Tuesday, February 15, 2005


Dennett was discussing the ability of humans to apply their powers and abilities to their powers and abilities. Many organisms can learn, but we can learn about learning (to learn better) and even learn about that. The following is, in my opinion, a highly relevant passage because it discusses, briefly, how we have ‘something’ from ‘nothing.’ It will not explain everything, but is definitely a good start for thinking about the evolution of cognitions. (Just so you know, I read it several times. I suggest at least twice.)

"Thus (1) the blind trial and error of Darwinian selection creates (2) organisms whose blind trial and error behavior is subjected to selection by reinforcement, creating (3) 'learned' behvaviors that generate a profusion of (4) learning opportunities from which (5) the most telling can be 'blindly' but reliably selected, creating (6) a better-focused capacity to generate (7) further candidates for not-so-blind 'consideration,' and (8) the eventual selection or choice or decision of a course of action 'based on' those considerations. Eventually, the overpowering ‘illusion’ is created that the system is actually responding directly to meanings."
- Dennett, Elbow Room, page 30


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