From: wilkins (wilkins@wehi.EDU.AU)
Date: Tue Feb 20 2001 - 22:56:11 GMT

  • Next message: "Re: Geology"

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    Date: Wed, 21 Feb 2001 09:56:11 +1100
    From: wilkins <wilkins@wehi.EDU.AU>
    Organization: The Walter & Eliza Hall Institute of Medical Research
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    Subject: Geology
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    "Ilfryn PRICE(SED)" wrote:
    > John Wilkins writing
    > >
    > >More like we're born with a geology of hard and soft substrates, and
    > >where and how long the water flows determines where the riverbeds are...
    > prompts the following extract (from Price and Shaw, 1998)
    > >
    > A geological metaphor provides an image of the physiology and psychology of perception. Imagine a
    > landscape, eroded over time to provide streams, rivulets, and rivers interspersed between higher
    > plateaux. It provides a simple example of a self-organising, locked-in, system. If one can imagine

    Nice to know I have been pre-empted by such august company. The
    nature-nurture debate is then a question of the relative "smoothness" of
    the underlying geology. If Modules ("nodules"? :-) exist in the mind,
    then little erosion will occur to change them over the development of an
    individual's psychology and culturalisation. If the mind is a General
    Purpose Cogniser akin to a Turing Machine, then use can "erode" any kind
    of pathway and nurture (culture, memes, paradigms) is predominant. The
    answer must lie in the middle somewhere, it seems to me. The real
    question is how much of evolutionary psychology, how much of
    sociobiology and how much of cultural Darwinism is active, not whether
    any of these are the whole truth and nothing but the truth.

    I know, this is a trivially true observation, but it warrants saying, I think.

    John Wilkins, Head, Graphic Production, The Walter and Eliza Hall 
    Institute of Medical Research, Melbourne, Australia
    Homo homini aut deus aut lupus - Erasmus of Rotterdam
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