Received: by alpheratz.cpm.aca.mmu.ac.uk id WAA08406 (8.6.9/5.3[ref firstname.lastname@example.org] for cpm.aca.mmu.ac.uk from email@example.com); Mon, 23 Jul 2001 22:18:16 +0100 From: Philip Jonkers <P.A.E.Jonkers@phys.rug.nl> X-Authentication-Warning: rugth1.phys.rug.nl: www-data set sender to firstname.lastname@example.org using -f To: email@example.com Subject: RE: Logic Message-ID: <firstname.lastname@example.org> Date: Mon, 23 Jul 2001 23:13:04 +0200 (CEST) References: <2D1C159B783DD211808A006008062D3101745FC1@inchna.stir.ac.uk> In-Reply-To: <2D1C159B783DD211808A006008062D3101745FC1@inchna.stir.ac.uk> Content-Type: text/plain; charset=ISO-8859-1 Content-Transfer-Encoding: 8bit User-Agent: IMP/PHP IMAP webmail program 2.2.5 X-Originating-IP: 22.214.171.124 Sender: email@example.com Precedence: bulk Reply-To: firstname.lastname@example.org
Hi Vincent, thanks for your tantalizing reply. You've made me think
deeper about the subject.
Allow me to digress a little on the origins of logic. In the animal
kingdom logical behavior has an obvious survival advantage over
illogical behavioras the former is compatible to nature. Logical
behavior therefore has an evolutionary advantage over illogical behavior.
Consequently, in the course of evolution selective pressure generated
inherently logically acting animals. The instincts of animals reflect this.
The evolution of the human brain must have been rather analogous to developing
logical behavior as the logical mind had an evolutionary advantage over
the illogical one. As Blackmore argues, our large brain is the end
result of a gene-meme co-evolution. Memes initially useful for survival
favored genes for a big brain serving as an able meme-processor.
Similarly as logical thinking was advantageous for survival too, genes
were favored too for developing a mental faculty for logic thinking.
Therefore it is inherently present right from birth.
Having a mental faculty especially designed for logical thinking means that
it should produce logical output if appealed too. As I already remarked,
one of the most imaginative products of logic - we can surely be proud of -
is the great universal discipline of mathematics. To spread logical concepts,
ideas, and such most effectively through the community is of course by
using memetics (mediated by teaching, journals, books, etc.). It is simply
impractical to set out and generate the whole realm of mathematics yourself,
although you are biologically equiped to possibly succeed given enough time.
Therefore, logic has a strong memetic component since it is most productive
and effective to spread logic that way. By spreading logic over
many people, the field of logic will advance at a higher pace since
it is being developed in parallel (compare parallel computers
with serial ones). The memes of logic are also passed on vertically: today's
mathematicians stands on the shoulders of yesterday's mathematicians.
The same two arguments applies to science too, of course.
Logic is generated in the human mind because it can by virtue of the
faculty of logical thinking, inherently present in humans. Logic need not
be passed on memetically but it is most advantageous if it would.
Therefore it is memetic by definition.
To succeed is passing `homemade' logic onto humans is a different
story all the same. This depends on multiple factors such as the
degree of complexity of the logic, the level of the audience but also
the transmitter itself. Trying to imitate the output of the faculty
of logic of some person, might require considerable effort (learning)
as the faculties are far from homogeneously developed in humans.
Indeed, it is frequently impossible to transmit logical memes from
the smarter person to the dumber.
Can it be disadvantageous in any sense to become a `slave' of the logic meme
in a negative sense? I would say no. Logic is not a religion, it is not a
bag of air. Being logic means acting in accordance with the laws of nature.
What can there be dangerous about that? As I already stated, knowing how
the world works means being able to keep one step ahead of nature
(increasing odds of survival) and being able to exploit it
On your final question on the consequences of regarding logic as
a meme, in the light of the previous, I have to defend the position that
logic then has all the benefits of the meme. Ergo, logic spreads faster and
therefore, through parallel processing (teamwork), advances/evolves faster.
Again, science and mathematics both work this way, and with great success too.
This was distributed via the memetics list associated with the
Journal of Memetics - Evolutionary Models of Information Transmission
For information about the journal and the list (e.g. unsubscribing)
This archive was generated by hypermail 2b29 : Mon Jul 23 2001 - 22:22:22 BST