency. We have no doubt about the important role the amygdaloidal body will play in defining how we, as a species, confront external reality and depending on how it presents itself, as a challenge or a promise to our biological survival as a species, we will respond by changing it or internally adapting to it.
That first physical encounter with the unexpected will trigger a rapid processing and determine, at unconscious levels, our initial stereotyped, species-specific reflex adaptive response. This is immediately followed by a conscious processing of the same sensory input leading to modifying psychological responses that will more properly assess the risk present to the ensuing problem of individual biological survival in that particular ecosystem location. This new experience will have lingering social effects as we ponder and may determine the convenience of future encounters (under our control to decide). One may even, on a long-term basis, find time to ponder further and engage in the abstract formulation of conceptual adaptive models to reckon with unexpected encounters in general.
We have briefly described the sequence of temporal inductive processing events starting from the unconscious individual life-preserving event to the conscious psychologically-adaptive modification that may conceivably, later on, establish future social patterns of behavior for the group and perhaps even stimulate someone to develop abstract conceptual models of behavior in general. To get a brief account from a developmental perspective, we have summarized in a previous chapter “Subconscious Awareness in Language Development” this initial unconscious processing as follows: “From the argumentation that has preceded, it is not far fetched to expect that the gallery of sounds and images coded into the genetic memory locus in the amygdaloidal body is pretty stable and stores basic information for the individual and collective survival, the biological preservation of self and the reproductive perpetuation of the species, in that order. The primacy of biological survival is predicated on constancy (or at least a steady state dynamic equilibrium) at both the organismal and external environmental (societal?) levels. The strategies for organism survival depends on the patency of nervous (autonomic) and hormonal servo-control automatic systems. The strategy for the individual environmental adaptive behavior is also focused on organism biological survival, this time from external environmental threats, natural or man-made. A by-product of this effort is the reproductive perpetuation of the species. The human solution for the individual biological survival in an external hostile environment depends on the elaboration of an effective communication system, a language.
Language, as a tool of biological and social survival, utilizes the amygdala for direct avoidance reflex protection of the organism and as a genetic reservoir of coded multimodal or audio-visual solutions, arguably the anlagen or substrate for the development of language communication (universal grammar / proto-semantic code?). Far more important than the ability to communicate is the is the distinctively human capacity to make symbolic / sentential linguistic representations of empirical reality, a 'sine qua non' for logical thinking. We may tentatively consider the amygdaloid content as a time-honored collection of fear-conditioning codes.
At a time in postnatal development when the newborn is still cortically blind, his auditory system is linked to the limbic pain / pleasure system via the amygdala. The most primitive audio language is a sound or 'phoneme', which accumulates the variations in intensity, duration, frequency, pitch, timbre, etc., when coding for the different environmental objects / events that represent a survival threat to the species.
The lactating baby talk of the mother represents a resonant signal to activate the corresponding codes in the newborn amygdala (or elsewhere), triggering a pertinent pain / pleasure / fear response. But it also represents ’priming’ in reverse, the incomplete genetic sound code gets frequency-coupled or linked functionally with the semantic language particles in the mother’s baby talk, the result being progressively evolving into a particular affect and a semantic particle component. Affective feeling is associated with semantic content in a survival context and precede syntax considerations for which the newborn is not neurally ready as yet. Thus, resonant audio selection from the gallery of audio-code and ‘priming’ by the lactating mother will get the infant started into the experience of a new communication tool, as diverse in potential future development as the variations in ‘primary’ particle inserted by nurture into the multiple sign / sound variations in the audio-visual gallery represented by a universal genetic pre-language code. The resonant audio-selection process would be arguably the functional equivalent to the cochlear place theory of audition. As discussed before there is evidence for a tonotopic representation of sound at the inferior colliculus of the mesencephalon, part of the auditory—amygdala neural pathway mentioned above. Tonotopic arrangement at the medial geniculate body of the thalamus and Heschl temporal lobe loci follow after collicular development in a time developmental schedule. Not even the hippocampus is developed to sustain explicit memories yet. In a previous communication (Noesis, 2001) we developed a similar rationale for primitive visual perceptions objects (signs) associated with the object / event surroundings (symbolisms?).
The implications of these neuro-anatomical schedules of development is to illustrate the important role sub cortical primitive structures play in cognition-processing at unconscious / subconscious levels; yet the only conscious memories that survive to adulthood are associated with survival experiences from trauma, physical or psychological, which, if laden with survival value, may be encoded permanently and passed onto the next generation as genetic memory. This represents a by-pass of the usual sequence of stages before the consolidation into a permanent long-term memory, process that -at the newborn stage- would not be developed sufficiently to participate. Either the trauma puts a lien on the future development of these structures that may trigger psychopathology in adulthood or we must search for these loci in sub cortical structures like the amygdala.”
For those readers interested in another neuro-physiological perspective of this argument, we adopt by reference our own previous account on the operation of unconscious adaptive responses, that described when a Florida tourist was confronted with a potentially life threatening event (can be real or imagined). See the chapter on “The Emotional Variable in the ‘Logic’ Equation”, above. “…visiting from N.Y. City…lodging inside one of many camping sites… wanders, distracted by the colorful contrasts, into the wilderness when surprised by the sudden rustling noise of the nearby tall underbrush. The ‘unfamiliar’ noise represents a stimulus that has been modified or conditioned to unleash a wide display of bodily responses in anticipation of an impending attack the noise is warning him about. He freezes in his tracks quicker than a cat can wink his eye, ready to run away or attack. The entire spectrum of sympathetic autonomic defensive responses are mobilized as described by Cannon, including cardiovascular, respiratory, muscular and neuro-humoral alert adjustments to meet the unknown, even the secretion of analgesic endorphins to tolerate the pain anticipated from the impending attack. The freezing response is so fast that one can easily rule out conscious processes initially participating. Similar situations have been simulated in various laboratories with different species of animals."
The sensory arm of the complex reflex response follows two different audio-visual pathways en route to their corresponding memory data banks. In a previous communication, aforementioned, we have detailed the auditory pathway, contra lateral to the entry of the sound stimulation en route to higher levels of differential analysis in the auditory cortex > hippocampus of the temporal lobe, the ‘explicit’ memory site we will return to later on. Before that, let us trace the shorter pathway to the ‘implicit’ memory storage site, the amygdala, a small sub cortical forebrain area sometimes confused with ‘short term’ memory site.
Joseph Ledoux has traced the central sensory acoustic fibers from the ipsilateral cochlear nucleus to the contra lateral inferior colliculus of the mesencephalon > medial geniculate body of the thalamus > primary auditory cortex + lateral amygdala > central amygdala. (see The Emotional Brain, 1996 Simon & Schuster). The central nucleus of the amygdala is now the command center coordinating and completing the fast survival avoidance motor response reflex arc by connecting with the various autonomic centers in the brain stem associated with the Cannon response. Bruce Kapp also demonstrated a ‘freezing response’ after stimulating the central nucleus. Others have shown connections with the mesencephalic periaqueductal gray where endorphins are also produced and the hypothalamus and stria terminalis, both associated with the release of stress hormones. Connections with basal ganglia controlling postural skeletal muscle responses are not that clear yet.
This is not the description of just another super fast avoidance reflex arc. The central amygdala probably represents the reservoir of inherited information, genetic memory, specializing in survival of the species. Its output gets its cues from an audio-visual or multimodal gallery of recorded primitive response algorithms all geared to protect the species from a repertoire of dangers, real or no longer present, except for their multi-modal signature sensed. Meanwhile, the higher processing systems in the neocortex are busy in their processing of the same sensory information trying to figure out, what is this rustle sound and brush movement all about? Module 1 has finished the emergency adjustment waiting for further instructions from the multi-modal parallel processors in Module 2 Meanwhile, the hypothalamus elaborates the intermediate neuro-humoral, motor and affective responses. This is achieved by its connections to the prefrontal cortex directly and by way of medial thalamic nuclei, this way providing the pathway for the genesis of mental states associated with visceral functions. During all of this increased cephalization of the processing activity the hippocampus sends connections to the parietal angular gyrus which itself receives information from the visual and auditory areas of Wernicke (Barr’s The Human Nervous System, Harper Row, 1975).”
Cognition at the psychological level.
The vital task of a subject of cognition, whether we are talking about a robot or a human being, is the proper deductive application of the pertinent ‘rules’ aimed at the execution of the best adaptive response to an ‘environmental’ challenge, present or imagined. From the universality of solutions coded and distributed among the various nested brain / computer networks we must now identify, integrate and assemble the components (the ‘binding problem’) of the solution best fit to restore psychological homeostasis, hopefully resulting also in an effective adaptive response, in that order. We exclude from this analysis the quick, unconscious reflex integration and stereotyped response we experience when confronted with external environmental challenges to our biological survival, real or perceived. (For the role played by the amygdaloidal body in this process, see previous chapter above. But before applying the deductive rules to individualize an effective response, we must first establish how those rules may be structured by the inductive processing strategies we have inherited. The way we inductively order our perceptions of the external world determines our deductive choice of adaptive solutions. That both, perceptions and solutions, will always enjoy a one to one consistent correspondence intraspecies, quare! We have analyzed elsewhere the influence physiological homeostasis preservation has on ‘logical’ responses, see the chapter on “ Emotional Variables..” above.
Operationally, the best deductive conclusion requires enabling the inductive mechanisms, triggering them into action to recognize similarities and detect differences between the empirical perception of objects & events in the external environment and the ‘idea’ our brains have fashioned about them since birth under the influence of our social memory (to distinguish it from genetic memory).
For a better understanding of the discussion that follows the reader must always keep in mind, what seems to this author, some fundamental notions about our interactions with reality at the psychological and, we believe, at all levels of organization. The most fundamental are the notions of the non-conscious primacy of biological preservation of the species, the inevitability of ‘change’ (random or not) and 'selection' (Darwinian or not) resulting in responses (adaptive or not). Another fundamental notion is to always be able to detect when the conclusion arrived at by inductive processing is merely the result of an inference, where the generalization bears no direct relation to objects / events from an empirical intuition but rather to mental combinations / permutations of ideas. For example, if it becomes reasonable to conclude that all living objects in an observer’s experience show verifiable autogenous motion, that certainty should NOT necessarily allow one to infer that, if motion must be assumed to bring together isolated inter-atomic reactants giving rise to a chemical product, the atoms must be alive!, however tempting the conclusion! (for an analysis of this problem see Chapter 1 above). Similarly we must conclude that inductive reasoning at the psychological level has taken place, not by direct observation but by quantifying a subject’s response, necessarily involved in classifications, sorting out, sequencing, matrix creation, analogies, etc.
How might inductive reasoning be structured? In general, an approximation may be approached by identifying the predicates that will encompass the whole spectrum of possible statements about a given object or event.
I may, for instance, want to ascertain whether a slowly moving object (O) I barely see on top of the distant mountain belongs to the same subset of objects that living things belong to (L) by comparing them. The inductive processing starts by choosing those aspects that are convenient to compare or contrast; so I list the unquestioned consistent attributes (att) or relationships (rel) of both set of objects, the empirical and the ideal. Then we note, grosso modo, where they are similar (s), different (d) or a combination thereof (sd); in respect to e.g., structure (struct), shape (shape), motion (motion), sound, or innominate (innom). . This generates a matrix of 30 different elements to examine, s,d,sd X att, rel X (struct),(shape),(motion),(sound),(innom) or 3 X 2 X 5=30. Except for the fact that attributes (e.g., primary qualities) are one place predicates while relationships are 2 or more place predicates, it is to be noted that all possibilities of statements or descriptors are exhausted. With respect to the attribute of being able to generate autogenous movements O and L are either similar, different or a combination thereof. O is observed in isolation initiating independent movements, is alive; walks on 4 legs, is a vertebrate subhuman species; makes barking sounds like canines and wags his tail when approached, like a domesticated dog would do. This judgment describes a conscious secondary level of an inductive conclusion aimed at deciding whether I can proceed or delay beyond my first level unconscious decision (amygdaloidal) to get closer to or flee away from the new object (Cannon reaction). If we examine the observer's dynamics in front of a natural object, we will notice that the subject leaves his sphere to invade that of the object observed. From then on the main qualities (attributes) of the moving object can be engendered in a spontaneous and active way from the previous ideal images our conscience formed of the external material object under observation. In a similar way, from experience we can also originate the existential possibility of ideal objects like mathematics, the numbers, etc. In spite of their empirical origin, they both behave as something in themselves, as if certain and autonomous, even independent of the subject's thought. The structure of the subject's action determines the object. The essence of deductive certainty (ruling on the observed moving object as belonging to a subset or category at the species / genus level) is predicated on the successful inductive processing, i.e., the attainment of a maximum agreement of our mental image with the moving object out there, existing in nature. The matrix element (s) x (att) x (structure, shape, motion, etc.) based on the similarity of attributes allowed an identification preceding the adaptive response that will follow. Variations in one or more attributes or relations would give rise to the corresponding formation or expansion of subsets. The persistence in memory of a new subset will depend on posterior reinforcements by verification with succeeding encounters with same external object. Multiplace predicates as found in the classification of relationships (similarities or differences) allow for the mental cognitive operation of ‘matrix system construction’. Similarities or differences in single level attributes provide for their ‘cross classification’.
Cognition at the logical level.
We have seen how synthetic judgments a-posteriori can give us a content, a factual knowledge of the external reality using essentially non-logical procedures. Beyond the first level cognitive amygdaloidal filter (for details see above) operating instantaneously at unconscious levels, we added another (psychological) second level filter at sub-conscious levels. Now we can add (at a subconscious level) yet another third layer in the logical deduction which, paradoxically, while not really saying anything new in the logical sense but can very well bring us to the discovery of something new in the psychological sense. This is so because “the symbolic representation of an empiric intuition when subjected to a logical-mathematical analytical processing can not add new factual elements to it, nor give us a new intuition into its natural state, it is merely a simplification of the complex logical relationships that subsist among its concepts, an explanation of the relationships among its possible meanings” (see Chapter 1, above). Depending on the level of complexity of the task at hand and the richness of coded alternatives in the social memory, this processing will monitor and identify existing relationships beyond the common logical content possible in the previous 2 stages, the use of the symbolic logic in representing the task to be solved will allow an extension of the cognitive possibilities of its psychological content that represent the entirety of their operational associations.
The capacity for synthetic judgments 'a-priori' may well be limited to humans in that it may require the uniquely human ability to achieve self consciousness. This fourth level need not necessarily be concerned with mediate or immediate responses, which in addition may be inhibited or delayed and which characteristically are triggered from other brain levels (even sleep!) isolated functionally from external sensory stimulation. It represents the recruitment of our most sophisticated combinatorial neuronal resources at the service of pure understanding and of abstract reason. Because of its origin from an empiric intuition it is synthetic, and to the extent that I can do without the physical presence of the observed object (or event) to be able to find all the conditions that I need to formulate a higher level judgment (intellectual intuition) -, it is also 'a-priori'. In this way, to what the mere social memory may teach me about an observed object in nature now I can add another dimension based on that same experience, one that subsists independent of the physical presence of the object and represents the idealization of the original objects in that experience. It is questionable whether complex social relations, even when symbolically represented, can yield operational principles of immediate social value, e,g., problems of religion, ethics, not to mention the elusive understanding of self-consciousness. A brief introspection of inductive processing at the logical level will show immediately that the real object of the empiric intuition has now been differentiated into its essence and primary existence, (Kantian categorical imperatives?), independent of their secondary qualities as the color, form, etc.
If we still want to talk about that moving object afar I will then make an effort to differentiate between the primary or secondary qualities of the object as well as of its actions by accessing the appropriate levels of understanding for the appropriate comparisons or contrast.
What is most interesting, from a theoretical point of view, is the demonstrated capacity of the human mind to tap on the neuronal networks where abstract attributes or relations are being stored, completely divorced from any empirical consideration as we see in the theoretical sciences or metaphysics. In reality these resulting theoretical systems are essentially “…analytic judgments in themselves for they have nothing much to do with the experience as such insofar as the content is concerned, they are differential, explanatory and nothing is added to the given knowledge. That is to say, we don't find in their predicates anything that was not already given or thought of already.” More often than not we find great minds confusing the description of the resulting abstract domain, after being submitted to the various layers of filters described, with the ontological reality it struggled to represent, whether the latter is empirically accessible to the senses (or instruments extensions thereof) or not. We must keep this in mind, every time we heroically try to fit an empirical observation within the elegant expressions of the abstract formulation. This is particularly so if we ponder on the real processing constraints the talking brain processors (Module3) confront when handling parallel right brain (Module2) and stochastic, visceral brain (Module1) inputs and serialize its output.
The inductive processing allows the observer to classify and catalogue information as just described. The same information may be already represented in other cortical or sub cortical areas with other space coordinates that separate the primary qualities from the secondary, including a possible symbolic representation in grammatical form at Wernicke’s / angular gyrus cortex prior to its production into a verbal response mediated by Broca's cortical area (Module3). The most important value that a spatial separation of the primary qualities ('essence') of an object from its secondary qualities (e.g., color) is that it makes possible the generalization, the conscious formulation of an ideal object. This way, the natural object, the pyramid in Mexico becomes the ideal image of a prism with four triangles whose bases rest on four sides of a polygon where the sum of their interior angles always added 180 degrees in the Cartesian coordinates. When seeing the same object a second occasion again, the new image digitized by the senses will correspond, point for point, with the idea of the object represented previously at the corresponding spatial coordinates in the cerebral / sub-cortical areas. Any deviation found will be evidence of a qualitative or quantitative alteration in the natural object. Notice that now we can form an impression of the pyramid directly from the object itself or from the idea that we stored in our brains.
Unfortunately, as we have enunciated elsewhere, the constancy or perseverance of a brain impression can form mental habits (associations of necessary contiguity, contingency, or undue).
With the existence of these space transformations loci in the different sectors of our brain ‘soft’ disk storage and random access memory (nested networks?), we can, when observing the object later on, process the sensory information traveling the parallel channels to the brain (using the methodology of tensor analysis by examining the different matrices generated as the processing of the information progresses in robotic simulations). With the digitation of the impression of continuity captured in the material object by our sensory cells an inductive transformation is achieved when the digits in our thoughts are assigned categories, groups, etc.(we transcend the particularity of the one or few to the universality of all). This logical inductive processing paves the way for the possible deductive reasoning that allows me to predict the existence of a material object in the sensory nature that I have not explored yet. (extrapolation from the universality to the specific), providing that the necessary and sufficient conditions (defining that probability) for its demonstration are met in nature.
The value of this conclusion for the experimental sciences is that it allows us to formulate operational mechanistic reductions without having to invoke determinisms or evolutionary external finalities. Kurt Godel's caveat notwithstanding (according to which any representation of a natural object by natural numbers cannot be both logically consistent and complete), we can still build a Godel map representing a natural object. . First we formulate the logical sentences that best describe the object, and then we transform the sentences to Boolean expressions. Finally, we select the best conceptual model that fits the experimental data, e.g., a neuronal nested network that a fast computer can process.
How this can be processed can be seen from an earlier description on how the same Mexican pyramid is presented to our visual organ as a continuous visual synthesis. The histological disposition of the retina breaks down the continuum as it digitizes the observed natural object and codes the information into action potentials that travel (parallel, convergent, divergent circuits, of repetition, etc., see Vol.1 of author's Human Biology) to different synaptic stations in the mesencephalic superior colliculi, diencephalic geniculate bodies, and several cortical stages (parietal, temporal and occipital) where the information is placed in a special arrangement of neuronal cortical columns. As we have also described elsewhere, the coded input from the retinal ganglion cell units is channeled simultaneously to parallel processors in operation. As in computers, the data are placed in their respective spatial phase coordinates where a central processor knows the location of identical species of information. The continuity of the original visual object suffers this way a third transformation when the information (coded first in retinal action potentials patterns) is further transformed into three-dimensional spatial arrangements as described for secondary and tertiary cortical stages of analysis. Now it is identified the functional relationships among the units in their spatial loci (geometries) according to their properties. For each synaptic station encountered in its path it will be necessary to determine a new set of transformation coordinates. The connectivity at the synaptic interface determines the matrices. The transformations are achieved by multiplying the matrices and other non-linear operations (thresholds). The neurons individually don't transmit a great quantity of symbolic information but when connected appropriately with a great number of similar units eventually it is possible to achieve a global distribution of possible activity patterns (vectorial states). This is a lot more than a computer can do when looking for an address in the hard disk; now there is in addition a content. It is no longer simply the handling of some logic propositions but the handling of transitions among phase spaces, that is to say, as the network converges toward a global result, several hypothesis are combined and compared while the system settles in its state of minimum energy. In this search and comparison the computer information units adjust the neighbor's properties and its own. This is the way a vector analysis of tensors operates in a network.
Cognition at the ontological level.
Evolutionary epistemology may be properly considered a subset of ‘selection’ theory as originally proposed by Hans Popper in 1974. Much can be said about evolutionary theory as a rational operational concept to give some meaning to the observable organic evolution we all witness in nature, specially at the macro-ecosystem level but it can hardly be argued that the changes observed in nature occur at random or nature selects surviving features based on the ‘thermodynamic’ probability of the resulting stability of the selection. History has witnessed the exact opposite, an increasing structural organization (negentropy) at all levels as a function of time, something physicalists readily dismiss by invoking a corresponding decrease in the environmental energy they can not either sense or otherwise measure, except in artificial isolated systems. A selection theory must take into account the integration of ALL levels of cognition, including both the natural selection paradigm and the supernatural or extraphysical as well. Even belief systems do influence our perception of physical reality. This way the Kantian categorical imperatives a priori can be credibly linked to an ongoing organic evolution a posteriori and whose progression we can only describe as beyond our rational, but not our spiritual non-rational comprehension. After all, man is a product of organic, social and spiritual evolution (a flash back at Teilhard de Chardin’s The Phenomenon of Man!). Any attempt to ‘naturalize’ human epistemology is a self-evident half-truth. Natural environmental variations (change) are not blind and neither is the selection process that guides historical progression. Quo vadis?, may be an unanswered, but irrelevant question in a large scheme of things. But, ask we must, if we are to survive biologically and spiritually. Spiritual death equates with ongoing, lifetime biological morbidity. Yet, there is no prescription in nature or revealed truth as to how to best perceive reality other than to preserve life, perpetuate the species and minimize the weight of the cross of perpetual morbidity. We have long argued that whereas Darwinian natural selection model fits organic evolution and the Lamarcquian model is a better fit to social and spiritual selection, the direction both historically follow is far from being random or blind. Part of the problem has being the failure to recognize the contribution ‘motu propio’ of the subject of selection, an atom or an organism, scientists always paying more attention to the environmental external forces. But even atoms are ‘alive’ as we have argued before and the negentropic net results of their ‘random’ movements, as argued, validates a purposeful motive behind the seemingly blind Brownian motions, as we expanded during our argumentation on the ‘insensible life’ of an infective viral macromolecule. Motion is a vector quantity whose orientation is influenced by an absolute, non-random force, an unavoidable metaphysical entity. An object’s encounter with reality is not a simple re-ordering of that perceived in the ‘reactive field’or by the special senses, the adaptive selection or avoidance response is testimony of the active involvement of the object of the perception, that which ultimately creates the uniformity witnessed by all in nature. The late Donald Campbell argued against the requirement that interacting objects recognize the “essence”, structural or otherwise, explicative of their reaction or avoidance at any level of structural organization, the resulting response was predicated on pragmatic, functional considerations of convenience, reminiscent of a micro-behavioral Skinnerian stance. His micro-behavioral interpretation renders a consideration of Kantian ontological concepts of ‘reality in itself’ as un-necessary and obsolete, dismissing in the process any possible belief in any ultimate reality, only possible as the result of an ontological inductive consideration. This insensibility to the consideration of anything lacking practical possibilities is typical of the mind set we found earlier in Rome and now in the monopolistic capitalism of global economics inside the Anglo-Saxon tradition, an obsessive concern for immediate certainty, here and now! Egoism is the result of unfettered, exclusively biological imperatives, but altruism is predicated on extra physical considerations, acquired by formal training or revelation. Biological behavior, based on the ‘eternal’ principles of individual and species survival and devoid of extra biological considerations on the quality of a survival existence, is bound to be short lived. Campbell talked about “human survival under humane conditions” to illustrate this principle.
Many readers may be upset by our insistence on the necessity to incorporate metaphysical arguments as part and parcel of the inductive chain processing of reality. Science treasures similar landmarks in its evolutionary trajectory. Who would have imagined the planetary orbits had it not being for ignoring the mechanical philosophy of the times?, or the electromagnetic fields without moving away from the kinetic theory of their time. As serious as denying the existence of magnetism because the existing theory on the movement of particles didn't provide for it. The chemical bonds between atoms, an extrapolation of the phenomenon of gravitational attraction at a distance, could never have been understood before Maxwell developed its quantum mechanics. Who would have thought about the possibility of a perpetual motion machine before Feynman described how stochastic rectification may convert chaotic random motion into useful work, the way living cells do, all consistent with thermodynamic principles; however, one thing left out of the discussion was an explanation of the determinants of the bias, that ratchet orientation the keeps the wheel spinning in the direction of negentropy! It is sometimes necessary to escape your body encasement to be able to observe yourself!
End Chapter 11